Friday, November 17, 2006

Your Boy

Vicki Courtney's Your Boy (B&H Publishing Group, Tennessee, 2006) is one of the books that have a specified target audience: Christian mothers. The book aims at educating moms on raising a godly son in an ungodly world. Mrs. Courtney combines advice on ways to develop godly qualities in their sons with accounts of personal views and experiences on the topic.

A large part of Your Boy is directed towards personal refinement and conscious effort in the direction of a virtuous life. The author has a heartwarming sense of family sanctity and righteous conduct. Her effort in writing this book sparkles to the reader's attention by its keenness about the subject of spiritual education and her courage to stand and speak in the face of a culture that has gone amok under the rubric of 'freedom'.

With its lively humor, the introduction and ending acknowledgement of the book, Mrs. Courtney transmits a live, charming aroma of motherhood. She makes nice spoof on the aspirations of becoming a super mom and moms wanting perfect kids. Her own experience with her family gives her the confidence to tell how to win the heart of your kids and help your son become a real man; how to share and soothe the aches of your children and how to avoid getting on their nerves.

What makes the admiring readership of Your Boy limited is the book's later part where the author adopts a highly conventional stance against forms of excessive freedom, especially sexual freedom, criticizing feminists in particular. A proponent of the ethical absolutism, Vicki Courtney rejects moral relativism, pre- and extra-marital sex, negative uses of the Internet technology, and the general waywardness of today's youth. These points certainly are going to be of interest to feminists and other non-conventional thinkers who may frown at the book's frequent resort to religious appeals and personal views. But one thing that makes the book special is that it will make one think either way. Like all good books, this one from Mrs. Courtney tends to bring things up for a serious debate.

ISBN: 0805430555


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Monday, November 06, 2006

Dinner with Da Vinci: The Road Royale Through Rebirth

The name of da Vinci has reached an acme of attention with Dan Brown's pop buster The Da Vinci Code. Now used in a radically different mode, it shows up in Leslie J. Mcclinton's snazzy title Dinner With Da Vinci (Great Reading Books, Texas, 2006). Combining autobiographical nonfiction with science, history, anthropology, journalism, and spiritual quests, Mcclinton has strummed the thread of rebirth and its conscious experience.

The core significance of Dinner With Da Vinci lies in the uniqueness with which the work has been designed. The author's interdisciplinary approach dissolves epistemological boundaries in a way rarely seen before. This is a book like no other books. Mcclinton has depersonalized the names of icons like Cicero, da Vinci, Hitler, Yeats, John F. Kennedy, Shakespeare and several others to weave a tapestry of mystique that borders on personal belief and anthropological universals. The essential idea is more than one human form for the same person. The message is simple: look around you and find out who it is that you are again living with.

Of particular interest to many readers will be Mcclinton's intriguing concept of alternate sexual forms for the same person that reappears in human form. The soul or (for the hard shelled anthropologist) the set of core features of one human being appears in a different sexual identity in the next episode of existence. But this is exactly where the book demands too much of a reader: deep knowledge of the life of historical figures. For a layman, not a single chapter of this book will be an enjoyable read. The other thing that makes Dinner With Da Vinci a hard to swallow work is the peripatetic style of narrating events and inculcating implications of personal observations. At times, we find it hard to adjust our relation to the book's content.

While spurious correlations and quasi-fideistic assumptions appear to the skeptic reader, there is no denying that the book is rich in matter for the lover of knowledge. There is a passionate account of several people who had a cause in their lives and who were self-motivated to pursue it. The inspiration of loving knowledge of esoteric topics filters through the author's writing.

ISBN: 1933538554