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text 2017-03-09 06:00
Cover Reveal for Confessions of a Carpool Captive by Dawn L. Chiletz
Title: Confessions of a Carpool Captive
Author: Dawn L. Chiletz
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Release Date : March 24,2017 


My name is Liz Foley. I love my accounting job because I’d rather deal with numbers than talk to people. 
My best traits:
I have (RBF) Resting Bitch Face.
I give snarky come-backs.
I have no friends.
My worst traits:
I speak in run-on sentences when I get nervous.
I’m attracted to assholes.
I’m broke.
Enter Finnigan Walsh – the new guy at work. 
His best traits:
He’s kind of hot, I suppose.
He has a working car.
He sings to me and brings me coffee. 
Nothing ever gets to him, even when I add more people to our carpool.
His worst traits:
See above
I don’t like him. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself. 
After all, it’s not about how fast you get there. It’s the journey. Right?
Damn this carpool.
You’d better buckle up.
Dawn L. Chiletz is the author of The Contest, Waiting to Lose, Enough, Can't You See, and The Fabulist. She currently resides in Illinois with her husband, two boys, and three dogs. In the summer of 2014, armed with a dream from the night before, she sat at her kitchen table while her boys played on their computers and began the first words of “The Contest.” She’s been writing and drinking large amounts of coffee ever since.
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review 2017-03-07 12:48
The Confessions of Young Nero
The Confessions of Young Nero - Margaret George

Happy Publication Day Margaret George!


What makes The Confessions of Young Nero by Margaret George work is the fact that it is about a young boy caught up in intrigues and machinations from his very birth. The first person narrative through his eyes initially sets up a sympathetic character. What also makes this book work is the detail with which the ancient Roman world is described. Never take historical fiction for being history, but let yourself indulge in this story that completely submerges you in its world.


Read my complete review & listen to Margaret George speak about Emperor Nero at Memories From Books - The Confessions of Young Nero


Reviewed for NetGalley.


Source: www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/03/the-confessions-of-young-nero.html
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review 2017-02-09 18:52
Confessions of a Pagan Nun
Confessions of a Pagan Nun - Kate Horsley

Ireland, c500 AD


Giannon's home was a configuration of branches, stones, and mud. A dome and a shed of these materials leaned against one another like old drunken warriors at a banquet. All around these structures was a variety of grasses, blossoms, and bushes that I had never seen before. Drying herbs, jars on tethers, and staffs of yew and oak hung on the sides of his dwelling so that it reminded me of Giannon himself when he travelled beneath a tangle of druidic accessories. The clearing with its gardens and dwelling was empty of human life, though a ragged gray wolf scampered into the woods from there. Some might say that the wolf was Giannon transformed, but I only had the sense that the wolf was hungry and weak, for the past winter had been fiercely cold.


I entered the dwelling and found the inside also strung with dried plants, jars, and staffs. There were shelves on which a chaos of boxes and jars sat along with feathers and scrolls and dust. The only furnishings were a table, a small bench, and a bed made of straw covered with the skins of bear and fox. More scrolls, codices, and tablets sat upon these furnishings, as though the originals had multiplied in some orgy when their master was away.


I walked carefully through this strange chamber, afraid that all of Giannon's belongings and the dwelling itself were capable of collapsing into a dusty pile of rubble. And I believed that a druid's dwelling could likely be set with spells from which I would emerge transformed into a beetle or a bee. I waited for Giannon outside, until the world grew dim and I could see wolves running along the tree line beyond the small clearing in which Giannon's home nested. Finally I saw Giannon approach …


This book has as its setting the period when the Church moved in and took over Ireland. It is the story of Gwynneve, who trains as a Ban-druí (druidess) under a surly and disillusioned druid watching his order pass into history as the tonsured monks and priests swarm over the land.


