A successful and concise guide to overcoming suffering.

READ REVIEW

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

SLEEPERS

An extraordinary true tale of torment, retribution, and loyalty that's irresistibly readable in spite of its intrusively melodramatic prose. Starting out with calculated, movie-ready anecdotes about his boyhood gang, Carcaterra's memoir takes a hairpin turn into horror and then changes tack once more to relate grippingly what must be one of the most outrageous confidence schemes ever perpetrated. Growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen in the 1960s, former New York Daily News reporter Carcaterra (A Safe Place, 1993) had three close friends with whom he played stickball, bedeviled nuns, and ran errands for the neighborhood Mob boss. All this is recalled through a dripping mist of nostalgia; the streetcorner banter is as stilted and coy as a late Bowery Boys film. But a third of the way in, the story suddenly takes off: In 1967 the four friends seriously injured a man when they more or less unintentionally rolled a hot-dog cart down the steps of a subway entrance. The boys, aged 11 to 14, were packed off to an upstate New York reformatory so brutal it makes Sing Sing sound like Sunnybrook Farm. The guards continually raped and beat them, at one point tossing all of them into solitary confinement, where rats gnawed at their wounds and the menu consisted of oatmeal soaked in urine. Two of Carcaterra's friends were dehumanized by their year upstate, eventually becoming prominent gangsters. In 1980, they happened upon the former guard who had been their principal torturer and shot him dead. The book's stunning denouement concerns the successful plot devised by the author and his third friend, now a Manhattan assistant DA, to free the two killers and to exact revenge against the remaining ex-guards who had scarred their lives so irrevocably. Carcaterra has run a moral and emotional gauntlet, and the resulting book, despite its flaws, is disturbing and hard to forget. (Film rights to Propaganda; author tour)

Pub Date: July 10, 1995

ISBN: 0-345-39606-5

Page Count: 432

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1995

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Highly recommended—anyone at all interested in music will learn a lot from this book.

HOW MUSIC WORKS

From the former Talking Heads frontman, a supremely intelligent, superbly written dissection of music as an art form and way of life.

Drawing on a lifetime of music-making as an amateur, professional, performer, producer, band member and solo artist, Byrne (Bicycle Diaries, 2009) tackles the question implicit in his title from multiple angles: How does music work on the ear, brain and body? How do words relate to music in a song? How does live performance relate to recorded performance? What effect has technology had on music, and music on technology? Fans of the Talking Heads should find plenty to love about this book. Steering clear of the conflicts leading to the band’s breakup, Byrne walks through the history, album by album, to illustrate how his views about performance and recording changed with the onset of fame and (small) fortune. He devotes a chapter to the circumstances that made the gritty CBGB nightclub an ideal scene for adventurous artists like Patti Smith, the Ramones, Blondie and Tom Verlaine and Television. Always an intensely thoughtful experimenter, here he lets us in on the thinking behind the experiments. But this book is not just, or even primarily, a rock memoir. It’s also an exploration of the radical transformation—or surprising durability—of music from the beginning of the age of mechanical reproduction through the era of iTunes and MP3s. Byrne touches on all kinds of music from all ages and every part of the world.

Highly recommended—anyone at all interested in music will learn a lot from this book.

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-936365-53-1

Page Count: 352

Publisher: McSweeney’s

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2012

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more