Spirituality in the 21st Century by Frank P. Daversa offers readers Frank’s personal take on spirituality while reflecting on his own beliefs. I knew this book was going to resonate with my own personal experience, at least to some degree, because Daversa describes himself as spiritual but not religious, which is how I would describe myself as well.
Daversa’s take on spirituality is exactly as he explains it, a “primer” towards one’s own spiritual self-discovery. Daversa’s provides a space for conversation about spirituality and one’s own faith. He states that there are three spiritual lessons that as humans we should concern ourselves with and those are global warming, overpopulation and environmental degradation. He states that he considers them as “spiritual” because we have to reach deep into our souls to work towards fixing these issues. His take on spirituality in the 21st century also deals with consumerism and how we should focus on what we need rather than what we want. I was surprised to see this as a part of spirituality but he argues that we should be more conscious of this. He ties this point later to the way in which we tend to attach ourselves. He clarifies that he doesn’t find anything wrong with material possessions but basing our worth on those possessions isn’t beneficial to anyone. I found this to be enlightening especially as there has been more discussion around consumerism, specifically sustainable consumerism.
This is by far one of the most open to discussion books I’ve read about spirituality this year. As it is centered around the 21st century I’m glad that the author Frank P. Daversa included the Black and LGBTQ+ community in his discourse. I definitely recommend Spirituality in the 21st Century to anyone who considers themselves spiritual, whether you’re just beginning the journey or are familiar with it. Spirituality in the 21st Century is thought-provoking and intellectually invigorating.
Pages: 108 | ASIN: B079J5VL55
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Profiles of KAD Relations with the Black Community by Yi Woo Ae, is a study and exploration of the ways in which the lives of minorities, especially the Asian and Black communities, in the United States are intertwined. The book is divided into three complimentary and enlightening parts: a short history, profiles, a quick-start guide, and an explanation of traumas that result from adoption.
The author, who is a Korean adoptee, offers a unique and varied perspective on these issues. She makes a case for the Korean Adoptees acting as a crucial link in the Black Lives Matter movement. She advocates for the strength of the Black-Korean relations and also states the need for including adoption-based and race-based trauma in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The writing is engaging and clear– giving a background history and showing the intersection of different lives in a well-researched and factual manner. It is very interesting to see how she overlaps her personal experiences with the underlying narrative.
Watching the Black Lives Matter movement unfold, while I felt moved and enraged, I was unable to comprehend the nature of the movement in its entirety. This book went a long way in helping me understand the way Asian communities perceive and interact with African American communities. While I am not a part of either community, it helped me to identify the key variables of these issues and I found myself pondering the ways in which my own community interacts with others. I was especially drawn to the profiles- the anecdotes and confessions of KADs growing up in an environment that is simultaneously their own and foreign. They are insightful because they talk about the grounded reality of racism and show the ways in which their lives and thought processes are impacted by it. Even though this is targeted towards Koream adoptees– as a guide for them on how to have difficult conversations, I felt like I came away more confident in both my knowledge and curiosity.
Profiles of KAD Relations with the Black Community is a profound book of depth and intelligence that shines a light on a little understood, and acknowledged, problem in society. This is a thought-provoking book that is well researched and provides wise and rational insight on a topic that is vitally important.
Pages: 272 | ASIN: B08NLLMB9W
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The Future of Disruptive Technologies explores technologies that can change businesses, the workforce, and society. Why was this an important book for you to write?
As I started to do my research on various technologies, reading hundreds of articles and books, I soon found that there were so many different technologies to choose from. It’s so overwhelming and disturbing on how technology is going to impact us and our future generations. At the same time, how one can be proactive and take advantage of opportunities instead of living in fear.
This spurred me to gather together some of my findings in the hope that I can educate or provide useful information for kids and professionals in their mid-careers stuck with old technologies. I want to encourage everyone who reads this book to think of new and innovative technologies to adapt as they adjust in their careers, and also to get an understanding of how these technologies impact our future especially businesses and societies.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from your book?
The aim to educate and encourage every reader to adopt disruptive technologies, as well as to understand their impact on the future of businesses, workforce, and societies, “The Future Of Disruptive Technologies” was born.
Throughout this insightful book, readers will:
- Learn how Cloud Computing is used to innovate in cheaper and faster ways
- Find out why Big Data is the new “oil” — the new raw material for businesses
- Understand how futures are reinvented with Artificial Intelligence (AI)
- Educate themselves on why Data Privacy must be a priority in Cybersecurity
- Immerse themselves in all the new ways people behave and interact with machines
- Discover a world where dreams become reality — virtual and augmented realities
- Find out how 5G networks are transforming lives at high speed
- And so much more!
