May Book Haul 2017 | #SmartReads

MayBookHaul

TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
June 14, 2017

Though a busy and tiring month it sure was, there was still a lot of time to feed the old addiction in May.

And as addictions go, they need sustenance.  What follows are my chosen literary drugs of choice, with some new literary spices to add additional flavor.

The Art Of Non-Fiction by Ayn Rand

Having read two books by Rand, and having them offer much for rumination, I got The Art Of Non-Fiction to dig deeper into Rand’s process of writing.  Thankfully, book offered much to glean from, and it showed what Rand’s latitude and precision can accomplish in works of non-fiction.  A review of it can be read here.

Bradbury Stories – 100 Of His Most Celebrated Tales by Ray Bradbury

Short stories are not something I usually read, although have always held an interest in.  Having ruminated upon that, the work of Bradbury, which I had held in high esteem for some time, seemed like a great place to dive in.  I am only a handful of stories in, but the book is vintage Bradbury in bite-sized chunks.  It’s definitely a book that I will take my time reading given its colossal size.

Strange Candy by Laurell K. Hamilton

Along the same lines as the Bradbury book, this book is also features short stories.  The topics of this book are considerably different – being sci-fi, paranormal, and fantasy – but still hold great interest to me.

Maximum Achievement by Brian Tracy

This book is about maximizing efficiency.  Wanting to get more done on a daily basis, centering upon Maximum Achievement was a straight forward choice.  The book was excellent for my tastes; here is a review of it.        

Getting Things Done by David Allen

Following the notion of maximizing efficiency, this book followed the same previous thread.  That said, taking a look at the title, it’s easy to be skeptical considering many books make claims but do not deliver.  Thankfully, this book was worth the effort.   With that in mind, there are various editions of this book, and after doing some research, for my purposes the first edition of the book seemed best given it covers the nuts and bolts process.  Later editions change a bit, while also adding a lot of seemingly unnecessary information.  That’s merely what I learned from reading reviews.

What I can say for sure is that the first edition offered much purchase.  Some of it common sense, but quite easy overlook as well.  Since adding more efficiency to my daily routine is paramount, this book was another no-brainer.

As A Man Thinketh by James Allen

The work of James Allen was unknown to me up until a few weeks ago.  Synchronicity being what it is, ‘out of nowhere’ the book popped up in my radar and quickly seemed like something that I was meant to read, as uncanny as it sounds.  Fortuitously, Allen’s words are not only brilliant, but they are insightful, and even poetic in a way.  I have never read a writer like him.

The book focuses on mindset and the thoughts one harbors.  Although overlooked by some, a lot of evidence is beginning to show that whatever intention and thoughts people hold in their mind does have a conscious effect on our environment.  Books like The Biology Of Belief by Bruce Lipton Ph.D., Lynne McTaggart’s The Intention Experiment, The Field, as well as many other books cover components of this idea.

In any case, Allen merely espouses being a master of the self and of your thoughts.

A dash of his work follows:

“Every thought-seed sown or allowed to fall into the mind, and to take root there, produces its own, blossoming sooner or later in act, and bearing its own fruitage of opportunity and circumstance.  Good thoughts bear good fruit, bad thoughts bear bad fruits.”[1 ]

Most people including myself have seen this play out on a daily basis once my attention was focused precisely on it.

Beyond that, though, the work of the author was so sensible and mindful that I sought out more of his work.  However, before purchasing one of his other books, I luckily stumbled upon a book called Mind Is Master.  This book happens to be a collection of all of the works of the author and sure saves a lot of money if one was planning to buy all of his books.  That will be featured in next month’s book haul.

Star Wars Rebel Rising by Beth Revis

Being an avid fan of Sci-Fi and Star Wars, I bought this book wanting to examine where the franchise is going considering the considerable increase in Star Wars books over these last few years.  I have attempted starting it twice, and the second time got slowly into it, only to get bogged down early on.  This book just isn’t as engaging as the other ones.  I will read it, but after a few samplings I’m not holding my breath.  I hope I am wrong though!

The Art Of Description by Mark Doty

The Art Of Description popped up within one of my streams on social media, and having liked the blurb, I got one at AbeBooks.  It is short but engaging book, and having now read it I really enjoy and appreciated the author’s unique method of examining a wide array of descriptive examples.  A review for this book will soon follow.

Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg

A few trusted friends suggested this book.  Given my penchant for wanting to know more about history, and fascism in particular (given its considerable increase over the years) this book seemed to be a great place to go to task.   Witnessing the evolving political climate over the last decade, the information in this book is becoming even more important for the future, which was also one of the leading reasons for wanting to research this further.

Fat For Fuel by Dr. Mercola

Fat For Fuel is a veritable treasure trove of information about health that’s written in a cogent and accessible manner, that also outlines the many benefits of healthy fats.  Its in-depth approach helps individuals come to terms with many of the myths that have been expounded by mainstream press and Big Pharma.  The book also offers some solutions for those with significant health problems such as cancer.  It really is a great book, and anyone with any type of disease should contemplate on reading it.  A review of this book can be seen here.

The Vanishing American Adult by Ben Sasse

This book is a dire warning of what the future holds. The author examines many of the causes that have increasingly brought about less capable younger generations than their forefathers.  Not only is there a decline in education, but self-sufficiency is nigh non-existent; the newer generation just isn’t as robust as prior ones.  That’s only the beginning, though.  There are many other disturbing considerations.  Thankfully, the author also ruminates upon some solutions as well.  A review of this book can be seen here.

The Virtue Of Selfishness by Ayn Rand

As a strong proponent of individuality, Ayn Rand stands unlike none other.  Rand was rather outspoken in her views of the Individual against the Collective that pushes conformity.  This book examines those circumstances and analyzes them from various viewpoints.  Only about a quarter of the way through the book, but it’s been vintage Rand as one would expect.

The Romantic Manifesto by Ayn Rand

In this particular piece Rand delves into what she believes are the key tenets of art and its role in life.  Having never read nor found anything of substance regarding this topic in Academia, I am hoping this book leaves much for rumination.   Haven’t had time to delve into it though.

Why I Write by George Orwell

This book has four parts, and only one held great interested me, which was Orwell’s insight into Politics and the English Language.  The others were useful, just not as intriguing.  The language part alone was worth the price, which wasn’t much.   Although the section wasn’t long, it was still great on substance, like one would expect from the father of DoubleThink.

Last Words by George Carlin & Tony Hendra

Throughout his life, George Carlin was known for his no-nonsense straight forward approach to various subjects.  This is one of the main reasons why I wanted to learn more about him, especially given that this approach in life is rarely seen, although it’s much needed.  A review of the book will be posted sometime in the future after having read the book.

Like last month, a handful of books were found at garage sales, which cost next to nothing.  This month also featured some rather fortuitous finds as I was able to find George R.R. Martin’s A Dance With Dragons and James Patterson’s Beach Road for mere pocket change.  There was another book, but that was commandeered by a friend.  What’s up with some people?  Sheesh.

All things considered, though the month had its fair share of obstacles, I was still able to have enough time to read quite a bit.  I am certainly looking forward to finishing these books.

In any case, how was the month for the rest of you?  Found anything intriguing and portentous lately?  Feel free to share any recommendations or insights below.  Be well!

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[1] James Allen, As A Man Thinketh, p 14.
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If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

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Book Review: On Writing Well by William Zinsser | #SmartReads

OnWritingWell
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 22, 2017

“Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they inform and shape life.”
– E.B. White

“Writing is the geometry of the soul.”
– Plato

In On Writing WellThe Classic Guide To Nonfiction, William Zinsser writes an easy-to-follow no-nonsense approach into the core essentials of writing.

Providing a smattering of meticulous examples, On Writing Well does a lucid job of clearing up some of the confusion writers might have about style, methods, leads, endings, et al., while setting the foundation for a stronger individual repertoire.

In fact, regarding this, Zinsser speaks about the importance of everyone to have good writing skills given today’s newfound environment where a lot of communication takes place through the emails, the internet and so on.  This is crucial since most of us employ the tool of writing in a daily fashion.  Zinsser urges individuals to seek to sharpen their skill set in order to become better communicators simply by employing tenets  in this book.

As hinted to before, Zinsser also make incisive use of many salient examples throughout the book by breaking them down and suggesting some writing tips in cogent fashion.  Within these examples the author covers people, places, science and technology, writing within a job, writing about sports, and more.

Broken down into four parts, the book covers [1] Principles, where notions such as clutter and style are covered, [2] Methods, where leads and endings are covered, [3] Forms, where various forms of nonfiction are explored at length and [4] Attitudes within writing, which is self explanatory.  All parts offer ample insights, many of which would be useful to nigh all individuals nowadays, especially if you have to write anything on a daily basis, whether it is emails, memos, etc. and are new to writing.

