Incorporating book reviews and my writer's journal

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Excuse Me Goddess Can We Talk? by Sonja Kaleski

My Goodreads and Amazon review (I gave it 5 stars)

Excuse Me Goddess Can We Talk?: New Messages of Love from the Goddess - How to Create Personal and Global Abundance and have Fun with the ProcessExcuse Me Goddess Can We Talk?: New Messages of Love from the Goddess - How to Create Personal and Global Abundance and have Fun with the Process by Sonja Kaleski

Important and Delightful

I'd love to have written this book! It says so much that I would like to tell the world. As I didn’t write it, I'm very glad that Sonja did, and that she did it now.

Being a writer myself, I particularly appreciate the way it is written. It's clear, accessible and entertaining. It's apparent that Sonja writes from her own rich experience, and from quite a deal of study, yet she presents her findings in a very readable manner, without in any way talking down to her readers.

She is unapologetic about the fact that she is describing her beliefs, without any attempt to justify them rationally. She even says at the outset that, for this reason, her book may not be for everyone. Yet I urge the doubters to suspend disbelief and just enjoy. I think they might find they can understand it on other levels, such as a useful set of psychological attitudes. One can personify the Goddess, or one may regard that concept as standing for values which the world greatly needs – at this time more than ever before.

As I got further into the book, I found that she backed up her ideas after all, without even trying. She has been, among other things, teacher, writer, artist, activist, and survivor of domestic abuse. She has also been a great reader, in both spiritual and scientific fields. She illustrates the points she makes with practical, real-life examples from her own experience and that of people she is closely acquainted with.

I too believe that Goddess energy, however we understand it, is vital to us all at this time and into the future. Sonja gives us some readily acceptable ways of understanding it, and shares some simple and even pleasant methods for integrating it into our lives – for instance, through laughter.

Although it is not the book's only focus, she talks a lot about ‘abundance' – a word which puts me off many New Age teachings. Yes, I get it that you don't have to live in poverty to be spiritual, and that financially successful people can do much good with their money – only there are some teachers who make it sound as if you have failed Spirituality 101 if you haven't yet manifested what the world perceives as wealth.

Sonja doesn't fall into this trap. Yes, she does see that prosperity need not contradict spirituality, and she gives some tips on manifesting it – tips full of common sense, rather than merely airy-fairy – but she also understands that there are many kinds of riches. Her interpretation of abundance is that we have whatever our soul most desires and needs. (Those are my words to sum up her views.) It's relative. For some people, abundance may mean huge financial wealth to use philanthropically. For others it may be a modest income and the free time for spiritual pursuits. There are many possibilities, and it's refreshing to read of abundance in broader terms.

This is a book which has the possibility of changing individuals one at a time, in ways that could, collectively, change the world and bring about the golden future we all dream of. It's a real possibility! But self-published books need a lot of word-of-mouth. Therefore, please read it, and please tell other people to read it too.

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

My Goodreads review of Leaving Paris by Collin Kelley

Leaving Paris (Venus Trilogy)

Leaving Paris by Collin Kelley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm sad yet satisfied on leaving Paris

I waited a long time for this third volume of Collin Kelley's trilogy. It completes and surpasses the excellent Conquering Venus and Remain in Light. I particularly love that it wasn't predictable – I hate being able to second-guess stories, as I so often can – yet there was a lovely rightness about the unfoldment and wrapping up of the interconnected stories.

I was reluctant to leave these characters, and wanted the book to go on forever, yet I couldn't stop reading even though that brought the end closer. It's beautifully written, and after all I don't feel I have said goodbye to these favourite companions. I have a sense of them going on living their lives in the reality Collin Kelley so convincingly created for them. And that makes me happy.

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My Goodreads review of Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northrup

Twelve Years a SlaveTwelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

I haven't yet seen the movie, but knowing about that made me curious about the book. I was surprised to realise it is non-fiction; had imagined it to be a novel. Despite being in the language of another place and time, and despite dealing with horrendous subject matter, it is very readable. Northrup writes with honesty, clarity, and surprising fair-mindedness. He was the victim of great injustice, being a free man who was kidnapped into slavery – yet the book also makes it clear the whole institution of slavery was a massive injustice against human beings. We take that as self-evident these days, but there was a time when it was believed in and justified on very spurious grounds. Northrup shows, among other things, how children brought up in such a system take it for granted – the children of the powerful class, that is. The injustice is clear enough to every slave.

Now I would like to see the movie, knowing that in spite of the horrors it deals with there are also some positive aspects. Northrup's own stalwart character is one; and the fact that there were good people who did their best to help him.

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