#Book Review: Talent Is Overrated – What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin | #SmartReads


BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
April 16, 2019

Talent Is Overrated – What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else by Geoff Colvin is a discerning book that aims to home in on the salient differences between the very top tiers of individuals in a variety of fields and the rest.  With a rather unorthodox approach, the author poses a new theory about why so many individuals are great,  and what got them there.

Colvin delves into why Ben Franklin, Tiger Woods, The Polgar Sisters, Jerry Rice, and many others rose to become the crème of the crop.  Employing lessons from them, the author also shows how individuals can finetune their personal repertoire to gain insights and learn to practice in similar fashion.

In his quest for answers within this abstruse subject, the author samples various disciplines in society in his effort to get to the bottom of what ‘talent’ really means given all the talk about it.

Colvin does an reasonable job of arguing the case for deliberate practice and other ideas.  Be that as it may, the book could have used some more scientific evidence or studies referenced just to bolster the argument and bring more fuel to the fire.

Irrespective of that, though, the matter of talent might boil down to the individual and their inherent mental faculties and the beliefs they themselves hold.

As the author ponders in his own words:

“What do you believe?  Do you believe that you have a choice in the matter?  Do you believe that if you do the work, properly designed, with intense focus for hours a day and years on end, your performance will grow dramatically better and eventually reach the highest levels?  If you believe that, then there’s at least a chance you will do the work and achieve great performance.

But if you believe that your performance is forever limited by your lack of a specific innate gift, or by a lack of general abilities at the level that you think must be necessary, then there’s no chance at all that you will do the work.

“That’s why this belief is tragically constraining.  Everyone who achieved exceptional performance has encountered terrible difficulties along the way.  There are no exceptions.  If you believe that doing the right kind of work can overcome the problems, then you have at least chance of moving on to ever better performance. “[1][Bold & Underline Emphasis Added].

That’s what most people want, a chance, an opportunity.  And why wouldn’t that opportunity be there for the taking?  It’s merely a choice.

For those that might wonder if people are really born with talent,  Colvin elucidates:

“…a hundred years later, abundant evidence showed clearly that people can keep getting better long after they should have reached their “rigidly determinate” natural limits.  The examples were not just great writers, artists, business people, inventors, and other eminences producing their best work three or four decades into their careers.  By the late nineteenth century, scientific research was showing repeatedly that ordinary people in various lines of work could keep getting better even after their performance had apparently plateau.  Typists, telegraph operators, typesetters – highly experienced workers in all these jobs, whose performance hadn’t improved in years, suddenly got markedly better when they were offered incentives or given new kinds of training.  This evidence was obviously a big problem for the you’ve-got-it-or-you-don’t point of view.”[2][Bold & Underline Emphasis Added]

Such data is actually quite refreshing, because it shows that this is not merely an issue of being born with talent.  On the flip side, it is also not as simple as merely working hard, because most people work hard.  The main takeaway is that as long as proper practice is designed and undertaken, progress and growth can be developed in countless professions.

Given all the data collated that shows how certain individuals became extraordinary, the information presented by the author is worth ruminating upon at length.  And seeing as Colvin also gave individuals a jump-off point, the book does hold a lot of significance one way or another.

If you wish to read a book that offers value, ideas to ruminate upon which might just change your life, and also want to know what separates the top tier from all the rest,  get this book.

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Sources:

[1] Geoff Colvin, Talent Is Overrated – What Really Separates World-Class Performers From Everybody Else, p. 205.
[2] Ibid., p. 63.

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If you find value in this information, feel free to share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com

___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

#Book Review: J.R.R. Tolkien – A Biography by Humphrey Carter | #SmartReads


BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
April 14, 2019

With his high fantasy literature, J.R.R. Tolkien has provided the tinder that stokes the imagination of millions.  His books are known around the world, and for great reason, for they resonate the journey of the individual.

In that sense, J.R.R. Tolkien – A Biography by Humphrey Carter provides some illumination into the underlying reasons that drove Tolkien to write what he wrote and create what he did.