To accomplish sound things in life, one needs an ironclad scaffolding upon which to set oneself in.  Writing well is no different.  The insights provided by this book will help those that employ them. Couple the tenets in this book with those of those within The Elements of Style, and one has the recipe for success.  Both have helped me quite a bit, as I hope they help you.

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This article is free and open source.  All individuals are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: Love Is Stronger Than Death By Peter Kreeft Ph.D. | #SmartReads

LoveStrongerDeath

TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 15, 2017

I read two of Kreeft’s book in the past and found his writing to follow a very direct non-nonsense approach, regardless of topic.   That being the case, thought it prudent to avail myself of more of his work, given the quality and insights.

Compared to some of Kreeft’s other books which I recently began reading, this book didn’t’ sound as alluring.  However, knowing that Kreeft shovels pearls of wisdom by the truckload in his books, it seemed prudent to proceed open-mindedly – as one always should – into this new book.

Love Is Stronger Than Death by philosopher Peter Kreeft Ph.D. is an in-depth gander into love, death, life through five lenses: death as an enemy, death as a stranger, death as a friend, death as a mother, death as a lover.  Curious chapter titles no doubt, and yet, each offer more than ample insights to ruminate upon.

Examining this curious conundrum, Kreeft takes a very methodical and deft approach into attempting to take the taboo out of death.  Following many thought-provoking considerations, Kreefts undoubtedly leaves the reader not only with a fresh new understanding of death, but a new reassuring point of view of life.

The profound ruminations that Kreeft embarks in are quite meaningful, as they tend to add color to the strands of life that are often fraught with greys and blacks.  For instance:

“On the one hand, death is loss of self; on the other, loss of death is loss of meaning, of identity, of self.  On the one hand, death takes is loss of meaning, of identity, of self.  On the one hand, death takes from me my self, and immortality would give me my self snatched from the jaws of death of nothingness.  On the other hand, death gives me my self, as we have discovered in this chapter, and the “Immortality pill” would snatch it from me.  Death both unmakes me and makes me.”[1]

Passages as such leave the reader much to ponder upon.

Employing a multi-pronged approach, Kreeft deftly uses logic, analogies, biblical lessons, as well as philosophy to strip away much of the mystery that has confounded humanity since time immemorial.

In fact, Kreeft at one point speaks honestly about the subject:

“My concocting and writing this book about death has sharpened my appreciation of life also – beyond all my expectations.  The thought of death has made my life exactly the opposite of  “morbid.”  But why passively read about this experience in other people?  “Look thy last on all things lovely” now.  You have something infinitely better to do than to continue reading this book.  Meet your friend.  Lay the book down for ten minutes and ask yourself what you would think, feel, say, and do if you knew this was the last ten minutes of your life.  And then do it.  For the very good reason that it might be the last ten minutes of your life, and for the equally good reason that some ten minutes certainly will be your last.”[2]

Whether one agrees with his religious views or not, how can someone not appreciate a mind, and individual, with such an honest and caring point of view?

Throughout his books, seeing Kreeft employ logic and philosophy in a sound manner has made me appreciate the value of keen mental faculties that much more.  That said, Love Is Stronger Than Death has made me appreciate life even more so.  Not because I did not appreciate life, because I did, especially having had many bouts with serious disease and hospitalizations.  The issue is that I myself, as others, often find myself busy with life’s intricacies and would forget to slow down and smell the roses so to speak  Not just slow down, but  really slow down, in every second, in every breathe – really take the totality of life in.  This insight has allowed me to begin living life to an extent previously undone.

Not only does this last passage by Kreeft make me ponder about the roads of life we all take, but it also sheds light into the darkest realm of the individual psyche – the end of the road as individuals.  And the intriguing possibility is that this endroad – or is it beginning? – is not paved in darkness, but in light.  That is just my take on it, yours may vary, and rightly so.

Either way, after reading this book, one can’t help but subsume Kreeft’s ideas into your mind but also ponder them at length, share them, and perhaps even grow from them.  This not only removes the scaffolding to the fear surrounding death, but it leaves one prepared to tackle life with a newfound sense of meaning.  And that, my friends, makes life that much sweeter, and in fact, more lively.

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Sources:

[1] Peter Kreeft Ph.D., Love Is Stronger Than Death, pp. 56-57
[2] Ibid., p. 48.