What is your professional experience and how has it helped you write this book?
Dr. Srikanth (Sri) Gaddam is an author, angel investor and a seasoned entrepreneur who launched three successful technology companies in the last seventeen years. Also, Dr. Gaddam’ s doctorate thesis is primarily focused on technology disruption “ROLE OF SENIOR LEADERS IN AN ERA OF TECHNOLOGY DISRUPTION: INFLUENCE ON TIMING OF ADOPTION”
Do you have plans to write other books on this same topic?
I am currently working on my new book “The Entrepreneurial Mindset: The Key Principles of Building and Growing Your Business”
Posted in Interviews
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Prison from the Inside Out by William “Mecca” Elmore and Susan Simone is a powerful story depicting the struggles in the life of William and his family, his life at the prison, and the indomitable spirit that lifted him from darker days. The story also sheds light on a number of critical issues, questioning the nature of justice in the society we live in, hinting towards the need for reform.
William was convicted for shooting a person, although he had not intended to hurt anyone. His aim was to save his friend from an dispute, but that very same friend testified against him at the court. This book, at any point, doesn’t try to conceal the crime. It speaks about things as they happened and forces readers to analyze deeply why we are carrying forward a system that is essentially flawed.
The narrative takes us through the journey from his teenage years to his introduction into the world of crime and drugs. The story is told with utter truthfulness, bringing out the harsh realities that often elude us. The book provides a fresh perspective on those who spend their lives behind bars.
The book’s subtitle ‘One Man’s Journey From a Life Sentence to Freedom’ aptly reflects the crux of the matter. It’s in not giving up that William finds his freedom, and Susan Simone records his words with great articulation, grasping its essence. The image of the prison days becomes gloomy, scary, and brutally real, but the hope at the end of the tunnel keeps the reader hooked throughout. With the help and unconditional support of his mother and sister, William learns to see that ray of hope. And to know how he goes about it, you have to give this book a read.
Thanks to the oral history method the authors used, each and every incident taking place in the lives of William and his loved ones come alive in the readers mind. It sends a strong message of hope and relentless will, that steers away from the gloomy sadness of a life sentence. This book is an exemplary read for anyone who wishes to look at the larger picture of the justice system.
Pages: 392 | ASIN: B08H1DRHMW
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Scented reimagines the battle of the sexes by having men’s intelligence reliant on womens DNA in a politically divisive society. What was the inspiration for the setup to this riveting story?
The last thing the world needs is another novel about race relations. This novel offered me another means to repackage our ability to strip another human being of every ounce of dignity in order to ingratiate ourselves with cohorts. Scented lays bare at the readers feet the nature of man that cannot change regardless of his circumstance.
The dichotomy between The Mantle and the Rune was intriguing. What were some themes you wanted to explore in each party?
I couldn’t help but think about the struggle Europeans went through when large segments of their population fought off the State mandated indoctrination of religious and political ideologies. In fact, just about every era in history is about two factions with different ideologies squaring off at the expense of the common man. It was those very same themes that I wanted to revisit because we really haven’t learned from our past, have we?
I enjoyed the characters in your novel. Who was your favorite character to write for?
Strangely, writing the Jadda’s lines was the best thrill I had writing this novel. There’s something about this middle-aged woman that fascinates me. She has no super power other than her genetic predisposition to retain large streams of data. Yet, she commands with force and her stoic brutally that says more than any line I could have written for her.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
I’m working on the sequel to Scented at the moment and it should be available in the next two years. I’m a full time teacher, so I can only write when I’m off.
Author Links: Website
An Ambition To Belong is a vivid memoir about your life growing up in 1950’s Detroit. What was the inspiration that made you want to write this book?
To tell the story about Polish American peasant life in inner city Detroit – and my own anxiety-driven experiences in a street gang while attending a private Jesuit college prep high school giving explicit exposure to what many adolescents experience in one way or another.
You recount many struggles you faced growing up. What is a piece of advice that you wish someone gave you when you were young?
I would have wanted to be encouraged to investigate what it was I wanted – rather than accepting what I was being told I was supposed to want.
Do you think immigrant children that grow up in religious families today face the same struggles as you did when you were young?
Yes, immigrant children are always going to struggle with not belonging, feeling like an outsider, grasping at new ways to find identity.
Even though I was second generation, my family was still so embedded in the old ways, in the exclusivity of Polish Catholic identity that it was passed on to me to still struggle with.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
The 3rd book in my Leaving Home Trilogy is titled “When Angels Die” and takes place when the central character Jim is in his mid-20s and is now a professional stage actor. I’m in the final stage of completing it – so I’m hoping that it will be available by the end of year holiday season.
