Moments: This to the Next

MOMENTS: This to the Next ISBN 9780986090097 Vista View Publishing Copyright 2010, designed, inclusive of all art work and written by Gary W. Burns.

Subtitled Poetry, “Now and Eternity” is a collection of simplistically produced poems depicting nature’s beauty, time and its passage and love, often expressed in  a minimal selection of words. Some, even appear to be somewhat esoterically directed. A few examples:

     One Love   Morning was asked.

“Morning Do you miss the night?”

Morning’s light Replied

“I’m holding her hand;

Love’s grand.”

       Built

Built, The bridge is crossed.

       Somewhere

Somewhere In the wind

Your name begins

       So Much For Time –

Wherever you are

Whenever then is

Will be now

Summary: This book is the latest of several volumes of poetry created by this well-travelled and apparently well-known individual. They appear to express thoughts based upon his observations of individuals and the intertwining effects of nature and the passage of time has upon their lives and love. For this, and perhaps this reader alone, there is a large degree of disappointment with few memorable ‘takeaways’.

3* Regrettably, as explained.

The Covid Legacy

The COVID Legacy assumed published, copyright and written by Lance Haynes,

The book opens with a description of areas of the country/world completely devastated from “The Dying Time’ when large portions of the world’s inhabitants were wiped out by a pandemic viral infection. It then introduces the reader to Brian, the son of Anders and Melissa Thorson and his wife Desta. He was from the northern section of the inhabited world and she was from Ethiopia. They discovered each other via an internet search and were allowed to get married and assigned to a home previously owned by a deceased billionaire near Jackson Hole by the UN Authority who functioned as the regulatory arm of the shadowy but all-powerful Dominus. They had been living here for 15 years and recently had been permitted to have children, or at least, a child. Brian possessed a brilliant mind and performed requested duties for the administrative body. The house assignment and other ‘favors’ signified their importance to the controlling authority. The story evolves as Brian attempts to learn more about his grandfather, Carl. From notes and other mementos of his grandfather he received and/or discovered from his father, he was able to discern the brilliance of the man and his manipulation by the controlling force of Dominus. Also revealed were the fate of his grandmother, existence of an equally brilliant aunt and more. Ultimately, the entire situation in large part designed and developed by his grandfather is addressed by the unexpected appearance of a believed long dead relative who with Brian, and a small cohesive group attempt to somewhat alter it for the good of all.

Discussion: The author has employed the present viral pandemic in a fictional setting that uses a tentative agenda where such an instrument, coldly but efficiently, was set in motion to solve the constantly discussed world problems of overpopulation, intercountry as well as personal greed and scrambling for dominance, cold and hot wars, global warming and the rest. It is a very readable thoughtful but in some ways ‘uncomfortable’, philosophical discussion brought to mind by China’s seeming culpable involvement. The discussion may be a little heavy for some, but coverage as set forth generally is acceptably comprehensible as pertinent to its placement within the story.

4* 5* story, probably -1 for (really required) lengthy philosophical passages.

After Olympus

AFTER OLYMPUS ISBN: 9781733801713 Lone Think Press copyright by Desmond Mascarenhas written by Santiago Xaman.

Description/Discussion: Pragmatically, and referred to by the author as “pseudo-fiction”, this most unusual book follows a rambling plot following the lives of three men besides the story teller and their wives or significant others as their lives play out after discovery of a hitherto unknown/unreported Russian Space craft of unusual components and containment. The tale is a tumultuous mixture of mystery and mythology with overtones of mysticism (?), occult (?), history spread over a wide section of the world ranging from Guatemala to Russia, the Serengeti and other parts of Africa, India, throughout much of the U. S. and Europe. The four protagonists all are exceedingly well educated and from backgrounds (families/cultures/traumatic occurrences) that make them prone to a somewhat different manner of living, employment and in their reactions to these matters. The pages are replete with thought provoking messages on such matters as the fact that every subject deserves empirical, intuitive and pragmatic contemplation; everything good grows from the bottom up (plants, trees, cultures?); everything projected from the top down is bad – organized religions, governments et al. – these latter often ‘dodge’ by forming protocols that ‘adapt’. Good comes from people thinking alone; e.g. Plato, Einstein; bad from organizational groups at the top claiming from their collective decision that they are right and everybody else wrong. And unfortunately, even authenticity is vulnerable if railed against at a high level maintained for a sufficiently long time. The author seems most interesting, but who is the author? The book includes a previously published “Opinion Piece” of interest in itself, as is another “Rebuilding the House” that discusses replacing organized religions, governments, corporations “with better versions of themselves”. Also some notes About the Author are quite fascinating when contemplating the entire book and the thoughts that arise from the ‘experience’ of reading this book.

