Generally splendid reading and potentially life-changing for readers willing to go beyond the normal.

READ REVIEW

Far More than We Think

MAKING SENSE OF SPIRITUALITY

A journey from ego to spirit and from fear to love, described with humility by a debut author who’s still on the path.

This is a wonderful book about what really matters; the rest is nit-picking. Le Houx—an accountant, former finance director and recovering alcoholic—contritely spills his guts about his train wreck of a former life, but in a restrained way and without all the messy details. His intent is not autobiographical per se, but rather, for the benefit of his readers, to relate his own spiritual discoveries and the spiritual science behind them as he rose from his personal nadir. In seven sections, mirroring the seven chakras he might have once dismissed as nonsense, the narrative ascends from the science-based basics to the apex of pure spirituality. Never overly directive (except to prescribe regular meditation as essential to spiritual growth) or sectarian (God isn’t mentioned until Chapter 57 of 68), he suggests that all human beings have the choice to take a spiritual path of their own devising; given what he considers to be the evermore clearly emerging true facts of existence, we would be wise to do so. Le Houx is broadly well-informed, current, and able to outline difficult scientific theories and esoteric beliefs in understandable fashion. Still, he makes arguably too liberal use of repetition as mortar, and his frequent use of quips, clichés, truisms and double entendre can border on tiresome. Here and there, he reveals a somewhat limited understanding, as when in Chapter 40 he describes the law of karma without reference to reincarnation. But he excels throughout in making a case for undertaking the struggle to overcome the fear-driven ego and to quiet the mind so that the spirit, love and true understanding can begin to shine through. And not in many books does one find a description of the mid-brain pineal gland as both the seat of the mystical third eye and quite possibly the “Wi-Fi connection point to the unified field.” As the author notes, using a venerable British expression, “The penny drops when ancient wisdom slots perfectly into a modern scientific framework.”

Generally splendid reading and potentially life-changing for readers willing to go beyond the normal.

Pub Date: Nov. 25, 2013

ISBN: 978-1452584881

Page Count: 360

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Feb. 21, 2014

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Honest messages from one of America's best known women.

WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE

A compilation of advice from the Queen of All Media.

After writing a column for 14 years titled “What I Know For Sure” for O, The Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Winfrey brings together the highlights into one gift-ready collection. Grouped into themes like Joy, Resilience, Connection, Gratitude, Possibility, Awe, Clarity and Power, each short essay is the distilled thought of a woman who has taken the time to contemplate her life’s journey thus far. Whether she is discussing traveling across the country with her good friend, Gayle, the life she shares with her dogs or building a fire in the fireplace, Winfrey takes each moment and finds the good in it, takes pride in having lived it and embraces the message she’s received from that particular time. Through her actions and her words, she shows readers how she's turned potentially negative moments into life-enhancing experiences, how she's found bliss in simple pleasures like a perfectly ripe peach, and how she's overcome social anxiety to become part of a bigger community. She discusses the yo-yo dieting, exercise and calorie counting she endured for almost two decades as she tried to modify her physical body into something it was not meant to be, and how one day she decided she needed to be grateful for each and every body part: "This is the body you've been given—love what you've got." Since all of the sections are brief and many of the essays are only a couple paragraphs long—and many members of the target audience will have already read them in the magazine—they are best digested in short segments in order to absorb Winfrey's positive and joyful but repetitive message. The book also features a new introduction by the author.

Honest messages from one of America's best known women.

Pub Date: Sept. 2, 2014

ISBN: 978-1250054050

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Flatiron View Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2014

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A realistic, motivating conversation about weight loss for those who have tried everything else and failed.

THE JOY OF EATING

Part memoir and part pep talk, this debut book urges dieters to stop counting fat grams and learn to enjoy food.

When her mother died, Irwin was devastated. She was also mortified that old friends would see her at the funeral because she had “gained so much weight.” Trapped in a cycle of yo-yo dieting that had begun when she was in junior high, Irwin was a size 22 by the time she was in her 40s. Miserable, she constantly berated herself while agonizing over calories and eating prepackaged diet industry food. Then one day Irwin decided to stop dieting and love herself at any weight, eating without guilt or shame. A big believer in the “law of attraction,” where thoughts create reality, she began thinking positively about herself. Retraining her mind to view food as pleasurable nourishment, she started eating nutrient-dense items—including leafy green vegetables and fruits. And if she wanted a piece of cake—well, she just went ahead and devoured it. The pounds began coming off naturally, and as time passed, Irwin’s once overweight body became fit. This dramatic and familiar life story quickly turns into an upbeat motivational speech for stressed-out dieters, as Irwin divulges her no-frills secret for healthy weight loss—eat good food and feel great about it. While this common-sense approach isn’t new, diet-disgusted readers who don’t mind a curse word or two may be able to relate to Irwin’s friendly, plainspoken voice, as when she describes dysfunctional labels people often place on food: “How about this classic attitude, ‘Fuck it, I’ve been so bad this week I think I’ll just eat the rest of this box of cookies’?” Some of the author’s inspirational thoughts are memorable: she compares the negative voice in her head to a bully who shouldn’t be tolerated. Light on diet jargon and health-related facts (the author mentions that 68.5 percent of U.S. adults are overweight, but she doesn't cite sources), this thin, fast-paced work can be read in a couple of hours.

A realistic, motivating conversation about weight loss for those who have tried everything else and failed.    

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5043-6051-7

Page Count: 124

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: April 18, 2017

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