A useful Christian work for readers seeking spiritual growth and self-help.

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To Forgive God!

Pastor and teacher Gasiorowski ponders the path to spiritual forgiveness after a tragedy in this short, debut religious tract.

The author had been married to his wife, Anna, for 16 years when she died in an automobile accident in Poland in 2003. Afterward, he couldn’t remember the events of that day, due to his own injuries, which only added to his emotional pain and spiritual confusion. He had to raise their two children, Joanne and Lucas, by himself while also crippled by grief. Even before the accident, the family had already struggled through the loss of twin babies, and the author dealt with a severe hepatitis-C infection, thyroid cancer, and surgery. His religious belief was severely tested, and he railed against God: “please leave me and my family alone!...No, I shall never forgive You this.” This crisis of faith led him to author this short tract, which charts his personal struggle to forgive God through his own version of the classic Kübler-Ross model of the seven stages of grief. For the author, the crisis largely manifested as a phase of running away from God, during which he also confronted the psychological sources of his pain. The process took years, and although his pain was not obviated, he reconciled with his faith to a point of spiritual peace. Throughout the text, Gasiorowski supplements his own observations with biblical homilies and examples. Along the way, the author offers some insight into the grieving process and, specifically, the Bible’s exhortations relating to it. Although the narrative gets off to a rocky start by confusingly switching perspectives between the author and his children, it eventually falls into a more predictable pattern. It’s not as polished in style and scholarship as similar writings by C.S. Lewis, for example, but there will surely be value in the work to readers who have a deeply spiritual or Christian viewpoint. The shorter length definitely lends itself to book- or study-group use, and it may spark lively discussion. An introduction by the Rev. Dr. Carson Pue, who also lost his wife, begins the book. 

A useful Christian work for readers seeking spiritual growth and self-help.

Pub Date: May 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5127-4059-2

Page Count: 74

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Nov. 3, 2016

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

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

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

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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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