Tag Archives: reviewer

Reviewing as an art form

I would be the first person to point out that, as a reviewer I am most ordinary. I can tell you if a book is well written. If I know the subject I can offer opinions as to whether it is any good, and perhaps put it in context in terms of how it relates to other, similar books. I will tell you if it makes sense, has structural integrity, a good plot, believable characters or something new to offer. If it’s not my sort of thing I will postulate as to who might like it. Useful enough, as reviewing goes, but nothing to get excited about. I do this sort of thing on Goodreads.

There are reviewers – rare and exceptional reviewers who take it to a whole other level. The measure here is that the review is a valuable contribution in its own right and worth the reading regardless of whether you have any interest in the book. Both Lorna Smithers and James Nichol review in this way on their blogs.

I’ve been blessed with two reviews recently that are pieces of art in their own right and should be honoured as such.

There’s a profound emotional response in Mitriel’s review of Hopeless Maine. It makes the story into something personal, suggesting the room for other people to do that, too. It touched me greatly.

And then this… Letters Between Gentlemen is a novel written mostly in letters. Here, Pablo Cheesecake reviews the book by writing his own letter to Professor Elemental. Of all the reviews I have ever had, this may well be the one I have enjoyed the most, for the sheer joy of how it’s been done… http://www.theeloquentpage.co.uk/2014/11/24/letters-between-gentlemen-by-professor-elemental-and-nimue-brown/

 

(and yes, reviewing reviewers… where will it end?)


Mystery teachings from the Living Earth

I started reviewing pagan books many years ago when Rowan asked me to have a go at a Kevan Manwaring novel, for White Dragon magazine. That was a win in so many ways. I’ve been both a reviewer, and a huge fan of Kevan’ work, ever since. That, along with much of my reviewing career was under the previous name.

These days, I primarily review for www.druidnetwork.org – The Druid Network has a huge book reviews source that I’m very proud to contribute to. I also post reviews of whatever I’m reading to Goodreads. I don’t want to do too much duplication – I don’t think I have that many dedicated followers who trek from site to site following my work, but it would be lovely to imagine that I do, and I wouldn’t want to bore you! My reviews turn up other places too, The Lightworker’s Hub and Henge of Keltria have shared my words.

Anyone who does want to repost my reviews is welcome to do so, the usual applies, attribute it to Nimue Brown and stick a link back to here, please!

Every so often I run into a book that is so good, I want to tell everyone about it. This is one of those books, and these are the ones I’ll repost the reviews of here.

Mystery teachings from the Living Earth,

John Michael Greer  2012

Weiser Books

ISBN 9781578634897

It’s rare that I’m this impressed, this enthused about a book. If you can only afford to buy one spiritually orientated book this year, make it this one. And that’s saying something, because I have 2 books out this year.

In part Mystery Teachings has evidently been written in response to the shortcomings of some aspects of New Age thinking. Anyone who has ever twitched about New Age stuff, is going to love what Greer has to say. Anyone interested in New Age material really should read this book as a counterpoint.

This is an overview of the kinds of thought forms that Mystery Schools teach. It’s presented, in keeping with the zeitgeist, in ecological terms. The result is a beautiful, rich, inspiring description of how reality works, and how to work with it.  I had to read it slowly, because there was so much to take in, many sections I read twice. There is a generous stream of humour through the book as well, it’s full of things that made me laugh out loud, especially the deflation of the ridiculous. There are shades of the boy shouting ‘The Emperor’s got no clothes on’ here, which may make it uncomfortable reading for some, but it needs to be read.

For anyone interested in magic, or personal growth, or the inside of their own head, or how they interface with the rest of reality, this book has a wealth to offer. For anyone exploring mediation, there are some stunning meditation approaches suggested here, methods that will enrich life and awareness. Having read the book straight through for review purposes, I mean to go back and do it slowly, and actually do the work involved. I’ve lost count of how many courses I’ve read for review down the years, this is the first one that has actually inspired me to want to follow it.

Unusually, this is a book I think offers plenty to the newbie, and also has a lot to say to anyone who has been exploring their path for some time. It is, quite simply, a must have. I cannot recommend it enough.