Awkward poems, but sound biblical summaries.


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 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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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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