But two stories run concurrently, in alternate chapters. Gwynneve's story of her childhood with her wonderful mother -


My father accused my mother of starving me by filling me up with stories instead of food. Everyone in my túath was hungry, especially during the months of thick frost. But I did not want food as much as I craved her stories, which soothed me. I listened to my mother weave words together and create worlds, as though she were a goddess. Words came from her mouth and dispelled my loneliness, even when she was not with me. She began every story with the phrase "It was given to me that …"


- and then, when her mother died, her story of her life with Giannon the druid. Meanwhile, in the other chapters, we learn about the life she leads now as a nun among other Christian nuns who are drifting helplessly under the authority of a monk, Brother Adrianus, one of a small band who joined the nuns at the shrine of St Brigit and who has assumed the title and dignity of Abbot.


It is, let me say at once, depressing in parts. How could it not be? But as Gwynneve the nun, in the convent that is becoming daily more like a prison (and longing for her druid lover) writes her story on her treasured parchments, it is also very moving and uplifting.


Take some of Gwynneve's views and comments (recorded in the secret diary). Faced with unbelievable ignorance and stupidity, she writes: "I admonish myself and all who read this not to be ignorant on any matters of which knowledge is available. Do not be afraid of the truth …"


And later: "For we both both were weak in doctrine and strong in questions. But we both loved effort and knowledge, though I saw Giannon become weary in his eyes. I do not understand a man who does not want to know all that he can know."


On the loneliness of incarnation: "Among all the wisdom and facts I learned from Giannon, I also learned the loneliness of incarnation, in which there is inevitably a separation of souls because of the uniqueness of our faces and our experiences."


On God and nature: "I cannot see that any religion is true that does not recognize its gods in the green wave of trees on a mountainside or the echo of a bird's song that makes ripple on a shadowed pool […] This land is full of holiness that I cannot describe.  Brigit knows this. Brigit to me is the wisest of all the saints. She knows the value of ale and the comfort of poetry."


On Christ and kindness: "That Christ fed fish and bread to the poor and spoke to the outcast whore makes me want his company on this dark night. The world is full of immortals but sorely lacking in kindness."


It is indeed. And the end is truly shocking. Not depressing, no, on second thoughts. Tragic.

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review 2017-01-19 05:13
The Confessions of X by Suzanne M. Wolfe
The Confessions of X - Suzanne M. Wolfe

Before he became a father of the Christian Church, Augustine of Hippo loved a woman whose name has been lost to history. This is her story. She met Augustine in Carthage when she was seventeen. She was the poor daughter of a mosaic-layer; he was a promising student and heir to a fortune. His brilliance and passion intoxicated her, but his social class would be forever beyond her reach. She became his concubine, and by the time he was forced to leave her, she was thirty years old and the mother of his son. And his Confessions show us that he never forgot her. She was the only woman he ever loved. In a society in which classes rarely mingle on equal terms, and an unwed mother can lose her son to the burgeoning career of her ambitious lover, this anonymous woman was a first-hand witness to Augustine’s anguished spiritual journey from secretive religious cultist to the celebrated Bishop of Hippo. Giving voice to one of history’s most mysterious women, The Confessions of X tells the story of Augustine of Hippo’s nameless lover, their relationship before his famous conversion, and her life after his rise to fame. A tale of womanhood, faith, and class at the end of antiquity, The Confessions of X is more than historical fiction . . . it is a timeless story of love and loss in the shadow of a theological giant.





Between the years 397 - 400 AD, St. Augustine of Hippo released his multi-volume memoir Confessions. Within the pages of the early passages, he makes mention of a woman who was quite important to him prior to his church life, but the woman remains unnamed except for when he calls her "Una" -- The One. In The Confessions of X, Suzanne Wolfe imagines who that woman might have been, what she might have been like, and what might have transpired to have this mystery female part ways with Augustine.  


In this novel, the woman remains officially unnamed though she is given nicknames by some, such as her best friend Nebridius. Their first meeting was at the town creek when they were small children, so he gives her the nickname Naiad (Greek for "spirit of the river") while she calls him Nereus (jokingly meaning "wet one" but also name of a Greek god of the sea).


Augustine and his special lady meet when they are 17, both being friends of Nebridius. They have a whirlwind romance but their relationship faces a major roadblock. Augustine is from a privileged family and heir to a great fortune while X is the daughter of a humble mosaic artist. In fact, X's father has her living with his sister since he struggles with drinking and gambling addictions. Tough sell for a man in Augustine's position, but he feels true love for X so he presents her with the best situation he can offer her -- no official marriage, but instead a position as his concubine.


