2.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · Philosophy · Self Help

Purpose-Volume 1: Meditation on Love, Relationship, Fear, Death, Intuition, and Power – Uncovering Our Resistance to Life by Noura

 

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Purpose-Volume 1: Meditation on Love, Relationship, Fear, Death, Intuition, and Power – Uncovering Our Resistance to Life by Noura

Published: February 28, 2018

Publisher: ?

Pages: 276

Genres: self help, philosophy

Rating: 2.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: hard but helpful realities, examining your thoughts to make changes

Foodie Vibes: pure spring water

 

Synopsis:

Is it possible to have clarity about ourselves that enables us to understand ourselves totally so we never have to rely on any belief? If we can look and see clearly for ourselves, are beliefs necessary?

Some of the topics this book explores include but aren’t limited to the following:

” Using meditation as a tool for self-inquiry and observation
” Mastering the mind through the mastery of love, which doesn’t oppose
” Empowering ourselves through mastery of the mind
” Love as our natural state, which can be hidden or denied but never destroyed
” Darkness as the false in us to be undone through total understanding of ourselves
” Unity of purpose as the foundation of our thinking versus the belief in separation as the foundation of our thinking
” The strength of unity in relation to mental strength
” How fear and violence arise in our thinking
” Uncovering our resistance to life and freeing ourselves from that resistance
” Relationships, death, intuition, intelligence, greed, joy, forgiveness, and integrity
” Respecting the power of belief
” Boundaries versus defenses
” Duality versus nonduality
” The mastery of love versus the mastery of darkness
” Purpose

 

Review:

I won this book for free in a Goodreads Giveaway. Thanks to Goodreads, Noura and the publisher for an ebook copy for review. As always, an honest review.

Purpose-Volume 1 reads like a long continuous stream of someone’s thoughts that is later grouped into chapters. The book starts with telling the reader to keep an open mind and not make any judgments. I tried to do that, but couldn’t. Some of it was because I still have aspects of myself I need to work on. But other parts of the book I definitely disagree with, no matter how much of an open mind I keep.

Most of the book I agree with in general, but when it comes to putting the concepts into practice they don’t hold true. For example, being kind to everyone and giving up your defenses. It’s good advice to not be so guarded all the time. However I believe that giving up all your defenses is stupid. Be cautiously kind and optimistic but also keep yourself safe. Then again maybe I’m not as evolved and enlightened as the author. Also the writing style made it hard to hold my attention. In parts I had to force myself to keep reading.

I did learn things about myself and highlighted lots of relevant passages. As the author says, use the book as a mirror to the inner workings of your mind.

Overall the book makes some good points about life, but the writing style makes it harder to read and less enjoyable. In theory it works, but in practicality not as much.

 

What do you look for in a self help book?

2.5 Star Books · Book Reviews · historical fiction · LGBTQIA+ Books · Literary Fiction · Uncategorized

The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

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The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai

Published: June 19, 2018

Publisher: Viking

Pages: 421 

Genres: literary fiction, historical fiction, LGBTQ

Rating: 2.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: historical fiction about the AIDS epidemic in the 80s

Read with food: Chinese takeaway

 

Synopsis:

In 1985, Yale Tishman, the development director for an art gallery in Chicago, is about to pull off an amazing coup, bringing in an extraordinary collection of 1920s paintings as a gift to the gallery. Yet as his career begins to flourish, the carnage of the AIDS epidemic grows around him. One by one, his friends are dying and after his friend Nico’s funeral, the virus circles closer and closer to Yale himself. Soon the only person he has left is Fiona, Nico’s little sister.

Thirty years later, Fiona is in Paris tracking down her estranged daughter who disappeared into a cult. While staying with an old friend, a famous photographer who documented the Chicago crisis, she finds herself finally grappling with the devastating ways AIDS affected her life and her relationship with her daughter. The two intertwining stories take us through the heartbreak of the eighties and the chaos of the modern world, as both Yale and Fiona struggle to find goodness in the midst of disaster.

Review:

I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you to the publisher and author for a copy. As always, an honest review.

