Category Archives: BookLIGHT

Randy’s Reviews: The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach

Randy’s Reviews: The Bridge Across Forever by Richard Bach (Randyjw; September 14, 2019)

 

Bach, Richard. The Bridge Across Forever. Published by: Dell Publishing Co., Inc.; 1 Dag Hammerskjold Plaza; New York, New York 10017. Copyright 1984 by Alternate Futures Incorporated. Reprinted by arrangement with William Morrow and Company, Inc. – February 1986.

 

Also available in 4-cassette audiotape edition.

 

 

Interesting, intriguing, and involving, a reticent heart learns to glide and soar in this autobiographical account from author-pilot, Richard Bach.

 

 

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A Dream Uncovered

A Dream Uncovered (Randyjw; June 19, 2019)

 

Unveiling the moon

of her shrouded mysteries

illuminating

 

 

Randy’s Reviews: Tears of the Moon – by Nora Roberts

Beauty and melancholy intertwine in the Irish folklore, music, and deep ties to its land. Among its people, a haunting longing within the heart and soul can only be quenched by returning to the roots of all connections: G-d, Love, and Country. For Brenna O’Toole and Shawn Gallagher, each learn to find the fulfillment of their deepest dreams and desires through a gradual understanding of the meaning inherent in all three.

 

 

(https://youtu.be/2IFBtpfY5kM)

 

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Randy’s Reviews: The Day You Were Born: A Journey to Wholeness through Astrology and Numerology – by Linda Joyce

Randy’s Reviews: The Day You Were Born: A Journey to Wholeness through Astrology and Numerology – by Linda Joyce (Randyjw; June 16, 2019)

 

The Day You Were Born: A Journey to Wholeness through Astrology and Numerology; Copyright © 1998 by Linda Joyce. Kensington Books. Kensington Publishing Corp., 850 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022. http://www.kensingtonbooks.com

 

This book applies the sun signs of the zodiac, in a formula beginning in Aries and ending in Pisces, with a numerological factoring for the variance, and combines it with some metaphysically-specific best-practice recommendations to supposedly inform a person on the manners whereupon this application might be achieved.

 

Is it proper for me to side with or promote an astrological/numerological work? Not quite. Evidence for this, in Judaism, would point to the disaster of King Saul and his consultations with Hulda, who may or may not have been the same (I just don’t know) as the externally written-about Greek Oracle of Delphi. King Saul eventually fell prey to a never-ending wrestle between inner peace and an aroused spirit of paranoia and jealousy toward his eventual successor, David, the only one, paradoxically, who could calm Saul’s troubled spirit with the notes he played on his kinnor.

 

Yet, there exists further depth in the Judaic expression and realms of revelations intrinsic in the holiness of the Hebrew script (it is G-d’s word, after all); the corresponding numerical equivalency of the tandem Gematria; Kabbalah; and, really, actually, all things.

 

I can argue under Judaism, or Jewish perspective, for a combination of the essentiality of man’s existence on the earthly plane, combined with the striving toward the spiritual plane. G-d’s Laws (the Torah) are set before us with the imperative to choose life; that ye may live. We are told that doing so is not too difficult for us. We see that the 613 commandments include both the positive and the negative. We see that they include both the earthly (between man and man), and the heavenly (between man and G-d) — the stronger emphasis, surprisingly, being expounded as those between men. Disaster befalls us each and every time we go astray the Laws, which is a deviation from the spiritual. And Hillel sums up the whole of Torah as the essence that one should not do what is hateful unto another, stressing the earthly, inter-relationary aspects of man.

 

According to Linda Joyce, the author of the titled book in review, life should be balanced between the worldly aspects of the physical, such as the body and things of the earth, which is known as Ego, and the world of Spirit – – the heavenly realm — in order for the soul to receive its lessons as it proceeds through life and corresponding zodiac sun signs to grow in a balanced manner.

 

Linda Joyce has formed a merger of the practices of numerology and astrology to reveal an appreciable insight into human nature, combined with a gift for anecdotal and biographical supporting stories. What I can say is that, for everything that she presents, she does so to full confirmation of a certain perspective.

 

In a way, I always thought it was most imperative to nurture the qualities which would be so-considered the characteristics of a “higher calling,” tending to feel that one should aspire to lift one’s self above a baser nature. There’s nothing wrong with self-improvement, so I don’t find that, as an expression, to do so is as hypocritical an endeavor as the transverse, where the thought might be that, perhaps, one can only express their authentic selves via the masks of solely their present, fixed immutability. I think both give themselves a viewpoint weighted to the specifics of each varied individual: an optimistic outlook or a realistic outlook; but valid on either hand, regardless. It just matters which works better for each person.

