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: The Art Of Description by Mark Doty | #SmartReads

TheArtOfDescription

TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
June 20, 2017

The Art Of Description is a very refreshing no frills examination of the many ways description can be employed in writing.

Unorthodox in its approach, subtle, and yet quite insightful, Doty not only brings about compelling analysis of a  smattering of writing styles, but also urges the reader to master their individual skill of observation.

On this, Doty cogently writes:

“To some degree, the art of description is the art of perception; what is required, in order to say what you see, is enhanced attention to that looking and the more you look, the more information you get….The resulting visual journey can feel intricate indeed; it makes us see the world before us as composed not of discrete things that don’t touch, but as a continuous realm of interconnected lines.

To be better at description, we have to work at attentiveness.”[1]

Beyond such insight, the author incisively samples the writing of individuals such as Blake, Pound, Swenson, Shelley, Ginsberg, Cummings, et al, thoughtfully ruminating upon particular gems that these writers have left for individuals to glean upon.  Sampling such range in writing allows the reader to see a wider range of styles, each offering a varying, yet exquisite taste, all of which helps solidify the writer’s repertoire.

Another point the Doty centers upon is what can be learned from poetry.  Echoing the actions of Benjamin Franklin, who once used poetry to expand his vocabulary and writing prowess, the author notes:

“Poetry’s project is to use every aspect of language to its maximum effectiveness, finding within it nuances and powers we otherwise could not hear.  So the poet needs to be a supreme handler of the figurative speech we all use every day, employing language’s tendency to connect like and disparate things to the richest possible effects.  In poetry, figuration is at its most sophisticated; condensed, alive with meaning, pointing in multiple directions at once….It’s one of the poet’s primary tools for conveying the texture of experience, and for inquiring into experience in search for meaning.”[2]

Such an examination aids the reader  in gaining a deeper understanding of the depth and precision that may be employed when writing poetry.  Coming to terms with this, one is also able to thoughtfully approach the art of writing from a more mindful perspective that allows individuals a much wider latitude from which to compose a piece.

At another juncture, Doty shares a sentiment that calls to mind Edgar Allen Poe’s wondrous definition of poetry when he said, “Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.”  The author beautifully observes that:

“Every achieved poem inscribes a perceptual signature in the world.”[3]

Just as the creative ventures of artists from time immemorial echo into the present, so will the poems of the present echo into the future, continuously leaving dashes of beauty with their very essence.

The Art Of Description is a discerning read in its entirety, that is experienced in its approach, and shrewd in its execution.  If you’re seeking a new writing path that will not only be novel, but will also teach you how to create your very own path, or perhaps even finetune your old one, then begin right here.

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Footnotes:

[1] Mark Doty, The Art Of Description, p. 72.
[2] Ibid., p. 76.
[3] Ibid., p. 21.
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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.

Book Review: The Art Of Fiction by Ayn Rand | #SmartReads

ArtOfFiction
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
June 20, 2017

Analogous to the Art Of NonFiction, the Art Of Fiction, by Ayn Rand details the core concepts of Rand’s writing repertoire, crystallized for all to see.

In the first half of the book Rand cogently creates very practical, and yet methodical approach that narrows down on importance of the subconscious in writing, theme, plot and its development, climax, and characterization.  The latter half of the book focuses on style from a variety of angles, all from her objectivist point of view.

Throughout the book Rand speaks at length of the two types of writing that exist in her eyes: naturalist writing vs. romanticist writing.

Naturalistic style catalogues things, which often are inconsequential.  On the other hand, romanticist writing employs carefully selected concrete words in specificity to capture the essentials, what really matters, of a scene.

Rand juxtaposes the two, offering samples that precisely describe why in her mind one is superior to the other.  Moreover, after showing the reader the pros and cons of each style, Rand speaks at length about how to maximize writing while not overstating words.

