A helpful holistic guide to improving health via a stronger connection to one’s own consciousness.

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THE SEVEN TOOLS OF HEALING

A physician offers tools to enhance readers’ lives in this debut motivational work.

Modern medicine, for all its abilities, can treat diseases but not the life conditions that cause those illnesses. So says Hall in the introduction to this nonfiction book on improving one’s life and health: “The next level” in medicine “works to change what brought that problem or issue into your life in the first place. The current level treats symptoms; the next level treats causes. When you do both, you have a complete system of healing that you can apply to any and all problems you are facing.” The author provides specific strategies for turning around not only the tangibles in life, but the intangibles as well. He terms these strategies the “seven tools,” and he has fashioned them through years of clinical experience with patients who required more than just the traditional treatment of their medical issues. After an exploration of the concepts of “Consciousness” and “Healing,” Hall breaks down the seven tools, explaining their relationships to human wellness and how patients can make use of them in their daily lives. For example, the third tool is “Acceptance” (which doesn’t mean settling for the condition that you are in so much as being aware of your present circumstances): “Practice becoming aware of the truth all around you and within you. Use your powers of observation and discernment for this. Watch the information that comes to you through your five senses. Watch the thoughts that flow through your mind.” This holistic approach to health is hardly new, and the author is not the first person to write a book about it. Indeed, most of what is here can be found in other sources. But Hall does approach his subject more deliberatively and thoughtfully than most, and there are a number of idiosyncratic flourishes here that are quite enjoyable. (He includes, for example, an entire appendix on metaphors, including beneficial ones for thinking about one’s inner healer.) Those seeking an accessible philosophical companion to their usual medical regimens should find Hall’s volume useful.

A helpful holistic guide to improving health via a stronger connection to one’s own consciousness.

Pub Date: March 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5043-9760-5

Page Count: 324

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: March 19, 2020

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Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

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UNTAMED

More life reflections from the bestselling author on themes of societal captivity and the catharsis of personal freedom.

In her third book, Doyle (Love Warrior, 2016, etc.) begins with a life-changing event. “Four years ago,” she writes, “married to the father of my three children, I fell in love with a woman.” That woman, Abby Wambach, would become her wife. Emblematically arranged into three sections—“Caged,” “Keys,” “Freedom”—the narrative offers, among other elements, vignettes about the soulful author’s girlhood, when she was bulimic and felt like a zoo animal, a “caged girl made for wide-open skies.” She followed the path that seemed right and appropriate based on her Catholic upbringing and adolescent conditioning. After a downward spiral into “drinking, drugging, and purging,” Doyle found sobriety and the authentic self she’d been suppressing. Still, there was trouble: Straining an already troubled marriage was her husband’s infidelity, which eventually led to life-altering choices and the discovery of a love she’d never experienced before. Throughout the book, Doyle remains open and candid, whether she’s admitting to rigging a high school homecoming court election or denouncing the doting perfectionism of “cream cheese parenting,” which is about “giving your children the best of everything.” The author’s fears and concerns are often mirrored by real-world issues: gender roles and bias, white privilege, racism, and religion-fueled homophobia and hypocrisy. Some stories merely skim the surface of larger issues, but Doyle revisits them in later sections and digs deeper, using friends and familial references to personify their impact on her life, both past and present. Shorter pieces, some only a page in length, manage to effectively translate an emotional gut punch, as when Doyle’s therapist called her blooming extramarital lesbian love a “dangerous distraction.” Ultimately, the narrative is an in-depth look at a courageous woman eager to share the wealth of her experiences by embracing vulnerability and reclaiming her inner strength and resiliency.

Doyle offers another lucid, inspiring chronicle of female empowerment and the rewards of self-awareness and renewal.

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-0125-8

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

HOW TO BE AN ARTIST

A noted critic advises us to dance to the music of art.

Senior art critic at New York Magazine and winner of the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Criticism, Saltz (Seeing Out Louder, 2009, etc.) became a writer only after a decadeslong battle with “demons who preached defeat.” Hoping to spare others the struggle that he experienced, he offers ebullient, practical, and wise counsel to those who wonder, “How can I be an artist?” and who “take that leap of faith to rise above the cacophony of external messages and internal fears.” In a slim volume profusely illustrated with works by a wide range of artists, Saltz encourages readers to think, work, and see like an artist. He urges would-be artists to hone their power of perception: “Looking hard isn’t just about looking long; it’s about allowing yourself to be rapt.” Looking hard yields rich sources of visual interest and also illuminates “the mysteries of your taste and eye.” The author urges artists to work consistently and early, “within the first two hours of the day,” before “the pesky demons of daily life” exert their negative influence. Thoughtful exercises underscore his assertions. To get readers thinking about genre and convention, for example, Saltz presents illustrations of nudes by artists including Goya, Matisse, Florine Stettheimer, and Manet. “Forget the subject matter,” he writes, “what is each of these paintings actually saying?” One exercise instructs readers to make a simple drawing and then remake it in an entirely different style: Egyptian, Chinese ink-drawing, cave painting, and the styles of other artists, like Keith Haring and Georgia O’Keeffe. Freely experiment with “different sizes, tools, materials, subjects, anything,” he writes. “Don’t resist something if you’re afraid it’s taking you far afield of your usual direction. That’s the wild animal in you, feeding.” Although much of his advice is pertinent to amateur artists, Saltz also rings in on how to navigate the art world, compose an artist’s statement, deal with rejection, find a community of artists, and beat back demons. Above all, he advises, “Work, Work, Work.”

A succinct, passionate guide to fostering creativity.

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-08646-9

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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