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Content by JS Schwartz
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Helpful Votes: 21

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Reviews Written by
JS Schwartz "JS" (New York, USA)
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The Universe and the Mad Butterfly
The Universe and the Mad Butterfly
by Pratish Mistry
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy with a twist, 20 Jan. 2007
Some very thought-provoking senryu - did not really 'get' some of the verses but those that I could relate to I thought were quite brilliant. The author has an unusual way of expressing everyday thoughts, events and emotions and the book definitely prompted a variety of reactions from quiet reflection to outright laughter - certainly takes some talent to combine deep philosophy with ninja turtles and get away with it!

The structure of the verses is interesting .. reading them with an emphasis on different words/ flow can change the meaning totally. It's almost as though each verse is a little word puzzle in which you have to figure out different meanings. I thought it was perhaps a little too clever in one or two of them as no single clear meaning came through for me.

Illustrations were generally good but I thought a little two-dimensional for my liking.. I feel something a bit more abstract would have suited this type of verse better. There were some that gave me a totally different intepretation of the adjacent verses that I wouldn't otherwise have thought of - these worked very well.

Overall I found it to be a great coffee-table type book that you can flip open to any page for a browse and ponder. Highly recommended .. there's certainly something in it for everyone.


Freedom from the Known
Freedom from the Known
by J. Krishnamurti
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent but brutal, 12 July 2006
This review is from: Freedom from the Known (Paperback)
One of the few books I've read that I recommend time and time again to my students - an excellent but brutal analysis of the human condition.

It is certainly not light reading and I found it to be quite pessimistic in terms of its overall outlook. The analysis however is clinical and cuts to the bone. This book would probably bode better with intellectuals than those inclined to read the standard self-help motivational pulp.. definitely a book to stimulate thought and reflection.


Tao Te Ching
Tao Te Ching
by Lao Tsu
Edition: School & Library Binding

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent translation, 12 July 2006
One of the best, most readable interpretations of Tao Te Ching I have come across over the years. The supporting illustrations are bold yet do not take away from the text.

Certainly one of those classic coffee table books I'd like to pick up from time to time and ponder over a few pages.. highly recommended!


The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream
The Alchemist: A Fable About Following Your Dream
by Paulo Coelho
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.84

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read but somewhat over-rated, 12 July 2006
A readable fable of a shepherd boy, Santiago's journey of self-discovery. The book begins with some promise - it is quite easy to relate to the main character and many of his experiences. The character of Santiago is developed well and I felt most readers would be able to empathise with him.

Toward the end of the journey however, the author lost me somewhat with some confusing events/ metaphors. In the context of the book it appeared to me as though the author had reached some point on the journey which he had not experienced himself or could not adequately express his experience with the consistent simplicity of the rest of the book. To me it seemed like he decided to throw in a bit of chaos to cover this up which was disappointing.

The story as a whole and the driving concept of the book .. i.e. to follow your dreams certainly comes through regardless and overall it is enjoyable... I cannot help but feel though that something is lacking.


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