Awkward poems, but sound biblical summaries.

READ REVIEW

MY AMAZING JOURNEY THROUGH THE BIBLE

Weiglein adapts the Bible into verse in this debut collection.

The author’s journey through Scripture, as she describes in a brief foreword, is not that of a typical reader. As she made her way through the Good Book, she says, she noted highlights of each chapter and summarized them in brief poems. This volume, the first in a planned series, represents her poetic rendering of the Pentateuch, the Historical Books, and the Wisdom Books. These feature many of the Bible’s most famous stories, including those of Adam and Eve (“God formed Adam from the dust of the ground. / Then He planted a garden all around”); Noah’s ark (“Noah was told to build a boat / and make sure that it would float”); the Exodus (“God showed the strength of His mighty hand. / The Red Sea parted and there was land”); David and Goliath (“David’s courage, faith, and skills / helped him the giant to kill”); and Job (“For Job things got really bad / He lost everything he had”). Each chapter of each book gets its own brief poem, generally four to eight lines in length. Weiglein generally writes using rhyming couplets, giving the poems an unmistakable nursery rhyme quality, but it’s one that lends itself well to the ancient stories. Unfortunately, she largely ignores meter, so each of the two lines in a couplet can have anywhere from five to 12 syllables. This keeps the reader from ever finding a consistent rhythm, which would have made the reading experience much more enjoyable—particularly during the drier books, such as Leviticus: “We have not used sex God’s way. / It has been degraded in our day. / Washing was the act of purification / that kept the act from degradation.” Weiglein writes that she hopes this book will provide a jumping-off point for readers who might be unfamiliar with Scripture, and it’s true that her work is much less intimidating than the Bible itself. By breaking each chapter into a rhyming, bite-sized unit, this book will allow readers to quickly understand and even memorize the main points of the stories. Although many other summaries of Scripture are available, this is perhaps one of the more fun offerings.

Awkward poems, but sound biblical summaries.

Pub Date: April 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-973625-97-1

Page Count: 300

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2018

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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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A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

STILLNESS IS THE KEY

An exploration of the importance of clarity through calmness in an increasingly fast-paced world.

Austin-based speaker and strategist Holiday (Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, 2018, etc.) believes in downshifting one’s life and activities in order to fully grasp the wonder of stillness. He bolsters this theory with a wide array of perspectives—some based on ancient wisdom (one of the author’s specialties), others more modern—all with the intent to direct readers toward the essential importance of stillness and its “attainable path to enlightenment and excellence, greatness and happiness, performance as well as presence.” Readers will be encouraged by Holiday’s insistence that his methods are within anyone’s grasp. He acknowledges that this rare and coveted calm is already inside each of us, but it’s been worn down by the hustle of busy lives and distractions. Recognizing that this goal requires immense personal discipline, the author draws on the representational histories of John F. Kennedy, Buddha, Tiger Woods, Fred Rogers, Leonardo da Vinci, and many other creative thinkers and scholarly, scientific texts. These examples demonstrate how others have evolved past the noise of modern life and into the solitude of productive thought and cleansing tranquility. Holiday splits his accessible, empowering, and sporadically meandering narrative into a three-part “timeless trinity of mind, body, soul—the head, the heart, the human body.” He juxtaposes Stoic philosopher Seneca’s internal reflection and wisdom against Donald Trump’s egocentric existence, with much of his time spent “in his bathrobe, ranting about the news.” Holiday stresses that while contemporary life is filled with a dizzying variety of “competing priorities and beliefs,” the frenzy can be quelled and serenity maintained through a deliberative calming of the mind and body. The author shows how “stillness is what aims the arrow,” fostering focus, internal harmony, and the kind of holistic self-examination necessary for optimal contentment and mind-body centeredness. Throughout the narrative, he promotes that concept mindfully and convincingly.

A timely, vividly realized reminder to slow down and harness the restorative wonders of serenity.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-53858-5

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Portfolio

Review Posted Online: July 21, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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