Subscriber-Only Content; You must be a PW subscriber to access the backissue database. PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital edition via our app or online. For more information on PW's new integrated subscription plan, click here. If you are currently a PW subscriber, click "Login" for full access to the site (if you have not done so already, you will need to set up your account for the new system by going here), or click the "Subscribe" button to become a PW subscriber. Email service@publishersweekly.com with questions.

Login or Subscribe
Healing the Western Soul: A Spiritual Homecoming for Today's Seeker

Judith S. Miller. Paragon House (Macmillan, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (248p) ISBN 978-1-55778-917-4

..
Psychologist Miller (Direct Connection) sees a mental health system failing those who have religious visions, especially those with Western spiritual figures such as Jesus or angels. Contemporary psychology and psychotherapy recognize neither the psychospiritual aspect of human life nor the Western mystery path. Therapists are stuck in the worldview that only what science can prove is real and anything else should be medicated away; New Age gurus espouse the postmodern view that everything is subjective; and patients discount their own emergent Judeo-Christian imagery due to bad early experiences with organized religion. All these preconceptions get in the way of addressing a Western spiritual crisis. Miller's entreaty to ground spiritual development within our "spiritual DNA" never falls into cultural stereotyping. She acknowledges a Judeo-Christian path as just one route to the Divine, and her encouragement to allow for the authenticity of mystical experience in the therapeutic process opens up a powerful route toward healing to those whose souls yearn beyond the material world. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 03/06/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Territories of Science and Religion

Peter Harrison. Univ. of Chicago, $30 (320p) ISBN 978-0-226-18448-7

..
Harrison, professor of the history of science at the University of Queensland, argues that present conceptions of science and religion as opposing disciplines have been anachronistically mapped onto the past, and that their relationship was much more intimately connected in earlier Western understandings. In their original usage, "religio" and "scientia" were not doctrines or claims of knowledge as they're now understood, but rather descriptions of ethical life centering on mental habits, spiritual interior formation, and dispositions. To be "religious" and/or "scientific" meant that one was concerned with the moral implications of reading the universe and practicing the habits required to exercise those different ethics. Harrison masterfully traces the delicate history between religio and scientia to their modern conceptions, unearthing their relationships to auxiliary disciplines such as theology, natural philosophy, and hermeneutics. Harrison's work is an admirable contribution to the history of science and religion. Though it's aimed mainly at an academic audience, general readers will also be interested in this analysis and its challenges to assumptions about both disciplines. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 03/06/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Education of Augie Merasty

Joseph Auguste Merasty, with David Carpenter. Univ. of Regina (Univ. of Toronto, North American dist.), $21.95 (105p) ISBN 978-0-88977-368-4

..
More than 70 years ago, Merasty was sent to St. Therese Residential School in Sturgeon Landing, on the border of Manitoba and Saskatchewan. It was one of the 130 church-run schools that all aboriginal children were required to attend as a part of a Canadian government policy of forced assimilation in the 20th century. Between 1935 and 1944, Merasty was physically and sexually abused, beaten, insulted, and exposed to unspeakable conditions by priests and nuns who were supposed to educate him. He carried the scars on his mind and body all his life. Unlike many of his peers who suffered similar or worse abuse silently, Merasty remained courageously determined to publish a book that would expose the injustices he and so many other children endured. In Carpenter (The Literary History of Saskatchewan), he found a superb writer and editor and a tenacious ally who saw the book through to publication even after Merasty's enthusiasm for the project was dimmed first by alcoholism and later by cancer. This book offers a glimpse into Merasty's life in the residential school, exposing a terrible regime where evil went entirely unchecked. A quick read, it's nevertheless a historically significant one. (Feb.)