The biography is split up into 8 parts, some of which are more interesting than others.  Admittedly, autobiographies can run quite dry many times, but this still did a reasonable job of showing us Tolkien in his most authentic form and that’s the most important thing.

Tolkien’s growth, his early years, his friendship with C.S. Lewis, and even his penchant for countless revisions are all catalogued within the book.  It was particularly interesting to see what a perfectionist Tolkien was.  In a sense, this allowed Tolkien to fine tune his writing process while at the same time expanding his Legendarium.

The Legendarium was created by Tolkien to serve as the fictional mythology about Earth’s remote past, and is composed by The Simarillion, The Hobbit, Lord Of The Rings, The History Of The Middle-Earth and more.  This however, is not discussed in the book.  I only mention it to supply the fervent reader for additional avenues to explore Tolkien’s unbounded work.

My favorite parts of the autobiography were about the creation of his books.  Be that as it may, Tolkien’s skill in poetry, in conjunction with his relentless passion as a philologist to pursue the roots of language and learn everything about it was also highly intriguing.

In fact, regarding his penchant for writing Lord Of The Rings and linguistics, Tolkien had this to say:

One writes such a story not out of the leaves of trees still to be observed, nor by means of botany and soil-science; but it grows like a seed in the dark out of the leaf-mould of the mind: out of all that has been seen or thought or read, that has long ago been forgotten, descending into the deeps.  No doubt there is much selection, as with a gardener: what one throws on one’s personal compost-heap; and my mould is evidently made largely of linguistic matter.”[1][Bold Emphasis Added]

In its entirety, the book provides ample latitude of background while still providing enough fascinating components of Tolkien’s life.  Each reader will undoubtedly gain myriad insights, but regardless, it’s intriguing to note that Tolkien himself was not an avid fan of biographies ironically enough.

Tolkien believed that biographies wouldn’t provide the truest nature of the person, and perhaps he was right.  Just like movies, which are based on books, provide merely a facsimile of the depth which is entirely superficial of what great books provide, autobiographies will likewise never capture in full breadth and scope the life of an individual.  Still, readers are lucky that Tolkien wrote phenomenal fiction because it allows us to see Tolkien’s soul as it is infused within pages.

And there’s no more authentic biography than a writer’s words.

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Source:

[1] Humphrey Carter,  J.R.R. Tolkien – A Biography, p. 131.

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Suggested Reading & Viewing:

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tokien
Exploring J.R.R. Tokien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen Ph.D.
The Philosophy Of Tolkien – The Worldview Behind Lord Of The Rings by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue By Tolkien & Lewis by Louis Marko Ph.D.
The Individual & The Road
Lord Of The Rings: How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien [Presentation]
The Vision Of Freedom That Tolkien Got & The West Forgot [Video]
What The List Of Most Banned Books Says About Our Society’s Fears
What To Expect From Libraries In The 21st Century [Video]
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
Paradise Lost by John Milton
The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

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If you find value in this information, feel free to share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com

___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

 

#Book Review: Healing Chi Meditation by Sifu William Lee | #SmartReads


BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
April 13, 2019

Healing Chi Meditation by Sifu William Lee is a rather straight forward and methodical book that covers the subject of meditation from a no-nonsense point of view.

Lee does a compelling job in laying out an easy-to-follow guide covering meditation.

This book covers just enough information to help individuals get an essential crash course into meditation, but it doesn’t become overly complex like some other books.  It’s strength definitely lies in its simplicity in learning and application.

Covered within the book are the foundational stages of meditation, the how’s and why’s of meditation, as well as how to prepare to net the greatest benefits.  And yet, the strongest part comes at the latter stages of the book.

Lee covers what is known as Dan Tian Centering as well as the 8 Moons, each of which is a technique to benefit the individual.  And he anchors the book with a template for the Little Universe Micro Cycle.

This is my first book from Lee, and still have two others, one of which am currently reading and am definitely glad to have gotten these.  The other book is just as pragmatic as this one, and am enjoying it just as much and even netting benefits from it.