5* Unusual, divertingly intriguing experience for certain readers.

A Kite at the Edge of the World

A Kite at the Edge of the World ISBN: 9781733080613 Yearning Press, copyright and written by Katy Grant.

The story opens with an eighty-plus-year-old man reminiscing on the same beach where he met his first childhood friend in a vacation resort town they visited every summer. He was five or six years old, rather reticent as the result of a rather overprotective mother and a strict nurse heavily occupied with his newly-born sister. Thus, he did not take to the other children because they were ‘too noisy’ but had noticed a young boy several times walking with his mother or an older woman. The boy appealed to him because he too seemed to walk quietly and seemed somewhat ‘reserved’. A few days later he saw him alone on the beach and they began talking. The boy, Ilio, was a little older and this was a first visit with a mother and father who wanted him to learn as much as possible. The reason for the visit, as he informed his new friend because he was dying. He explains that whatever it was it was incurable and he didn’t have very much time left. The plot follows the simple pleasures discovered by the two young boys as it advances during the summer through Ilio’s gradual decline and eventual death.

Discussion: In the closing pages, the author presents a summation by the old man telling the story “True Ilio’s life was short. There were many things he never experienced…Never looked back on a long life and wondered, bewildered, what he possibly had to show for it. Time was his enemy. Yet time has been my enemy too. I was once told years ago that nothing lasts. Not mountains, nor planets, nor stars. And yet, I have also been told that these three things abide – faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love. And now, all of the people I have loved in my life, more of them are dead than are living. Do they know we still love them? I am told that they still do. Perhaps that is the power of love. It endures.” And he continues his ruminations about the first young friend he had ever made. Obviously, the author has attempted to weave a poignant tale extolling the importance and everlasting effect of love and sets forth the story in a well-written manner amply providing thoughts, verbalization and actions of children of the age portrayed. Many readers may thoroughly embrace this story. Regrettably and apologetically to the author however from the perspective of this reviewer, a caveat is required. A story of ruminations by an old man about the death of a childhood friend, although such occurrence is readily acknowledged by all as simply a necessary part of living, is not a more usually preferred subject for selection.

3* 5* Well-written tale extolling the importance of love; -2 caveat as explained.

OM: Life’s Gentle Reminders

OM: Life’s Gentle Reminders ISBN: 9781951943028 WSA Publishing copyright and written by Kamini Wood,

