God A Human Story By Reza Aslan

Book Review

Impressions

A monotheism experiment – “the climax of the fairly recent belief in a single, singular, nonhuman, and indivisible creator God as defined by postexilic Judaism, as renounced by Zoroastrian Dualism and Christian Trinitarianism, and as revived in the Sufi interpretation of tawhid; God is not the creator of everything that exists. God is everything that exists.” ~ God A Human Story

Nothing prepared me for this uplifting treatise on the intelligence of our evolution. We may be nature’s experiment, but humanity has always initiated its own exploration of the neural pathways that explain not only who we are but also how we are to each other.

 

The author Reza Aslan offers an explanation on how religions are constant constructs in evolution and is the creation of our civilizations.  So I ask have we engineered religions as guideposts to our evolution. Or is religion an organic living thing that progresses with civilizations.

This essay is not a read for those who understand or live religious dogma as an unchanging thing written on stone tablets. Rather this author explains concepts of the many religions we’ve embraced in clear and unambiguous terms. And his book is the brilliant product of much work. It comprises mountains of organized, substantive research and a discourse on the evolution and sometimes devolution of humanity’s faiths.

Divine humanization

From Lord of the Beasts to a redefined god stripped of carnal form to become a dehumanized god…”without shape or form – utterly transcendent and apersonal.” From God A Human Story

It is reasonable to surmise that the growth of religions becomes part of a learned pattern of thought that manifest by way of cellular memories. The disparate events in discoveries of cave art depicting similar objects of deity in other times and spaces begs the question, is there cellular memories embedded in our DNA.  And, do these objects contain a formula for organized religions necessary for humanity’s socialization?

Although bioresearch has evolved to a place that aggressively challenges what we don’t know about the cell and the intelligence fueling its organelles, it is safe to say that they may harbor information about the origin of the phenomenon we call organized religion.

For me the most compelling argument made by Mr. Aslan on how we struggle to awareness is in the advent of Marduk.  He was central to one of  the longest lasting religions that arrived during Babylonian times when humanity was grasping for an inclusiveness. In a society led by Cyrus the Great and when Judaism was still new and Yeshua ben Joseph (Jesus) wasn’t born yet, the kernels of a culturally changeable society came to be.

The preponderance of evidence reasons that Cyrus the Great constructed an inclusive nation that respected values of a culturally fluid civilization.   While slowly dehumanizing its center of worship, a god name Marduk.

Our imagination driven by what we understand dictates our need to make gods in images and traits we know best…ourselves.

It requires a brave heart

One must enter into the labor of religious research with an open mind and heart.  Reza Aslan owns both with a healthy dash of skepticism and bravery.

In my opinion, to argue the relevance of the constructs of our belief systems requires extreme courage. The evolution of religion is the tender under belly of all human cultures.  They compose the most personal self-identification of societies and sovereignty. It composes what we understand as the collective reasoning.

I wouldn’t, shouldn’t and couldn’t comment on this read as an essay on opposing religions. Rather it’s a talk on how our ‘systems of faith” evolved to reflect our relative truths.

This author delves very little into the nature of the societies that constructed these religions. In my opinion because Mr. Aslan’s course of study and this book is centered on the far more important stuff of explaining how religions work and its mind numbing effects on human progress.

Survival

Our objects of worship served to explain the unexplainable while aiding our survival as a specie.  Are we in the midst of embracing and expanding the precepts of a dehumanized religion?

This is genius writing on comparative religions and the processes of its creators and inheritors.

Story/Plot/Conflict

An extremely ambitious book becomes an easy read on the roots of religions and thoroughly researched story of comparative ideologies.

The cultural timelines and borders appear almost a blur.  The author clarifies those lines that seem to disappear in the miasma of disparate teachings of scholars separated or compromised by secular belief systems.

The book explains in simple terms how the conflict lies in man’s reasoning for living and the need to look elsewhere for guidance and comfort.

The human story preaches how the varied forms of deification and religious fables have endured and colored how we see experience our religions. This author makes this 12,000 to 14,000 years tale seem like mere steps in discoveries of whom we are and how beliefs have inform our lives.

Main Character

God

My Critique: Even for the most august of theologians can experience epiphanies in this read. This writing has the rare flavor of pure objectivity.

Genre: General audiences and an enlightening read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Unnatural Vice By K.J. Charles

Book Review

Impressions
My first time reading this author and I am going back to the well. Her descriptive language pulled me into the world of a London that has fascinated me. This is a view of the raw unvarnished realities of a time when monochrome morality was worsen by pollution leaden fog and “poor houses”. I am in London. Slipping and sliding on fog-wet pavers and stepping onto high kerbs.

This writing developed beautifully with its careful transition to faith fulfillment and an unrepentant love between two men who are polar opposites.

