by Yoda Oraiah ‧ RELEASE DATE: June 9, 2022
The blueprint for an energetic new religion—composed mostly of woo-woo and blather.
A book that presents a new cosmological theology.
God is the cosmos, writes Oraiah in his nonfiction debut, and all humans are parts of that totality. The word cosmos, he writes, refers to “the universal order and intelligence present in the world, as opposed to just chaos and disorder. It also implies the deep interconnectedness of all things in the universe.” As a stave against such chaos, the author proposes a new religion: Cosmism, which seeks to fuse religion and science into a kind of conceptual soup that’s equal parts dark energy and dark matter. “The field of cosmology is intricately connected to the field of theology,” Oraiah writes. “Researching and understanding the Cosmos and our place in It is the same as understanding the nature of God and our relationship with It.” According to Oraiah, this realization is one of the fundamental tenets of Cosmism. Oraiah writes all of this with a profusion of narrative energy and a generous amount of quotation and allusion; the book is immersive, providing readers with plenty of food for thought. The main drawback is that much of it is almost complete gibberish. “The spirit Supersoul houses the Ghost of the superior intelligence & supreme consciousness at the Cosmic scale,” goes one passage among innumerable passages of undiluted nonsense. “It is the power beyond our limited material data and comprehension ability.” Few to none of the author’s assertions about the nature of reality have any grounding in scientific fact. And Oraiah adds an element of blasphemy to his work by constantly invoking Carl Sagan in the context of Cosmism. Sagan’s book Cosmos (1980) is called “one of the sacred writings that is part of the Bible of the religion of Cosmism”—a statement that would have surely irked the rationalist atheist Sagan.The blueprint for an energetic new religion—composed mostly of woo-woo and blather.
Pub Date: June 9, 2022
Page Count: 568
Review Posted Online: Sept. 6, 2022
Review Program: Kirkus Indie
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by Matthew McConaughey ‧ RELEASE DATE: Oct. 20, 2020
A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.
Awards & Accolades
New York Times Bestseller
All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.
“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.
Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020
Page Count: 304
Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020
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Dillard’s story reflects maturity and understanding from someone who was forced to mature and understand too much too soon.
A measured memoir from a daughter of the famous family.
Growing up in the Institute of Basic Life Principles community, which she came to realize was “a cult, thriving on a culture of fear and manipulation,” Duggar and her 18 siblings were raised never to question parental authority. As the author recalls, she felt no need to, describing the loving home of her girlhood. When a documentary crew approached her father, Jim Bob, and proposed first a series of TV specials that would be called 17 Kids and Counting (later 18 and 19 Kids and Counting), he agreed, telling his family that this was a chance to share their conservative Christian faith. It was also a chance to become wealthy, but Jill, who was dedicated to following the rules, didn’t question where the money went. A key to her falling out with her family was orchestrated by Jim Bob, who introduced her to missionary Derick Dillard. Their wedding was one of the most-watched episodes of the series. Even though she was an adult, Jill’s parents and the show continued to expect more of the young couple. When they attempted to say no to filming some aspects of their lives, Jill discovered that a sheet of paper her father asked her to sign the day before her wedding was part of a contract in which she had unwittingly agreed to full cooperation. Writing about her sex offender brother, Josh, and the legal action she and Derick had to take to get their questions answered, Jill describes how she was finally able—through therapy, prayer, and the establishment of boundaries—to reconcile love for her parents with Jim Bob’s deception and reframe her faith outside the IBLP.Dillard’s story reflects maturity and understanding from someone who was forced to mature and understand too much too soon.
Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023
Page Count: 288
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2023
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023
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