A heartfelt but idiosyncratic journal that examines one woman’s Christian life.



A daily chronicle offers a modern Christian’s personal reflections.

Ross begins her book consisting of journal entries with January 2011 and extends it forward, sometimes day by day, occasionally with gaps of weeks, always intertwining personal details from her life and ruminations about her faith. The entry for Jan. 4, 2012, for instance, mentions that she bought a pair of jeans at Macy’s, had a latte at Starbucks, and picked out some birthday cards, trying to find some with Scripture quotes. On April 18 of the previous year, she notes that it’s Palm Sunday: “We are going to church the two of us, and God is good,” she writes. “The sun is shining and there is a sweet peace in our hearts.” Some of these entries are quotidian—the kinds of daily notes that nobody can really expect will captivate readers who don’t know the author personally. For Jan. 6, 2012, for example, the entry reads: “No lemon in chai green tea please. I had a panic attack so making a note of this. I think that the lemon was too fresh and tart.” The uncredited black-and-white photographs included throughout go a long way toward putting human faces on these personal asides. But the reason some of the observations are included is a bit baffling; they are the kind of private diary entries that are private for a reason. Fortunately, other items contain more general reflections on the author’s strong faith, and these sincere declarations will hold more interest for her obvious target audience of fellow Christians. On March 18, 2013, for instance, she writes: “Grace others as He himself has graced you. God is as intentional about what he does not let us know, as he is about what he reveals to us.”

A heartfelt but idiosyncratic journal that examines one woman’s Christian life.

Pub Date: April 26, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-973659-53-2

Page Count: 68

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: June 1, 2020

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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 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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A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.


Sedaris remains stubbornly irreverent even in the face of pandemic lockdowns and social upheaval.

In his previous collection of original essays, Calypso (2018), the author was unusually downbeat, fixated on aging and the deaths of his mother and sister. There’s bad news in this book, too—most notably, the death of his problematic and seemingly indestructible father at 96—but Sedaris generally carries himself more lightly. On a trip to a gun range, he’s puzzled by boxer shorts with a holster feature, which he wishes were called “gunderpants.” He plays along with nursing-home staffers who, hearing a funnyman named David is on the premises, think he’s Dave Chappelle. He’s bemused by his sister Amy’s landing a new apartment to escape her territorial pet rabbit. On tour, he collects sheaves of off-color jokes and tales of sexual self-gratification gone wrong. His relationship with his partner, Hugh, remains contentious, but it’s mellowing. (“After thirty years, sleeping is the new having sex.”) Even more serious stuff rolls off him. Of Covid-19, he writes that “more than eight hundred thousand people have died to date, and I didn’t get to choose a one of them.” The author’s support of Black Lives Matter is tempered by his interest in the earnest conscientiousness of organizers ensuring everyone is fed and hydrated. (He refers to one such person as a “snacktivist.”) Such impolitic material, though, puts serious essays in sharper, more powerful relief. He recalls fending off the flirtations of a 12-year-old boy in France, frustrated by the language barrier and other factors that kept him from supporting a young gay man. His father’s death unlocks a crushing piece about dad’s inappropriate, sexualizing treatment of his children. For years—chronicled in many books—Sedaris labored to elude his father’s criticism. Even in death, though, it proves hard to escape or laugh off.

A sweet-and-sour set of pieces on loss, absurdity, and places they intersect.

Pub Date: May 31, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-316-39245-7

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 11, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2022

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