It had cost me nothing; it was to cost me all.


In that era, the role of concubine was a little different than what we imagine when that word comes up now; back then it was more like vowing yourself into a common-law marriage via commitment ceremony... spiritually powerful but not as legally binding. In fact, under the concubine arrangement, in the case of a break up, the man would automatically get full custody of any children he sired, while the woman would basically be out on her rear. 


X bears Augustine a son and they have many content years together. Neighbors seem stunned at just how cozy & lovey-dovey the couple remains as the years continue to pass. But there is a restlessness to Augustine's spirit that X cannot seem to calm. X packs up their home and moves the family from Carthage, Africa to the bustling city of Rome, hoping Augustine's heels would cool once he got settled into a more academically satisfying community. Hard as she tried though, nothing seemed to answer his need quite enough. When she overhears one of his colleagues whispering that X may be playing a part in Augustine being held back professionally, she makes the choice to exit out of his life at the age of 30, returning to Carthage so that he might make a advantageous and official marriage with someone within his class. But as history buffs know, Augustine goes on to choose the church over another woman. 


I'm new to the writing of author Suzanne Wolfe, though she's had a few books out prior to this one. This novel though... WOW. Her descriptions of this world are so palpable! This is one of those books you have to be willing to take slow because there is A LOT of detail to take in and while you might feel a little worn out in the process taking it all in, it's all worth it. There's one heck of a story here! I can't imagine processing the kind of painful decisions X was pushed to make multiple times over the course of her life. I just picture this woman with a shattered heart that never found a way to entirely heal but somehow she pushes through and carries on.


Although the roots may be in darkness the flower grows toward the light. Root and flower are one, not separate.


The story isn't all heartbreak though! There are some loving scenes between Augustine and X that are alternately beautifully deep and sometimes tragic but also sweet, adorable, even hilarious in parts. I had a good laugh over one scene where X is talking with her friend Neith, the mother of a large herd of children. X just has her one son. Neith hypothesizes that X's love of books is just a band-aid for her pain, an odd side effect from struggling to conceive again, shrugs it off with "you'll soon be cured." The reader is then given a glimpse into X's inner thoughts, the memory of how the birth of her son very nearly killed her, making her think that maybe she doesn't WANT to be cured of reading! X-D


This gorgeous bit of historical fiction gave me a glimpse into a time & place I've admittedly read very little about -- the Romans in Carthage, Africa. Weird how it's hard to think of Romans outside of Rome but this novel reminded me of the true scope of the Roman Empire. History aside, I also fell in love with all these unique characters -- not just Augustine and X but also all their friends, neighbors and colleague who had small but important influences on their day to day life decisions. These characters were wonderfully alive and I eagerly look forward to exploring more of Wolfe's work! 


FTC Disclaimer: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book & requested that I check it out and share my thoughts. The opinions above are entirely my own.






A couple of new-to-me vocab words I took away from this novel:



Anchorite = a religious recluse


Suborn = to subhorn is to bribe someone to commit a crime


"The Latin word that gave us suborn in the early part of the 16th century is subornare, which translates literally as "to secretly furnish or equip."

~ from merriam-webster.com




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review 2017-01-15 00:00
Confessions of a Born-Again Pagan
Confessions of a Born-Again Pagan - Anth... Confessions of a Born-Again Pagan - Anthony T. Kronman The author at the end of this book makes an apologetic like statement after 'having taxed the reader's patience with a long and abstract book....'. This is one reader who was never taxed and fully appreciated the author's abstract thoughts. Most books that I enjoyed as much as this one turn out to be dense and difficult for me to recommend since they are hard to follow but this one was a pleasant read while at the same time dealing with somewhat complex ideas and was able to tie together most of the books or Great Courses I've read or listened to over the last year (2016).

Slightly over a year ago I ran out of popular science books and came across[a:Martin Heidegger|6191|Martin Heidegger|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1217243699p2/6191.jpg] [b:Being and Time|92307|Being and Time|Martin Heidegger|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1298438455s/92307.jpg|1309352]. That opened my eyes to the value of primary source books on thinking and the nature of being. Instead of reading books or Great Courses about the famous philosophers or schools of thought, I started to branch into the works of the great thinkers themselves.