This interesting little book’s title is a simple reminder for persons to look at the simplest and most mundane things and ‘happenings’ of life and recognize what lessons they might provide. Each short discussion is titled simply as ‘what it is’ and opens with a pertinent quote followed in turn by a short discussion of what thoughts it may bring to mind. For example, “What my Morning Traffic Jam Taught Me” discusses passing a scene of cars piling up in the opposite lane as the result of two stopped blocking any forward movement. The thought came to mind of how similar this was to “what happens when I get down on myself about something”. At such times when something does not go as planned, it is the only thing on which she can focus. So many others are similar. “Such negative thoughts can paralyze us, much like those cars being stopped in the travel lane paralyzed any other vehicles from moving forward.” The obvious answer simply is to acknowledge the negative thought, and like the offending cars, move them to the side of the road. Another is “Toy Story 4” which opens with a quote from Herbert Bayard Swope; “I cannot give you the formula for success, but I can give you the formula for failure – which: Try to please everybody.” The pertinent discussion follows. Another, “To Each Shell Her Own” that admonishes not to be concentrated upon personal perfection, but to take time to look at what is available and possible with a little more self-compassion, who you are and where you are in life and what possibilities exist from this perspective. Another, “Over the Rainbow” with a quote from Dolly Parton: “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” The author follows with the astute observation that a rainbow consists of a mixture of the darkness of the departing clouds and the advancing sun’s rays, an admixture of light and dark bouncing off the raindrops to produce the beautiful structure. So “what if just for now, we started recognizing that our darker moments mixed with our lighter ones makes us us? And what if we start seeing ourselves as the amazing, smile inducing humans we are?” The book continues providing numerous simple little “gentle reminders” of the constantly encountered situations in daily life from which only the slightest deviation in thought direction can produce a worthwhile lesson to be learned. Thus, as a professional coach in personal aspects of living, the author states “based on the concept of realigning with and rediscovering your authentic self…hence the term I created: AuthenticMe.” And “Because of the prevalence of buzzwords today, the words themselves get tired and overused – in essence they lose some of their impact and meaning.” Here, she proceeds to quote Brené Brown with ““Letting go of who we think we are supposed to be” hits it on the head for me.”” She includes a discussion of this feature among her other offerings at a point approximately sixty per cent of the way through her little book. Directly thereafter in the section entitled PIV…OOOT she quotes Winston Churchill’s statement “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often” and poses a tantalizing question. Another providing a simple, but really necessary subject for thought is “What Does the End Say” that opens with a quote from Aristotle; “Happiness depends upon ourselves”. Still others follow that allow the mind to reach an entirely new plateau of understanding some other facet of living.

Conclusion: An interesting and simply provided collection of discussions of thoughts generated from and/or provided by, daily mundane ‘happenings’ for the reader to review, consider and adopt.

5* “Gentle Reminders” for easy, amusingly worthwhile contemplation.

Conscience of the Machine

Conscience of the Machine published, copyright and written by Brian Cato.

This is a philosophical tale concentrating on three humans and one machine in a fictional setting not possible within the U.S. for many years. The setting is to be ignored, however, as it has been employed to illustrate the author’s interestingly thought-producing sequence. Bobby Rosen is a young student with greater intelligence than he is able to demonstrate. When facing academic tests he develops an overriding tension that interferes with his thought processes. Regrettably, he has an additional learning problem in mathematics and the sciences. His parents are supportive and well-meaning, but both have overly active work lives that allow little other than demonstrating stray moments of affection. Emma Browne is a dedicated teacher believing that gentle encouragement is required to bring forth the best student performance. She constantly is at odds with Harvey McNair, the school’s Principal who contrarily believes in following the era’s trend to use fear in his pursuit of better student performance. The ominous machine overshadows the entire tale from its early introduction simply as an interruption of normal daily activity at the local high school by the sudden metallic screeching sounds accompanied by screams from behind a fence adjacent to the school yard. No student, if knowledgeable, will describe, much less discuss the matter and the machine does not actually appear and take an active part for the reader until the story’s closing moments when it assumes an overpowering position.

Discussion: The entire tale is a presentation of the psychological and philosophical aspects of personal development and whether man actually has ‘free will’ in making choices in his life, or whether life is dictated by fate? The author, a Brown University dual major graduate (Philosophy, Chemistry), is a synthetic organic chemist engaged in working “for major pharmaceutical companies for ten years, taking breaks to spend a year teaching English in China and to write.” He offers further that he has “an abiding interest in the phenomenon of the mind, the genesis of identity, and the persistent irrationality of the human creature, himself included.” If the prospective reader’s interests are in accord with those expressed by the author, you certainly will thoroughly enjoy being able to project yourself into this somewhat fanciful setting.

 

5* For devotees of philosophical discussions.