An uneven religious memoir with some uplifting stories about the power of prayer.

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A DEED IN YOUR DAY

A retired schoolteacher reflects on the many answered prayers throughout her life.

Debut author Scribbler II grew up in a poor family in rural Arkansas. “Families like ours didn’t have insurance in those days and tried to care for their sick children at home,” she writes. She remembers the numerous times that she and her siblings would fall ill, and her father would pray by their bedsides: “It was the Creator, Jesus, who paid for my healing.” Scribbler II writes of many small moments throughout her life where prayer seemed to intervene to the benefit of her entire clan. A bridge that carried family members to safety in severe flooding, the strength to deal with dangerous snakes on their property, and shelter in the event of tornadoes: “God was our refuge in all these cases,” she writes. The presence of God continued for Scribbler II into adulthood as she felt her marriage falling apart. While struggling with divorce, she experienced a dream that revealed to her the name of the woman her husband had begun dating, giving her a reason to move to Dallas on her own and begin a new life as a schoolteacher. Despite many setbacks, she always relied on the counsel of her pastor and the strength of prayer to be comforted through finding places to live, continuing her work, and learning Spanish to maintain her outreach in new communities. While Scribbler II concludes her book with practical advice for how she approaches prayer and some of her favorite sermon topics that Christian readers may find helpful, many of her stories vary in their effectiveness. Even though we learn many facts about her life, the author never stays with one time period or event for too long, leaving her own reactions and personality vague to readers beyond an insistence that prayer can fix all situations. While some of her tales show the force of positive thinking and perseverance, such as her struggles with divorce, others, like her vague reference to a terrible breakfast, feel as if she is trying to find miracles in rather ordinary events.

An uneven religious memoir with some uplifting stories about the power of prayer.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5127-5478-0

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 3, 2017

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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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WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD

A LIFETIME OF RECORDINGS

Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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