Book Review: The Art Of Description by Mark Doty | #SmartReads

TheArtOfDescription
TheBreakaway
| BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
June 20, 2017

The Art Of Description is a very refreshing no frills examination of the many ways description can be employed in writing.

Unorthodox in its approach, subtle, and yet quite insightful, Doty not only brings about compelling analysis of a  smattering of writing styles, but also urges the reader to master their individual skill of observation.

On this, Doty cogently writes:

“To some degree, the art of description is the art of perception; what is required, in order to say what you see, is enhanced attention to that looking and the more you look, the more information you get….The resulting visual journey can feel intricate indeed; it makes us see the world before us as composed not of discrete things that don’t touch, but as a continuous realm of interconnected lines.

To be better at description, we have to work at attentiveness.”[1]

Beyond such insight, the author incisively samples the writing of individuals such as Blake, Pound, Swenson, Shelley, Ginsberg, Cummings, et al, thoughtfully ruminating upon particular gems that these writers have left for individuals to glean upon.  Sampling such range in writing allows the reader to see a wider range of styles, each offering a varying, yet exquisite taste, all of which helps solidify the writer’s repertoire.

Another point the Doty centers upon is what can be learned from poetry.  Echoing the actions of Benjamin Franklin, who once used poetry to expand his vocabulary and writing prowess, the author notes:

“Poetry’s project is to use every aspect of language to its maximum effectiveness, finding within it nuances and powers we otherwise could not hear.  So the poet needs to be a supreme handler of the figurative speech we all use every day, employing language’s tendency to connect like and disparate things to the richest possible effects.  In poetry, figuration is at its most sophisticated; condensed, alive with meaning, pointing in multiple directions at once….It’s one of the poet’s primary tools for conveying the texture of experience, and for inquiring into experience in search for meaning.”[2]

Such an examination aids the reader  in gaining a deeper understanding of the depth and precision that may be employed when writing poetry.  Coming to terms with this, one is also able to thoughtfully approach the art of writing from a more mindful perspective that allows individuals a much wider latitude from which to compose a piece.

At another juncture, Doty shares a sentiment that calls to mind Edgar Allen Poe’s wondrous definition of poetry when he said, “Poetry is the rhythmical creation of beauty in words.”  The author beautifully observes that:

“Every achieved poem inscribes a perceptual signature in the world.”[3]

Just as the creative ventures of artists from time immemorial echo into the present, so will the poems of the present echo into the future, continuously leaving dashes of beauty with their very essence.

The Art Of Description is a discerning read in its entirety, that is experienced in its approach, and shrewd in its execution.  If you’re seeking a new writing path that will not only be novel, but will also teach you how to create your very own path, or perhaps even finetune your old one, then begin right here.

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Footnotes:

[1] Mark Doty, The Art Of Description, p. 72.
[2] Ibid., p. 76.
[3] Ibid., p. 21.
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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 TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, inquirer, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly 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.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: On Writing Well by William Zinsser | #SmartReads

OnWritingWell
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 22, 2017

“Writers do not merely reflect and interpret life, they inform and shape life.”
– E.B. White

“Writing is the geometry of the soul.”
– Plato

In On Writing WellThe Classic Guide To Nonfiction, William Zinsser writes an easy-to-follow no-nonsense approach into the core essentials of writing.

Providing a smattering of meticulous examples, On Writing Well does a lucid job of clearing up some of the confusion writers might have about style, methods, leads, endings, et al., while setting the foundation for a stronger individual repertoire.

In fact, regarding this, Zinsser speaks about the importance of everyone to have good writing skills given today’s newfound environment where a lot of communication takes place through the emails, the internet and so on.  This is crucial since most of us employ the tool of writing in a daily fashion.  Zinsser urges individuals to seek to sharpen their skill set in order to become better communicators simply by employing tenets  in this book.