The author realizes that their has been a 2400 year old conversation around the intelligibility of the universe and the world we live in. He starts with the pre-Socratics and he's going to end the discussion with Walt Whitman.

The author wants to bring Joy back into the world by taking away our sense of entitlement and giving us Gratitude by re-introducing Pride. The author really doesn't like 'nihilism' and is going to argue that the world is eternal and divine making his 'born-again' paganism more than just pantheism and wants to bring back mystery. He even justifies this by embracing 'patriotism', and I would even say that he would not agree with the sentiment 'there but for the grace of God go I' because he puts the responsibility only on the individual and he'll even say that we are under 'the stupor of political correctness' today and that's what Nietzsche was getting at. The author is clearly an anti-humanist and anti-modernist and not particularly pro-Enlightenment and loves his Edmund Burke (Burkeian Bells always go off in my head when conservatives quote Burke, and it's clear this author is a conservative but one who doesn't believe in God putting him in a corner of sorts nearly alone), and he's got a weird Freudian psychoanalytical streak (just look up 'breast feeding' in his index, btw, that index is one of the best I've ever come across. I love a good index, and that is a good index!). All the things within this paragraph are major themes within this book, and for which I tend not to agree with whatsoever, but I still would recommend this book strongly because of the way the author puts all the pieces together and for how the book overlapped with my last years reading list so closely and allowed me to put the great thinkers into a proper context.

To fully understand why this book is so cool I'm going to relate it to some of my last years reading. I was concurrently reading [b:A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years|6957725|A History of Christianity The First Three Thousand Years|Diarmaid MacCulloch|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1348906986s/6957725.jpg|7194000] and I was completely lost on the meaning of Christianity. It wasn't the fault of the book, after all it was a history book, but [a:Anthony T Kronman|15946794|Anthony T Kronman|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-632230dc9882b4352d753eedf9396530.png] gave me the necessary insights. He'll explain how it was Augustine who will create a 'necessary' God because the Christian God is a creator God and Pelagius tries to sneak in human behavior and prayers making a difference to God. The Catholics side with Augustine and his concept of 'free will' for the next 800 years meaning that our salvation comes through Grace. This argument is going to play out through out the middle ages up until Thomas Aquinas and then William of Ockham will try to have the last word on it by disagreeing with Thomas Aquinas by declaring that nothing is necessary for God and the universe must be contingent because God is omnipotent.

The author is going to take the argument up to Luther and the reformation. In 2016 I had been reading many different books related to this but the author was able to tie them all together for me because the books (and Great Courses) were only focused on one particular aspect of the situation, this book tied them all together for me.

Also, last year I focused on 'being' and 'ethics' and 'metaphysics'. I had read various works by and on [a:Aristotle|2192|Aristotle|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1390143800p2/2192.jpg] such as his [b:Metaphysics|208036|Metaphysics|Aristotle|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1355049704s/208036.jpg|2479557], [b:The Nicomachean Ethics|19068|The Nicomachean Ethics|Aristotle|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1472992134s/19068.jpg|2919427], [b:Masters of Greek Thought: Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle|7723891|Masters of Greek Thought Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle (Great Courses, #4460)|Robert C. Bartlett|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/book/50x75-a91bf249278a81aabab721ef782c4a74.png|10481760] and a general book on Greek Philosophers, [b:The Dream of Reason: A History of Western Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance|26530383|The Dream of Reason A History of Western Philosophy from the Greeks to the Renaissance|Anthony Gottlieb|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1444265459s/26530383.jpg|681250]. Each of these were enlightening in their own way, but this book, "Born-Again" made it such that I no longer recite Aristotles' four causes from memory now I realized what he really meant and his causes just flows naturally out of me. This would not have happened if not for this book, and I now realize why the species (form) of Aristotle is such a problem for understanding a God who must know of the individual.