Reviewed on 03/06/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Summer Table: Recipes and Menus for Casual Outdoor Entertaining

Lisa Lemke. Sterling, $24.95 (272p) ISBN 978-1-4549-0438-0

..
For many, summer is the season to go lighter on food preparation, allowing the fresh flavors to speak for themselves, but this cookbook from a Swedish TV chef promises that laid-back doesn't have to mean pedestrian grilled meats and insipid salads. Among her solutions for meats is a series of creative marinades, rubs, glazes, sauces, and compound butters, some of which evoke her native flavors (elderflower and lemon glaze, for example) and others that combine cross-cultural ingredients (a sticky BBQ marinade with hoisin, red chili, and cherry marmalade). From there Lemke accompanies her reader along a series of well-designed menus for occasions such as a Grand Summer Brunch Buffet (baked eggs with asparagus and bacon; onion mushroom and sage custard tart; carrot and almond scones) and a Chic Cocktail Party in the City (salty-sweet rosemary popcorn; pizza with chanterelles, chorizo, and pecorino). Enthusiastic commentary convincingly urges readers to try gorgonzola in an omelet with grapes, and a chocolate pie mixed with muscovado caramel and currant. Lemke's recipes are colorful and creative. Color photos. (Mar.)

Reviewed on 03/06/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
The Road to Character

David Brooks. Random House, $28 (336p) ISBN 978-0-8129-9325-7

..
The road to exceptional character may be unpaved and a bit rocky, yet it is still worth the struggle. This is the basic thesis of Brooks's engrossing treatise on personal morality in today's materialistic, proud world. Brooks (The Social Animal) draws on the dichotomy in human nature proposed by Rabbi Joseph Soloveitchick in his 1965 essay "The Lonely Man of Faith," which divides humanity between the external, social-based "Adam I," and internal, moral "Adam II." On this basis, he tackles sin, promiscuity, and the "central" vice of pride. He also formulates a "Humility Code" as a pathway to a secular type of holiness. Brooks puts forward exemplary figures who recognized their inner weaknesses and overcame those flaws through love of God, family, country, and vocation. They include governmental figures like Gen. George Marshall and President Dwight Eisenhower; Catholic social worker Dorothy Day; theologian St. Augustine; "humanist" writers George Eliot, Samuel Johnson, and Michel de Montaigne; and civil rights leaders A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin. Brook's poignant and at times quite humorous commentary on the importance of humility and virtue makes for a vital, uplifting read. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 03/06/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Notes on the Death of Culture: Essays on Spectacle and Society

Mario Vargas Llosa, trans. from the Spanish by John King. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $22 (240p) ISBN 978-0-374-12304-8

..
One of the world's great literary figures, Peruvian Nobel Prize winner Vargas Llosa, now 78, offers a trenchant collection of long essays plus related articles written for El Pais, the Madrid newspaper. They approach required reading for any serious observer of arts and letters. To Vargas Llosa, the contemporary beau ideal is not substance or depth; the trendy and ambitious move increasingly toward inane, vulgar intellectual fashions like iron filings to magnets. "Frivolity disarms a sceptical culture," he warns. The book's first third comprises a long essay entitled "The Civilization of Spectacle," which was the original, less pessimistic title when this collection was first published in Spanish. More interested in self-promotion and exhibitionism than in substance, intellectuals "play the fashion game and become clowns." What passes for daring are in fact "masks of conformity." The author objects to a culture increasingly "pulling his leg," to a cultural establishment "complicit" in these caprices, and to a public being "manipulated and conned." Vargas Llosa fears a world hurtling toward special effects and Marshall McLuhan's "image bath." The disappearance of traditional books compounds the thrall of spectacle. Words, he reminds us in his conclusion, have the power to "delve into problems" and "tell the truth" in ways that "more enjoyable and entertaining" images cannot. An acid critique of Michel Foucault's and Jacques Derrida's confections, wherein it is "forbidden to forbid," broadens to the subsequent, abject collapse of educational authority. In "The Death of Eroticism," Vargas Llosa expresses wry amazement at the introduction of classroom masturbation workshops in sex education and the educators who think of this kind of thing as progress. In "Cold Sex," he connects such farce to the thought system of Catherine Millet, a French feminist and author of The Sexual Life of Catherine M., remarking on the "dehumanizing" results of liberated sexuality. "I end on a somewhat melancholic note," Vargas Llosa writes, for he believes the 21st-century world defines progress mainly as the satisfaction of material and power needs. Vargas Llosa has no illusions about spectacle's mass appeal and popularity, and he at once echoes and builds on earlier complaints of titans Daniel Bell (The Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism), Christopher Lasch (The Culture of Narcissism), and Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death). In this diamond-hard, prophetic complaint, Vargas Llosa reiterates many known worries and cultural omens. His alchemy results in an imposing summa that's rich in common sense and perspective. (June)

