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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

EPublishing trends for 2016

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Is EPublishing dying?

When I started my investigations on subject matter ideas for this article, my focus went first, to how ePublishing and consumption of eBooks are trending in emerging markets. What I found most enlightening is that the most commonly used device to view and or read digital content is the iphone.

So I thought it logical to look to emerging markets like India, where iphone and tablets are widely used. A startup tech company in India called Micromax Informatics got my attention. They create 30 new phones a year compared to Apple who produces only two. Imagine having enough people to consume that many phones. India’s consumption of digital devices is hot and getting warmer. As the man says, there is no stop in their market growth. The realities are that India and China – like other emerging markets – may buy a lot of readers and iphone – but they do not use them to read books. Anticipating on a presumption of market behavior, even when the fundamentals support, is not always a proper bellwether. Hard solid numbers tell the truth.

EPublishing data collectors portend a steady growth over the next 5 years. The popularity and success of self-publishing has opened an entire new dynamic to eBook promotion. Markets trending the healthiest remain in the United States and in Europe. Absent social hurdles incumbent in emerging countries, we are using all mobile devices to read a book. The rising star is the iphone followed by the tablet. Giving rise to another new phenomenon the digital publishing application.

EPOD or Electronic Publishing on Demand apps is easier to navigate and offer more in the way of being end user friendlier than websites. The US is leading the pack in the production and implementation of new digital book creating and viewing apps. Content streaming enablers like Alphabet (Google), Amazon, Microsoft and YouTube are anticipating digital content spending based on current and trending behaviors.

Mobilegeddon is upon us. EBook readers lag in usage because we are using other more commonly used mobile devices to enjoy content.

Google has created the concept of “Mobilegeddon” which is driving through the digital world like a warm knife through butter. To be noticed Web content must play friendly with a broad range of mobile devices. The updated algorithm simply put…recognizes original content in different ways. Coupled with social media and video streaming players consumers make the iphone and tablet their commonly used device to read and enjoy content. Creating a mobile friendly sixty-second video to announce a new eBook on YouTube is smart digital promotion. This acts as an excellent way of converting book blog views to book buyers.

“I wish I could give you a clear answer, but after nearly a month of investigation into whether Apple or Barnes & Noble is now the second-largest ebook retailer in the US, this is the best I have: It depends.” – Jeremy Greenfield Digital Book World

Our digital world is redefining how we publish. What is undergoing the most change is where readers are enjoying your work. Devices are not mobile we are. The “who” of digital marketing and visual avenues pointing to your labor is growing and changing as well. Amazon is still leading the pack in eBook economies. A reason why is the constant of introduction of new publishing apps. Coming up as close second in sales of digital content and tied with B&N is Apple, the world’s premier application producer. What better way to assuage the greedy crowds standing in line for the newest phone than to give them an unlimited source of content. Enter from the wings is a continuing flow of eBooks. What better way to be in touch with the newest in free and new eBooks than YouTube.

YouTube is one streaming media that is aiming to be the premier go-to for all digital content. As all social media expands its reach and ability to capture audience attention, so will the avenues authors will tread to becoming well read. That means eventually opening new markets. Global tech leaders Jack Dorsey (Twitter), Tim Cook (Apple) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), are striving to make happy the digital content populace. They are merging and emerging as premier sources of digital advertising for bookmakers and publishers.

The good news is that for those living and producing eBooks on this side of world…the prospects are looking good.

According to Statista.com, ePublishing trends are set to grow over the next 5 years in the United States, followed by Europe and the UK. The segment within ePublishing showing the strongest growth is eBooks. Considering that English is still holding as dominate global language, it would make sense that English speaking writers and authors will still be in demand.

Wall Street requires steady growth in the number of new and upgraded devices. They will need constant content for its users and an influx of story contributors. It is all about being a widely viewed author – isn’t it?

There was another revelation lying dormant within the data of publishing trends.

Hardcover educational or reference books that normally make rich global publishers are becoming more available and at less cost through digital bookmaking. The cost to produce digitally technical works is less expensive than rendering the material in the traditional hardback or trade paper covers. It’s about the economics of manpower and materials.

What surprised me the most is that contrary to popular belief, paper trade media is growing just as strong as eBooks especially in Japan and parts of the European markets. It makes intellectual property and copy write laws easier to define. Recent intellectual laws governing digital media have undergone legal speed bumps. Because of Amazon’s nascent eBook and digital rental, language and agreements become more widely used.

The take away is that the popularizing of reading books on digital devices in emerging markets will grow. So keeping current with digital promotions in the US is wise, but learning how to address marketing language for emerging cultures should be on your to do lists.

Share your thoughts about the latest in publishing apps or include discussions about what new programs you would like ChapterSee to test drive.

ChapterSee is always your source for all things authoring.