I'm being somewhat presumptuous in calling the author an anti-humanist, but it was clear to me. The author was definitely more interested in [a:Heidegger Martin|2931175|Heidegger Martin|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-632230dc9882b4352d753eedf9396530.png]'s post [b:Being and Time|92307|Being and Time|Martin Heidegger|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1298438455s/92307.jpg|1309352] work. I have just recently reread [b:Being and Time|92307|Being and Time|Martin Heidegger|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1298438455s/92307.jpg|1309352] and it's clear that Heidegger takes an anti-humanist position after [b:Being and Time|92307|Being and Time|Martin Heidegger|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1298438455s/92307.jpg|1309352]. Heidegger tries to bring the mystery back into the universe and hearkens back to the Greeks of the Iliad with their 'truth as disclosure' and curses the 'dehumanization of man' because truth gets equated with 'correctness' (what the post "Being and Time" Heidegger would call the 2000 year mistake). This book "Born-Again' defends that Heideggerian position and the excellent Great Course lecture that I listened to last year, [b:Modern Intellectual Tradition: From Descartes to Derrida|10982690|Modern Intellectual Tradition From Descartes to Derrida|Lawrence Cahoone|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/book/50x75-a91bf249278a81aabab721ef782c4a74.png|15901068] shows how Heidgegger took an anti-humanist turn.

The author really likes Spinoza and Nietzsche and will step the reader through their major works and what they are really getting at. Last year, I read [a:Spinoza|13980412|Spinoza|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-632230dc9882b4352d753eedf9396530.png]'s [b:Ethics|205218|Ethics|Baruch Spinoza|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1462223700s/205218.jpg|1218789], and [a:Friedrich Nietzsche|1938|Friedrich Nietzsche|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1455294131p2/1938.jpg]'s [b:Thus Spoke Zarathustra|51893|Thus Spoke Zarathustra|Friedrich Nietzsche|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1480901846s/51893.jpg|196327]. I loved Spinoza and relate to him. Nietzsche clearly reworks Spinoza but takes out Spinoza's humanism. That's why the author probably prefers Nietzsche in his 'born-again paganism'. Spinoza has the formulation God is Nature and Nature is God, but he also allows for a panentheistic (the universe is alive and is God) interpretation, in [a:Ernest Holmes|79431|Ernest Holmes|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-632230dc9882b4352d753eedf9396530.png]'s [b:The Science of Mind|149197|The Science of Mind|Ernest Holmes|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1349012687s/149197.jpg|143993] which I also read last year he's got a similar formulation or at least to the point where he would say "the man who thinks is God, and God thinks". The author, Kronman, will in detail describe Nietzsche's 'rank order of being', "a picture of the world that organizes a larger order of it in accordance with its own principle of interpretation is more powerful and therefore real than the viewpoints it incorporates in itself". This leads to Nietzsche's view point of "perspectives". Something worth understanding and for which this book does a superb job at. Also, since I do like learning and sharing, Nietzsche would say that everything that is wants to maintain what it is and always wants to take that which is around it (a quick summary of 'will to power', but the author really does a good job at explaining this).

Part of understanding where the author is coming from is by seeing who he doesn't talk about. He'll barely mention [a:Soren Kierkegaard|16308674|Soren Kierkegaard|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-632230dc9882b4352d753eedf9396530.png], [a:Hegel G W F|14721821|Hegel G W F|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-632230dc9882b4352d753eedf9396530.png] or [a:Parmenides|357208|Parmenides|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1298909900p2/357208.jpg]. Last year I read, [b:Fear and Trembling|24965|Fear and Trembling|Søren Kierkegaard|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1309286516s/24965.jpg|813445], [b:Phenomenology of Spirit|9454|Phenomenology of Spirit|Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1425522818s/9454.jpg|995802] and [b:Parmenides|381185|Parmenides (Philosophical Library)|Plato|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1390394394s/381185.jpg|370973] by Plato. Each of these thinkers go against what he's trying to show. Kierkegaard would have the answer Kronman is looking for in his Knights of Truth and how we each must take our own stand based on ourselves, Hegel brings spirit alive by having it become aware of itself, and Parmenides would cause the most difficulty for Kornman to resolve because the author despises relativism (he'll use the word 'nihilism') but he really wants is to bring the necessary, the certain, and the universal back into the world, but he can't do it with God and Revelation because he rejects those two things.

