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Reviews Written by
Ronald W. Maron "pilgrim" (Nova Scotia)
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God Bless America: Strange and Unusual Religious Beliefs and Practices in the United States
God Bless America: Strange and Unusual Religious Beliefs and Practices in the United States

4.0 out of 5 stars A well written summation of cultic beliefs.............., May 2 2014
The author, Karen Stoliznow, does an admirable task in relating the core beliefs of the more well known cultic worship groups. She takes us through the polygamistic and Fundamental Mormons, the anti-Christian Satanic cults, the diffuse New Age movements, the remnants of William Penn's Quakers, the austere life patterns of the Amish, the Sci-Fi and snare-filled world of Lafayette Ron Hubbard, and a few others. While the book is less than 250 pages the author is able to capture both the quirks and the danger involved with the membership requirements that these groups adhere to.

My question was not answered and remained by the text's end, however; "What separates recognized religious groups from note worthy cults?" They both have beliefs in myths and folk tales. They both coerce their membership into supporting their financial causes. And they both shun their members from questioning their honesty and veracity. The only major difference from this reader's standpoint is that cults have far fewer members than religious institutions and, by having these numbers, they are more immune to an honest evaluation of their activities.............

Driving Blind
Driving Blind
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers CA
Price: CDN$ 9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Bradbury of 'Dandelion Wine'; Classic............., April 12 2014
This review is from: Driving Blind (Kindle Edition)
While Ray Bradbury earned his rightful reputation by the writing of science fiction, there is a much more sensitive and compassionate writer that lies behind the popular façade of space ships and aliens. There are three short stories in this collection that easily match the standards he set in the tale of the young adventures of Douglas Spaulding in 'Dandelion Wine'. In a phrase, Bradbury reveals his ability to be a writer of 'poetic prose'. Putting pen to paper the entire collection reflects his biographical tale of a younger life in everyone's America that should strike at the heart of every purposeful reader..........

The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History
Offered by Macmillan CA
Price: CDN$ 14.39

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent oversight into our future quandry......, April 7 2014
Anyone who has a least a moderate knowledge about science with find this book a pleasure to read and will not require the accompanied study guide. Ms. Tolbert has a clear and readable ability of describing a somewhat difficult, yet important topic. In a somewhat casual writing approach she takes us with her as she travels throughout the world and examines the various signs of the destruction that mankind is bringing upon the world he claims to love so much. Are we doomed? The author wisely avoids answering this question directly but, rather, poses the possible defeats and/or victories which may lie before us. I highly recommend this book as being part of both a study in paleontology and the future of global warming trends.......

Children That Time Forgot: PAST LIVES : Children Time Forgot (Paranormal Trilogy)
Children That Time Forgot: PAST LIVES : Children Time Forgot (Paranormal Trilogy)
Price: CDN$ 1.03

4.0 out of 5 stars While non-scientific it is very convincing.........., March 24 2014
No, this is not on the same level as the professional studies done by Ian Stevenson. They lack the tenacious oversight he provided, the reliability of the data he collected and the follow up studies that he enacted. But, that being said, this is a very convincing group of pre-life tales told by parents of their very young children and the concept of having lived a previous life. Could they all have reinforced having their child discuss what other parents may simply discount as childhood imagination? Perhaps. But the more likely scenario is that these English children are responding in the same manner as the Eastern children that Stevenson was involved with. While his studies do not implicitly prove the concept of reincarnation, they certainly point strongly in that direction...............

Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife
Stop Worrying! There Probably is an Afterlife
Price: CDN$ 6.49

5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent summary of non-religious, progressive concepts............., March 21 2014
Having been interested in the processes of death and dying since my Junior year in college, I have perused numerous texts for the answer to the question "What happens when we die.". This, undoubtedly, is one of the most sincere, easily read and conclusive books presently on the market. The author covers all areas from quantum physics, near death experiences, mediums, super-Psi and supernatural sightings in a convincing, yet questioning manner. No, he does not bring the world's many religious beliefs and tenets into his conversation but, rather, simply examines the droves of facts and experiences we have experienced as a population. I strongly advise the reading of this text by all; from the well read person to the person who is, just now, peaking behind from his/her dark curtain of denial and peering out into eternity.

