An accessible and well-crafted introduction to the teachings of A Course in Miracles.

FROM NEVER MIND TO EVER MIND

A psychiatrist and psychotherapist begins to unpack a monumental spiritualist work in this series opener.

Helen Schucman’s A Course in Miracles was first published in 1976. The book attempted, in Rosenthal’s (From Plagues to Miracles, 2018) view, to “clarify the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth and to bring those teachings in line with their original meaning by cutting through centuries of distortion and misrepresentation.” The controversial and often difficult text has spawned many volumes of interpretation, to which Rosenthal submits this addition. “I hope to convey the Course’s core principles without relying too much on its specific language and terminology,” writes the author, “but rather to view it through the lenses of psychology, neurobiology, metaphor, and common-sense experience.” Rosenthal believes that people will not find happiness in the normal course of life; they must be guided to it through a deeper understanding of God and themselves. Using fablelike stories, personal anecdotes, and contemporary metaphors, the author attempts to communicate the major teachings of the Course (as he calls it) in a way that is helpful both to those familiar with the work and those who have not yet encountered it. These include Schucman’s idea of the two parts of the mind, which Rosenthal likens to computer-operating systems: the Ever-Mind (salvation) and the Never-Mind (the Ever-Mind’s truth-denying opposite). Rosenthal is a talented writer and elucidator, and his three decades of clinical experience as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist shine through his calming prose: “There is very little that medieval scholars and modern physicists agree upon, as you might expect. But there is one doctrine that both have endorsed: all things in this world of time and space must come to an end.” Frequently in these pages, he does not work directly from Schucman’s text, but rather describes her ideas on his own, which makes it easy for a novice to follow along. There is little talk of Jesus, and most of what Rosenthal discusses is applicable across religious (or secular) traditions. Even so, it’s difficult to imagine a general readership gravitating to this primer dedicated to a now-obscure New Thought text from the ’70s, no matter how pleasantly it is written.

An accessible and well-crafted introduction to the teachings of A Course in Miracles.

Pub Date: Jan. 21, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-72251-009-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: G&D Media

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2019

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better...

EVERYTHING IS F*CKED

A BOOK ABOUT HOPE

The popular blogger and author delivers an entertaining and thought-provoking third book about the importance of being hopeful in terrible times.

“We are a culture and a people in need of hope,” writes Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, 2016, etc.). With an appealing combination of gritty humor and straightforward prose, the author floats the idea of drawing strength and hope from a myriad of sources in order to tolerate the “incomprehensibility of your existence.” He broadens and illuminates his concepts through a series of hypothetical scenarios based in contemporary reality. At the dark heart of Manson’s guide is the “Uncomfortable Truth,” which reiterates our cosmic insignificance and the inevitability of death, whether we blindly ignore or blissfully embrace it. The author establishes this harsh sentiment early on, creating a firm foundation for examining the current crisis of hope, how we got here, and what it means on a larger scale. Manson’s referential text probes the heroism of Auschwitz infiltrator Witold Pilecki and the work of Isaac Newton, Nietzsche, Einstein, and Immanuel Kant, as the author explores the mechanics of how hope is created and maintained through self-control and community. Though Manson takes many serpentine intellectual detours, his dark-humored wit and blunt prose are both informative and engaging. He is at his most convincing in his discussions about the fallibility of religious beliefs, the modern world’s numerous shortcomings, deliberations over the “Feeling Brain” versus the “Thinking Brain,” and the importance of striking a happy medium between overindulging in and repressing emotions. Although we live in a “couch-potato-pundit era of tweetstorms and outrage porn,” writes Manson, hope springs eternal through the magic salves of self-awareness, rational thinking, and even pain, which is “at the heart of all emotion.”

Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better world alive.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288843-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2019

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