As hinted to before, Zinsser also make incisive use of many salient examples throughout the book by breaking them down and suggesting some writing tips in cogent fashion.  Within these examples the author covers people, places, science and technology, writing within a job, writing about sports, and more.

Broken down into four parts, the book covers [1] Principles, where notions such as clutter and style are covered, [2] Methods, where leads and endings are covered, [3] Forms, where various forms of nonfiction are explored at length and [4] Attitudes within writing, which is self explanatory.  All parts offer ample insights, many of which would be useful to nigh all individuals nowadays, especially if you have to write anything on a daily basis, whether it is emails, memos, etc. and are new to writing.

To accomplish sound things in life, one needs an ironclad scaffolding upon which to set oneself in.  Writing well is no different.  The insights provided by this book will help those that employ them. Couple the tenets in this book with those of those within The Elements of Style, and one has the recipe for success.  Both have helped me quite a bit, as I hope they help you.

___________________________________________________________
This article is free and open source.  All individuals are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly 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.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: The Art Of Nonfiction by Ayn Rand | #SmartReads

TheArtOfNonfiction
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 19, 2017

Collated from prior presentations that Ayn Rand undertook, The Art Of Nonfiction is a straight forward foray into Rand’s considerations, techniques and process of writing nonfiction.

Written in a cogent and methodical fashion, some of the main points Rand addresses are (1) subject and theme, (2) creating an outline, (3) writing the draft, (4) editing, (5) style, which is addressed at length, and even (6) writing books as well.  The prior list is not exhaustive, but merely a sampling of the range of ideas Rand undertook.

While some of the rules Rand expounds upon could be seen as mechanical if acted upon rigidly, they need not be.  Writing is as much an art as it is a science; using the rules she suggests as guidelines will certainly help one’s writing in a sound manner, as long as one doesn’t fuse themselves to a mechanistic process.

Be that as it may, two of the main points which Rand stressed considerably were that of clarity, and the importance of an outline.  These are two parts of writing which all writers struggle with sooner or later, but they are also components that will net some of the greatest benefits if one executes them properly.

On the point of clarity, Rand elucidates:

“If you cannot write something down clearly and objectively, then you do not really know it.  Any vagueness or indecision on any fundamental aspect of your article will be disastrous.  That which you cannot name you know only approximately.”[2]

Translation: Know what you know, know what you don’t know, and be crystal clear and precise about it.

Along the same avenue, on the point of outlines, Rand states:

“The Outline’s level of detail depends on how clear the subject is in your mind, and how complex the article is.  I suggest the following test.  If in making an outline you feel vaguely that some point is difficult to formulate though you “kind of” know what you mean, then you need more detail.  On the other hand, if you begin to feel bored – if all you need are a few lines on some point but you are writing a volume – then you are being too detailed.  As in all mental activity, you are the only judge.”[2]

For a book whose information wasn’t meant to be part of a book at the outset, it flows seamlessly.  Given that The Art Of Nonfiction was collated from a set of oral lectures, the editing done by Robert Mayhew is extremely precise, and Rand’s thoughts are easy to follow.

For good measure, the book even includes selected outlines used by Ayn Rand in some of her articles.  This helps the reader view an outline through Rand’s eyes.  Though this section isn’t lengthy, the precision in execution is flawless and aids in the reader setting their crosshairs on what a correctly created outline format will look like.

In light of the breadth and scope of information provided in such a small package, The Art Of Nonfiction would be a mainstay in any nonfiction writer’s arsenal.  Incisive individuals who wish to apprise themselves of sound writing tips that will be guideposts for their writing endeavors would be wise learn the tenets in these books, for they are as important as they are timeless.

