A scholarly yet intensely personal evaluation of Christian salvation.


Lenten Reflections


A scholarly treatise on Lent and the nature of Christian redemption.

Lent, stretching for the roughly six weeks from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday and commemorating the interval between the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and his resurrection from the dead, is the focal point of Lopes’ inspirational debut. But the book’s title is happily misleading. What Lopes offers here goes far deeper than “reflections”: he opens his book with a searching and quite scholarly history of the concept of sin in the Judeo-Christian tradition and of Lent itself, which has developed into a period of serious reflection and the voluntary chastisement of appetites and excesses. Lopes considers these topics across a broad range of ancient cultures and mythologies and only gradually shifts his emphasis from scholarship to salvation. His examination of the meaning and mechanics of Christian salvation comes to dominate the second half of the book (ushered in with a calamitous typo of “The Dessert” for “The Desert”), in which Lopes talks about the deeper implications of the Lenten season and each individual’s process toward divine reconciliation—what he paints as a far more meaningful process than the typical ways in which Lent is observed. “To travel the road in front of us,” Lopes says, “is to do more than give up chocolate for Lent or to attend daily Mass, even though the latter is certainly appropriate.” Instead, he concentrates on the largest possible questions: Where am I? What am I? Who am I? Why am I? Throughout these latter sections he stresses the Lenten spirit of self-accountability, reminding readers that “Your journey to knowing who you are is ongoing. You are not today the person you will be tomorrow.” Only when you take responsibility for your own sins, Lopes insists, will you begin your journey. His book concludes with a scene-by-scene breakdown of the salvation themes of the New Testament that’s both erudite and vividly dramatic.

A scholarly yet intensely personal evaluation of Christian salvation.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2014

ISBN: 978-1490851532

Page Count: 324

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: May 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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


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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.


An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet