A warm blend of memoir, poetry, and Christian spirituality for dog owners.

Retired English professor Miller converses with God while walking her pet in this prayer journal.

After the author adopted a beagle from an animal shelter, she started taking progressively longer walks with him. The four walks per day with Sam-Elliot (as she called him) provided her with opportunities for meditation that she’d never experienced before; she appreciated the beauty of nature, thought about her day, and asked God for guidance. In this work, she shares her insights with readers: “As all of us, you included, walk together, I invite you to join me and others to read sriptures, meditate, pray, reflect, and act on your faith.” This book is not a daily or weekly prayer journal, but rather a free-wheeling collection of short essays about various pets, Bible passages, and poems, with occasional spaces for readers to complete prompts or exercises related to prayer: “Think of activities or occasions that bring you special joy…..What about them brings you joy? Is God present at these events? Do you thank God for these blessings in your life?” In chapters organized around various stages of a dog walk (“Out the Door,” “Down the Alley,” and “Heading Home,” among others), Miller’s prose is soothing and encouraging. Her poetry, however, assumes a more formal rhythm and diction: “In God’s lush garden we are plants, / Free to grow and bloom. / We savor love that our Lord grants, / Spread blossom’s sweet perfume.” The hodgepodge approach means that not every item will appeal to everyone, although Christian readers who particularly enjoy dogs and poetry, of course, will most appreciate the whole package. Miller’s warm personality effectively knits the various pieces together, and it makes for a reading experience that’s both cheerful and seriously religious.

A warm blend of memoir, poetry, and Christian spirituality for dog owners.

Pub Date: May 21, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-973628-53-8

Page Count: 170

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 3, 2018



This a book of earlier, philosophical essays concerned with the essential "absurdity" of life and the concept that- to overcome the strong tendency to suicide in every thoughtful man-one must accept life on its own terms with its values of revolt, liberty and passion. A dreary thesis- derived from and distorting the beliefs of the founders of existentialism, Jaspers, Heldegger and Kierkegaard, etc., the point of view seems peculiarly outmoded. It is based on the experience of war and the resistance, liberally laced with Andre Gide's excessive intellectualism. The younger existentialists such as Sartre and Camus, with their gift for the terse novel or intense drama, seem to have omitted from their philosophy all the deep religiosity which permeates the work of the great existentialist thinkers. This contributes to a basic lack of vitality in themselves, in these essays, and ten years after the war Camus seems unaware that the life force has healed old wounds... Largely for avant garde aesthetes and his special coterie.

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 1955

ISBN: 0679733736

Page Count: 228

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1955


A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

A teacher and scholar of Buddhism offers a formally varied account of the available rewards of solitude.

“As Mother Ayahuasca takes me in her arms, I realize that last night I vomited up my attachment to Buddhism. In passing out, I died. In coming to, I was, so to speak, reborn. I no longer have to fight these battles, I repeat to myself. I am no longer a combatant in the dharma wars. It feels as if the course of my life has shifted onto another vector, like a train shunted off its familiar track onto a new trajectory.” Readers of Batchelor’s previous books (Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World, 2017, etc.) will recognize in this passage the culmination of his decadeslong shift away from the religious commitments of Buddhism toward an ecumenical and homegrown philosophy of life. Writing in a variety of modes—memoir, history, collage, essay, biography, and meditation instruction—the author doesn’t argue for his approach to solitude as much as offer it for contemplation. Essentially, Batchelor implies that if you read what Buddha said here and what Montaigne said there, and if you consider something the author has noticed, and if you reflect on your own experience, you have the possibility to improve the quality of your life. For introspective readers, it’s easy to hear in this approach a direct response to Pascal’s claim that “all of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Batchelor wants to relieve us of this inability by offering his example of how to do just that. “Solitude is an art. Mental training is needed to refine and stabilize it,” he writes. “When you practice solitude, you dedicate yourself to the care of the soul.” Whatever a soul is, the author goes a long way toward soothing it.

A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-25093-0

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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