Next book



From the Wake Up to the Consciousness of Self-Love series , Vol. 1

An uneven self-help book that still offers a solid starting point for those trying to discover why romantic happiness eludes...

Meditations on the true nature of love.

We’re all looking for love in all the wrong places, according to Chen (Door to Inner Voice, 2015). In this book, she writes that she used to wonder why she was “always starving for love” and playing “the role of deserted woman,” so she looked inward and discovered that she needed to learn to love herself before she could find love with another. She shares her resulting insights in this brief volume. “All of your troubles will evaporate at once,” she explains, “if you allow self-love to heal that broken piece of your heart and restore the healthy version of yourself.” Her process of self-love starts with meditation, which she outlines in the first two chapters. Specifically, she urges readers to practice both static and dynamic meditation, although she doesn’t clearly explain the difference between the two practices or how to engage in them. She also discusses how to recognize signs of low self-esteem that can cause one to seek out unhealthy, unbalanced romantic relationships. The book’s latter half consists of notable quotes on love from Mother Teresa, St. Francis of Assisi, Zora Neale Hurston, Lao Tzu, and others, followed by Chen’s analysis. Throughout, she offers the sensible message that if a person can’t nurture and care for a healthy self, he or she will never be able to develop a healthy romantic relationship. However, its emphasis on karmic debt and the law of attraction is troubling; statements such as, “If someone mistreats you or hurt you badly…somewhere and sometime in the past you have done something wrong to that person” and “We all get the love that we deserve” seem dangerously close to rationalizing abuse and victim blaming. Some awkward phrasing may also trip up readers, such as, “Something that defines self is the key for the love to pierce through the hurdles of our days and years and remain long lasting.”

An uneven self-help book that still offers a solid starting point for those trying to discover why romantic happiness eludes them.

Pub Date: April 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-5327-0274-7

Page Count: 78

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2016

Next book


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. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

Next book


A moving, heartfelt account of a hospice veteran.

Lessons about life from those preparing to die.

A longtime hospice chaplain, Egan (Fumbling: A Pilgrimage Tale of Love, Grief, and Spiritual Renewal on the Camino de Santiago, 2004) shares what she has learned through the stories of those nearing death. She notices that for every life, there are shared stories of heartbreak, pain, guilt, fear, and regret. “Every one of us will go through things that destroy our inner compass and pull meaning out from under us,” she writes. “Everyone who does not die young will go through some sort of spiritual crisis.” The author is also straightforward in noting that through her experiences with the brokenness of others, and in trying to assist in that brokenness, she has found healing for herself. Several years ago, during a C-section, Egan suffered a bad reaction to the anesthesia, leading to months of psychotic disorders and years of recovery. The experience left her with tremendous emotional pain and latent feelings of shame, regret, and anger. However, with each patient she helped, the author found herself better understanding her own past. Despite her role as a chaplain, Egan notes that she rarely discussed God or religious subjects with her patients. Mainly, when people could talk at all, they discussed their families, “because that is how we talk about God. That is how we talk about the meaning of our lives.” It is through families, Egan began to realize, that “we find meaning, and this is where our purpose becomes clear.” The author’s anecdotes are often thought-provoking combinations of sublime humor and tragic pathos. She is not afraid to point out times where she made mistakes, even downright failures, in the course of her work. However, the nature of her work means “living in the gray,” where right and wrong answers are often hard to identify.

A moving, heartfelt account of a hospice veteran.

Pub Date: Oct. 25, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-59463-481-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Riverhead

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

Close Quickview