An appealing, story-laden collection of “pearls” of Christian wisdom.

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PORTALS & PEARLS

DIVINE DOORWAYS TO DELIVER YOUR SOUL INTO NEW DIMENSIONS OF FREEDOM & GEMS OF WISDOM TO GUIDE YOU IN TURNING YOUR GRIT INTO GLORY

A debut Christian devotional prompts the faithful to re-evaluate their beliefs.

In her book, Stevens repeatedly insists to her Christian readers that their faith in God is supposed to uplift them, not fill them with anxiety. She assures them that God is a “good father,” not a “Godfather” who’s “just waiting to break” their kneecaps the minute they do something wrong. This and other fundamental misconceptions, the author contends, are mostly the product of poor religious instruction. They are the fallacies of “churchy people,” resulting in the guilt and misconstruing that so often combine to drive people away from their faith. She offers in her work some “portals & pearls” that can lead readers back to God’s promises and wisdom. And she writes from rough personal experience, derived from bitter periods in her past: “I had become my own body’s biochemist, concocting a chemical cocktail of death and destruction.” She breaks down her devotional lessons into “pearls,” moments of insight, and she illustrates them with anecdotal stories designed to bring her points home. For example, an old donkey named Earl is thrown down a well and covered in one spadeful after another of dirt but uses the soil to build steps to get back up into the light (“Slowly but surely, shake after shake, step after dirt step, old Earl ascended to the mouth of the pit until he eventually just stepped out and escaped the mean farmers!”). The stirring, colorful tales help to ground the volume’s more biblical explorations, which are often very thought-provoking on their own, particularly when Stevens refers to the Old Testament. Citing the Old Testament story about the burning bush, she writes: “This radiant reality of God’s presence aflame in the spirit of a believer was possibly foreshadowed in the story of God appearing to Moses in the burning bush.” Christians will find a great deal of such passionate, detailed faith talk in these pages, and the many lively accompanying tales should make the reading experience all the more enjoyable.

An appealing, story-laden collection of “pearls” of Christian wisdom.

Pub Date: July 25, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5127-9501-1

Page Count: 250

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Dec. 21, 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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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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