“A critic can only review the book he has read, not the one which the writer wrote.” ―Mignon McLaughlin, The Complete Neurotic's Notebook

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Unbreak My Heart by Toni Braxton

Synopsis: Memoir of a celebrity songstress’s upbringing, family and musical career.

Writing Style: Mild first person candid.

Pacing: Lyrical Moving.

Personal Highlights: It was amazing how much of a page-turner Toni’s story turned out to be, though in a lyrical moving way. Honest at the core it became hard to put this book down. Like ‘Breathe Again’ she shares her religious upbringing, her ‘Joe Jackson’-like mother, her relationships and health issues, career highlights and financial meltdowns…and more…in this woodsy heartbreaking voice. Her background, particularly her educational pursuits…and reading between the lines, her $600K personality, really surprised me. Overall, most charitable of Toni’s lyrical story was her description of how music fulfilled her… ‘like an unscratchable itch relieved.’ Beautiful.

Choices and Illusions by Eldon Taylor

Synopsis: An expose on self-improvement tools and techniques to realize a higher self-actualization.

Writing Style: Reporter.

Pacing: Moderate.

Personal Highlights: Choices and Illusions weeds through years of research to champion mental fitness. The content is generous, presented in neutralizing stories, physiological models, modest examples and products such as, validated Innertalk therapies. The elephant example, along with the ‘Good Luck, Bad Luck…who knows’ short story and the ‘storing cortisol’ enlightenment were some of my personal favorites.

Weighing inner mind operations and environmental stimulants, be it natural neurological elements graphed from pure science, or researched theories is a lot to capture and retain, especially for lay minds stuck in ruts struggling to shut out outside noise. Anyone interested in inner-mind relations, or those studying disciplines with the intent to help others get out of mental ruts may want to add Choices and Illusions to their reading lists.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Synopsis: A Historical ‘Tragic’ Romance Novel

Writing Style: Old School Celebrated Literature.

Pacing: Fast.

Premise: Sacrifices of Love.

Personal Highlights: Opened the book thirsty for a story and my thirst was 100% quenched. The writing, no doubt, turned out to be a treat. Entertaining and humorous, despite the underlining lamenting saga.

This story reads like one big juicy piece of gossip. Dialogue rich there are many places to chuckle, if not laugh to tears. What makes this story most treasurable however, was the message in the row "Lige and Sam" were having about which comes first; caution or nature. This argument is exactly what encapsulates the premise of this novel. Janie, who the novel largely centers around, is more or less set up in an arranged marriage… to a man who she describes as reminding her of 'a skull head in the graveyard.' (Chuckle here…) Trying to OMIT spoilers; Janie's first marriage evolved into marriage two, that led to the third marriage and culminated in a staggering ending and goading examination exploring God’s ‘purpose’ for humans. Overall, I really, really enjoyed the novel. A whole lot more than expected. Highly recommended.

Cold Hard Truth On Men, Women, and Money by Kevin O'Leary

Synopsis: A Money Memoir on Spending (Frugally) and Saving (Thriftily)

Writing Style: Personal.

Pacing: Moderate.

Premise: How to Build a ‘Healthy-Wealthy’ Relationship with Money.

Personal Highlights: The storytelling, as expected, is superior entertainment, exactly what drew me to the book. Cha-ching, much value added there.

Young people, debt collectors...as in those deep in debt, and especially those ‘spoiled’ on a time when banks paid depositors to keep so much as a dime in a bank, or sullied by events such as the ‘Panic of 1907’ will appreciate this simple, straightforward advice on understanding value, and time, and lending.

Monday, October 31, 2016

And So It Goes by Charles J. Shields

Synopsis: Biography of Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

Writing Style: Professional Literary Journalism.

Pacing: Fast.

Premise: An Exclusive Exhaustive Expose about the life of a notable writer.

Personal Highlights: The ironies and contradictions in this tomb were rife. Towards the third quarter panel of this book Vonnegut’s story, as told by Shields, underscores the importance of writing passionately from the heart. Nothing *more*. Nothing less.