The one adage that this book proves, however, is that "You cannot tell a book by its cover.". I almost did not read this book due to both its inane title and cartoonish cover. Please Mr. Taylor replace both of these! I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how your sales of this book will dramatically increase if you do..........

The Perception Deception - Part One
The Perception Deception - Part One
Price: CDN$ 9.99

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars David Icke; a self-described "angry saviour" or Flim-Flam man ??, March 19 2014
I count it very fortunate that I have experienced a few truly gifted and wise people during my lifetime. They, too, had the ability to see the world from a different perspective, viewed our day-to-day problems for what they were, namely opportunities for learning and growth, and, most importantly, they viewed all persons and life as being on their own challenging spiritual journey. David Icke shows few, if any, of these traits. He delivers his message in a callous, angry and egotistical manner while deriding anyone who even slightly questions his intent. He does so, at times, in a manner that smacks more of paranoia rather than the altruistic manner in which he views it.

Are David's pronouncements true? After years of personal study and research I feel the answer is a qualified 'yes' and equally qualified 'no'. His mockery of claims of global warming, fluorine solidifying the pineal gland, ray guns on the moon and the fantasized mysterious 'them' are his most obvious failures at intellectual honesty. But there are numerous others. In regards to his claims of other dimensions and our inability to be fully aware of them appear to be true as shown by the numerous conclusions that have been reached in the areas of quantum physics and astronomy. But, even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut. He fails in these virgin areas by the degrading of those of us who cannot or did not undergo the spiritual experiences that he claims to have occurred. Not all of us have been to Paris and can comment on its cuisine any more than all of us have undergone a supposed spiritual transformation of sorts and can relate to his experiential claims. My advice to David as a former psychotherapist? I think you need to spend some serious time within your own ego structure in order to dispel the latent anger which you will find there before you make any further attempts to perform your own version of Siddhartha or the Sermon on the Mount. Then, and only then, can you instruct your readers to do as you do rather to simply do as you say........

It
It
Offered by Penguin Group USA
Price: CDN$ 10.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Stephen King; the human word machine...., March 16 2014
This review is from: It (Kindle Edition)
Some authors write for the sake of their chosen profession. They formulate a moralistic tale, wrap it in symbolism, submit it to a publisher and feel totally satisfied that they have completed the task of by adding a quality novel to world of literature. Does their work become popular? Do they earn an enormous amount of money from their publication? The answers to these two questions are mute and quite secondary to their purpose of their work to begin with. It was clearly their initial writing of the work that mattered and that their message was placed into print for all (or any) to read and that their statement was now made public. If the readers rejected their work it was not necessarily because of their writing skills alone. No, it was probably because the reading public had become so numb to what good writing really was is why it went completely ignored. Such is the makeup of our less than scholarly reading public.

The other type of authors is a Stephen King who performs the opposite objective; write such that you appeal to the numbness that pervades our reading public and, by doing so, you become rich and popular. The public sees life in colors of only black and white, behaviors that are either good or evil. So, therefore, create stories in which the public can identify with the `good' by giving them traits that are less than perfect, be it stuttering, asthmatic impulses, obesity or having been emotionally abused. Then take this hampered band of troubadours and have them battle an aura of `evil' that is not only diffuse and indescribable but have the victory be won via an eerie, out-of-body manner such that the readers can imagine any and all things about this malevolent spirit as they chose to. But, don't forget to titillate the public frequently. Don't just due it with their paranoid fears of evil but also bring into the story a immature titillation that, on the surface, is morally repugnant but underneath lies a wealth of reading sensuality. A secret tryst between seven eleven year olds should do it! Morals? Hardly worth mentioning because readers have vey little patience with writers who preach to them or tell them the way society should treat itself. And, lastly, a theme or a concept that the reader can take away from the story and use as a learning experience that they can fasten their own lives to as they meet their own traumas of life, is this something the public wants? Hardly. They would rather plod through nearly 1400 pages of dialogue that points not to a purpose for life but, instead, spins and spins and spins in ever increasing circles until it concludes at the story's very beginnings. The only thing learned is that the reader finds he/she actually has the perseverance to sit for fifteen+ hours with a very cumbersome book in their hand.