Seduction

“The sane, sensible, lawyer part of Nathaniel’s mind was screaming Danger! But it was being drowned out by the blood pounding in his ears. Lazarus’s slightly parted lips, those wicked eyes, the scruffy half-grown beard, all of those were making his mouth dry, but it was the sheer unrelenting will of the man opposite him that was turning attraction into urgent need.” – An Unnatural Vice

Halfway through the read and my favorite character is Justin Lazarus. His seduction of Nathaniel is haunting. Justin’s jaunty arrogance that belies self-hate and extreme cynicism, for me, was heart stealing. It seems Nathaniel’s notice of the charlatan’s unusual and perhaps uncanny good looks begin this tale of love and self-discoveries. This was a story begun in a drawing room on Hanging Sword Alley and it began nicely for me.

It is one thing to include jargon of period and culture and another thing completely to weave it into the read in ways that add ambiance. It is wonderful to receive an education while being seduced between the covers of this book.

Of course, this is also a tale that never seems to grow old, the seeming endless breach between the obstinacy of conservative ideologies versus preachers of neo-progression

Story/Plot/Conflict

Something is definitely afoot when bodies are showing up at his friend’s door and family heads are mysteriously committing suicide. Of course, it’s in Victorian England where upstanding people do these things when scandal knocks at the door. But the wealthy journalist and family friend Nathaniel decides to right the wrongs and in the process finds his world, reshaped.

He must obtain the assistance of the London Seer. Born of the gutter and abandoned at birth Justin Lazarus is a self-made man who profits as an unapologetic lair and cheat. Preying on the lonely and bereft, he enters Nathaniel Roy’s life. Antagonism, mutual want, and uncontrolled passions change them both…but at what cost.

My Main Characterizations

Nathaniel Roy (Nathan Royston) He is rich, powerful, large in statue, and filled to the brim with conservatism. Nathaniel felt only contempt for this charlatan that would use the pain of other’s loss as a tool to extort monies. But his empty heart is rapidly filling with the scent of Justin.

Justin Lazarus slight of built with uncanny grey eyes he exemplifies how a man coming of age in the wretched slums can find his own path to fame and riches. Unapologetic love allows him an escape from self-destruction and the discovery of self-worth.

Critiques
Put simply…this is good stuff and a good read. Thank you K.J. Charles

A Book Review Introduction by Barbara Ann Cerda

One of the most important marketing tools for any author is getting word of mouth attention. I have learned that there are many gifted unnoticed wordsmiths.

While immersing myself in book reviews this pass month the thought occurred to offer free reviews to my book marketing pack.

Lots of friendly professional reviews are needful. Book chatter is essential to survival. Goodreads and Amazon ePublishing thrive on word of mouth traffic and chat groups. Proficient book reviews draw attention.

I currently post 350 to 400 word count reviews on:

Goodreads
Amazon,
Kobo and
Barnes and Noble
Coming soon Netgalley
The entire above share Twitter links

I have created Paper.il newsletter, WordPress Blog, Book Review Spreadsheet and Calendar. The newsletter will present updated blog content and will email daily to subscribers. The front page will include daily updated book reviews and social news about publishing and anything wordsmithing.

The spreadsheets will track the following in this way:

• A tab for each of your websites (color coded for easier ID)
• Under your individual tab will be listed your author and book title.
• All links that pertain to the work
• Dates requests submitted and review due date
• The calendar is just a handy way of viewing the month’s activity (also colored coded).

As information gets organized, I will also post links to free book reviewers.

The thing is we can be most useful to our authors by driving traffic to your websites and blogs. Favorable reviews will help in achieving that.

This is NOT a marketing proposal on your websites and blogs for me. So an email or open letter to authors, publishers, and bloggers explaining the free service will suffice.

But I cannot accept rush reviews or ARCs, placing them ahead in the cue, without charging a nominal fee.

I will accept most genres. Because of other commitments, there will be a 2 to 3 month delivery on reviews and no books over 400 pages. I currently review for Netgalley and Alpha Book Club.

The author or publisher is responsible for delivery of copy formatted in Kindle MOBI, MSWord, or PDF. Books submitted for review must have a Goodreads and Amazon account. Submission request can come to my email (bobann88@gmail.com) for now, until I figure out where best to place a submission form.

Keeping this simple is important and I’d be grateful for any input.

Barb

Welcome to ChapterSee Home for Writers

Sweet-Home-Chicago-062-001.jpg book and money canstockphoto5938664Welcome to ChapterSee where writers, publishers and book lovers of all genres come together.

Whether you are a veteran writer with a prolific bibliography, or creating your first masterpiece, become a ChapterSee member. Our mandate is to market your book(s) across social web platforms. Publishers are welcome to promote or connect with new talent.

As a place for book selling campaigns, ChapterSee offers a no fee venue for your book(s). Successful web based book marketing must be driven by well-defined goals for creating author fame, not memberships. In our promise to maintain a no cost promotional site, we do not distract from the important tasks of promoting your work with offers of widgets and contests. We merely ask that you submit suggestions and feel free to ask questions.