Simply put, if you’re interested in meditation and don’t know where to begin, get this book.

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Suggested Reading & Viewing:

A Mind Of Your Own – The Truth About Depression & How Women Can Heal Their Bodies To Reclaim Their Lives by Dr. Kelly Brogan M.D. & Kristin Loberg
Eat To Beat Disease – Food’s Medicinal Qualities by Catherine Frompovich
Toxic Psychiatry by Dr. Peter Breggin M.D.
Dr. Belisa Vranich On The Intricacies Of Breathing [Video]
Cancer Is Serious Business – Burzynski [Documentary]
The World According To Monsanto [Documentary]
Thimerosal – Let The Science Speak – The Evidence Supporting The Immediate Removal Of Mercury – A Known Neurotoxin – From Vaccines by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Food Forensics by Mike Adams

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If you find value in this information, you are implored to please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com

_________________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

#Book Review: How Life Imitates Chess by Garry Kasparov | #SmartReads


BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
April 13, 2019

How Life Imitates Chess by former World Chess Champion and grandmaster Garry Kasparov does an incisive job of showing how life is a mirror for chess.  Or is it the opposite?

Filled with much erudition regarding the intricacies of life, How Life Imitates Chess sifts through Kasparov’s career in search for the gems of wisdom that not only helped him become a sharper, stronger, and more intuitive individual.  This book also dives into the importance of quality actions via precise decision making which help individuals rise to meet the challenges of life as they go.

Throughout the book Kasparov carries out a rather trenchant job in detailing many of the data points, or perhaps ‘life-lessons’ is a better term, which helped him grow as a chess player that became a grandmaster, but more importantly, as an individual.  Each of these life-lessons helped him grow in crucial ways, regardless whether it was facing dismal defeats, or manifesting intense resounding victories.

Kasparov makes it a point to go into why constant self-analysis is essential not only to survive in the world, but in fact to thrive.  Self-awareness and peak performance go hand in hand, as many of you know, and because of this he urges individuals to become conscious of their inherent decision making process and strive to polish it to become wiser.

An interesting part from the book are the myriad fascinating stories of individuals, chess matches, companies et al. which are used to drive home lessons to be gleaned from the events that took place within those instances.  These were as thought-provoking as they were entertaining.

Another notable point mentioned in the book is the importance of not becoming your own enemy.  In one instance, the author noted how it’s important to find the nascent stage of a crisis before it becomes a full-fledged crisis.  This might seem obvious at in hindsight, but we’ve all seen the mental state of ourselves or others be overwhelmed by emotions, which therein overrides our logic.  And not being able to use logic is downright disastrous being that in such an instance the mental precision an individual has is only a shade of its true power.

Furthermore, when an individual gets emotional, not only does the amygdala go into overdrive, but “…the logic center processors [neocortex] get almost turned off and blocked.  Adrenaline, hormone levels, and blood pressure rise, and our memories become less efficient.  We begin to lose our ability to communicate effectively, and we turn to a form of autopilot to make decisions.”[1][Emphasis Added]

Hands down, my favorite part of the book, although admittedly there were many intriguing points, was how Kasparov relentless speaks about having to question everythingAs he warns:

Question the status quo at all times, especially when things are going well.  When something goes wrong, you naturally want to do better the next time, but you must train yourself to want to do it better even when things go right.”[2][Bold & Underline Emphasis Added]

This reminds me of poker, as well as many other things in life, where one might make the most ridiculous and stupid choice, and still get rewarded.  If an individual chooses not to question their actions, they will simply not grow. Someone may make a very poor choice, and still end up winning untold sums of money.  When such is the case, individuals rarely if ever opt for introspection to verify that they were correct.  The emotional assumption is that if the money is won…then the choice ‘had to’ be a good one – the correct one.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Moreover:

Questioning yourself must become a habit, one strong enough to surmount the obstacles of overconfidence and dejection.  It is a muscle that can be developed only with constant proactive [sic].”[3][Bold Emphasis Added]

Another additional point brought up by Kasparov  was about the vital significance not only to move out of our comfort zones, but also to challenge ourselves in creative ways to push us into new boundaries.

