Category Archives: book reviews

Paideia: The Ideals of Greek Culture, volume 1: making the perfect human

Paideia 1: The Ideals of Greek Culture: Archaic Greece: The Mind of Athens by Werner Wilhelm Jaeger My rating: 5 of 5 stars An impassioned, authoritative, and in-depth account of how the character-shaping ideas of education and culture developed in … Continue reading

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The Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek: liberals of the world, unite!

The Road To Serfdom by Friedrich A. Hayek My rating: 5 of 5 stars A passionately felt and forcefully argued—and prescient—defence of liberalism, the doctrine of individual freedom that is opposed by all collectivists, whether of the left or right. … Continue reading

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Journeys out of the Body by Robert A. Monroe: shuffling off the mortal coil

Journeys Out Of The Body by Robert A. Monroe My rating: 4 of 5 stars A persuasive and thought-provoking account of one man’s experiences and experiments with traveling outside his own body. My earliest memory of hearing about out-of-body experiences … Continue reading

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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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