Dirk de Sousa – The Self Beyond Myself: The natural way to end psychological suffering

The continuous flow of new self-help books proves that the growth of psychological suffering cannot be stopped by the methods and approaches practiced in most of these. The Self Beyond Myself: The natural way to end psychological suffering aims to revisit psychological paradigms to provide an alternative, that author Dirk de Sousa calls ‘Conscious Realization’. Using logical arguments, he busts several myths and constructs we make up to separate mind, body, and soul or to perceive it as a single entity. Know thyself. Who’s in control of yourself? Is it your body? Are we our brains? Can we effectively empty ourselves by commanding our mind to silence? Who’s commanding who? What is personality, the ‘I’ or ‘myself’? Will the I die when the body dies? How much of our behavior and decisions are consciously taken? The book covers interesting topics like memories, past, present, and future, life and death, happiness, and something bigger than scientists can prove. De Sousa calls this the Immense, since he chose to leave (a) God or religions out of his paradigm.

It is his belief that Conscious Realization is the only long-term and effective option for treatment of every form of subjective psychological distress symptom or behavior, and find real freedom and truth in love, beauty, astonishment, empathy, and contentment. While I was able to grasp and agree with the author in the main part of the book, his explanation of the process of Conscious Realization with two phases each consisting of three steps was a bit too abstract for me. Maybe I’ll need a second reading of the latter part.

About the author

Dirk de Sousa is an author and psychological counselor working in private practice in Switzerland. He is passionate about his desire to help relieve what he sees as an epidemic of psychological suffering in the modern world. His books look at the failings of our established view of the workings of the human mind. In it, he seeks to give a taste of the original process of ‘Conscious Realization’, which he has shown can help all of us in moments of psychological crisis but also, and more importantly, enable any one of us to achieve real contentment and even bliss.
In his seminars and workshops he conveys how to step beyond suffering in a natural way and at any time, how to raise children and awaken this consciousness in them, and how to create a long-term partnership founded on this new insight.
Many of his participants affirm a new competence in perceiving absolute contentment.

I received a free review copy from the author in exchange for my personal, unbiased review upon reading.

Jonathan Friesen – Unfolding: What she foresees could tear them apart

In Unfolding, the plot’s two main characters. Jonah, suffering from frequent epileptic seizures and scoliosis, and Stormi, a free, flying girl, that somehow was dropped on Earth in a Tornado Alley Oklahoma village. Stormi senses things before they actually happen. Relax, despite the possibly scary cover, this novel is no thriller, but a love story with twists. Both keep each other locked in conversations. As a reader, I often was wondering what actually happened. Storms, accidents, captured in a kind of religious cult, a narrow escape with a blast, and getting away from the small world.

I found the pace too slow, kept on reading until the very last page, curious for the ending, although putting it aside was a near constant option. When checking the questions to trigger reflection or discussion in a reading group, I realized I must have missed certain details or characters from the many first names that were introduced. Don’t stop there, a bonus chapter is provided as kind of encore.

About the author

Jonathan Friesen is an author, speaker, and youth writing coach from Mora, Minnesota. His first young adult novel, Jerk, California, received the ALA Schneider Award. When he’s not writing, speaking at schools, or teaching, Jonathan loves to travel and hang out with his wife and three kids.

I received a free copy from the publisher Zondervan through Booklookbloggers in exchange for my personal, unbiased review upon reading.


Virginia Cam – Everything I Learned About How to Publish a Book

Many aspiring authors don’t only have a writer’s block to overcome, but the hurdles to get their book published as well. In times like these, you can use the help of people like Virginia Cam who provided her husband answers to the many questions he had regarding editing, formatting, and publishing debut novel. It’s an exciting time: anyone can self-publish with options like print only, printing on demand, e-book only, or a mixture of media. Cam currently has two books in the Because Self-Publishing Works seriesEverything I Learned About How to Publish a Book, and Everything I Learned About How to Market a Book. In this first title, the initial question is: to self-publish or not. Are you willing to do what it takes to create a professional product? Do you want to invest a lot of time and a little money with most of the sales revenues returning to you? Or will you embark on a journey along agents and publishers, running the risk of frequent rejection, having the marketing and sales activities done by a professional publisher with only a small percentage of sales revenues in your pocket in the end?