Imperative as well is the importance of avoiding floating abstractions, choosing instead to gravitate towards making writing more concrete, more specific.  She also covers a few issues with style, for instance, narrative vs. dramatization, which was quite insightful.  Exposition is also covered, as well as flashbacks, transitions, and other notable points.

On the importance of style, Rand notes:

“What constitutes the heart of any style is the clarity of the thoughts a writer expresses – plus the kind of thoughts he choose to express.”[1]

Further:

“A good style is one that conveys the most with the greatest economy of words.  In a textbook, the ideal is to communicate one line of thought or a set of facts as clearly as possible.  For a literary style, much more is necessary.  A great literary style is one that combines five or more different meanings in one clear sentence.   (I do not mean ambiguity but the communication of different issues).”[2][Bold Emphasis Added]

More importantly, however, Rand elucidates on the importance of precision in writing:

“I never waste a sentence on saying: “John Smith meets James Brown.”  That is too easy; it is playing the piano with one finger.  Say much more, just as clearly, say it in chords, with a whole orchestration.  That is good style.”[3]

Anyone who has ever read any of Rand’s book knows that Rand’s novels function on multiple tiers, employing various layers of insights, just like a building features various floors that carry out different functions.  For instance, analyzing one of her passage from Atlas Shrugged, she points out how one passage had four purposes: a literary one, a connotative one, a symbolic level, and an emotional level.  The seamlessness of how Rand fuses multiple tiers of purpose is one of the many reasons Rand writing will always remain in the upper caste of the field/discipline.

Although not originally created to be a book, and was instead drawn from Rand’s prior lectures, this book impeccably allows readers to view writing through her unique eyes.  Likewise, the way in which Rand breaks down the purpose of every single thing she does is a breath of fresh air.  The tenets within this book will make readers ruminate upon a much more precise type of writing, one that functions on a deeper level.  Such profound depth and meaning is usually missing from most modern fiction books, which is a shame since much more could be achieved if people employed different skills.

The Art Of Nonfiction is a terrific read in its totality.  The book is a veritable treasure trove of insights.  Couple this book with such classics such as The Element Of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, gather a bit of inspiration with The War Of Art by Steven Pressfield, and sprinkle a bit of The Art Of Description by Mark Doty, and one has the veritable seeds for success in writing.

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Footnotes:

[1] Ayn Rand, The Art Of Fiction, p. 142.
[2] Ibid., 143.
[3] Ibid., 143.
___________________________________________________________
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.

Book Review: The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri | #SmartReads

DivineComedy
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
June 2, 2017

The Divine Comedy is one of those timeless pieces of literature that everyone should read, if at least once.  In fact, if public schooling followed any type of common sense and had appreciation for High Culture, The Divine Comedy would be part of a strong school curriculum along with classics such as The Iliad & The Odyssey, The Lord Of The Rings, The Aenid, and others.

Each of those books makes learning about virtues, and countless other themes vastly more interesting than the nonsense that is espoused in education today.  Furthermore, it would strengthen the public schooling curriculum that is rather lacking in depth, although not in ‘method’.

Due to those reasons, and others, thought it prudent to avail myself of The Divine Comedy as the prospect of reading the book has always resonated with me, especially after having read Dante’s Inferno a few years ago.

The Barnes & Noble Edition of The Divine Comedy is as demanding a read as it is satisfying.  Moreover, the book is peppered with dozens of Gustave Dore’s illustrations, which saliently add a more vivid and engrossing journey for the reader.  At times, the neophyte reader might need a dictionary handy to clear up some confusion, but otherwise it’s readable at least.

In contrast, Dante’s Inferno, the version that was translated by Stanley Lombardo, is a much more reader-friendly version of this piece, which is modern in its diction and poetic in its presentation.  That said, that is only book one of Dante’s triumvirate, but I am mentioning for those that might be interested merely in the opening salvo of Dante available in a much simpler format.