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This article is free and open source. You are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: The Vanishing American Adult by Ben Sasse | #SmartReads

TheVanishingAmericanAdult
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 19, 2017

Wide in scope, and methodical in its examination, The Vanishing American Adult by Ben Sasse is not only a dire warning, but a call to action for those who are seeing the decline of modern adults and the transmutation and erosion of adulthood in modern times, and the erosions of Freedoms as well.

Examining a veritable panoply of issues, the author centers upon myriad issues in modern schooling such as age segregation, over-consumption, lack of knowledge or literary skills, and also the incomplete view on what Freedom really is and all that it entails, and more.

Speaking about the glaring disrespect for Freedom and all that it took the gain, the author incisively notes:

“Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, has created the tragically apt phrase “unlearning liberty” for the troubling turn from freedom of expression and academic freedom toward political correctness and speech codes on our elite campuses.

“Let’s state it clearly: This is nearly the opposite of hat American Revolution as fought for.  America declared independence from Great Britain in pursuit of liberty, not “safe spaces.”  Freedom, and particularly freedom of discourse and debate about the big ideas of life, death, and meaning, is the foundation of the American idea.  Fleeting notions of psychological safety from having to considering competing ideas are quite nearly the opposite.”[1]

Such is what takes place when people are raised wrapped in bubble wrap, and are only allowed to experience a fraction of the totality that the world holds.  Worse, these actions are antithetical to Freedom since they aim to castrate others of the very views Freedom aims to protect, even if they are unpopular.

At one point, the author centers upon the work of award-winning teacher, John Taylor Gatto, who has done yeomen’s work in sounding the alarm regarding the insidious nature of public schooling.  In his landmark book, Dumbing Us Down, the author notes that:

“…seven lessons are universally taught from Harlem to Hollywood,” in our cookie-cutter schools.  The main consequences for students are: emotional confusion, social class disparity indifference, passivity, intellectual dependency on experts, conditional self-esteem, and surveillance by those in charge.”[2]

In such a system that seeks to conform, Is it a wonder that many are merely shadows of what they are fully capable of?

That said, there are two contentions to note with the book.  The first contention centers upon footnotes.  Although the author has a bibliography, and does in fact does address why the footnotes are missing, it still leaves a lot to be desired.  Given that this book aimed to cover a large scope of information, for those wanting to not only verify the information given, but wanting to research it further, footnotes are black pearls, they are essentially priceless.  One can only construct the present out of the roadmap of the past, and without a roadmap, one is unable to know where to go.  One would have to spend hours trying to stitch together the book’s sourced material in an attempt to ascertain which statement correlates with what book in the Bibliography, and there in you STILL don’t know what page that statement came from.  Had he given the page in the bibliography this would have been alright, but such was not the case.

The second contention with the book is that although the author does note some of the incisive issues that are taking place within society, and rightly so, the author doesn’t go far enough and only does a cursory examination.  One could make a sound argument that a large portion of issues stems from the social engineering in education, which is wholly verifiable if one takes the time to look.  It’s certainly not the only reason, but a leading one.

In fact, the very work that the author cited of John Taylor Gatto, throughout his books shows at length many references for the system having been engineered this way.  It wasn’t random that America’s education is failing, and that critical thinking skills have been lost – It was meant to BE that way.  Gatto’s work is a crucial start to glean this.  Moreover, the work of whistleblower Charlotte Iserbyt, who was a former Senior Policy Adviser for the Office Of Education Research & Improvement in the Reagan Administration adds more fuel to the fire, and sheds more light onto the darkness.  Her intriguing book, The Deliberate Dumbing Down Of America, is a phenomenal foray into the insidious roots of this broken system.

Also noteworthy is a gentleman who came out pulling no punches on this very topic named Professor Patrick Deneen.  In fact, in a lucid article entitled “How A Generation Lost Its Common Culture,” he states the following:

“We have fallen into the bad and unquestioned habit of thinking that our educational system is broken, but it is working on all cylinders.  What our education system aims to produce is cultural amnesia, a wholesale lack of curiosity, history-less free agents, and educational goals composed of content-free process and unexamined buzz-words like “critical thinking,” “diversity,” “ways of knowing,” “social justice,” and “cultural competence.”  Our education system produces solipsistic, self-contained selves whose only public commitment is an absence of commitment to public, a common culture, a shared history.  They are perfectly hollowed vessels, receptive and obedient without any real obligations or devotions.”[3]

Such is the true nature of the beast.   Not only is society being dumbed down, but culture as a whole is being eviscerated, one child at a time.