Regarding this, Kasparov minces no words:

When we regularly challenge ourselves with something new – even something not obviously related to our immediate goals – we build cognitive and emotional “muscles” that make us more effective in every way.  If we can overcome our fear of speaking in public, or of submitting a poem to a magazine, or learning a new language confidence will flow into every area of our lives  Don’t get so caught up in “what I do” that you stop being a curious human being.  Your greatest strength is the ability to absorb and synthesize patterns, methods, and information.  Intentionally inhibiting the ability to focus too narrowly is not only a crime, but one with few rewards.”[4][Bold & Underline Emphasis Added].

How Life Imitates Chess offers more than ample information for it to be worth the price, and it gives plenty of grist for the mill not only for individuals to ruminate upon, but more importantly, for the incisive development of the individual.

___________________________________________________________
Sources & References:

[1] Christopher Hadnagy, Unmasking The Social Engineer, p. 166.
[2] Gary Kasparov, How Life Imitates Chess, p. 135.
[3] Ibid. pp. 34-35.
[4] Ibid. p. 170.

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Suggested Reading & Watching:

Logical Fallacies Employed In Every Day Life
13 Great Reasons To Study Logic
How A Generation Lost Its Culture – by Professor Patrick Deneen
A Different Kind Of Teacher by John Taylor Gatto
Socratic Logic by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
Philosophy 101 by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
What Is Education?  The Elite Curriculum – John Taylor Gatto
Breakaway Guide To Censorship, Disinformation, Logical Fallacies & More
How To Read A Book by Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren
Social Engineering 101
The True Purpose Of Modern Schooling
Getting Things Done by David Allen
Open-Source Method: Genius Education – Examples | John Taylor Gatto
The Trivium – The Liberal Arts Of Logic, Grammar & Rhetoric by Sister Miriam Joseph Ph.D.
A Rulebook For Arguments by Anthony Weston
A Workbook For Arguments by David R. Morrow & Anthony Wesson
Drilling Through The Core – Why Common Core Is Bad For American Education by Sandra Stotsky & Contributors

___________________________________________________________
If you find value in this information, please share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com

___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

#Book Review: Le Morte d’Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory | #SmartReads


BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
April 12, 2019

A widely-known and timeless classic, Le Morte d’ArthurKing Arthur and the Knights Of The Round Table by Sir Thomas Malory is the masterpiece from which the Arthurian Legend was born.

As the definitive English-language version of the story of Arthur and his Knights, Sir Thomas Malory collated information from the historical tradition and lore that was available to him at the time.

For a book that draws from various sources, it actually reads seamlessly, which speaks of Malory’s skill in the creation of this book and the ironclad integration he undertook.  It’s also worth noting that the book is written in Old English.

All components of the Arthurian Legend, from Arthur, Merlin, Lancelot, the Knights of The Round Table, to Excalibur and the Quest for the Holy Grail are all contained therein.  Considering the book was published over 500 years ago, it’s actually a remarkable achievement considering that there aren’t many books which appeal so much to human creativity and imagination from that specific time period.  Granted, Malory drew from English and French sources for this, but it was his imagination that allowed him to make this book a finished product.

Some intriguing components of the book are the many themes the book features, which are repeatedly alluded too.  Woven within the story are themes that encompass revenge, jealousy, trickery, honor and chivalry.  The many quests that the Knights undertake are also a common theme in the book.

The measure of a great fiction book is how great it stokes the embers of imagination.  Without a doubt, Sir Thomas Malory’s work has done all that, and much more, which is why after centuries later these stories still have a remarkable appeal to a wide-ranging audience.

