The Soul of Christianity – religion

Posted on Aug 31, 2015 in Non-fiction

by Huston Smith HarperSanFrancisco, 2005 I told myself I was not going to post reviews of books I didn’t like. But I know some of you might be as fond of Huston Smith (renowned author of the book The World’s Religions.) as I am and so just might invest in his newest work The Soul of Christianity. I read an interview with Huston Smith about his new book in Zion’s Herald (Not a bad journal by the way. I seem to be getting it free at the moment, but may subscribe. Bishop John Shelby Spong, Robert Funk of the Jesus Seminar, and Huston Smith were...

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The Post-American World – foreign affairs

Posted on Aug 31, 2015 in Non-fiction

by Farheed Zakaria W.W. Norton & Company, 2008 I like Fareed Zakaria.  I trust his insight, and intellect.  I read his column regularly in Newsweek and I’ve heard him speak on issues of foreign affairs.  Born and raised in India, now a U.S. citizen.  Once managing editor of Foreign Affairs magazine he is now editor of Newsweek Internatinoal.  The man is knowledgeable and his experience broad. Which is why I picked up The Post-American World – or as it is more often referred to “The Rise of the Rest” which happens to be the title of...

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The Portable MFA in Creative Writing – writing

Posted on Aug 31, 2015 in Non-fiction

by The New York Writer’s Workshop/Tim Tomlinson Writer’s Digest Books, 2006 This is a must have text.  Easy to access, full of pithy tips and wisdom.  Put out by the New York Writers Workshop it dares to suggest that this book will cover (almost) everything you can learn in an MFA degree course. All contributors (and it is a compilation by five of The New York Writers Worshop– Tim Tomlinson, Peter Bricklebank, Charlse Salzberg, Rita Gabis and Charlie Shculman ) have their MFA’s.  And though they acknowledge the benefits of time apart...

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The Political Brain politics

Posted on Aug 31, 2015 in Non-fiction

by Drew Westin Public Affairs, 2007 This should be a must read for every single organizer and supporter in any campaign.  Don’t Think about an Elephant was critical for getting the word out that we need to frame our political message if we want to be heard (Rather than “taxes” let’s talk “investment in our country.”) Drew Westin understands (and explains) that we make our choices, especially our political choices, not with our heads but with our hearts and gives us examples of how to do that. I heard Westin, a clinical...

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The Poetry Home Repair Manual – writing

Posted on Aug 31, 2015 in Non-fiction

by Ted Kooser University of Nebraska Press, 2005 Not long ago a friend and fellow writer wondered at all the books I had accumulated about writing by various authors (I had them spread out at a weekend retreat that he was attending). I told him that reading such books has been like having a circle of intimate writing friends and mentors who encourage me when I wonder what I am doing inside on a bright sunny day, fixated at my computer, fussing around with words. Each one in his or her own way says, “It’s worth it, keep at it.” Kooser says...

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The Medici Effect – business/ innovation

Posted on Aug 31, 2015 in Non-fiction

by Frans Johansson Harvard Business School Press, 2006 Read The Medici Effect (subtitled What Elephants & Epidemics Can Teach Us About Innovation) for the same reason you read The World is Flat – to wake up not only to what has been happening in the world, but where we might be headed. Christopher Taylor, so often my source for cutting edge books, recommended this one.  By reading it I do exactly what the book recommends.  I move outside the box of my specialty (in my case literature, writing, writing groups) and like the bear that...

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The Liar’s Club – memoir

Posted on Aug 31, 2015 in Non-fiction

by Mary Karr Viking Penguin, 2005 I’m late, I realize that. The Liar’s Club has been on the scene since 1995, when it hovered for months at no. 2 on the New York Times Best Sellers List (“No, it never made it to one” Mary Karr says ruefully in her introduction to the 10th anniversary paperback edition.) But I’ve been running across Mary Karr’s name in almost every book on writing I’ve read in the past year or two (William Zinzer, Stephen King, Janet Burroway, among others). All say, “On memoir? See poet and author Mary Karr’s The Liar’s...

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The Grand Option – spirituality

Posted on Aug 31, 2015 in Non-fiction

by Beatrice Bruteau University of Notre Dame Press, 2001 I know others of you also find themselves reading two or three books at one time, dipping in and sampling each one to meet different needs.  I read non-fiction to be informed, read novels and  poetry for the love of story and words, but also a book that beckons me to spiritual work. It’s the latter need that Beatrice Bruteau satisfied in The Grand Option.  She believes we can break the cycle of violence which begins when we divide the world according to those who are for us or against...

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Team of Rivals history

Posted on Aug 31, 2015 in Non-fiction

by Doris Kearns Goodwin Simon & Schuster, 2005 Now this is a book! Daunting in fact, at 880 pages (if you read all the footnotes.) But I didn’t want it to end — and didn’t want it to end the way I knew it must, with Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. In 1865, April 15 was Good Friday. This year, by coincidence. that date once again fell on a Good Friday. Still immersed in the story of Team of Rivals I felt like one who had heard the news first hand, and all through the day, felt edges of sadness, remembering his tragic and unnecessary...

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Pulling Down the Barn memoir

Posted on Aug 31, 2015 in Non-fiction

by Anne-Marie Oomen Wayne State University Press, 2004 In 2008 I attended the University of Michigan’s annual Bear River Writer’s Conference and attended the sectional led by Anne-Marie Oomen on creative non-fiction and memoir.  She was wonderful.  A gentle, experienced teacher ( at the time of this review, teaches at Michigan’s Interlochen Arts Academy and is chair of creative writing)  who encouraged us, in response to writing prompts, to make lists of thoughts, write fast and dig deeper. While attending the conference I bought Pulling Down...

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