A successful and concise guide to overcoming suffering.

HOW TO BE

A GUIDE TO SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT

A spiritual development manual uses Eastern philosophy and personal experiences to present ideas about how to live a life of consciousness and fulfillment.

In brief essays on topics ranging from death, needs, intentions, and happiness to laziness, ambitions, forgiveness, and meaninglessness, Sarv (Learn to Say Good-Bye, 2016) explores a plethora of concepts related to life and communication. The purpose of the book is to redirect readers’ thoughts so that they can escape suffering and inconvenience. The author begins by describing consciousness: “We cannot define ourselves, our mind or our consciousness,” he asserts. “Your consciousness is not you. Consciousness is an environment in which the mind can appear.” From the beginning, Sarv’s theory of consciousness and the self is described in simple, direct language. The volume explores the many roots and causes of suffering, taking them apart and questioning whether individuals really need to experience life in the stressful, anxiety-ridden way that many do. The author strongly advises readers to closely observe their moods and the way they may continually revolve around particularly unhelpful ideas. This technique, Sarv suggests, can release unnecessary worries that have become a habit. Readers may have trouble with the blunt nature of the guide. The author himself warns readers that the manual may offend them by suggesting that individuals cause their own suffering. He explains that it is the perceived self—the image of the self—that actually suffers by believing that it has been mistreated, harmed, wronged, or disrespected. But those looking for a straightforward and practical perspective on suffering should appreciate the book’s sometimes-undiplomatic but often insightful passages dealing with self-identity, the false nature of the ego, and the misconception that individuals are separate from their surroundings. Overall, the volume is a refreshingly honest and unsentimental approach to spiritual development through practicing detachment and calming the mind.

A successful and concise guide to overcoming suffering.

Pub Date: May 8, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-985144-78-1

Page Count: 174

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Oct. 24, 2018

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IN MY PLACE

From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

A LITTLE HISTORY OF POETRY

A light-speed tour of (mostly) Western poetry, from the 4,000-year-old Gilgamesh to the work of Australian poet Les Murray, who died in 2019.

In the latest entry in the publisher’s Little Histories series, Carey, an emeritus professor at Oxford whose books include What Good Are the Arts? and The Unexpected Professor: An Oxford Life in Books, offers a quick definition of poetry—“relates to language as music relates to noise. It is language made special”—before diving in to poetry’s vast history. In most chapters, the author deals with only a few writers, but as the narrative progresses, he finds himself forced to deal with far more than a handful. In his chapter on 20th-century political poets, for example, he talks about 14 writers in seven pages. Carey displays a determination to inform us about who the best poets were—and what their best poems were. The word “greatest” appears continually; Chaucer was “the greatest medieval English poet,” and Langston Hughes was “the greatest male poet” of the Harlem Renaissance. For readers who need a refresher—or suggestions for the nightstand—Carey provides the best-known names and the most celebrated poems, including Paradise Lost (about which the author has written extensively), “Kubla Khan,” “Ozymandias,” “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” Wordsworth and Coleridge’s Lyrical Ballads, which “changed the course of English poetry.” Carey explains some poetic technique (Hopkins’ “sprung rhythm”) and pauses occasionally to provide autobiographical tidbits—e.g., John Masefield, who wrote the famous “Sea Fever,” “hated the sea.” We learn, as well, about the sexuality of some poets (Auden was bisexual), and, especially later on, Carey discusses the demons that drove some of them, Robert Lowell and Sylvia Plath among them. Refreshingly, he includes many women in the volume—all the way back to Sappho—and has especially kind words for Marianne Moore and Elizabeth Bishop, who share a chapter.

Necessarily swift and adumbrative as well as inclusive, focused, and graceful.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-300-23222-6

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Yale Univ.

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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