Category Archives: Non-Fiction

Tales from the Other Side by Paul Corson

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Tales from the Other Side” by Paul Corson was designed as a companion piece to his “Regaining Paradise: Forming a New Worldview, Knowing God, and Journeying into Eternity”. While, the books are strong enough to stand as independent reads, when taken together, their message is elevated to the next level.

But first off, a few words about “Regaining Paradise”. This daring book goes beyond the curtain of materiality to tackle some of the biggest existential questions relying on personal experience, science, and rationality/logic, sprinkled with a little bit of imagination. Although the spark for this intellectual and spiritual quest lies in the three lived transcendental experiences of the author, he heavily relies on science to argue his perspective.

In “Tales from the Other Side”, Paul Corson delves deeper into his personal life, revealing instances of when the “Other Side” seeped into this side. These confessions and stories will enable the reader to have a more holistic view of the thought-process of his spiritual journey. The book is segmented into seven magical parts, of which five are autobiographical, the next part is a rather out of the ordinary conversation (between space travelers and stargazers) and the last part consists of fiction stories that form allegories.

The Little Breadwinner: War and Survival in the Salvadoran Heartland by Lucia Mann

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

The Little Breadwinner: War and Survival in the Salvadoran Heartland” is a harrowing tale about the many faces of war, written by Lucia Mann. The book folds and unfolds the narratives of several generations across different lands and times, but perhaps the biggest feat of the read is that it offers an account of the civil war of El Salvador. What is more, the author was on location at the time of the civil war so the subject has an added personal resonance.

If you are not familiar with the Salvadoran Civil War (1979-1992), this is a great opportunity to learn about it. At the beginning of the book, you can find a map and chronology of the events that serve as a general guideline for the pages that follow. The two sides that were in conflict for more than 12 years were the military-led junta government and a coalition of left-winged groups, the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN). The US-funded government death-squads conducted a methodic terror campaign against civilians that added up to a long list of human rights violations (forceful recruiting of child soldiers, massacres, attacks, and rapes). A lot of people were killed and a lot of people simply disappeared. Their exact number remains unknown, but the UN reports a victim count of over 75,000, as far as those killed during the long civil war. It all finally ended with the Chapultepec Peace Accords.

“The Little Breadwinner” encompasses the civil war, but goes beyond it and captures some of the late after-effects of a tough decade. Lucia Mann starts with some apparently disjointed cold facts about the Salvadorian Civil War, but as the pages progress, her approach turns more personal as she tells us a multi-generational story. She frequently interjects with personal observations and comments that sometimes jolt the reader out of the immersive experience.

One of the main characters is Estrella Godwin Lozano, a person with a short stature that becomes “the little breadwinner” for her family living in poverty. She is the descendant of the Waorani tribe from the Amazonian rainforest. Her birth mother was a gifted tribe member and her gift passed down between generations being particularly strong in Estrella’s case. Yet, this special soul was not ordained for an easy life; she faced many hardships and challenges, the worst of which was brought on by the civil war.

The Little Breadwinner” reveals the personal narratives of the victims of the Salvadorian Civil War. The book is based on real events but presents these in a fictionalized form. Lucia Mann, a passionate and worldly activist, a prolific writer, tells yet another unique story about the oppressed and suffering trying to fight against the current of fate.

bLU Talks – Business, Life and the Universe Compiled by Corey Poirier

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

More than just an assortment of self-help lectures, BLU Talks Presents: Business Life and the Universe offers a thoughtfully produced collection of unpretentious, coaching soul-help discourses. Compiled by Corey Poirier, this is the first book in the series, which contains an expansive variety of lectures and intimate anecdotes which together culminate into an overall varietal hosting of meaty subjects created to guide, edify and inspire.

Brimming with sparks of cogent knowledge, each “talk” primarily focuses on a different element, situation, or practice in life. The inspiring lessons come across powerfully but are related in such a warm and welcoming style that allows for easy and authentic resonance between the author and reader.

Additionally, the expertise involved is vast, your instructors come from all walks of life, including mothers, authors, business owners, advisors, leaders, spiritualists, Reiki masters, overall intelligent thinkers, and go-getters, with many of them wielding expertise in multiple disciplines. Some narratives are based on life experiences that touch the heart as well as expand the self, such as Alli Mackenzie’s A Day We Will Remember Forever or Carey Lowe’s chapter which presents character flaw identification titled, Self – Improvement. Others sharpen the business acumen from a very different perspective like The Secrets They don’t Teach You at Business School by Dr. Allen Lycka. Similarly, the Universal element emanates from the enlightened perspective in Aurora Light’s Intention, Synchronicity, and Love Co-Creation with the Universe, which is absolutely one of my favorites. Likewise with lectures like Grow by Jennifer Eckel which discusses stopping negative attachments or Caroline Stewart’s Radical Honesty as well as Cultivating Resilience Through Trauma by Gary Benoit.