Cam both a wealth of information, hyperlinks to relevant resources to support creative phase, the production of the book, marketing, distribution channels, and so on. Every chapter deals with a specific topic, at the end of which a self-assessment is provided to challenge you time and again. The seven steps to publish your book inspired me to continue working on my own book. Hopefully, it helps you as well on the journey to becoming a published author.

About the author

V.V. Cam‘s philosophy of life exemplifies the saying “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” When it comes to exploring the ever-changing world of self-publishing, V.V. has proven she is no stranger to embracing new worlds and ideas. She has not only learned how to fish but also has spent her life teaching hundreds of others to become self-reliant.

The two books in the Because Self-Publishing Works series share the knowledge she learned while helping her husband publish and market his book. You will appreciate her pragmatic advice, compassionate voice, and succinct writing style that bring clarity and fresh perspective to the evolving self-publishing industry.

I received a free review copy from the author in exchange for my personal, unbiased review upon reading.

Jennifer Paige – Starflower

Crush (1998) is de hit waarvan je Jennifer Paige kent. Dat de 44 jarige Amerikaanse zangeres als afsluiter van haar op 31 maart verschenen splinternieuwe album Starflower een akoestische remake van Crush voorschoteld, geeft te denken. Wellicht een cadeautje aan de trouwe fans die via Kickstarter voor de financiering van het album zorgden. Privé heeft de zangeres een behoorlijke bak ellende (sterfgevallen, huidkanker) te verwerken gekregen in het afgelopen decennium. Een kantelpunt in haar leven rond de vraag waarom het leven waard is te leven.

Terug naar het begin van het elftal door Jeremy Bose (recent bijvoorbeeld ook actief voor Mark Lowry, Amy Grant, Sara Groves, Cindy Morgan en Jaci Velasquez) geproduceerde nieuwe (synth)popdeuntjes en ballads. Opener The Devil’s In The Details en Forget Me Not werden als lead singles uitgebracht.

Let Me Love You is een warm pleidooi voor een liefdesbetuiging. Het werd geschreven door Dan Haseltine (de lead zanger van Jars of Clay). De oplettende lezer zal de kring van christen-artiesten rond deze plaat al opgevallen zijn. Onze liefde is Like a Bomb in een rijk geproduceerde ballad.

De semi-akoestische insteek van Up at Night verrast. Het titelnummer grijpt naar wat cheesy synth arrangementen uit een grijs verleden. Vetter is To the Madness (het is een rotzooi in het leven, maar we doen ons best).  Het nodigt uit om mee te zingen, het tempo is om op te wandelen. Minimalistisch toetsenwerk in Can’t Keep You Here, soul, waarin Coury Palermo meezingt. Akoestisch op piano met strijkers in January pakt goed uit. If We Be Still is een instrumental ter overdenking.

Tim Judah – In Wartime: Stories from Ukraine

When the 2014 Maidan Revolution, the nearing division of the country in an EU looking western part and a Russia looking eastern part, followed by the blitz annexation of Crimea by Russia, and the shootdown of the Malaysian Airways plane with lots of Dutch passengers aboard, Ukraine got featured in the news almost every day. In the Netherlands, I got the chance to vote in a consultative referendum whether or not The Netherlands as EU member should ratify an association agreement with Ukraine. But who did actually know the country and its turbulent history?

I was happy to find In Wartime – Stories from Ukraine by Tim Judah being announced. The author visited cities, local officials, musea and spoke to numerous people in the eras that Poles, Russians, Germans ruled this region. He finds sympathy for Vladimir Putin in unexpected places, almost vanished Jewish communities, ties with Georgia, and similarities with the Balkan War. What is Ukraine actually? What do flags stand for? Does one feel Russian, Pole, Jew, Ukrainian? What does language mean? Judah travels to Lviv, Odessa, passes the border with Crimea and still finds its infrastructure integrated with the rest of Ukraine. The book covers topics like bureaucracy, mining industry, the aftermath of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, anti-Semitism, neo-Nazism, and fascism, forced relocations of people and the daily struggle to survive.


About the author

Tim Judah is a reporter for The Economist. A graduate of the London School of Economics and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Judah worked for the BBC before covering the Balkan wars for The Times and other publications. He covered the war in Ukraine for The New York Review of Books. He lives in London with his wife and their five children.

I received a free review copy from the publisher through BloggingforBooks and Edelweiss in exchange for my personal, unbiased review upon reading.