As a classic adventure featuring intrigue, romance, deception, and adventure with sprinklings of magic, the legend of King Arthur has and always will be a mainstay in literature.  That is because it appeals to the element of human mind in a way that many other books do not, and that is what makes it a landmark book in Mythology and Folklore.   Any connoisseur of Mythology would enjoy this thoroughly.

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Suggested Reading & Viewing:

The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
Paradise Lost by John Milton
The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Exploring J.R.R. Tokien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen Ph.D.
What The List Of Most Banned Books Says About Our Society’s Fears
What To Expect From Libraries In The 21st Century [Video]
The Philosophy Of Tolkien – The Worldview Behind Lord Of The Rings by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue By Tolkien & Lewis by Louis Marko Ph.D.
Lord Of The Rings: How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien [Presentation]
The Vision Of Freedom That Tolkien Got & The West Forgot [Video]
Socrates Meets Kant by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.

___________________________________________________________
If you find value in this information, feel free to share it.  This article is free and open source.  All individuals have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and  BreakawayIndividual.com

___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.

What the List of Most Banned Books Says About Our Society’s Fears

“A mind needs a book as a sword needs a whetstone if it is to keep its edge.”
– George R. R. Martin

“Real books disgust the totalitarian mind because they generate uncontrollable mental growth – and it cannot be monitored.”[Bold Emphasis Added]
– John Taylor Gatto, A Different Kind Of Teacher, p. 82.

Source: Time.com
Sarah Begley
September 25, 2016

Censors are increasingly focusing on books that represent diverse points of view

For as long as humans have printed books, censors have argued over their content and tried to limit some books’ distribution. But the reasons for challenging literature change over time, and as Banned Book Week begins on Sept. 25, it’s clear that public discomfort with particular ideas has evolved rapidly even in the last 20 years.

When the American Library Association started keeping a database of challenged books in the early ’90s, the reasons cited were fairly straightforward, according to James LaRue, director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. “‘Don’t like the language,’ or ‘There’s too much sex’—they’d tend to fall into those two categories,” he says. Some books are still challenged for those reasons—Fifty Shades of Grey is a common example. But there’s been a shift toward seeking to ban books “focused on issues of diversity—things that are by or about people of color, or LGBT, or disabilities, or religious and cultural minorities,” LaRue says. “It seems like that shift is very clear.”

The ALA’s list of the 10 most challenged books in 2015 bears this out: it includes I Am Jazz and Beyond Magenta, about young transgender people; Fun Home and Two Boys Kissing, which deal with homosexuality; Habibi and Nasreen’s Secret School, which feature Muslim characters; and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon, which was cited for “atheism.” In contrast, the top 10 most-challenged books of 2001 were more straightforwardly banned for strong language, sexual content and drugs, like The Chocolate War and Go Ask Alice.

The shift seems to be linked to demographic changes in the country—and the political fear-mongering that can accompany those changes, LaRue says. “There’s a sense that a previous majority of white Anglo-Saxon Protestants are kind of moving into a minority, and there’s this lashing out to say, ‘Can we just please make things the way that they used to be?’” LaRue says. “We don’t get many challenges by diverse people,” he adds. In recent years, book challenges have peaked while religious liberty bills were in the news, he says.

Here’s a look at how things have changed in the past 15 years:

Most-challenged books of 2001:

  1. Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling
    Reasons: anti-family, occult/Satanism, religious viewpoint, violence
  2. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  4. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit
  5. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Greene
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, sexually explicit
  6. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
    Reasons: offensive language, unsuited to age group
  7. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit
  9. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
    Reason: offensive language
  10. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
    Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

Most-challenged books of 2015:

  1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).
  3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
    Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.
  4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
    Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).
  6. The Holy Bible
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint.
  7. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
    Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).
  8. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
    Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  9. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.
  10. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
    Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).

But the recent backlash challenges have not been limited to conservatives: the Bible is on the top 10 list for 2015, in part because of concerns about why a book that argues for the murder of homosexuals (as in Leviticus) would be in a public library. Opposition like this comes from “people that are just questioning in a larger sense what is the appropriate role of religion in our society,” LaRue says.