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Footnotes:

[1]  Ayn Rand, The Art of Nonfiction, p. 17.
[2] Ibid., pp. 44-45.
___________________________________________________________
This article is free and open source.  All individuals are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________

About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly 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.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: The Elements Of Style [Classic Edition] By William Strunk Jr. & Edited by Richard De A’Morelli [Updated]

EO

TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 11, 2017

As a preamble, what follows is a not only a review but a revamped cursory juxtaposition between The Elements Of Style Classic Edition, which is the main book discussed and reviewed, and The Elements Of Style 4th Edition, which is a slightly similar book covering many of the same rules

Having purchased both within the last month, I thought it prudent to comment on some of the differences between both books.  Although somewhat alike, both books still differ in some respects, but both offer ample from which any individual may learn much from.

The Elements Of Style [Classic Edition] by William Strunk Jr. and edited by Richard De A’Morelli is meant as a tribute to the work Prof. Strunk undertook over 100 years ago in creating this book.

This particular book features a forward by Richard De A’Morelli titled “Grammar & Style For The 21st Century”, instead of the one written by Roger Angell in the 4th Edition.  The former is eight pages long, while the latter is only two pages long.  De A’Morelli’s foreword sets the stage better in this book than the previous book.

In contrast, the “Introductory” within the classic edition written by Strunk is of a different taste when compared to the one written by E.B. White in the 4th Edition, which actually quite informative while offering very practical advice, even if condensed.  That said, one great point featured within the Classic Edition edited by De A’Morelli is that the introduction features suggestions on which books writers ought to consider, which will be quite useful for those seeking additional information.

The book blurb does mention that there are some rules which are now obsolete, and there are editorial notes which focus on that in the book.

One really significant improvement in the Classic Edition is that after each Rule is mentioned and examples are shown, it’s much easier to discern which are the good examples and which ones are not.

The Elements Of Style Classic Edition covers a wide range of elements within writing.  From form, composition, mistakes in diction, to a few other common mistakes done in writing, the book gives a very solid foundation upon which writers may begin their adventures.

Overall, given all the book offers in such a small package, it really is a great deal and a high value educational book – any individual working on their writing skills would benefit from having it.

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Note: This review has been updated and all errors committed by me have been rectified from the previous version.
___________________________________________________________
This article is free and open source. You are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly 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.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

April Book Haul 2017 | #SmartReads

BookHaulApril2017

TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 8, 2017

“You cannot open a book without learning something.”
– Confucius

“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Another month, another book haul.

What follows are this month’s pickings.  Being the bibliophile that I am, a couple of patterns will be quite evident, which thankfully led to some intriguing reads when time was available.  There were even some fortuitous garage sale finds which were a pleasant surprise.

All in all, it was a solid month of reading, although didn’t read as much as I would have liked due to unforeseen circumstances.  That said, life will be life, and books certainly help through the journey in myriad ways.

The Mindful Writer by Dinty Moore

Looking for a source of inspiration to summon the muse more often, The Mindful Writer seemed like a sure bet.

In similar footsteps to the War Of Art by Steven Pressfield where the author dabbles within aspects of the writer’, The Mindful Writer was even more inspiring then conceived at first blush.  Not only is the book a lightning quick read, but it also features a mindfulness approach that other books could feature but do not.

If you’re looking for a book that dabbles in quotes that are thought-provoking, employs writing that is purposeful and inspiring, while echoing the Zen point of view if mindfulness, you’ll definitely enjoy this book.

Magicians Of The Gods by Graham Hankcock

Graham Hancock has been researching Ancient Civilizations for a few decades, with his landmark piece Fingerprints of the Gods which is easily his magnum opus.  Magicians Of The Gods is the sequel to that touchstone of alternative history research of ancient civilizations.

Fingerprints Of The Gods was one of the first books I read about alternative history and it was as in-depth as it was thought-provoking.  It captivated me for various reasons, not the least of which was the author’s methodical and thorough research of verifiable sourced materials which broadened the alternative history perspective considerably.  Without a doubt, Hancock’s research set the bar high for the author’s future work, and because of that, Magicians of the Gods will be expected to deliver in similar sound fashion.