Pillars of Success by Jack Canfield, Harriet Tinka, and Dr. Allen Lycka and Other Business Professionals

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Pillars of Success is a fantastic resource for people who are interested in learning about beneficial ways to enjoy success and happiness in both their professional and personal lives. The book is penned by Jack Canfield, Harriet Tinka, and Dr. Allen Lycka, along with a number of highly respected individuals. Each of the nineteen chapters focuses on different writers and their individual perspectives on how to live one’s life to the fullest potential every day. The individuals who contributed to this book are encouraging but do not sugar coat the challenges people will face and need to overcome in order to reach the major goals they have set for themselves. Readers not only can pick and choose which chapters appeal to them the most for incorporating the changes suggested by a particular co-author, but they will also gain an inside perspective on how the contributors to this book made changes in their lives. The writers share stories that are related to both their personal and professional lives of how they overcame adversity and how the actions they put in place made a difference in a life of positivity versus one of negativity. The book addresses the importance of positive thinking in all aspects of a person’s life; albeit career and financial stability, family and social relationships, physical and emotional health, and spiritual/religious beliefs.

Regaining Paradise: Forming a New Worldview, Knowing God, and Journeying into Eternity by Paul Corson

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Do you feel a sense of incompleteness? A longing to return to a place you have never been to? Regaining Paradise: Forming a New Worldview, Knowing God, and Journeying into Eternity might not have the answers to all of your questions, but it will help you find the answers you are searching for. Prepare yourself to be taken on a “hero’s journey” by Paul Corson on the vehicle of imagination.

Regaining Paradise is about regaining what we once all had, but then slowly grew out of, the light of Paradise. A light that many of us have turned a blind eye to. In a world in which materialism gains ever more ground, it is a challenge to see beyond the mirage of the tangible. But, as Paul Corson notes, the solid is mostly intangible energy. The author has peeked behind the veil of our reality and not just seen but experienced what lies beyond. If you accept his invitation to journey together, so will you.

Although Regaining Paradise heavily draws on the author’s personal transcendent experience, that is not the only source of inspiration. The curious nature of the author comes across in the rich references that embellish the book, from a great variety of fields: literature, mythology, philosophy, psychology… the list goes on.

The Greatest War Stories Never Told: 100 Tales from Military History to Astonish, Bewilder, and Stupefy (The Greatest Stories Never Told) by Rick Beyer

Reviewed by Allen Hott

A really great read! The book is made up of many stories of strange but true happenings during wars. Some of these go back to 371 B.C. and some are as recent as 1991. The stories cover all sorts of happenings, some of which we are all aware of happening but we didn’t know the whole story behind the happening. It is a non-fiction book but reads almost like fiction when the stories are told….some are hard to believe.

In 371 B.C. the Spartans from Greece lost a major battle to Thebes in the battle of Leuctra. As good as the Spartan army was at that time the Thebes army of 300 soldiers really outclassed and outfought the Spartans. Strangely those three hundred soldiers were composed of 150 couples. That is right ….the Thebes had an army of 300 gay folks and this “band of lovers” knew how to fight!

Late in the 1200’s the Chinese built the best weapons in the world and were using them to expand their empire. However the weapons eventually did move to other parts of the world. And that begat problems for the Chinese. Their problem was that their ammunition was not as effective as others began to use. The reason was they had fewer domesticated animals!

The Boy Refugee: A Memoir from a Long-Forgotten War by Khawaja Azimuddin, M.D.

Reviewed by Danita Dyess

In The Boy Refugee: A Memoir from a Long-Forgotten War by Dr. Khawaja Azimuddin, he chronicles the devastating effects of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. Back then, Azimuddin, a Pakistani, was only eight years old. His detailed account of the civil unrest chronicles two years of emotional, economical, familial, and political upheaval. About 100,000 Prisoners of War were entangled in a never-ending battle between the Bangladeshis and their quest for independence and the Pakistanis who have assumed total control.

Azimuddin had two older siblings – his sister, Maliha Apa and brother, Khusro Bhaijan. His mother, Ammi, was the daughter of an influential civil servant. Their spacious home was surrounded by a pond and trees filled with bananas, apples, and coconuts.

His father, Pappa, had been educated in India. Now he was a bishari, upper class group of society. Pappa worked as a plant manager for Adamjee Jute Mills, the world’s largest manufacturer of jute and cotton products. He oversaw the Bengali workers, the poor class residing in shantis. The two classes are about to erupt in a war. Why?

The boy that liked to play cricket, ride his bike, and pet his pigeon, Kabooter, explains. He says the history of the two factions began when the East and West Pakistan were separated by geography. When the British left, two countries formed – Muslims represented Pakistan (Bengalis) and Hindus represented India. Now the Pakistani army killed mill workers. So the mukti bahini murdered Pakistani officers and civilians.