Parmenides gives us the block universe of Einstein. The author Kornman states what he really is trying to do is take Einstein's formulation of the God of Spinoza and bring intelligibility to the world itself through adopting the eternal, divine and using science. This is definitely a problem I had with this book. The author really didn't understand the philosophy of science and its issues and I would recommend the pedantic and dense book [b:Philosophy of Science: The Central Issues|31844|Philosophy of Science The Central Issues|Martin Curd|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1388363804s/31844.jpg|32060], one of my all time favorite books which I read last year, but would be reluctant to recommend because it is a tough read. BTW, [a:Ludwig Wittgenstein|7672|Ludwig Wittgenstein|https://images.gr-assets.com/authors/1429659356p2/7672.jpg] is barely mentioned, in his [b:Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus|491127|Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus|Ludwig Wittgenstein|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1347399977s/491127.jpg|3157863] he will say there is no structure to the world, but that would go against what the author is trying to say.

I haven't yet got to [a:Kant Immanual|5160419|Kant Immanual|https://s.gr-assets.com/assets/nophoto/user/u_50x66-632230dc9882b4352d753eedf9396530.png]. Last year I just finished his [b:Critique of Pure Reason|18288|Critique of Pure Reason|Immanuel Kant|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1348663530s/18288.jpg|1072226] and that is a recurring character within this book. He does one of the best jobs explaining what it means in the context of his world view. The author definitely likes Kant because the author clearly dislikes relativism of any kind, but at the same time the author will show how Kant lacks a proper 'ground' when need be, and as a reader of Kant, it's clear that Kant must create his categories of intuition (transcendence) in order to escape relativism.

The author will show in detail five modern works of literature and how they relate to what he's been talking about. He does such a good job I can recall all five of them but I won't. I'll just mentioned I read one of them, both the comic book version, "In Search of Lost Time" the graphic novel and the real book version (don't laugh, the Graphic Novel is incredibly pleasing and informative). He made me fully understand how they relate to Nietzsche and Spinoza.

The author really likes reason. Cause and effect rule supreme. Everything happens for a reason and he embraces the 'principal of sufficient reason'. Similar to two other books I read last year, [b:On the Nature of Things|195771|On the Nature of Things|Titus Lucretius Carus|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1347656033s/195771.jpg|189338] and [b:Monadology|346074|Monadology|Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1348203141s/346074.jpg|14377158]. The first explains the world in terms of atoms and the second in terms of monads.

Also, I would like to relate what my favorite fictional book I have ever read and I did read it last year, [b:Gravity's Rainbow|415|Gravity's Rainbow|Thomas Pynchon|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1414969925s/415.jpg|866393] to this book. Gravity's Rainbow is concerned with the "temporal bandwidth" which gives us a infinity of time as death approaches, the rebirth of all parts including the machine gun from WW I which leads to an eternal recurrence (a big theme within "Born-again"), there is no extinction just renewal, and everything happens for a reason or nothing happens for a reason (paranoia and anti-paranoia), Kornman favors the paranoia view point.

A final book that I read last year that I'll mention that relates to this book is [b:Ecclesiastes, or The Preacher|535430|Ecclesiastes, or The Preacher|Anonymous|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1336739122s/535430.jpg|522901]. By far my favorite book in the Old Testament. The real theme of that book (and also a theme within Gravity's Rainbow) is that the race doesn't always go to the swiftest or the smartest, but time and chance will often decide. Those are themes that I embraced, or as I said above "there but for the Grace of God go I", a sentiment which runs counter to "Born-Again". I could say that if I were to relive this life, I would not be able to give myself any general advice to have improved my lot because I was born this way and couldn't really be any different from who I was. Time and chance have made my destiny. The author, clearly thinks we are to blame for our own problems, but I believe that the luck we have and unearned gifts we have received make us who we are.

Overall, any book in which I can relate almost all of my previous years reading too, is a good book and I would recommend it, but mentioned that the 'born-again paganism' is not why I'm recommending the book, but I would recommend it for other reasons.
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