PORTRAIT OF MARY

Children's author Grimes (From a Child's Heart, 1993, etc.) does an adult turn with this mild historical fiction about the mother of Jesus. Largely narrated in the first person, the novel tells the familiar story of Mary in a simple, pious way that is sure to please fundamentalist believers. Coming of age in the backwater of Galilee, ruled by the evil and tyrannical puppet-king Herod, Mary is attracted to the carpenter, Joseph, by his muscular good looks and his love of God. She is betrothed to him when she is visited by the Archangel Gabriel, who announces that she has conceived a child by the spirit of God. She envisions opprobrium and rejection as a result of this ``illegitimate'' pregnancy, but Joseph stands by her and vows to keep the matter private between them. Forced to flee to Egypt to avoid the mass infanticide ordered by Herod, they return only after the monarch's death. Jesus, the son she bears, impresses all those around him, and Mary remembers the promise of Gabriel and the old prophecies, but she still doesn't fully understand. Finally, Jesus embarks on a ministry of which she is no real part. She sees him only occasionally and is confused when he spurns her. She watches helplessly as he is arrested and executed. When he is raised from the dead, in fulfillment of the prophecies, Mary, like Doubting Thomas, refuses to believe it until she has seen it with her own eyes—after which she emerges believing and exultant. Passages from the Gospels punctuate the text and serve to give it a homogenized story line culled from disparate parts of the biblical tradition. Attempts to add resonance to the bare-bones account by portraying Mary's inner thoughts are only sometimes successful. Boy meets girl. Girl gives birth to Messiah. Messiah dies. Messiah lives. Enough said.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-15-173199-3

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1994

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

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

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

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REFLECTIONS ON THE PSALMS

Internationally renowned because of his earlier books, among them tape Letters, Surprised by Joy, Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis making religion provoking, memorable and delightful is still more latest Reflections on the Psalms. Though he protests that he writes learned about things in which he is unlearned himself, the reader is likely thank God for his wise ignorance. Here especially he throws a clear lightly or not, on many of the difficult psalms, such as those which abound with and cursing, and a self-centeredness which seems to assume' that God must be side of the psalmist. These things, which make some psalm singers pre not there, have a right and proper place, as Mr. Lewis shows us. They of Psalms more precious still. Many readers owe it to themselves to read flections if only to learn this hard but simple lesson. Urge everyone to book.

Pub Date: June 15, 1958

ISBN: 015676248X

Page Count: 166

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1958

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