A rich, entertaining compendium of thoughts on the Amish way of life.

MORE THAN HAPPY

THE WISDOM OF AMISH PARENTING

An analysis of family life in Amish communities.

After being approached by her agent to write a romance novel set in Amish country, Miller (The Measure of Katie Calloway, 2011, etc.) set out to learn as much as she could about this private community of industrious people. She was particularly drawn to the children, who appeared well-fed, well-behaved, polite and happy. Over a period of years, she became friends with many Amish families and even managed to acquire an invitation to a young couple’s wedding, a rare experience for an “Englisch” person. Beyond their deep faith in God and the religious rules that govern their lives, Miller discovered many things in the Amish experience that appear lacking in the “Englisch” community. The Amish surround themselves with family, so grandparents and grandchildren intermingle on a daily basis. The elderly are not placed in nursing homes but are cared for by their sons and daughters and neighbors. Divorce is almost unheard of, which creates a stable environment for children, and children are taught from the toddler stage that everyone has chores to do to assist in daily life. They don’t drive, get an education beyond the eighth grade or own computers, but some use modern cellphones and computers as tools at work. Not all of life is work-related, as children play together with simple toys, and adolescents intermingle, but all learn from their older siblings and parents to take pride in cooking, gardening, farming and animal husbandry, and they are encouraged to work on projects that might bring them a little spending money. In this informal examination, Miller, with the assistance of Amish community member Stutzman (Hiking Through, 2012), not only provides a kaleidoscope of insight into the daily structure of Amish parenting, but she compares and contrasts it with “Englisch” parenting and offers ways to incorporate Amish methods into one’s own life.

A rich, entertaining compendium of thoughts on the Amish way of life.

Pub Date: Feb. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4767-5340-9

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Howard Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Nov. 11, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2014

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An erudite and artful, though frustratingly restrained, look at Old Testament stories.

THE BOOK OF GENESIS ILLUSTRATED

The Book of Genesis as imagined by a veteran voice of underground comics.

R. Crumb’s pass at the opening chapters of the Bible isn’t nearly the act of heresy the comic artist’s reputation might suggest. In fact, the creator of Fritz the Cat and Mr. Natural is fastidiously respectful. Crumb took pains to preserve every word of Genesis—drawing from numerous source texts, but mainly Robert Alter’s translation, The Five Books of Moses (2004)—and he clearly did his homework on the clothing, shelter and landscapes that surrounded Noah, Abraham and Isaac. This dedication to faithful representation makes the book, as Crumb writes in his introduction, a “straight illustration job, with no intention to ridicule or make visual jokes.” But his efforts are in their own way irreverent, and Crumb feels no particular need to deify even the most divine characters. God Himself is not much taller than Adam and Eve, and instead of omnisciently imparting orders and judgment He stands beside them in Eden, speaking to them directly. Jacob wrestles not with an angel, as is so often depicted in paintings, but with a man who looks not much different from himself. The women are uniformly Crumbian, voluptuous Earth goddesses who are both sexualized and strong-willed. (The endnotes offer a close study of the kinds of power women wielded in Genesis.) The downside of fitting all the text in is that many pages are packed tight with small panels, and too rarely—as with the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah—does Crumb expand his lens and treat signature events dramatically. Even the Flood is fairly restrained, though the exodus of the animals from the Ark is beautifully detailed. The author’s respect for Genesis is admirable, but it may leave readers wishing he had taken a few more chances with his interpretation, as when he draws the serpent in the Garden of Eden as a provocative half-man/half-lizard. On the whole, though, the book is largely a tribute to Crumb’s immense talents as a draftsman and stubborn adherence to the script.

An erudite and artful, though frustratingly restrained, look at Old Testament stories.

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-393-06102-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Norton

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2009

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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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