So the story unfolds with Abdul, a loyal servant of Azimuddin’s family suddenly leaves. He had heard about the slaughtering of five Bengali men. Also, Mujibar Rahman was a political leader who won the election but was denied the presidency. The Awami League supported him and protested the conditions. Bengali workers vacated their jobs at the mill.

Travels Through the Years: A Life Story by James McGee

Reviewed by Dianne Woodman

Travels Through the Years: A Life Story is a wonderful retelling of James McGee’s life as he takes readers on an inspirational and fascinating chronological journey from childhood through adulthood, marriage, fatherhood, and retirement. McGee spent his childhood in the small town of Lomita, California, before he took a gap year during college to travel. This marked the beginning of a lifetime exploring all 50 states in the United States along with 86 countries. During McGee’s travels, which were tied into military service and business and leisure trips, he became acquainted with relatives and visited ancestral and historical sites in conjunction with cultural places of interest. McGee has written captivating descriptions of the people and places he encountered and provides great insights into the different lifestyles he was exposed to in all of the locales that he visited either once or multiple times. The recollections of personal and family history will tug at people’s heartstrings, especially the sudden loss of his beloved wife and son. Anyone who has experienced the loss of a loved one will relate to McGee’s difficult, unpredictable, and slow j.urney through the grieving process and the changes one goes through while struggling to cope with devastating loss. He writes about the mechanisms that helped him through his bereavement, which can provide inspiration to others who have lost someone they love.

The book is extremely well-organized, and the chapter titles and headlines within the chapters make the text easy to navigate and also give readers the opportunity to engage with subject matter they may want to revisit. Black and white family photographs add extra meaning to the story. Readers will appreciate the reference material at the end of the book as it is helpful in providing a snapshot of the wealth of material that is covered in the book. In the Postscript there are quotations that fit in marvelously with McGee’s intimate thoughts about his life together with a list of books that were an indelible part of the journey. The Afterword is comprised of his reflections on life experiences as well as opinions on differing topics from the years 2002 through 2020. Appendix 1 lists the 86 countries he visited and the year(s) that he traveled. Appendix 2 is a chronological summation of all the jobs he has held throughout his working and retirement life. Appendix 3 lists the places where he has lived and the timeframe. Following Appendix 3 are past reviews of books used in the writing of this remarkable book that will take readers on a spellbinding journey through the past and into the present.

McGee eloquently articulates his feelings and insights in this beautiful life story that is inspiring, thoughtful, and encouraging to all who set aside the time to read the book. Readers will also find the personal and family history along with the descriptions of places, whether historical or modern, of great interest. Reading this story is a genuine treat and will embolden people in their own travel plans, and those who prefer armchair travel will find the book delightful and a great way to learn about the history, traditions, and hospitality of many cultures.

Singing the Land: A Rural Chronology by Chila Woychik

Reviewed by Teri Takle

Many people write about the events in their daily life and the thoughts that make it memorable. Daily record keeping is unnecessary, but every few days is needed to view what we have enjoyed in our little snippets in the back of our minds.

Depending upon where you live, life is different. If you live in a large city, it is busy, crowded, noisy, and many residents thrive upon that lifestyle.

For some of us, we live in Iowa, one of those fly-over states. We thrive in the quiet life of the country, or a small town, or even a large city.

For the author, Chila Woychik, she adores her life on her farm with her husband in the beauty and joy of nature in Iowa.

January 21

“First snows, like first loves, leave one panting for breath.”

January 31

“Iowa is nothing in winter, but endless roads slick with lonesome.”

How can these two entries be written just ten days apart? The answer is Iowa. The first draws the reader inside the beauty, silence, and complete awe of the first snow. The second reflects the days of hard work, shoveling, and the constant slipping and falling on the ice.

Another author, Stephanie E. Dickinson, is also an Iowa native. In her foreword to Chila Woychik’s chronology, she reveals her love of the people and the way of life in Iowa. She also beautifully reflects about her childhood memories in Iowa.

The Future of Leadership in the Age of AI: Preparing Your Leadership Skills for the AI-Shaped Future of Work by Marin Ivezic and Luka Ivezic

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Are you ready for the next revolution? Few people are. But the good news is that it is not too late to prepare yourself. And The Future of Leadership in the Age of AI by Marin Ivezic and Luka Ivezic proves to be a great boot camp for what is to come.

It is a book that encompasses the past, present, and future in order to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of a phenomenon. The revolution that is to come. Or is it already here? While it might seem like a more or less far-fetched futuristic topic, it is not so. AI is already part of our world. The reason why this might be hard to notice, for some, is that it is so well integrated in our everyday life.

In order to determine The Future of Leadership in the Age of AI, we must first turn to the past. Marin Ivezic and Luka Ivezic will start by walking the reader through the first three Industrial Revolutions, only to set the foundation for the fourth because this will most likely have an exponentially bigger impact than all its predecessors. However, any one of us can act in order to ease this (unavoidable) transition and ensure that we will not be swept away.