Yes, Stephen King will remain a popular author because of this and, yes, he will continue to make an inordinate amount of money for his work. But no, the likes of Dickens, Faulkner, Bradbury and even Poe will remain a league above our friend from Maine.......

A Taste of Tomorrow - The Dystopian Boxed Set (11 Book Collection)
A Taste of Tomorrow - The Dystopian Boxed Set (11 Book Collection)
Price: CDN$ 1.10

2.0 out of 5 stars A medicore set of dystopic tales..........., Feb. 19 2014
Outside of this collections preview of 'Sand' by Hugh Howey (which is excellent) this a very average group of dystopic novels. On two bright notes, if you are seeking a wide variety of end-of-the-world stories and you are looking to clog your hard drive with a great deal of mega-bytes, this may be the collection you are looking for.........

Apocalypse Drift
Apocalypse Drift
Price: CDN$ 9.96

2.0 out of 5 stars Once upon a time the Chinese government punched a few computer keys..............., Feb. 15 2014
This review is from: Apocalypse Drift (Kindle Edition)
The author's statement that this novel is to be viewed as a 'G Rating' is a warning that should be heeded. A 'Cleaver-type' family, previously hit by economic collapse, takes the lead role in leading a merry band of pleasure boats out from a marina onto a secluded beach while the rest of the US falls into utter chaos. Yes, we have our share of 'bad guys' either in the form of 'Red Chinese' scoundrels or redneck pilferers who make both the country and our happy flotilla very unpleasant place in which to reside. And, yes, we have a 'happily ever after' conclusion whereby the dastardly villains meet their necessary end, a killer is identified and, happily, the Cleaver family finds familial bliss. A 'G Rated' novel has, indeed, been thrust onto the reading public. The only question I have is what is the target audience for this book?

Like most dystopic novels, this one is not without additional flaws. First a libertarian form of government that requires no taxes, except from newly landed immigrants, would lead to further massive economic failure. Economic growth, no matter how astronomical, that is not tied to taxation provides no governmental income. Having the number of fatalities in the US equal the entire population of Canada from China's shenanigans is a bit extreme. And, lastly, requiring only two defunct manufacturing plants to supply all the parts necessary to repair the entire US electronic grid is a bit far-fetched. But, if you are looking for a 'made-for-TV', vanilla, end-of-the-world story, you have chosen the right story to read.................

Sand Omnibus
Sand Omnibus
Price: CDN$ 5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A magnificient display of poetic sci-fi........, Feb. 10 2014
This review is from: Sand Omnibus (Kindle Edition)
Hugh Howey is, obviously, best known for his absorbing tale aptly named “Wool”. In it he takes us on a highly descriptive and frightening journey through a post apocalyptic submerged world of underground silos. His character development is well formed, his plot engrossing and his climax is one that echoes both hope and trepidation. He, in sum, showed very quickly that he could capture and maintain a reading public through his innate and acquired skills.

With “Sand” he has moved to even a higher level. Building upon the skills learned through his previous publication he has now attained the ability to write what I term as being ‘prose poetry’. The ability to have your writings capture readers is one thing, but to have your novel literally sing beautiful melodies to you is quite another. There are very few classic authors who have this ability, let alone the more recent group of modern literalists who view the English language more as a road map into their thoughts rather than a book of poems or sonnets in which to enrapture those fortunate to peruse their novels. Bravo Mr. Howey! This is an lovely melody to have read!

Normally I gauge sci-fi writers on their portrayals of other lands based on their portrayal’s feasibility, if not realism itself. Admittedly this tale passes neither test for it’s setting is neither real nor feasible. But, in spite of that and because of the author’s tremendous writing skills, this failure quickly fades into the background and by chapter two I was readily accepting that the improbable was, in fact, probable and that the unbelievable had a strong leaning towards reality. If you are simply a dystopic lover this is an excellent book to read. But, if you are like me, and also appreciate highly skilled writing, this is a must read. Move over Charles Dickens, you may have found another writer who can describe people and places such as you did..................

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