An intriguing but familiar series of “channeled” meditations on the true nature of reality.



In this debut spiritual book, a seeker gains wisdom from a celestial Lion during a vision quest.

“Are you ready to carry my legacy?” asks a magnificent, larger-than-life Lion to the narrator of  Shankari’s work, a book she refers to as “channeled” through her by the universe itself rather than actually written by the author. (It will be the judgment call of each reader as to how to categorize the volume.) In the fervid dream world that carries the narrative forward, the story begins with a man appearing to Shankari from a pure, primeval state in which humans live in complete harmony with the natural world. The man introduces Shankari to the Lion, who unfolds an entire worldview to the author in a series of discussions about life, faith, happiness, and a half-dozen other broad philosophical subjects that tend to crop up in spiritual/New Age texts of this kind. While Shankari is guided throughout by her own “wisdom,” which “constantly whispers my truth,” she receives from the Lion many lessons about the true nature of reality, realizing that the majestic being “was here to teach me to create a different reality than the one I was taught, than the one that was dictated to me.” The Lion’s teachings about this new reality will be very familiar to readers of modern spiritual works. “To understand the truth, one must be still,” the Lion tells the author at one point. “It is from stillness that answers and wisdom arise.” Also: “Life is an illusion.” In chapters smoothly interspersed with these and other earnest revelations, Shankari addresses readers directly, sometimes challenging their complacency (“Admit it, you don’t know what it is to live a life in truth”) and sometimes speaking in the kind of apothegms that fill the rest of this placid series opener: “If you cry that you have not felt love, consider that you have not allowed yourself to love yourself.” The Lion’s captivating thoughts about the true nature of existence will appeal to fans of books like Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance as will the story of a state of prelapsarian balance with nature.

An intriguing but familiar series of “channeled” meditations on the true nature of reality.

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-950282-41-8

Page Count: 292

Publisher: Bublish, Inc.

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2019

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Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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