All posts filed under: Book Reviews

Inspiration and Grace

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Book Reviews / Reflections

When I was in high school I underwent one of those sea changes that sweep through us. My mother was hospitalized for a time for treatment of Multiple Personality Disorder, my dad lost his job, we made weekly trips down to the church’s food pantry, and eventually my parents separated. The real weight of it occurred during my senior year. One of the interesting things that came out of this was the freedom to leave […]

A Review of Lincoln in the Bardo

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Book Reviews

This morning I finished George Saunders’ novel Lincoln in the Bardo, which I greatly enjoyed. I enjoyed it not only for the quick flecks of prose that struck like the tongue of a benevolent snake; not only for the scenes of the self-evinced departed rummaging through their own private psychoses, e.g. the Bardo; not only for the utterly imaginative mechanisms and rules of the in-between to which they clung; but for the manner in which […]

The Art and Skill of Living From the Heart

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Book Reviews

What does it mean to live from the heart?  And why does it matter? In my experience, every difficulty I’ve ever faced has manifested itself as a rift between my heart and my mind—between what can be known most profoundly when words are left behind, and what presents itself as a seemingly irrefutable conclusion of the mind’s learning.  When this happens we tend to look at circumstance as the genesis of difficulty, without realizing that […]

Surrendering to the Creative Self

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Book Reviews / Science

In this, the second of three pieces developed in response to Ka’s quotation challenge, I want to explore briefly the ideas and work of Christopher Alexander, an architect, writer and thinker whose work has had a profound impact on me.  The quotes I’ve selected all come from his four volume series entitled The Nature of Order.  I don’t remember exactly how I discovered this work, but I do remember knowing instantly that I desired to […]

Intersections of Everything

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Book Reviews / Course Ideas / Science

Earlier this week I discovered Ka’s invitation to write a few blog pieces around favorite quotations.  The challenge was framed as three posts, each built around one quotation, or as one post with three quotations.  I realized quickly it would be enjoyable to find a few quotes that I like, and to share them and explain my enthusiasm for them, but then found it was quite a difficult task to narrow down my selections.  I […]

The Necessity of Considering Time… (and Meaning–?)

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Book Reviews / Science

I took some time off to visit my mother for a few days recently, one minor consequence of which was the necessity of making an eight hour drive twice in a relatively short period of time.  My answer to this dilemma was to download the audio version of physicist Lee Smolin’s book Time Reborn.  It has been a while since I’ve had the chance to dig into this type of book, and as one very […]

Confounded by Love

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Book Reviews

For Christmas this year I received a copy of George Saunders’ collection of short stories entitled Tenth of December.  I had never heard of Saunders before, and didn’t know what to expect, but the giver of this gift– an inspiring young man securing his MFA in film directing with whom I’ve been known to occasionally watch Celtics games, make an Indian food run, or share a conversation in support of a draft screenplay in which […]

Reality. (Hand Clap, Cheek Cluck, Waddle Waddle, Foot-Stomp)

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Book Reviews

The title to Peter Kingsley’s Reality is about one word short in my opinion—that word being “Check”—but is otherwise perfect on all sorts of levels.  It is at once ambiguous, provocative, presumptive, tantalizing, engaging, slippery, and so-simple-it-stuns, much like the work itself and the classical Greek philosopher-shaman-necromancers whose timeless wisdom Kingsley brings to light therein.  My favorite aspect of the title is that its simultaneous ambiguity and depth act together as a self-limiting rhetorical throttle.  […]

The SheepMan’s Instruction

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Book Reviews

After reading the final passage of Haruki Murakami’s Dance Dance Dance, I pinched the book shut in one hand and took a deep, satisfying breath- the kind of breath you might take at dawn on the Seventh Day, a breathing into and through kind of breath.  Part of that satisfaction was the rich fullness of having encountered a work of art that spoke to me on a deep level, a story and its telling that […]

The Life Between the Lines

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Book Reviews

Today, for the second time in my life, I finished a Thomas Pynchon novel.  Now the hard part: how to convey the dizzying nature of this journey when all I have are snapshot memories and fragments of awoken dreams staggering around the underworld of my consciousness.  I read most of Against the Day in twenty page segments, and so it took me quite a while, but I don’t think there was a single sitting that […]