 

Much like magic did this book appear on a shelf, at a time of deep, personal loss and internal struggle; although, unlike magic, I believe in G-d, and I believe in the basic goodness of man. The Biblical Jacob and his personal struggle teaches us about life, love, hardship and pain. But the message imparted is that we can prevail.

 

This excerpt, delineating Ego and Spirit in its last perfected self through Pisces, is seen, then, thus:

 

The search for your true origin, the haunting memory of happier days, innocence and youth — this is your memory of Eden and paradise. Darwin shocked and divided the world when he declared that men and apes had a common ancestor. His findings challenged the biblical origin story. The truth is that both origin stories are correct. We come from both heaven and earth. Heaven provides our mythical and symbolic origin. Evolution is what happens to us on earth — we evolve and grow and transform. The two are not in conflict (pg. 343).

 

Feelings of separation and loss, either because your path leads you elsewhere or someone else’s path has come to an end, is symbolic of the relationship between Ego and Spirit. Pisces is the end of the journey, and these two antagonists have traveled together through sunny days and terrible storms. They know each other in any disguise. They can recognize each other in a crowd, in the role of pauper or king, thief or saint. Together they have played all the parts, challenged each other’s goals and ideals, fought for and against each other’s dreams, shared each other’s joys and sorrows, triumphs and failures. Their commitment to the journey has bonded them through shared experiences, and now their differences seem unimportant and small. Theirs is a true relationship, one tested and sure, one based on earned respect. Now, when they have put aside their differences and learned how to play, it’s time to part. Love has awakened through the impending separation. Ego is old and must face death. Spirit is young. Having been reborn to a new strength, she can now defend herself and move forward, taking Ego’s memory into her heart and soul. Along the path he has protected her, allowing her to do her work. His devious ways and masterful disguises have honed her ability to see and discriminate. He has been her warrior, fighting her dragons; her enemy vying for position and power; her lover, embracing her with desire and will, trying to control her every breath. He has put her on a pedestal and he has abandoned her for fruitless dreams. But through it all they have remained together. Forgiveness came in Aquarius and the true meaning of love will come with separation. For without loss one does not know what one once had. They are soul mates and the song they sing has finally become one. Ego will surrender into the soul of the Spirit, ending their separation forever. Their love defies death because they are children of heaven and earth, who through their magical relationship have been able to bring one person closer to his or her true nature, to enlightenment, and to God.

 

… what they are learning is to love and go on, embodying that love within their soul, knowing that their physical presence is not needed for it to be real (pp. 373-374).

 


 

 

Read also:

 

(https://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/parsha/torah-shorts-lech-lecha-horoscope-proof/2019/11/08/)

 

 

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Twenty Years at Hull-House; with Autobiographical Notes

 

Twenty Years at Hull-House; with Autobiographical Notes – by Jane Addams (Randyjw; June 1, 2019)

 

Twenty Years at Hull-House; with Autobiographical Notes – by Jane Addams; original publication date 1910. Paperback reissue by University of Illinois Press Urbana and Chicago in conjunction with the Illinois Center for the Book. Introduction and Notes ©1990 by the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois, written by James Hurt, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

 

This is a review of paradoxical contradictions. Written by: a self-termed Conservative with a bent toward issues-oriented policy, regarding the premise of socialized, communal living, termed a ‘Settler Movement,’ within a democratic republic. A Movement meant to examine the processes and application of social theory towards the results of its experiments; yet still finding an unsolved relevancy in the persistence of those self-same subsets one hundred-years forward. The subject of ‘Humans’, as human subjects.

 

The time was ripening for the arousal to consciousness of how man must learn to structure their societal proponents to live amongst a continually burgeoning and industrializing U.S. population. With the influx of immigrants from abroad, there needed to homogenize the old traditions and cultures to create a workable new, and this was the tenet of a number of ambitious people and projects attempting to do so, circa late-Nineteenth/early-Twentieth centuries.

 

Jane Addams was one of them. In her 1910 published book, she describes her project, conducted with a friend, to live amongst the poor, and to become good neighbors with them. Along the way, she is caught up in the issues of the day, such as the women’s suffrage movement, the assimilation of immigrants from old worlds into a new country, and the effects of egregious working conditions amongst the poor. Whether by choice or chance, she winds up taking a more proactive role to see their challenges as they would experience them, up close, and finding means and both temporary and permanent solutions to help rectify their situation.

 

It’s often hard to tell whether this was an intended undertaking, or whether she was just along on a developing ride. But, in any case, it seems that the attentions given to youth development and education enhanced their opportunities for growth through learning, and lent great assistance to achieving these marks.

 

The book offers an interesting perspective of the literal language of life one hundred-years ago. Sometimes dull, sometimes pedantic in thought – – but still a particular slant from another era lending insight into the influencers of the way in which societies might develop.

