An eloquent and often moving Christian meditation.



A bird-centered devotional memoir about a trip to Israel.

In this well-designed remembrance, Burden, who previously authored the historical-fiction Hidden Kings Trilogy and several other religious works, relates a trip he took with a group to the Holy Land in 2018. Christian readers will particularly appreciate the centrality of religious pilgrimage in this account, particularly the narrative’s centerpiece—his visit to “the place where it all began," Nazareth. Indeed, he makes sure to characterize his trip as less of a vacation than a religious journey, although he notes: “If I had taken a tour just to snap a few pictures and add a few birds to my life list,” says the avid birder, “it would not be a pilgrimage.” This note of affection for avians sounds throughout the book; for all his sightseeing and spiritual experiences, Burden is also always keenly aware of feathered friends flitting around him. These sightings range from the “usual suspects,” such as hooded crows, common mynas, and countless doves, to newer encounters with the Eurasian blackcap, the common whitethroat, and Old World warblers: “Above my head wheeled dozens of swifts, cutting through the morning air with graceful, scythe-like sweeps,” he writes at one point, with the understated lyricism that characterizes much of the narrative; at another juncture, he intriguingly imagines Nazareth as closely resembling what Jesus would have seen: “The birds winging about were the same species he would have spied as a child,” he writes, “the same sparrows and doves that he referenced in his teaching.” This combination of birding and faith works surprisingly well, resulting in a spiritual memoir of memorable sincerity.

An eloquent and often moving Christian meditation.

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73293-196-1

Page Count: 194

Publisher: North Wind Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2022

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

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All right, all right, all right: The affable, laconic actor delivers a combination of memoir and self-help book.

“This is an approach book,” writes McConaughey, adding that it contains “philosophies that can be objectively understood, and if you choose, subjectively adopted, by either changing your reality, or changing how you see it. This is a playbook, based on adventures in my life.” Some of those philosophies come in the form of apothegms: “When you can design your own weather, blow in the breeze”; “Simplify, focus, conserve to liberate.” Others come in the form of sometimes rambling stories that never take the shortest route from point A to point B, as when he recounts a dream-spurred, challenging visit to the Malian musician Ali Farka Touré, who offered a significant lesson in how disagreement can be expressed politely and without rancor. Fans of McConaughey will enjoy his memories—which line up squarely with other accounts in Melissa Maerz’s recent oral history, Alright, Alright, Alright—of his debut in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused, to which he contributed not just that signature phrase, but also a kind of too-cool-for-school hipness that dissolves a bit upon realizing that he’s an older guy on the prowl for teenage girls. McConaughey’s prep to settle into the role of Wooderson involved inhabiting the mind of a dude who digs cars, rock ’n’ roll, and “chicks,” and he ran with it, reminding readers that the film originally had only three scripted scenes for his character. The lesson: “Do one thing well, then another. Once, then once more.” It’s clear that the author is a thoughtful man, even an intellectual of sorts, though without the earnestness of Ethan Hawke or James Franco. Though some of the sentiments are greeting card–ish, this book is entertaining and full of good lessons.

A conversational, pleasurable look into McConaughey’s life and thought.

Pub Date: Oct. 20, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-13913-4

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020

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