Although I haven’t had the time to read this book, really hope that over the next month or so I will be able to read it.  Either way, a review will promptly follow after the book has been thoroughly read.

Curiosity by Alberto Manguel

As an avid reader, and someone who has spoken about the importance of curiosity, finding out about this book was like a child finding a gift on X-mas morning.  That said, I actually have not read this book, but plan on within the next month.

Curiosity is one of those indispensable qualities that are important.  Unfortunately, this s also why modern public schooling seeks to stamp it out while they wish all to conform and make individuals manageable.

As award winning teacher and 30-year veteran of the public school system, John Taylor Gatto stated in the Weapons Of Mass Instruction, the true purpose of public schooling is simply to engineer division, conformity and control.  In fact, these are some of the reasons why Gatto quit teaching within the corrupt schooling system and began speaking at length about these pervasive issues.

For all those reasons, and more, I am really looking forward to reading this particular book.

The Library At Night by Alberto Manguel

Another great book authored by Manguel, this book was purchased having not only had a great respect for libraries, but also because libraries are one of those places where many unexpected and yet life changing circumstances took place.  To not get this book and read it would be a crime!

I can definitely say the book was everything expected and a bit more.  For what it’s worth, the review for this book just got published today.

A History Of Reading by Alberto Manguel

Wanting to do a little bit of research on the history of reading and books, this book felt like a natural place to begin that adventure.  Learning the author was a lover of books simply sealed the deal.  Now having read it, the book was definitely worth the time.

If you appreciate reading and books, you will love this book.  The review for this book was written a few weeks ago.

The Elements Of Style – Classic Edition by William Strunk Jr. Edited By Richard A De A’Morelli

Having read The Elements Of Style 4th Edition by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, this book seemed like a natural addition to avail myself of some writing tips.

Unfortunately, the book was a huge let down for reasons mentioned in this review.  Needless to say, although the book had some noteworthy points, it was a huge fell quite short from what was expected.

Origins Of The Sphinx by Robert M. Schoch Ph.D. & Robert Bauval

This is a truly scholarly dissertation into a more precise dating of the Sphinx that makes a lot more sense than the mainstream explanation.  In any case, Origins Of The Sphinx samples a wide array of data on a redating of the Sphinx – enough for the layman, and plenty still for the academic.

More can be read about this book in this review.

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

In one of his recent posts entitled Ayn Rand Reconsidered, Jon Rappoport from [JonRappoport.wordpress.com] spoke at length about Ayn Rand, her characters and her work in respect to Individuality.  This quickly became the impetus for me purchasing the book.

Since I respect Individuality a great deal, getting this book was a no-brainer.  Read the book right after receiving it, and it’s hands down one of my favorite fiction books without a doubt.  There really is no other book like it.  A review of it can be read here.

How To Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie [Miniature Edition]

Having read this book in college, thought it practical to get this brief synopsis of that work.

Curiously, the book’s size shocked most people even though it was stated as “miniature”.  There might have been some tampering with the description according to one reviser.  However, when I myself read the description it was stated as a Miniature Edition, and saw nothing wrong with it, especially since the book only cost $5.  I really wasn’t expecting much more than what arrived.  That said, I do understand some people having wanted a larger book however, so I can empathize with their plight.

Goddess Of The MarketAyn Rand & The American Right by Jennifer Burns

After reading The Fountainhead, I made it a point to seek out as much of Rand’s work as possible.  Although a lot of what she states I am still ruminating upon, regardless, I still very much appreciate her point of views, especially about individuality.

Whether I agree with her, or anyone else, matters not.  What matters is what I can learn from said individuals, and there’s much to learn from Ayn Rand.

Being able to gaze through the eyes an intellectual from decades ago is definitely something I intend to do more of, and thought it sensible to follow suit with more of Rand’s work.

On Writing Well by William Zinsser

Along the same lines as Elements of Style 4th Edition, On Writing Well is another salvo into my self-directed learning process about writing.  The book was worth every penny, and made me consider writing in ways I had not previously thought of.