In any case, Sasse does provide some solutions to these problems and they are worthy of consideration.  The solutions that the author offers are not only practical, but much-needed.

It would be prudent for those seeking to understand more thoroughly how all these issues came to be to not only read The vanishing American Adult but also to read up on the work of Gatto, Iserbyt, and Deneen.  Complement this piece not only with the prior authors’ work, but also with Dr. Joseph P. Farrell’s and Gary Lawrence’s Rotten To The Common Core, and Gatto’s books called Weapons Of Mass Instruction, A Different Kind Of Teacher, The Underground History Of America, and John Holt’s How Children Learn, and one will begin to have a firm foundation upon which to grasp the totality an depth of this disturbing issue and even some possible solutions.

The myriad ramifications of this book abound, and should be ruminated upon at length.  If the America of the future is to have a firm foundation, at present, action needs to take place, with an ironclad education at the vanguard.  All individuals that value Freedom need to realize their fullest potential in mind, body and soul.  The future that awaits seems rather bleak, and it will remain bleak as long as ignorance remains.

That is why being proactive should be a daily priority.  Change starts with the individual – every single one of us.  Don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.  For if we don’t take time to teach our children, kit and kin about the lessons of life, a great majority will arrive at life’s end having learned nothing.

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Footnotes:

[1] Ben Sasse, The Vanishing American Adult, p. 250.
[2] Ibid., p. 71.
[3] Professor Patrick Deneen, How A Generation Lost Its Common Culture

___________________________________________________________
This article is free and open source.  All individuals are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: On The Shoulders Of Hobbits by Louis Markos Ph.D.

OnShouldersOfHobbits

TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
March 24, 2017

On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis by Louis Markos Ph.D. is a book that seeks to rediscover virtues, as they were known to be in older times.  These virtues are exemplified through the works of J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.

Peter Kreeft Ph.D., author of book gems such as Socratic Logic, Philosophy 101, etc. opens up the book with an apt foreword, which is followed by a salient introduction by the author Markos.

In the introduction Louis Markos outlines the fact that society needs a revived awareness regarding lost virtues which were inherent to individuals once upon a time.  The author also covers why fantasy and stories, such as those by Tolkien and Lewis, are vital in showcasing these lost virtues.  Along with that the author also gives us some background information on the subject, as well as what his approach will be in the breakdown of the messages and morals that he later tackles.

Although the book covers both Tolkien and Lewis’ work, a more sizeable portion will be of Tolkien’s work.  In a rough guesstimate, the book is perhaps two thirds Tolkien to one third Lewis or so.  This does in no way take away from the meaning of the book, but it’s something that the reader perhaps might want to know.  At least for me, the book was still plenty valuable.

In addition, the reason the that the author has chosen to cover Tolkien and Lewis’ work is because “though Tolkien was not a fan of The Chronicles of Narnia, the fact remains that the two men shared the same premodern Christian understanding of good and evil, virtue and vice, beauty and ugliness.”[1][15]

Since both authors have such similar philosophies, drawing from each authors’ books is in fact a no brainer.

At the nascent stage of each chapter the author begins with a particular message and/or moral that has been overlooked by modern society, and then that particular theme is then analytically coupled to information from The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, or The Silmarillion, with the information further complemented with a passage from The Chronicles Of Narnia that helps buttress the theme further.

One neat part about each of these chapters, and lessons woven and analyzed therein is that there is a variety of ways one can learn from these given the information provided.  Given that the subjects of these books are so vital to healthy and robust human principles, having intriguing discussions regarding these themes should be something ruminated upon at length.  Families or friends could discuss the information bouncing it back and forth in thought, or it could even be covered in homeschooling or group discussion perhaps.  Heck, it would have been neat/awesome to have had a discussion about something like this in high school or college, instead other subjects that aren’t important to life.

In plain speak, what the author seeks to accomplish is help the individual learn why the works of Tolkien and Lewis are highly respected.

Each of the examples from the books of Lewis and Tolkien are quiet salient ones, and very meaningful.  In fact, some of the examples provided could arguably be some of the sagest lines written by each author, at least for this book’s purposes.

For what it’s worth, the book is split up into three sections.  In section one, the author’s main focus was the proverbial road – the individual journey – that each individually embarks upon which resonates with our deepest being.  Markos does a very remarkable job in showing how the quest that the characters in each of respective novels follows a specific journey, and in much the same way mirrors what individual people might go through in life.  Section two covers four classical virtues, while Section three breaks down three theological virtues, which contain also a fourth, which regard friendship, and was one of my favorite parts of the book.  Those latter stages really exemplify those virtues in the authors’ work in a way that helps the reader realize what society has lost, and how to help reboot the road to virtue.