I was disappointed by this read. The story takes place in the art world in 1980s Chicago and also present day Paris. The main focus is the lives of the gay community during the AIDS epidemic in the 80s, which the author does justice. Despite what could be a phenomenal book, it fell short for me.

I couldn’t connect with any of the characters, nor did the story draw me in. Therefore I went through the book appreciating and enjoying certain moments, but overall not invested in either story due to lack of connection. Also the two separate stories barely had anything to do with each other. They honestly could have been 2 separate books or even eliminated most of the present day Paris storyline.

The Great Believers had some redeeming benefits though. It told a story that isn’t always portrayed in the media and actually went into detail instead of glossing over unfavorable moments. A part of the history books that isn’t always done justice.

If you can connect with the characters, then you will probably enjoy it more than I did. But if not then take my thoughts into consideration. The tone of the book and writing doesn’t really change as you get farther along in the book.

 

I liked the overall concept, but it didn’t pan out for me.

 

Anyone have any other similar books that you really liked and would recommend to me?

 

 

2.5 Star Books · Book Reviews

Book Review: Don’t You Ever: My Mothers and Her Secret Son by Mary Carter Bishop

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Don’t You Ever: My Mothers and Her Secret Son by Mary Carter Bishop 

Published by Harper on July 3, 2018 

Pages: 256 

Genres: memoir, non fiction

Rating: 2.5 stars

Recommend to fans of: unique memoirs, stories about unfair childhoods

Read with food: fried chicken and ice cream … perfect for siblings catching up after years apart

 

Synopsis:

From a prizewinning journalist, Mary Carter Bishop, a moving and beautifully rendered memoir about the half-brother she didn’t know existed that hauntingly explores family, class, secrets, and fate.

Applying for a passport as an adult, Mary Carter Bishop made a shocking discovery. She had a secret half-brother. Her mother, a farm manager’s wife on a country estate, told Mary Carter the abandoned boy was a youthful “mistake” from an encounter with a married man. There’d been a home for unwed mothers; foster parents; an orphanage.

Nine years later, Mary Carter tracked Ronnie down at the barbershop where he worked, and found a near-broken man—someone kind, and happy to meet her, but someone also deeply and irreversibly damaged by a life of neglect and abuse at the hands of an uncaring system. He was also disfigured because of a rare medical condition that would eventually kill him, three years after their reunion. During that window, Mary Carter grew close to Ronnie, and as she learned more about him she became consumed by his story. How had Ronnie’s life gone so wrong when hers had gone so well? How could she reconcile the doting, generous mother she knew with a woman who could not bring herself to acknowledge her own son?

Digging deep into her family’s lives for understanding, Mary Carter unfolds a sweeping story of religious intolerance, poverty, fear, ambition, class, and social expectations. Don’t You Ever is a modern Dickensian tale about a child seemingly cursed from birth; a woman shattered by guilt; a husband plagued by self-doubt; a prodigal daughter whose innocence was cruelly snatched away—all living in genteel central Virginia, a world defined by extremes of rural poverty and fabulous wealth.

A riveting memoir about a family haunted by a shameful secret, Don’t You Ever is a powerful story of a woman’s search for her long-hidden sibling, and the factors that profoundly impact our individual destinies. 

Review: 

I received this book for free through Goodreads Giveaways. As always, an honest review.

I have a lot of mixed feelings about Don’t You Ever, but overall I finished the book feeling quite neutral and unengaged about it all. The author tells the story of her simple but well loved life compared to her brother’s much more difficult upbringing. He was treated much differently by his parents and society. Mary Carter was even told that he was her cousin, not brother, which is incredibly telling.

Eventually the author learns of her brother and reunites with him. He’s had a difficult adulthood as well, with multiple health problems. Mary Carter and Ronnie learn about each other. During this process she uncovers many of the reasons for her family’s actions. Emotions such as fear, guilty, shame and self doubt drove their actions.

Don’t You Ever speaks to the time and place in which these people grew up. Through her family we learn a lot, but I still didn’t connect with them. I felt myself reading the pages just to finish the book. It’s not a bad book, but I mainly felt indifferent to the story.

Maybe other readers will connect more to the characters and story.