Over time, some books lose their opponents—the Harry Potter series, for instance, were the most-challenged books from 2000 to 2009, but have since fallen off the top 10 list. “There was a period there where Harry Potter was [considered] a Satanist and a cult, and people were doing book cuttings and book burnings,” LaRue says. “And now if you read people that are kind of on the right side of the religious spectrum, their kids love the Harry Potter books, so sometimes the things that we’re convinced are signs that the end is nigh are completely normalized in five years.”

The ALA usually learns that a book has been challenged either from librarians at schools or public or academic libraries calling in incidents, or from reports in local newspapers. In recent years there’s actually been a decline in reports—the ALA recorded 311 challenges in 2014 and only 275 in 2015. On the surface, that may seem like a good thing—but it probably indicates that fewer people are speaking up when a book is removed, meaning more banning is going on under the radar, LaRue says. “We have reason to believe that where censorship starts to succeed, there’s less reporting about it,” LaRue says. “So we can say it’s hard for us to know, we know that challenges are underreported, but we don’t know by how much.” It doesn’t help that school librarians are frequently the victims of school layoffs, meaning there are fewer professionals “trained to use this language of intellectual freedom.”

Still, one thing hasn’t changed since the dawn of censorship: having your book banned is very, very good for an author’s sales. “If what you’re trying to do is stop this book from getting into the hands of a minor,” LaRue says, “the surest way to [fail] is to declare it forbidden.”

Read More At: Time.com

 

#Book Review: Paradise Lost by John Milton | #SmartReads

A Veritable Milestone In Historical Literature


BreakawayIndividual.com
Zy Marquiez
April 7, 2019

Paradise Lost by John Milton is a veritable landmark book within the chronicles of humanity’s past.

Milton’s imagination was as boundless as it was incisive, and he paints a masterful world in which good and evil battle for the fate of the world.

Undoubtedly one of the best epics of all-time, Milton’s Paradise Lost, features a plethora of allusions the likes of which haven’t been replicated since, and just might not be replicated ever.

Milton’s constant inferences to theological and classical underpinnings of society are one of the greatest components of this masterpiece.  Every line is incisively thought out, and weaves seamlessly into the next manifesting a masterpiece of literature that’s as thought-provoking as it is deep.

The diction used in Milton’s time might be something that could turn certain readers off, but the notations at the bottom of each page of this particular version help the reader traverse through this fascinating and fierce fictional world that Milton crafted rather seamlessly.

Admittedly, an epic like this will demand a lot from the reader, and rightly so.  As a quintessential milestone in history, it is written with orders of magnitude more depth than most works thereafter have.

Given the complex range of characters it employs, such as Adam, Eve, Satan, God, Michael, etc., and given the philosophical underpinnings of what many of humanity’s deeper yearnings and concerns are, this work is in a league of its own. 

Ruminating upon its breadth, scope and complexity, it’s a pity that more works aren’t as well thought out as this.  The standards Milton set upon himself to accomplish this piece should be held in high respect, for it is a testament to what human creativity can achieve when it sets its mind to it.  And that is priceless, just like this book is.

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Suggested Reading & Viewing:

Sherlock Holmes – The Complete Novels & Stories by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
Lord Of The Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Exploring J.R.R. Tokien’s The Hobbit by Corey Olsen Ph.D.
The Philosophy Of Tolkien – The Worldview Behind Lord Of The Rings by Peter Kreeft Ph.D.
On The Shoulders Of Hobbits – The Road To Virtue By Tolkien & Lewis by Louis Marko Ph.D.
Lord Of The Rings: How To Read J.R.R. Tolkien [Presentation]
The Vision Of Freedom That Tolkien Got & The West Forgot [Video]

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About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who aims at empowering individuals while also studying and regularly mirroring subjects like Consciousness, Education, Creativity, The Individual, Ancient History & Ancient Civilizations, Forbidden Archaeology, Big Pharma, Alternative Health, Space, Geoengineering, Social Engineering, Propaganda, and much more.