At its closing stages, the book finishes with a very robust and enlightening Bibliographical Essay [Appendix A] regarding J.R.R. Tolkien and Middle Earth, which features substantial additional information regarding all things Tolkien.  A very notable addition for any serious fan, and will even prove useful for some casual fans that might not know where to start.  As someone who’s beginning to study Tolkien more and more, this part is absolutely invaluable.

The second bibliographical essay [Appendix B] touches upon C.S. Lewis and Narnia.  In similar fashion, the resources covering Lewis are discussed at length, and in rather salient fashion.  Markos does an exemplary job of really going above in beyond with both essays in supplanting a veritable truckload of information for individuals – enough to keep you busy for years surely!

All things considered, this book really gives the incisive and inquisitive mind much to ruminate upon, and for me it’s undoubtedly a great book, and a worthy book to have in any personal library.

In fact, considering the topic at hand – regarding society’s lost virtues – one could even make the bold argument that it’s even a great piece of modern literature.  Regarding that, perhaps Peter Kreeft said it best in the book’s foreword:

“That’s why reading great literature; next to meeting people is the single most effective way to learn not to flunk life.  Life is a story, therefore moral education happens first and foremost powerfully through stories, e.g., through books.”[2]

This book in particular, not only is educational, but helps readers sensibly reconnect with virtues that seem to be going by the way side.  And in an age where society’s values keep getting overlooked, a book like this is worth its weight in gold.  That alone is worth the price of this book.

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Footnotes:

[1] Louis Markos Ph.D., On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis, p. 15.
[2] Ibid., Peter Kreeft, Foreword, On The Shoulders Of Hobbits, p. 8.
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Suggested Book Reviews and video:

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen Ph.D.
The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien
______________________________________________________________
This article is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
______________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: The Lord Of The Ring’s by J.R.R. Tolkien

A Laudable Landmark In Epic Fantasy

thehobbitlotr
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
March 15, 2017

If The Hobbit is Tolkien’s opening salvo into the world of epic fantasy literature, then The Lord Of The Rings [LOTR] is his full fledged assault on the genre cementing his name in epic fantasy’s timeless lore.

Thankfully, The Lord of The Rings picked off right where The Hobbit left off, building and expanding on Tolkien’s Universe to a whole different level.

The Lord Of The Rings is, as many of you may know, the sequel to The Hobbit, which is set in Tolkien’s Legendarium, and also plays a part in the world of Arda.

One of the simplest ways a reader may note the quality of a fantasy book is asking themselves: does it conjure magic?

Evoking literary mastery in a genre that was nigh nonexistent, and which many outright shunned, what J.R.R. Tolkien did with his entire Middle-Earth Series [check name] was nothing less than astonishing.  Not only did Tolkien write a veritable milestone in literature to boot, but he did so in a time where not many souls cared to venture upon the genre of fantasy.

Touching upon this very issue,medieval literature specialist and writer Corey Olsen Ph.D. puts it in his intriguing and in-depth book, Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit:

Tolkien was very aware of the artistic challenge he faced in writing a work of fantasy, especially since fantasy literature was far from the literary mainstream in the early twentieth century.  He knew that when they encountered his story in The Hobbit, his readers would have to leave their mundane and comfortable world behind and invest their imaginations in a world that contains magic and unexpected marvels.  In chapter One, Tolkien gives us a model for this very process within the story itself.  We begin in our safe and predictable world, and in the first chapter, we find ourselves in a world of wizard and dwarves and dragons.  In this transition, we find ourselves coming alongside a protagonist who is struggling through the exactly the same process, a character who himself internalizes the conflict between the mundane and the marvelous   Our first introduction to this magical, grim, and dangerous world of adventure is also his introduction, and his reluctance and difficulty in adjusting to it give us time to ease past our own discomfort and reservations.  Bilbo Baggins serves as a perfect touchstone for readers, both exploring and embodying the trickier frontier between the predictable and the unexpected.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

This goes to show that Tolkien wasn’t simply a savvy writer, but understood societal challenges he was facing at the time and made sure to do his best to address this notable issue.  What’s more, Tolkien simply didn’t stop there.

The Lord Of The Rings shows why Tolkien’s imagination was not only gratifyingly limitless, but how it was rather robust with meaning in many ways.

