A rambling and confusing attempt to reconstruct a past life.



Frazier’s (Battle of Beginnings: Let there be Light!, 2016, etc.) presents a memoir of a previous existence in ancient Egypt.

The author is a believer in the idea that one’s soul is reincarnated in a new body after death. Although he says that’s he’s lived before in several times and places, this memoir focuses specifically on his life during the 18th and 19th Egyptian dynasties. At this time, Frazier says, he was known as Amenhotep and was a member of the royal family—the half brother of Tutankhamen—and served as both a servant and lover to the pharaoh, Seti I. As the author describes it, he was close to his family, especially his sisters, and he recalls moments of anger, laughter, dancing, and even death. One of the more intriguing aspects of Frazier’s memoir is how he says that his relationships in his previous life manifest in the present. For example, he says that he believes that three of his Egyptian sisters are now reincarnated as his co-workers at Dollar General and that another is a frequent customer. Seti I’s wife, “Tuya-reincarnate,” now works at a grocery store, he writes. Even Seti I’s reincarnation shows up in one of Frazier’s classes, he says, although their romance does not reignite. He devotes pages to his past relationship with Seti I, including several explicit sex scenes; however, Amenhotep ultimately met his demise at Seti’s hands during a battle, he writes. Throughout this memoir, the author offers numerous, disjointed memories and stories but little in the way of historical context or fact despite his claim that he “underwent some super intense massive research.” The disorganized narrative meanders through the past and present, veering off on tangents involving R&B music and actresses Angelina Jolie and Angela Bassett, the latter of whom, Frazier writes, was Seti I’s mother in a past life. Misspellings, improper punctuation, awkward sentence structure, and incorrect grammar are rampant: “I still have a bad habit of losing something, I wouldn’t be surprise if Egyptologists finds anything that belonged to me, because I’m good for losing anything.(Chuckling).”

A rambling and confusing attempt to reconstruct a past life.

Pub Date: Aug. 21, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4910-9401-3

Page Count: 122

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 7, 2017

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

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  • Rolling Stone & Kirkus' Best Music Books of 2020


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. One of Kirkus and Rolling Stone’s Best Music Books of 2020.

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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