A heartening narrative of family, transformation, and courage.

THE RUMI PRESCRIPTION

HOW AN ANCIENT MYSTIC POET CHANGED MY MODERN MANIC LIFE

In a book that is more memoir than how-to manual, Moezzi (Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life, 2014, etc.) chronicles her effort to apply Rumi’s 13th-century poetry to her 21st-century life.

Some readers may be surprised that the bestselling poet in the United States is a Muslim mystic who died nearly 750 years ago. Moezzi, however, isn’t the least bit stunned that Rumi’s words resonate with contemporary Western readers; it just took her a while to embrace them herself. She grew up in Ohio “dodging dead Persian poets” because her father “is a tried-and-true Rumi addict, and like most children of addicts, I grew up resenting the object of my father’s addiction.” But as an adult, the author decided to mine the Sufi mystic’s poetry to seek remedies for some of her own modern maladies—e.g. anxiety, fear, etc.—and found his words life-changing. Each of the chapters begins with a diagnosis and ends with a prescription, featuring stanzas of Rumi’s work that Moezzi translated and studied with her father. Though Rumi's poetry and its impact on her life are noteworthy, there are two narrative elements that stand out more. First, the author’s prose offers an intimate, endearing look at her relationship with her father. Second, Moezzi weaves throughout the narrative discussions of her interminable efforts to destigmatize both Islam and mental illness—not in a self-promoting way but as an advocate for herself and others; the book could shatter a variety of prejudices and stereotypes. Furthermore, the author’s translation of Rumi’s poetry will appeal to many readers because it’s well distilled and reads much like a series of aphorisms. Moezzi doesn’t claim to fully understand or precisely apply Rumi’s ancient wisdom; she’s simply telling the story of how his body of work has influenced her life.

A heartening narrative of family, transformation, and courage.

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-53776-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: TarcherPerigee

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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