In reviewing current and outdated book distributing vogue we also pay close attention to what is new in future promotional trends. Then we present your work to its most important source to success…the reader.

As a new member, you are required to create strong compelling profiles that include book blog links. It is our way of insuring that viewers of our website will learn more about the authors.

The focus of ChapterSee is to create a place where authors can shamelessly plug their books. Becoming a sensation in the publishing community is all about successful mass marketing. Expanding your web presence requires repeated imagery of cover art. Upload quality book imagery to wet the imagination of readers and fans. It is that easy. Whether of fiction or non-fiction ChapterSee uses all the available distribution channels to display your book.

Most important are those that feed our craft, the readers. They are always a welcome addition to our community of writers and publishers.

We invite our readers to peruse our generous library to find the newest in storytelling. The Amazon link to each author’s-buying page offers immediate purchasing power. Booklover participation helps to keep our stories alive. We strongly encourage our fans and members to share their favorite book companions and authors with others.

As a free promotional web platform to authors and publishers, ChapterSee should be a necessary marketing tool in any authors’ arsenal of title branding and recognition.

You have done the work. Let ChapterSee help with the heavy lift of promotion. Our mandate is to help you sell your book(s)!

Discover Your True Value as an Author

 OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A nexus of cross-purposes is a ghostly presence that haunts all writers. It is their commonality.

True and accurate quantification of bookmakers is rare. How do you estimate the real value of an author’s abilities? Nevertheless, creating fiction or nonfiction is a needful requirement in every industry. Gifts of “word-smithing” create new worlds and can reshape common values. Faced with the dichotomy between marketing their works at true value while acknowledging the mediocrity of economic realities… authors must choose. There needs be food on the table, rent and mortgages to be paid, and lifestyles to maintain.

I read an article recently about acknowledging contributions of writers’ to the actual return of investment in marketing. Considered more a liability than an asset, rarely are writers valued in their support to successful campaigns.

An author’s talent for conveying ideas in words is a promotional asset. Their contributions should not appear as a liability on an accounting ledger. It is a necessary tool in achieving successful marketing outcomes. The same holds true in how an author places value on his/her own work. No one can properly compensate a gift. Nevertheless, everyone should place the highest value possible on novelists, and that starts with you the author.

Achieving the proper return on your investment of time and creativity is a needful challenge, one you should never ignore. Social network sites like ChapterSee are not only a smart ROI (Return of Investment). It is a common sense approach to achieving a writer’s or publishers’ literary success.

When mentioning ROI I am referring to not only the actual monetary investment in marketing and promoting, but also the economic term “opportunity costs”. This takes into consideration the hidden expenditures of time spent in researching material, editing and efforts taken away from employment pursuits. Authoring a book contains great intrinsic values. Nevertheless, recognition of your work can only become a revelation to readers by way of aggressive promotion and smart pricing.

canstockphoto20480274

This nascent digital era can garner respectful fans from all over the world. Only through proper channels and funnels of high traffic sites, can you achieve fair compensation for your undiscovered abilities. They help in creating your brand.

Amazon makes 83,000 online sales every 60 seconds. YouTube users upload 72 hours of new video every minute. A remarkable social network dedicated to the magic of imagery and a wonderful space to advertise book covers. Pinterest users repin over 3,000 images per 60 seconds. To throw another impressive number in the mix, daily global usage of the internet has grown to 2.4 billion people. Note the word “grow”, because internet usage is developing into an organic medium for communication.

Claim your market share.

Over the top exposure of your book cover, will garner sales. Book promoting social networks help in personalizing the author and his work. ChapterSee can help you grow in reader popularity while creating your own niche. It expands the opportunities to sell your work at its true market value. Hawking your titles at a fraction of their worth has unintended consequences.

Lowering costs for books have a ripple effect that flows throughout the literary community. It reduces the compensation point for all writers, especially those who have yet to attain recognition. There are avenues to self-promotion that require meager to none marketing dollars for independent writers and publishers. It requires your own creative input and attention to details. Author and publisher niche sites attract readers.

ChapterSee

Website networking communities like ChapterSee can offer a huge helping hand to achieving literary recognition. Marketing budget or no, it takes time to build a dedicated customer base. This is where social media and network communities specific to authoring can save a lot of money and time. ChapterSee tracks web traffic, mimics larger digital marketing giants and brings them to you, then directs your readers to the sales link.

It is a very needful thing to post your work on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and the like. Nevertheless, when you add your literary treasure to their pile of millions, it becomes impossible to be noticed in a sea of images. You MUST put niche social networks first in your marketing toolbox.

Displaying your cover on author and publishers’ social networks like ChapterSee increases your exposure to potential buyers that become repeat consumers and subscribers to your brand.