Category Archives: book reviews

tonight’s bout: Paul Clifford vs. Christopher Columbus

All right, I was talking about examining the opening sentences of novels that I read and comparing them with the “zero level” opener to Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s 1830 Paul Clifford, the infamous, “It was a dark and stormy night. . . … Continue reading

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The Causal Body and the Ego by Arthur E. Powell: the higher planes of reality

The Causal Body and the Ego by Arthur E. Powell My rating: 4 of 5 stars The last and biggest of Arthur E. Powell’s 4 volumes of the findings of the clairvoyant researches of the Theosophists of the late 19th … Continue reading

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reading the author and not just his reputation

I keep my reading list in a note on my iPhone. Whenever I come across a book I think I might want to read, I add it to the list. Most of the entries are nonfiction, and there are more … Continue reading

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The Plague then and now

My current novel is The Plague by Albert Camus, first published, in French, in 1947; I’m 14 pages from the end. It documents the arrival of plague in the Algerian coastal city of Oran (modern Wahran) sometime in the 1940s, … Continue reading

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Hellenistic Astrology by Chris Brennan: forward to the past!

Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune by Chris Brennan My rating: 4 of 5 stars A searching and scholarly reconstruction of astrology as it was originally formulated and practiced in the ancient world, based on study of the … Continue reading

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Karma by Annie Besant: who’s running this show?

Karma by Annie Besant My rating: 4 of 5 stars A thought-provoking and brief overview of a very important topic, packaged in a slapdash print-on-demand format. Annie Besant, one of the leading lights of the Theosophical Society of the early … Continue reading

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The Astral Body by A. E. Powell: more things in heaven and earth

The Astral Body: And Other Astral Phenomena by Arthur E. Powell My rating: 4 of 5 stars This follow-on volume, published in 1927, to the author’s The Etheric Double: The Health Aura of Man, extends the survey of the unseen … Continue reading

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The Etheric Double by A. E. Powell: pointing the way out of the cave

The Etheric Double: The Health Aura of Man by Arthur E. Powell My rating: 4 of 5 stars The first in what would come to be a series of primers on the nature of man and the universe according to … Continue reading

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Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry: still good after all these years

Under The Volcano by Malcolm Lowry My rating: 5 of 5 stars This one-of-a-kind landmark of 20th-century literature stands up to multiple readings. I have a somewhat more intimate relationship with Under the Volcano than most readers, due to the … Continue reading

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Heaven and Hell by Emanuel Swedenborg: what gives?

Heaven and Hell by Emanuel Swedenborg My rating: 4 of 5 stars A one-of-a-kind work setting out the discoveries of an 18th-century Swedish scientist’s extended forays into the spirit realm. Swedenborg gives detailed descriptions of what happens to us after … Continue reading

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