In fact, the power of this book is so profound and meaningful that philosopher and writer Peter Kreeft Ph.D. said the following words of it:

“The deepest healing is the healing of the deepest wound.  The deepest wound is the frustration of the deepest need.  The deepest need is the need for meaning, purpose, and hope.  And that is what The Lord Of The Rings offers us.”[2]

And still there’s more:

“…The Lord Of The Rings is infused with the same light that illumined the man who wrote it. And that light is true, for it reveals the reality of the world and life.  And it is also good, because it heals our blindness.  Like the Fellowship itself, Tolkien’s philosophy fights.  It conquers what George Orwell called the “smelly little orthodoxies” of political correctness that have twisted and wounded our souls.  In other words, it is like the healing herb athelas.”[3]

Such is the potentiality held within Lord Of The Rings.

Although at times called a trilogy, The Lord Of The Rings is in fact a stand-alone novel that is split up into six separate books.[4]

The mythical and expansive universe created by Tolkien is one that still ignites the imagination in a way that nigh no other books do, except the greatest ones.  In like fashion, not only does Tolkien fuse fantasy with Norse myth and folklore, but The Lord Of The Rings features a plot that is robust, characters that grow and change with the plot, a setting that is phenomenal and enchanting, all woven within a seamless story that vaults the imagination into other worlds.

Throughout the book, the uniqueness and authenticity the characters echo shows the realism of the novel.  For instance, temptation sinks its teeth into Boromir and Galadriel, each displaying their own set of circumstances in battling against this malevolence.

Instances as the above and many more show many examples that this particular book is chock-full of life lessons to boot.

That’s what makes this particular book great piece of literature.

On the forward of On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis Peter Kreeft Ph.D. comments:

“That’s why reading literature, next to meeting people, is the single most effective way to learn not to flunk life.  Life is a story, and therefore moral education happens first and foremost powerfully through stories, e.g., through books.”[5]

Why this is so is because:

“…Tolkien bequeathed to the world a new treasure trove of heroic tales and adventures with the power to reinvigorate classical and medieval virtues that our modern technological age has deemed irrelevant.  Together with The Hobbit and its prequel (the Silmarillion) The Lord Of The Rings stands as a lighthouse in a world that has not only lost its way, but has lost much of its virtue, its integrity and its purpose.”[6]

In a modern age that is starving for virtuous souls from which to learn from, Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R Tolkien has much depth to offer.

For all of the above reasons, Tolkien’s crown jewel – The Lord Of The Rings – has stood the test of time and will continue to enthrall readers for ages to come.  Just like the characters in it, the story grows with every new pass you give it.

This understanding is best grasped by what J. Adler & Charles Van Doren shared in, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, which is the touchstone of critical reading:

“…if the book belongs to the highest class – the very small number of inexhaustible books – you discover on returning that the book seems to have grown with you.  You see new things in it – whole new sets of new things – that you did not see before.  Your previous understanding of the book is not invalidated; it is just as true as it ever was, and in the same ways that it was true before.  But now it is true in still other ways, too.”[7][Bold Emphasis Added]

Lord Of The Rings helps expand the bounds of imagination the more an individual journeys within its realm.  Even better, this book helps one see whole new perspectives and ideas that one had not previously considered.  Just like life offers ample opportunities for much learning, this book does as well.

Whether you’re looking for a great story, epic fantasy, incredible depth, mindful philosophy, or simply want to take a audacious adventure into a different setting, this book has much to offer.

Tolkien’s crown jewel – The Lord Of The Rings – has stood the test of time and will continue to enthrall readers for ages to come.  It has enthralled readers not simply because it’s a great piece of fantasy fiction, but also because this book and the lessons of virtue woven therein echo directly into your soul.   For those very reasons, this book will continue to be a touchstone for life, for not only does it teach you what happens when evil rises unabated, but more importantly, it teaches you what happens when individuals with high quality of consciousness help good conquer evil.  That alone makes this book a timeless possession in an age where virtues and goodness continue to dissipate

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Footnotes:

[1] Corey Olsen Ph.D., Exploring J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, p. 35
[2] Peter Kreeft Ph.D., The Philosophy Of Tolkien, p 17.
[3] Ibid., p. 3.
[4] J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship Of The Ring, p. 9., HoughtonMifflin.
[5] Louis Markos, On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis, p. 8, citing Peter Kreeft in the forward.
[6] Ibid., p. 14.
[7] Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren, How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading, p. 333.

