A passionate sermon on the pervasiveness of love in Christian teaching and its overwhelming importance in Christian life.


Let Your Light So Shine


A short manual about the theory and practice of Christian love.

Three things are eternal in the Christian world, writes St. Paul in 1 Corinthians: faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. Love similarly occupies a central position in Fields’ nonfiction debut, which takes as its main premise the equation of the Christian God with an all-knowing, all-embracing, all-forgiving love. The book is both a verse-guided look at the blueprint for Christian life (the ways in which the Bible shows its readers “the ways God wants you to live”) and a discourse on the pervasive place of love in the Christian faith. The author urges the faithful to love every day, and to learn the ways of love from God: “Ask him to teach you how to love,” Fields writes. “Study love everyday until you see a breakthrough in your character.” That last detail is crucial in Fields’ view of Christians’ duty: they must reshape their natures, the author says, in order to school themselves in the ways of love, and they must teach those ways to their children. Indeed, one segment of Fields’ study addresses children and teenagers directly, assuring them that they aren’t too young to start devoting their lives to Jesus and warning them of many things (including gossip, slander, and “bad language”) that aren’t pleasing to God. The book effectively echoes one of the fundamental urgings of Jesus Christ by reminding its readers that their love isn’t just for loved ones: they must love their enemies, as well, she says, with the ultimate goal of bringing them to a love of Christ. In this way, Fields hits a proselytizing note throughout the book, portraying love not just as a way of life, but also as a tool of conversion. “Love never fails,” the author assures her Christian readers in plain, direct language throughout the book—and that same audience will find plenty of things to discuss in its pages.

A passionate sermon on the pervasiveness of love in Christian teaching and its overwhelming importance in Christian life.

Pub Date: May 6, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-4497-1631-8

Page Count: 66

Publisher: Westbow Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 4, 2016

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.


The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.


A teacher and scholar of Buddhism offers a formally varied account of the available rewards of solitude.

“As Mother Ayahuasca takes me in her arms, I realize that last night I vomited up my attachment to Buddhism. In passing out, I died. In coming to, I was, so to speak, reborn. I no longer have to fight these battles, I repeat to myself. I am no longer a combatant in the dharma wars. It feels as if the course of my life has shifted onto another vector, like a train shunted off its familiar track onto a new trajectory.” Readers of Batchelor’s previous books (Secular Buddhism: Imagining the Dharma in an Uncertain World, 2017, etc.) will recognize in this passage the culmination of his decadeslong shift away from the religious commitments of Buddhism toward an ecumenical and homegrown philosophy of life. Writing in a variety of modes—memoir, history, collage, essay, biography, and meditation instruction—the author doesn’t argue for his approach to solitude as much as offer it for contemplation. Essentially, Batchelor implies that if you read what Buddha said here and what Montaigne said there, and if you consider something the author has noticed, and if you reflect on your own experience, you have the possibility to improve the quality of your life. For introspective readers, it’s easy to hear in this approach a direct response to Pascal’s claim that “all of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone.” Batchelor wants to relieve us of this inability by offering his example of how to do just that. “Solitude is an art. Mental training is needed to refine and stabilize it,” he writes. “When you practice solitude, you dedicate yourself to the care of the soul.” Whatever a soul is, the author goes a long way toward soothing it.

A very welcome instance of philosophy that can help readers live a good life.

Pub Date: Feb. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-25093-0

Page Count: 200

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Nov. 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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