A detailed secular morality that should have even the most traditionally religious readers thinking deeply about their...

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REALIZING HEAVEN

RATIONAL SPIRITUALITY FOR OUR TIMES

A debut book examines the urges behind spiritual yearning—and their modern interpretations.

In his ambitious work, Hoolhorst believes he has identified many of the deepest existential questions that have preoccupied humanity forever—and that he’s discovered rational answers to many of them. These answers are based in principles of truth and love rather than rooted in dogma and mysticism. He acknowledges at the outset that humans have an almost instinctive yearning for answers to these great imponderables, and his book seems designed to circumvent the normal response: “Those who fail to deal rationally with these yearnings become confused,” he writes, “and most of them are subsequently drawn towards religion and other social, political and economic structures characterized by the gang mentality of those involved in them.” The account that follows is sometimes-disjointed and distracting, although Hoolhorst is an unfailingly energetic and readable author. Philosophical ruminations brush up against textual analysis and bits of Hoolhorst’s intriguing autobiography, but sure-footed readers should find enormous amounts of captivating material here. “It is one thing for a person to have been indoctrinated into a religion,” the author writes, for instance, during an intensely effective examination of some of the inconsistencies to be found in the New Testament. “It is another thing altogether if that person never checks the claims that they were indoctrinated with.” Ultimately, Hoolhorst develops a moral and even spiritual epistemology, a theory of enlightenment that calls for readers to reject all ideas of deities—the props of authoritarian thinking—and instead gain a deeply personal and individual fulfillment along the moral lines he lays out. His goal is to help readers find their way to the truth, and even if his pronouncements will likely strike some as borrowing far too many ideological assumptions from the very schemas he’s rejecting, the end result is an extended and extremely thought-provoking, multipart challenge to all entrenched moral traditions.

A detailed secular morality that should have even the most traditionally religious readers thinking deeply about their assumptions.

Pub Date: Feb. 26, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-925516-70-8

Page Count: -

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2018

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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