 

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DK Eyewitness Books: Judaism – Discover the History, Faith, and Culture That Have Shaped the Modern Jewish World

 

DK Eyewitness Books: Judaism – Discover the History, Faith, and Culture That Have Shaped the Modern Jewish World (Randyjw; April 19, 2019)

 

CHARING, D. DK Eyewitness Books: Judaism – Discover the History, Faith, and Culture That Have Shaped the Modern Jewish World. First American Edition 2003. DK Publishing, Inc., 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014. Copyright 2003 Dorling Kindersley Limited, London.

 

This great book is one of a series, called DK Eyewitness Books, on multiple educational subjects aimed at children and young adults. This older, 2003 library version, is a slim, hardcover coffee table-style book, compiled with factual short paragraphs of information and glossy, full-color photos. The photos are especially interesting for their archaeological- and museum-quality details, showing both verbally, and visually, some highlights from the periods of Jewish history, both modern, and ancient.

 

DK Publishing is now under the banner of Penguin Random House. For more information on the parent company, see the Wikipedia reference, below. The newest revised edition of this book was published June 14, 2016, with sixty-four pages geared toward Middle Grades (8-12), and is available in hardcover and paperback. I highly recommend this book, for all ages.

 

DK (publisher):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DK_(publisher)

 

 

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Randy’s Reviews: The Founding Conservatives: How a Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution

Randy’s Reviews: The Founding Conservatives: How a Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution (Randyjw; August 26, 2018)

 

The Founding Conservatives: How a Group of Unsung Heroes Saved the American Revolution

David Lefer. Penguin/Sentinel, $29.95 (416p) ISBN 978-1-59523-069-0
In the course of learning about my people’s, the Jewish people’s, history, I have often heard countless retellings of the stories of famous Jewish people who have contributed throughout the course of history toward the financial gains of their host countries’ continuance. This has often come in the form of providing their own families’ personal wealth in the form of currency toward the war chests of the countries in which they lived. I have heard that the Columbus voyage in discovery of the New World had been financially helped with Jewish funding; and another is the financing of the American Revolution by Haim Solomon, who helped U.S. Treasurer, Robert Morris, refill the American coffers to continue their defense against the British Redcoats, and to win the war for the American side. This salient fact is missing from the above book, which is one reason to question the revisionist manner in which the American story is retold.
Read about Haim Solomon, here, on Wikipedia:
I was going to give this book an excellent rating for its in-depth research into the machinations behind the men who cobbled together the form of democracy our United States would follow in the years just preceding the colonial uprising against the Stamp Act, resulting in the Boston Tea Party, where cases of imported tea from Great Britain were charged by King George III to be assessed against the thirteen American colonies, eventually resulting in the American Revolution against the British. I detract some of its points for the author having excluded the important, and well-known, contribution made by Haim Solomon to the American cause, overall, and for his blind-eyed focus solely on the known signers (for the most part) of the Declaration of Independence, with their internal debates of the issue of whether to remain a subject colony under British rule of the Monarchy, or whether to break off and become an independent nation.
Read about The Stamp Act, here, on Wikipedia:
It never seems that independence was exactly a foremost thought in the minds of our Founding Fathers – – at least, according to what author David Lefer writes, through his unearthing of the signatories’ diaries, and other records, such as letters found in archival libraries and collections he uses to piece together this interesting and fascinating account of the steps and, almost, missteps, the colonial Congressional Representatives and influence holders take in the construction of our seemingly much-different nation during its formative infancy.
The matter of taxation being imposed on the colonies from afar without the feeling of consideration that they were being properly represented, was probably the main impetus for the cause of the American Revolution against the British. Yet, there were those on the other side of the aisle who felt that America should continue to be ruled by the aristocratic and landed gentry, as they were the ruling classes in a still-feudal and Monarchical society in Britain, holding the land titles and much of the commercial plantations of serfs, which represented the bulk of the capital, at that time.
This book reads like a present-day thriller, of sorts, as equal pressure and equal measures are brought to bear by both sides of the American controversy, to the status, hanging in the balance, of the American future. Already secure in our knowledge of the outcome, we still read how very different the nation proceeded from the start, as compared to its final outcome which we experience now today. It is interesting to learn how this occurred, and what thoughts may have transpired in the minds of the framers of the Constitution by which our nation has successfully managed its founding and consolidation, amongst the diversity of thought, these many centuries later.
For this reason, I recommend the book as a learning opportunity and to enrich our minds in the process of how America was formed and the issues which informed that decision.

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Randy’s Reviews: Gratitude, by Joseph Kertes

Randy’s Reviews: Gratitude, by Joseph Kertes (Randyjw; July 14, 2018)

 

GRATITUDE. Joseph Kertes. Copyright 2008 by Joseph Kertes. First published in Canada by the Penguin Group. First U.S. Edition: October 2009. Printed in the USA. Thomas Dunne Books; an imprint of St. Martin’s Press; 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y.  10010.

