Into the Woods, a 16th century mystery novel assumed published copyright and written by Josh Soule.
The book opens with Chapter Zero where a “beast, no longer interested at clawing its way through the door to devour the family dwelling inside, but rather the townsmen who had just fired his musket… it did not slink through the trees… The beast was no longer afraid, no longer timid; it no longer would hide from the people of this town. The monster would not stop until it had its fill of death…A deep rumble escaped the beast’s throat as it skulked its way down the dirt path toward the town square.” A prologue follows that apparently begins recounting events that preceded this occurrence by three months; i.e. March 3, 1590. The reader is introduced to John who has left Paris where he had been studying art, to return to Carn, a small town on a trade route that is home to farmers and tradesmen. He has no family, was raised by Michael, the town priest who also was responsible for Thomas and Henry who were in similar circumstances. They were inseparable as children and often played close to and occasionally ‘on a dare’ entered the huge forest that began at the town’s edge. Their ‘acts of bravery’ occasioned by the rumors of its being inhabited by a creature that supposedly could change from human to beast. As the friends are reunited upon John’s return, more information is provided about them. Henry is married with small children and seemingly possessed of some lung problem; Thomas is a very large man, a hunter as well as owner of a farm on the outskirts of the village and a real ‘loner’; John again lives in the church with Michael, is the intellectual of the threesome and often approached by town residents for help. As time progresses, reports of cattle being killed in a horribly destructive manner surface and the three friends decide they must investigate for the safety of the town. Thomas and Henry are constantly at odds on the method to be followed and John acts as arbiter. On one attempt they are attacked by a rabid bear and manage to kill it without being infected. However, John is brutally mauled with broken ribs and more, but does recover. The town celebrates the heroes and believes all is well and life activities continue normally until sometime later another attack occurs. The tale’s description of the time and activities leading to this and the subsequent events comprise the remainder of the story.
Discussion: This book’s most unusual and especially intriguing dedication provides a compelling basis for post-reading thought. It is to “every pastor, priest, or any other religious leader – no matter where you live or what title you go by it is a very challenging task to care for the masses as your own family – the severity and complication of this cannot be fully compared to the symbolism in this book. The physical, spiritual, and emotional toll you have taken upon yourself cannot go unnoticed. Thank you.” The tale itself explores the existence of a mental attitude to protect another individual from some feature/condition/action. Frequently such activity may appear to be helpful, but conversely it may provide grossly detrimental results. In accord with the author’s expressed beliefs, the tale examines this attitude. With respect to the mechanics of presentation, the story itself projects the period and its physical and mental patterns moderately well. The characters, although not as well ‘fleshed-out’ as they could be, are adequate. *SPOILER ALERT*! Their movement within individual scenes occasionally leave gaps that require the reader to fill, or ignore, and for the pragmatist, some of John’s post bear activity is most difficult to accept as are occasional activities of others.
3* 5* Post-read thought stimulant; -2 spoiler alert re: presentation, at end of discussion.
SKELETONS ISBN: 978317(incomplete) Xlibris publishing, copyright and written by Bryce Wellington Rhymer.
Sub-titled “Poetry of Human Nature”, this little book consists of a large collection of poems exploring individual thoughts and emotions as one wanders through life. Characteristically, as with thoughts themselves, the subjects presented do not follow any particular pathway. They range through “A Retiree’s View, A Sad Reality, Alone, Poetic Insight, Wrong Doing” and a host of others. They explore subjects of love, why one may enjoy writing poetry, relationships, “who’s in charge of you”, how continued disregard of basic discipline will cause the downfall of any institution and numerous other thoughts every individual considers, even if not more than occasionally.
Discussion: The reader will discover that the interesting contents of this little book have been quite well provided in the description employed for its introduction to the prospective reader. Exactly as described, it is a simplistically written tale of human behavior and how such individuals realistically think. A recounting, in a rhythmic poetic pattern, the often immense depths and flow of emotions, feelings and thoughts we all harbor but do not express. Thus, they simply add a little more to the already heavy psychological luggage many individuals carry through life as “Skeletons in your closet.”
4* Quite fascinating assembly of thoughts/emotions shared by all.
LEAN ON the Five Pillars of Support for Women in Leadership ISBN: 9781642250824 Advantage Media Press copyright and written by Andreas Wilderer.
The book opens with a sizable number of comments by CEO’s and other highly placed individuals praising the author’s presentation. This is followed by the usual copyright and publication material and then an interesting dedication: “This book is dedicated to all the amazing women who follow their dreams and reach for the stars and to everyone who supports them on their journey. And to my wonderful wife, Mirka and our children Dominik and Viktoria, who supported me in writing this book.” There follows an introduction admonishing the necessity to design the ‘pillars of support’ strongly, but then to be sure that the structure is constantly re-examined to access its condition so that no deterioration that could lead to eventual collapse can occur. It further explains that in order to properly describe this sound foundation of the Five Pillars – Partnership, Family, Workplace, Society and Self – the manner in which they must function together as one unit requires the ensuing chapters (although having some individual attributes) largely to be focused on selective combinations; e.g. workplace and society. The ensuing 9 chapters along with a Conclusion provide the material in exactly this manner. A few of the many fine bits of important information offered are: the overall necessity for each individual contemplating entering this alternative life-style to thoroughly analyze and truthfully examine his/her ability to function comfortably in a society where a long accepted manner of man/woman/work/home/children functions have been ingrained as ‘the norm’ for generations; the necessity of being able to make their children understand why dad is Mr. MOM so they can face children from traditional households, i.e., They must be taught and be able to understand the importance of gaining sensitivity and compassion so as to break free of gender stereotypes and learn they don’t need to fit into anyone else’s mold; the worker must learn not to micromanage a home situation or the reverse; the absolute need to be open-minded and fair in all situations; apply many if not all of the features of running a business to managing a successful home relationship; and many more.