The Divine Comedy really is an adventure to be intellectually enjoyed, and everyone who chooses to set out in a fictional foray would benefit greatly from it.

As an allegorical account of his spiritual journey being guided by his lover Beatrice, Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy is timeless for a reason.  Not only is the book unique, but it stokes the embers of imagination in ways most other books do not, while also offering readers ample intellectual considerations to ruminate upon.

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Related Links:

The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
Paradise Lost by John Milton
The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
The Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Le Morte D’Arthur by Thomas Malory

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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.

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

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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: 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
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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.
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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.

Dialectical Thinking – Zeno, Socrates, Kant, Marx by Tommi Juhani Hanjijarvi Ph.D.

DLT
TheBreakaway
Zy Marquiez
March 10, 2017

This particular book is a great foray for those beginning to delve into dialectics.

In Dialectical Thinking – Zeno, Socrates, Kant, Marx by Tommi Juhani Hanjijarvi Ph.D., the author seeks to show how valuable dialectical thinking is as he examines the minds of former dialecticians.

To accomplish this, Hanjijarvi sifts through critical data points spoken by the likes of Socrates, Kant, Zeno and Marx.  The author does make it a point to supplant additional data and couple it to specific dialectics discussed when the need arises.

For instance, while analyzing Marx’s foray into dialectics, the author delves into information brought about by Engel, Bernstein, Lenin and such.

As the author makes clear, dialectics have extensive uses.  More importantly, as the author argues “Dialectics are always about the dynamics of the self.”

Being someone who is delving into formal dialectics for the first time, it was quite mentally invigorating seeing the different dialectics employed by the great dialecticians.  Moreover, it was also interesting to note where some of their ruminations dovetailed and what paths it led them on.  That said, there were times that the text demanded a bit more from the readers as its complexity increased some.  Still, what the book offers is plenty even if it might be intricate at certain junctures.

These days, the benefit of thinking from opposite spectrums, as dialecticians do and this book showcases, would be a great skillset for individuals to learn.  Rarely do people put themselves on both sides of an equation; people usually end up just simply fostering their points of views without taking the other person’s view into consideration.  For instance, the mainstream media is the greatest purveyor of this and shuns anybody who wishes to think outside the box or question anything that is passed off as fact.  And if they show two sides to a coin, it’s always to stoke the flames of the divide and conquer left right paradigm that we see manifesting in countless forms.

Of course, in reality, there are many sides to countless issues.  This reason is why this type of book is vital, since it helps lay a solid foundation as an introductory volume into the discipline of dialectics.

Thinking unilaterally about incisive issues won’t help people think critically, nor will it help people to think outside the box.  Predictably, this prevents individuals from grasping crucial issues at their core.

For those reasons, and many others, this book is definitely to be considered for the inquiring individual.  In fact, am even going to suggest this book to some friends for homeschooling.  Look forward to reading more books like this.

As an introduction to the dialectical thinking employed by some of the greatest dialecticians, this book carries out its premise rather well.

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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.

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Suggested resources reviewed below for those seeking ideas to self-teach and become autodidacts:

Socratic Logic V3.1 by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D.
How To Read A Book – The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading by Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
Philosophy 101 – An Introduction To Philosophy Via Plato’s Apology by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
The Complete Workbook For Arguments – A Complete Course In Critical Thinking [2nd Ed.] by David R. Morrow & Anthony Weston
The Imaginative Argument – A Practical Manifesto For Writers by Frank L. Cioffi

The following books reviewed below cover the disturbing issues within the public schooling system:

Rotten To The Common Core by Dr. Joseph P. Farrell Ph.D.& Gary Lawrence
Dumbing Us Down – The Hidden Curriculum Of Compulsory Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
A Different Kind Of Teacher – Solving The Crisis Of American Schooling by John Taylor Gatto
Weapons Of Mass Instruction by John Taylor Gatto
Drilling Through The Core, by Sandra Stotsky & Contributors