Category Archives: book reviews

the Iliad of Homer: first epic of the West

The Iliad by Homer My rating: 5 of 5 stars Western literature kicks off with the clash of civilizations. Crafting an epic of my own, I got the idea of exploring the great epics of Western literature in more detail. … Continue reading

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Pursued by Furies by Gordon Bowker: portrait of the artist as a drunk

Pursued by Furies: A Life of Malcolm Lowry by Gordon Bowker My rating: 4 of 5 stars This biography contains a wealth of detail—but is it worth it? I first heard the name “Malcolm Lowry” in about 1968, when I … Continue reading

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Justine by the Marquis de Sade: birth of the philosopher-pornographer

Justine by Marquis de Sade My rating: 3 of 5 stars The struggle between virtue and vice is portrayed in the starkest possible way. I was reminded of this book when I read The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell … Continue reading

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Watership Down by Richard Adams: the rabbit Aeneid

Watership Down by Richard Adams My rating: 5 of 5 stars Two square miles of English countryside become a zone of adventure, combat, and statecraft for a band of refugee rabbits. My path to this book was via The Seven … Continue reading

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The Seven Basic Plots by Christopher Booker: the templates for personal growth

The Seven Basic Plots: Why We Tell Stories by Christopher Booker My rating: 4 of 5 stars This massive, in-depth work presents a unified theory of the art of storytelling based on Jungian psychology. As I recall, this was another … Continue reading

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De Profundis and Other Writings by Oscar Wilde: personality disorders of the rich and literary

De Profundis and Other Writings by Oscar Wilde My rating: 4 of 5 stars This small book of selected works shows the depths of both Wilde’s thought and his suffering, all expressed in effortlessly fluent language. I came to this … Continue reading

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The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes & Heroines by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever, & Sue Viders: “people power” for writers

The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines: Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami D. Cowden My rating: 4 of 5 stars This apparently self-published handbook of character archetypes adds a powerful tool to the writer’s kit. As I recall, this … Continue reading

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The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde: the battlefield within

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde My rating: 4 of 5 stars One hundred twenty-four years after its original publication, this poetic tragedy still effervesces with cynical epigrams and thought-provoking ideas. I remember being curious about this book … Continue reading

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Creating a Transparent Democracy by Shamar Rinpoche: power to the people

Creating A Transparent Democracy: A New Model by Shamar Rinpoché My rating: 4 of 5 stars My path to this book began at Christmas 2014, when I received a copy of Buddhism Today magazine in my stocking. I didn’t get … Continue reading

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A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period, volume 1, by Rainer Albertz: the story behind the story of the Bible

A History of Israelite Religion in the Old Testament Period, Volume I: From the Beginnings to the End of the Monarchy by Rainer Albertz My rating: 5 of 5 stars A deeply researched and well thought-out examination of how Israelite … Continue reading

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