Veterans of the craft will know many of the tenets, but for me, being a neophyte, it offered much for contemplation.

The Chicago Manual Of Style 15th Edition

Mirroring the above book, this book was purchased to serve as a reference for particulars rules about writing.

This is not in any way to make writing mechanical, but to makes sure some of the simple mistakes that can be glossed over are swept away from the page before they arrive at writer’s row.

The Art Of Fiction by Ayn Rand

Having thoroughly enjoyed Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, which is a veritable crashcourse on all things individuality, and having read nothing as meaningful in fiction from anyone else with such depth, The Art Of Fiction became a natural target for my curiosities on Rand’s point of view on writing fiction.

Unfortunately haven’t read it, but will do so within the next month or so and a review will certainly follow.

Phenomena by Anne Jacobson

Having experienced some paranormal circumstances in the past prompted me to search for answers.  At the time, this led me to read books on remote viewing and extra-sensory perception.  After reading many significant books on the subject and finding much purchase in most of them, seeing Phenomena available piqued my curiosity on the psi phenomena considerably.

Unfortunately, for many reasons this book was an absolute failure, which can be read about here.  There are much better books out there to say the least.

Battlefront: Twilight Company (Star Wars)

Needing a hiatus from all the non-fiction books I’ve been reading, and being a veritable Sci-Fi junkie and avid Star Wars fan, my sights were set on this particular book.

So far I am only a fourth of the way through the book, but it’s been rather engaging, intriguing and consistent on all areas.  I might review the book if time permits, time will tell.  Regardless, unless the story drops off a cliff or something unexpected takes place I cannot see myself not enjoying the book.

As far as unplanned purchases are concerned, at a  garage sale, James Patterson’s Private Berlin and Max were found, as well as Robert Ludlum’s The Rhine Exchange & John Grisham’s The Whistler.  All of these totaled a whopping $2 collectively.

How was the month for everyone else?  Any of you read anything enjoyable and/or intriguing lately?  Were there any hidden gems that shone fortuitously on your path?  Feel free to share them below, for I would really enjoy hearing what other people are reading about and finding intriguing.

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This article is free and open source. You are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.

___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly 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.

His other blog, BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com features mainly his personal work, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information nigh always ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: The Elements Of Style [Classic Edition] By William Strunk Jr. & Edited by Richard De A’Morelli [Updated]

EO
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
May 3, 2017

As a preamble, what follows is a not only a review but a revamped cursory juxtaposition between The Elements Of Style Classic Edition, which is the main book discussed and reviewed, and The Elements Of Style 4th Edition, which is a slightly similar book covering many of the same rules

Having purchased both within the last month, I thought it prudent to comment on some of the differences between both books.  Although somewhat alike, both books still differ in some respects, but both offer ample from which any individual may learn much from.

The Elements Of Style [Classic Edition] by William Strunk Jr. and edited by Richard De A’Morelli is meant as a tribute to the work Prof. Strunk undertook over 100 years ago in creating this book.

This particular book features a forward by Richard De A’Morelli titled “Grammar & Style For The 21st Century”, instead of the one written by Roger Angell in the 4th Edition.  The former is eight pages long, while the latter is only two pages long.  De A’Morelli’s foreword sets the stage better in this book than the previous book.

In contrast, the “Introductory” within the classic edition written by Strunk is of a different taste when compared to the one written by E.B. White in the 4th Edition, which actually quite informative while offering very practical advice, even if condensed.  That said, one great point featured within the Classic Edition edited by De A’Morelli is that the introduction features suggestions on which books writers ought to consider, which will be quite useful for those seeking additional information.

The book blurb does mention that there are some rules which are now obsolete, and there are editorial notes which focus on that in the book.

One really significant improvement in the Classic Edition is that after each Rule is mentioned and examples are shown, it’s much easier to discern which are the good examples and which ones are not.

