Thursday, July 27, 2017

Review: REINCARNATION BLUES by Michael Poore

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Reincarnation Blues had me hooked when I first heard the premise that Milo is an ancient soul that has lived 9,995 lives, each time hoping only to meet Death (A.K.A. Suzie) each time he dies. Milo is in love with Suzie, and this is what is preventing him from reaching Perfection, for fear he won't be able to ever see Suzie again. But Milo has only five more lives - five more opportunities to reach Perfection - until he becomes Nothingness.

The best part about this book is that it really is a combination of all genres mixed together: historical fiction, science fiction, contemporary, fantasy, dystopian. Milo lives in all different periods of time, including during 2600 B.C., in many futuristic colonies in space, in the current day, and in the "afterlife."

Reading this book is kind of like reading a bunch of short stories that take place in multiple time periods and locations but are all about the same person, Milo. Because of this, most stories recounting one of Milo's lives don't go very far in depth and therefore have more "telling" than "showing." But the stories are interesting nonetheless. This book goes in depth in detail for the last five lives that Milo lives, and the shorter snippets are told in between those five lives.

The story is told in a third-person omniscient perspective. It's interesting though because sometimes the story will be in the future tense, and sometimes the POV will be that of a shark, or a dog, or a whale.

Reincarnation Blues is a highly original, eccentric book that's full of magical realism. Poore's writing can be very poetic at times, which just adds to the beauty of the story. I highly recommend this book.

Milo had squeezed so much learning and experience into his one, single soul that the knowledge had grown pressurized and hot and transformed into wisdom the way coal changes into diamonds. His wisdom was like a superpower.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Review: MAN'S SEARCH FOR MEANING by Viktor E. Frankl

Rating: 2/5 stars

The first part of this book, Frankl's autobiographical account of being in the prisoner of war camps during World War Two, was enlightening to read. I have not read many true accounts of concentration camps, but that doesn't make the horrors that happened there any less real. Even though this part of the book was interesting, I found it hard to read, as in I didn't really have the desire to pick it up and continue reading. When I got to part two about logotherapy, I found myself reading this part much more quickly. I actually enjoyed reading about logotherapy more than I enjoyed reading about the camps (this seems to be an unpopular opinion, as I've read from others that part two was boring and hard to get through).

I originally thought Man's Search for Meaning would be a philosophical discussion about how to find and attain purpose in one's own life. I didn't realize it would include an autobiographical section about World War Two, although that account and the stories within add great depth to the philosophical discussion that did follow in part two. Frankl taught how to find meaning when it seems that there is nothing left to live for and all hope is lost. This book would have been less impactful had his story not been included.

The reason I gave this book two stars is primarily because I struggled to want to read it. In my rating system, all books start out at three stars and either gain or lose stars based on my interest level and engagement in the book. I think it is wrong to rate someone's personal experiences, and therefore my rating does not in any way invalidate Frankl's experiences that he wrote about; it is merely a reflection of my personal interest while reading his book. I do want to say, though, that I think this was a meaningful and powerful book that many will benefit from.