An Ambition to Belong, second book of the Leaving Home Trilogy, is an astute and insightful psychological journey into the inner life of Jim, an adolescent who is trying to forge his own identity. Trapped in two different worlds, he belongs nowhere: at one end his Polish immigrant inner-city Catholic family and its Eastern European peasant beliefs and terrors; and at the other a late-1950s upper-class suburban Jesuit college-prep high school in suburban Detroit where he is totally unprepared to deal with that world of money and arrogance he finds there. At home, raw gut emotion; at school emotionless intellect. At home he is a member of The Royal Lancers, a street gang where his life is threatened by Donny, a psychotically deranged fellow gang member; at school, because of his dress, especially his Ford Motor Company issue black work shoes, he is perceived as a non-entity, a non-being who has little or no existence. Confronted with racism and a savage incident of anti-Semitism, Jim rises to find the strength that forms the first layer of his conscience and his conscious sense of self.
Four Years of Despair by Jalesa Morrison is a youth/teenage story that touches upon sensitive topics, such as mental health, bullying, and family issues. Jaunell Morris is a teenage girl that doesn’t fit in at school or at home, and has a lot of issues. She has trouble communicating with her family, her teachers and with making friends. Everyone around her is baffled by her outbursts and her violent episodes. Her school gives up on her and she is transferred to a different school, where things get even worse.
Jaunell is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and she is in and out of hospitals all the time. Her situation is made worse by her parents’ bad marriage, her poor relationship with her older sisters and the rejection she feels from her extended family. Her only ally is her grandmother, and one of the nurses from the hospital where she’s treated. Eventually, the nurse is the one that helps her secure a place at a much better mental health treatment facility. These are heavy emotional issues, but the book ends on a hopeful note.
This book has the courage to shed light on a lot of difficult issues: mental health in teenagers, dysfunctional families, poverty, lack of access to proper education, social services and healthcare. It’s an authentic and powerful radiography of our society and how its most vulnerable members (youth, minorities, poor people) have the cards stacked against them.
The devastation that mental health issues bring into a person’s life is depicted well inJaunell’s story. However, sometimes I felt that the insights into Jaunell’s motivations, actions and reactions are not detailed enough. The book would have benefited from a deeper incursion into the complexities of Jaunell’s mental issues. I would’ve also liked to have read more about Jaunell’s mother and her relationship with her grandmother. The details of their relationship could’ve provided more insight on the family dynamics and how it affected Jaunell.
As someone who has experienced living with a person who is bipolar I would definitely recommend reading Four Year of Despair by Jalesa Morrison as this book is a real eye opener as to what people who are diagnosed with bipolar disorder go through in their day to day activities. This book would be a great influence to teens who are going through this but may be confused as to why they handle their emotions different than others.
Pages: 234 | ASIN: B07R5DKMMZ
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Young Jim has reached adolescence and is struggling with where he fits in life. Mostly because he doesn’t know himself well enough at this point to figure out where he feels most at home. He doesn’t fit in school. He joins a gang where he can only hope to belong, but never really does. His home is more house than home with both his parents living almost separate lives. Will the relationships he fosters be meaningful enough to withstand the tumult of adolescent existence?
Jim’s story is quite representative of what teens go through. The author has woven an almost poignant tale of Jim’s struggle to find a home. The story is thoughtfully narrated with an evocative plot and colored with insightful observations. Most of all, it is candid. All has been bared for the reader to see and experience. The reader is pulled into this abyss of raw emotion and overwhelming teenage confusion from the minute Jim celebrates his entrance into the Lancers (the gang) to the point where he loses his friend.
The book makes sparing use of dialogue and utilizes mostly internal dialogues between Jim and the ‘Voice’. The reader gets in depth peeks into Jim’s mind. This helps carry the story and paints a clearer picture of what Jim must have been going through. It is actually easy to lose oneself in Jim’s mind as it is a web of unanswered questions, self-doubt and all-around uncertainty. This is brilliantly executed and is well suited to the plot.
The book is written in plain language that is easy to understand, utilizing simple language to create striking imagery. Keeping the focus on the intriguing characters rather than on some grand literary design. Each character represents some form of human insecurity or peculiarity. Almost every reader will recognize themselves in one or more of the characters. Thereby enhancing the bond between the reader and characters for a more fulfilling experience.
This book left me feeling… haunted (I suppose that’s the right word). Although in the end Jim seems to be settling down, I felt that his questions of where he really belongs and his purpose have not been fully covered. This begs the question; will human beings always carry a degree of uncertainty with them?
This is an exceptional installment in the Leaving Home Trilogy. The first one was an absolute delight, the second one is undeniably beautiful and I am positively giddy for the third.
Pages: 234 | ASIN: B07CPDY81Y
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