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About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies regularly subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

February Book Haul 2017

February Book Haul.jpg
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
March 5, 2017

January’s Book haul opened the year up with some portentous books, and February continued that pattern to boot.

Without further ado, let’s begin:

Philosophy Of Tolkien: The Worldview Of Lord Of The Rings by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.

Having been reading quite a bit of Kreeft’s work in the last 6 months, it was intriguing to see him have a book which show insights on Lord Of The Rings.  The review of this is coming soon.

Summerhill School: A New View Of Childhood by A.S. Neil

Summerhill is a school that strove to allow children the ability to make choices in school in nigh everything that affects them, thus allowing them the option to be democratic in the very thing that will form the foundation for their life: education.  It’s an intriguing read, and if you are interested to read more about it check the review here.

On The Shoulder Of Hobbits: The Road To Virtue With Tolkien & Lewis by Louis Markos

This book, like The Philosophy of Tolkien, is part of my recent binge on all-things Tolkien, and it was quite the book.  Markos does an exemplary job of giving salient examples of virtues which are sprinkled throughout the works of Tolkien & Lewis, and does so in cogent fashion.  Review of this coming soon, too.

Making Choices, Practical Wisdom For Every Moral Decision by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.

The topic of morality doesn’t get enough attention, and having never taken a course on morality, nor done any research on it, thought it prudent to see what gems of wisdom one could glean from such a book like this.

Confessions Of A Reformed Southern Belle – A Poet’s Collection Of Love, Loss & Renewal by
Tosha Michelle

Am about half way through this.  Anyone that’s read Tosha’s poetry will know her type of work, which is always engaging as it is emotive.  Tosha is to poetry what stars are to the night sky.  A veritable Sorceress of the written word, in this book Tosha infuses her emotions on paper and holds nothing back.  It’s really a rather heartfelt read so far.  A review of this will come soon.

The Hobbit Party: The Vision Of Freedom That Tolkien Got, And The West Forgot by Jay Richards

Thrice is nice?  This is another one within the Tolkien-binge-series yours truly has been ensconced in.  The Hobbit Party features insights on philosophy, theology, political theory, and much more.  Looking forward to reading this.

The Best Things In Life- A Contemporary Socrates Looks At Power, Pleasure, Truth & The Good Life by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.

This is the foundation or Kreeft’s Socrates Meets Series, which essentially is the author’s fictional foray into questioning the greatest minds in philosophy through the fictional character of Socrates.   The author explores many salient issues such as money, education, morality, etc.  Looking forward to reading this very much.

The Collected Poems Of William Wordsworth by William Wordsworth

Hoping to engage in some of Wordsworth’s work, which has always intrigued me, and this  collection seemed a proper beginning.

Starcraft Evolution by Timothy Zahn

This is Sci-fi novel for the Starcraft fan.  If you haven’t read any of the previous books, or know about the game, this will probably not make much sense even though the author’s writing is pretty good.  Starcraft essentially follows three separate species, Humans being one of them, through their ongoing conflicts.  Might or might not write a review on it, we’ll see.

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Susanne Collins

If you haven’t heard of the Hunger Games, feel free to click the X on the top right of the screen.  Just kidding!  Although have seen the movie, haven’t read the books, so thought it might be intriguing to actually read them since books are magnitudes superior to any movie.

Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying & Healing The Body Through Oral Cleansing by Dr. Bruce Fife.

Having been oil pulling for nigh 3 years, thought it prudent to research this further, and lo and behold, there was one sentence that was worth the entire price of the book, which wasn’t much anyways considering how much you gain from it.  If you’re looking for a simple way to help your health, ponder getting his book, or at least learning about oil pulling.  A review of this was just shared today here.

Holding Their Own [Volume 13]Renegade by Joe Nobody

Holding Their Own is post-apocalyptic fiction at its finest.  Haven’t read the book, so can’t comment on it.  But the series has been very engaging, the story is rather realistic, the characters are very intriguing and grow throughout the series, and it keeps a great pace throughout.  Holding Their Own is one of my three favorite post-apocalyptic series for sure.

Lawless [Lawless Trilogy] [V1] by Tarah Benner

Another post apocalyptic book that am hoping is a solid read.  Haven’t read any of Benner’s work yet, so am looking forward to delving into it.

Final Word

Make sure to look for the reviews of these books in the coming weeks/months.  Many of these books offer much to the readier in a variety of ways.

That said, what did all of you get this month?  If you have any book suggestions or comments, please feel free to share them below.

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