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INSPIRATION COFFEE & WISDOM TEA

DAILY DELIGHTS AT THE DIVINE COFFEEHOUSE

A lovingly assembled calendar of uplifting quotes and commentaries, perfect for reading on tough days.

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A collection offers inspirational quotes arranged from January to December.

In his work’s Introduction, Vu (Searching for God, the Precious Treasure, in My Daily Life, 2018, etc.) presents the familiar metaphor of the morning coffee to begin the day. The author then provides readers with a calendar of quotes designed to start them on the right mental note with “a quick spiritual boost.” Vu, a Roman Catholic priest, selects his quotes from a wide variety of sources irrespective of their spiritual provenance. The main purpose is to counteract what he describes as the menacing chaos of the modern world. Thus proverbs from many nations appear alongside scriptural passages and quotations from such figures as Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, and Gandhi. The author supplies these quotes, adds commentary of his own, and labels the results “Inspirational Coffee” or “Wisdom Tea,” depending on whether his aim is to give his readers the high energy of a morning mug of coffee or the nerves-soothing calm of an afternoon cup of tea, with the sections most often taking the form of a prayer. For example, Vu quotes the book of Proverbs (in a modern translation): “Getting wisdom is the most important thing you can do!” The author’s gloss follows: “Wisdom comes from past mistakes and life experiences that can give you valuable insights for the future.” Then he caps off this segment with Wisdom Tea: “Wisdom of God, help me to see the value of your special gift and try to acquire it over my lifetime.” While the stirring quotes are carefully curated, Vu’s commentaries can sometimes be obvious or even plodding. When he quotes William Gladstone’s famous line “Justice delayed is justice denied,” for instance, he follows up with: “When justice is delayed, it tells the world that something else is more important than itself.” But generally the dialogue he sets up with his own chosen quotations in this heartfelt book is gentle and humane. Many readers will no doubt find the effect of perusing page after page of such discourse comforting indeed.

A lovingly assembled calendar of uplifting quotes and commentaries, perfect for reading on tough days.

Pub Date: July 9, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4575-7043-8

Page Count: 214

Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing

Review Posted Online: Sept. 19, 2019

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THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

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 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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THE MYTH OF SISYPHUS

AND OTHER ESSAYS

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

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