Reviewed on 03/06/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Bad Blood

Jonathan Maberry and Tyler Crook . Dark Horse, $17.99 trade paper (136p) ISBN 978-1-61655-496-5

..
Very smart and very bleak, this Bram Stoker Award–nominated graphic novel works fresh changes on traditional and pop-cultural vampire lore. Trick Croft is a college freshman fighting leukemia. When a monstrous vampire attacks him, it recoils in dismay, poisoned by Trick's polluted blood. After the maimed bloodsucker begins slaughtering Trick's friends, the young man tries to become a vampire slayer, searching through the freaky nightclubs of vampire wannabes. He meets Lolly, a heroin addict who sees vampirism as salvation from her wasted life—until she actually meets some of the horde menacing Trick and becomes his ally. When they find a mentor, an ageless vampire hunter, readers may be lulled into thinking this is going to be another variation on a familiar theme, but Maberry (the Rot and Ruin seres) knows exactly what readers expect, and he plays expertly on their hopes and fears. Crook's anti-glamorous art fits the script perfectly, all the way to the tense climax. Readers who value honesty and intelligence over comfortable clichés will find them here. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 03/06/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It

Edited by Anne Ishii, Graham Kolbeins, and Chip Kidd. Fantagraphics, $35 trade paper (280p) ISBN 978-1-60699-785-7

..
Replete with rippling muscles and hypermasculinity, this volume provides a fascinating overview of contemporary gay manga and its creators. In a medium dominated by visual exaggeration, the figures given vivid, lusty life by these artists express the apex of a powerful butch sensibility. While the work, by artists including Seizoh Ebisubashi and Kazuhide Ichikawa, is as explicit as it could possibly get, there is a clearly expressed joy to its aggressive sexuality, even in the segments that veer deep into domination and humiliation. The book showcases nine creators with interviews and profiles; cover artist Jiraiya could be most accessible to Western readers, his work bringing to mind a fusion of Arthur Adams and Frank Cho as filtered through the lens of Tom of Finland, with his Hulk-like beefcake bear-gods exuding an unexpected warmth and humor. U.S. collectors of this material will be thirsty for this first-ever English language anthology, and adventurous comics readers will encounter a realm they might have otherwise overlooked. (Dec.)

Reviewed on 03/06/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Sunstone, Vol. 1

Stjepan Sejic. Image/Top Cow, $14.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-63215-212-1

..
Sejic, best known for his exceptionally long run on Witchblade, tries his hand at illustrated erotica with a story of two lonely, beautiful women interested in BDSM. Ally and Lisa find they're both sexually compatible and well suited to being friends as they enjoy their first weekend together. The sense of humor and humanity in Sejic's characters is refreshing and provides much-needed levity to balance the potentially tricky subject matter. The story is extremely light on plot, focusing entirely on Ally and Lisa's first meeting and exploratory early relationship. While the honest and upfront approach to sexual female relationships and fetishes is a worthy one, the book is sometimes overwritten and repetitive. However, the biggest miss is the fact that the two leads are stereotypical "perfect tens" as well as nearly identical, which feels unfaithful to the concept of taking an unflinching look at unconventional people, unconventional sex, and maybe even unconventional love. (Jan.)

Reviewed on 03/06/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
Yamada Monogatari: To Break the Demon Gate

Richard Parks. Prime Books, $14.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-60701-435-5

..
Prolific writer Parks's superb supernatural page-turner, the second in the Yamada Monogatari series (after Demon Hunter), takes readers to medieval Japan, where Yamada, a minor nobleman, agrees to help the emperor's wife, Teiko, to dispel rumors about her son's parentage. Yamada enlists the help of his supernatural allies to find a letter that would clear Teiko's name, but this does not prevent the young woman's exile and suicide. When evidence emerges that Teiko was framed, Yamada seeks to right the wrongs of the royal court. Meanwhile, a menacing pall hangs over the city, growing darker with every passing day. Parks creates a fascinating world, where cutthroat court intrigue and the beings of the underworld collide. Yamada and his friends are well-rounded, believable characters, and the witty prose maintains mystery and suspense throughout. Playing with Japanese demonology and political scandal, Parks creates an absorbing and original tale. (Nov.)

Reviewed on 03/06/2015 | Details & Permalink

show more
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
X
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.