Discussion: The author has provided a fascinating and most important discussion of a subject that appears to be most appropriate and greatly needed because of the thrust of many new directions that have arisen in today’s society. The reversal of mother/father relationships is only one of the new directions. Modern society and more importantly its children, also are facing and attempting to cope with the growth of single parentage, same sex parents, divorced parents, dual sets of parents and more. Millennials have made initial efforts to change the structure of society and we only can stand by to see if these frequently brilliant entrepreneurial minds can, and are willing to, think beyond their seemingly self-centered interests to solve the problems arising from the conflicts facing children when faced with unfortunately often cruel words and actions of the still existent majority of children from traditional families.
5* Much needed initial discussion. Highly recommended.
The Changemaker ISBN 9781946633736 Forbes Media copyright and written by Deke Copenhaver.
Sub-titled “The art of building better leaders” opens with several statements of praise for the book and its author followed by publication details; a forward; acknowledgements; about the author; timeline; introduction; nine chapters; “a parting word”, Passing the Baton to the Next Changemakers”; and more about deke”. The author admonishes that a Changemaker is “somebody who’s not afraid to do something different in the service of a good cause” and describes 7 attributes of such individuals; asks “What kind of Leader are you? Stresses the importance of creativity; Courage to Weather the Storm; importance of Coming Together; need to listen so you can learn from others; the requirement of transparency in all activities; dire need to remain calm, composed and lead on during times of trouble; and perhaps the most essential requirement, to follow your moral compass. Each chapter expands upon its subject matter and provides a helpful list of activities apropos to the subject in hand.
Discussion: This is a well-written book by an intelligent non-politician who had the temerity to run, and serve, for 3 terms (2005-2014) as Mayor of Augusta, Georgia. He was eminently successful by travelling a path quite different from the usual track espoused by career politicians. The individual chapters tell how it was accomplished and provides the reader with step by step directions how to become such a leader. Although containing some redundancy, an unfortunate feature of written material presented by anyone accustomed to speaking engagements, this is a well-written blueprint for any person desirous of attaining a high level of expertise in leadership.
5* Worthwhile read for any aspiring leader.
NEXUS ISBN: 9781543981551 assumed published, copyright and written by Ryan W. Aslesen.
In this new addition to the popular Max Ahlgren series, Max is continuing to attempt to discover and eliminate, in as painful manner as possible, the men who had murdered his wife and son. During this continuing process, he is asked to help a new FBI agent to continue her assignment to deliver a brilliant Israeli Scientist, his young son and his tremendously advanced scientific achievement in Artificial Intelligence to a safe house outside of Washington, D.C. Margaret Leet, the new agent, along with her more experienced partner were attacked while waiting for a delayed flight at Los Angeles Airport. Her partner had been killed, but she, the scientist and his son temporarily were safe until Max’s arrival. They again set out only to be attacked repeatedly by supposed friends as well as foes. The action escalates in the manner usually provided by the author’s novels to an interesting conclusion seemingly much more philosophical in its content than usual before preparing the reader for the next book in the series.
Discussion: The author, well-known among thriller aficionados, has provided another high octane thriller again featuring the indestructible Max Ahlgren. The action, in a less usual manner, is slowed somewhat with a portion describing dreams similarly suffered by most service men who have participated in heavy combat. Also, a considerable amount of time is spent discussing the fact that “dynamite, TV and the Internet –each created for betterment of mankind and for peaceful purposes, instead now are instruments of murder and mass control” because “The wisest and kindest intentions don’t matter when greed and narcissisms become involved.” These latter features, as applied to the plot of the story, actually add another worthwhile dimension to the content of the ongoing series.
4* thriller but 5* for added dimension demanding serious thought.
May Cause Drowsiness and Blurred Vision ISBN: 978732721616, published, copyright and written by Gloria Squitiro.
This is an autobiographical segment in the life of a woman of Italian birth, happily married to a man who is a brutally frank auditor who attacks waste in government budgets – Mark Funkhouser, politician, author, former Auditor, then elected Mayor of City of Kansas City, MO. She, like Mark, is adamant about seeking the truth about her areas of interest; e.g. a freelance (unattached to any hospital) individual providing knowledge and aid to couples before and during childbirth after experiencing 2 caesarian sections that seemingly were unnecessary. Her birth children are a son and daughter and she has others she has attracted because of her nature. The story covers a period preceding her husband’s run for Mayor starting with a somewhat extended trip to Europe with the whole family as well as a period following their return.
Discussion: The author has initiated “The C’mon Funk Series” with this first volume that is sub-titled “The side-effects of bravery”. Here, she has set forth a no-holds-barred look at her unvarnished truth seeking evaluation of a number of factors and situations from her brave but confessed quite hypochondriacally slanted approach to life. It provides both humor and bits of poignancy from a realistic viewpoint that seems to be quite congruent with her husband’s thought processes. In her own words: she “has an INFJ (Introverted, intuitive, Feeling, Judging) personality. She is an advocate. She is a dreamer who takes concrete steps to realize her goals and make a lasting positive impact. Helping others is her purpose in life, but not through charity work. Her real passion is to get to the heart of issues so people need not be rescued at all.”
5* Fascinatingly amusing approach to life fascinating for many readers.