 

I have always loved to read. But, I am the type of person who likes to buck a trend, simply for the fact that things can become boringly staid when “everyone else” is following the latest fad. What this information implies for this book review, and toward books in general, is that the craft of the trade, the functionality of its literary terminology and the process of the book trade itself, have all conspired to impart a procedurally-stultifying expectation of a letter-perfect manual as to how the job should be done, how a books’ characters should behave, how its ending should be contrived (neither too simplistic, nor too absurd), and how reasonably soon an author will fall into the trap of compliance to the formulaic equation of the genre he/she is attempting to portray.

 

What if a book were to ditch a reader’s expectations and, instead, wrote in a unique voice that didn’t conform to supposed norms for plot, character development, length, succinctly drawn protagonists/antagonists, minor players, etc.? Well, that would be a breath of fresh air, wouldn’t it? The end result wouldn’t deprive exclusive scholars from privileged membership to the written-word appreciation club, and yet entry would expand to the artistically-visual, the dexterously-nimble, the misfittedly simple and others who can appreciate a voice for the emotions it imparts, the mind-imagery it evokes, the information it reveals, and other unique facets it details.

 

Since I’m still having difficulty synthesizing the essence of my experience with Gratitude, I feel it falls into a hard-to-peg amalgam of the various writerly techniques masterfully used to explore different and difficult subjects, and which comes off amazingly well for the harshness of the subject matter with which it must deal.

 

Since a publishing house never wishes to promote cause for libel or slander, and to incur damaging lawsuits as a result, the first notification to this extent that you can see is explicitly written straight after the inside titling pages of the book, indicating that the work is completely fictionalized as a product of the author’s imagination. This disclaimer, as a disclosure, is disconcerting, in that the classification of fiction-writing, as a whole, is one of its own problems, and one of its specific gifts, since one can never know for certain the exact percentage which poetic license plays in the accounting of a historical event, or events, inclusive of its non-fictional characters.

 

In the matter of subjects pertaining to Judaism or Jewish history, or that of any other people or event, it can become problematic to blend mythological products of a writer’s imagination with the real-life horrors of a crime as large as genocide: the wiping out of an entire ethnic race or people, such as the Jews, in an aspect as so horrific as the Holocaust.

 

I had read a book many, many years ago about Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat around whose name brings controversy for unstated reasons with regard to the Jews during the time of the Holocaust. In popular lore, Raoul Wallenberg is attributed with saving many Jews during the Nazi German purge to make Europe a predominantly “Aryan” master race, which Adolf Hitler was carrying out through elimination of those people he classified as subhuman, such as homosexual people, Gypsy Roma, the handicapped, and the Jew. I don’t recall what the controversy about Wallenberg actually entailed, or whether I knew what it was to begin with. I believe it may have been something along the lines, as it may have also been the same in the case with Oskar Schindler, perhaps, that of the Jews who eventually survived the Holocaust and their questioning descendants might analyze in hindsight in another frame of mind — a singular aspect comes to mind, and it is this: Not all of the Jews could be saved; so by what method were they chosen? How could someone else actually do the choosing, by themselves making their own “selections”?

 

It would be a question which would haunt us Jews throughout the seven previous decades since the Holocaust occurred. And we still never have any good answers. We look at it from all moral angles, and ask: how can a Kapo, a leader chosen by the Germans from amongst the Jewish population to report as a representative liaison between the parties and to middle-manage the Nazi decisions as to who, which Jews, would be chosen for extermination in the next “selection,” actually carry out his decision?

 

How did Swedish diplomats Raoul Wallenberg, Per Anger, and others, including one of the people in author Kertes’ novel, decide who could be saved and who couldn’t? Such random, or preferential decisions could never be easy ones, and there would always be recriminating fingers pointing, regardless of who was saved. Such consequences for these decisions were also cast at the Jewish organizations who were also trying to help ferret out Jewish people to safety from a certain death; yet they were also spoken about, after-the-fact, with reproachful, hushed undertones of horror and manipulation, nepotism and cronyism. The subject matter of death and genocide almost demands that it be so.

 

In any case, Joseph Kertes’ book is written with a combination of factual detail reminiscent of actual events, and the prose of stream-of-consciousness writing that he utilizes as a family member in his own narrative to these characters in real-life actuality. I think this comes across very well throughout the book, and gives it an emotionality which would be all too lacking, otherwise. Other reviewers miss the mark with this aspect of his work; I think it makes the work what it is. It is emotional. At the end, you are left saying, Well… what does it all come down to? There are some instances where there are certain references which seem more of today’s times than to have ever occurred in conversation during those days; this happened about four times, and I found it annoying. But, overall, I think it is worth reading Gratitude.

 

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