The Elements Of Style Classic Edition covers a wide range of elements within writing.  From form, composition, mistakes in diction, to a few other common mistakes done in writing, the book gives a very solid foundation upon which writers may begin their adventures.

Overall, given all the book offers in such a small package, it really is a great deal and a high value educational book – any individual working on their writing skills would benefit from having it.

***

[Editor’s Note]

In reviewing the book, I made a significant mistake.  I compared both books above, which was fine, but the edited version that the author undertakes is based on a different version of The Elements Of Style altogether.  Given this, at first, I thought the book omitted two rules.  This, however, was not the case.  I was contacted by the author with proof that, in fact, none of the rules that I thought he omitted were in fact omitted that were mentioned in the previews erroneous review. This error has been noted by myself, and I have since sincerely apologized to the author for causing this serious misunderstanding.

___________________________________________________________
[1] William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White, The Elements Of Style [4th Ed.] pg. 7.
[2] Ibid., pp 7-8.

___________________________________________________________
This article is free and open source. You are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.

___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly 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.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: The Elements Of Style [4th Edition] by William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White

The Veritable Scaffolding For Writers Of All Types

ElementsOfStyle4thEd
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 26, 2017

“If a writer wrote merely for his time, I would have to break my pen and throw it away.”
– Victor Hugo

Once  rated “one of the 100 most influential books written in English” by Time magazine in 2011, The Elements Of Style [4th Edition] by William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White is a systematic book which employs a no-nonsense approach on enduring principles of sound writing.

Cogent, concise and methodical, The Elements Of Style provides the firm foundation upon which writers can construct or improve their repertoire.

Featuring advice that is as simple as it is timeless, the book’s easy-to-follow approach allows for the incisive individual to become more robust with the principles of writing, while honing their own individual style as well.

Undoubtedly, some of these tenets will be familiar to some of you.  Even so, many are oft-overlooked and having them around to reference is quite convenient.

For a book that is nigh a century old, it still ‘packs a punch’.  Incidentally, that prior figure of speech, “packs a punch,” for instance, dances along the line of Style Rule #18: Use Figures Of Speech Sparingly.

Perhaps it shouldn’t have been used, perhaps so.  But having read this book, as a writer, I am consciously thinking of how the use of diction affects everything.  Ruminating a bit, perhaps, instead of writing that the book still “packs a punch,” I could have written “this book provides a treasure trove of insights for writers.”  Even though the first sentence gets the meaning across, the second one is smoother, and accomplishes the same thing in amenable fashion.    That is merely one example of the possibilities that this book will allow the shrewd writer to undertake once he begins to firmly inculcate its lessons and employ them therein.

Great writing, like a sound structure, can only take place with a firm foundation.  The scaffolding for that will undoubtedly require the insights of this book.  If you know all of them by heart, you’re one step ahead.  If not, then ponder getting this book.  And considering that these days, many people communicate with others through the written word on the Internet, it would be prudent to learn these tenets since they will undoubtedly help those who need to employ them.

___________________________________________________________
This article is free and open source. You are encouraged to share this content and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly 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.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

Book Review: The War Of Art – Break Through The Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield

TheWarOfArt
TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 11, 2017

The War Of Art – Break Through The Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield is a very innovative way to look at the resistance individuals face when attempting to walk the path of a creatively conscious life.

Because resistance is something that we all face in one way shape or form [i.e. procrastination], this book is a book that stands to help everyone in their own unique way.

Pressfield minces no words in his apt definition of what holds creative individuals back:  Resistance.

Resistance is what leaves most of us feeling like abject failures after we’ve lost multiple bouts with it.  The paradox of this conundrum is that Resistance isn’t as untouchable as it might seem at first blush.  Yes, Resistance is the paradise of procrastination on the creative path, it is the ultimate obstacle, the veritable Darth Vader.   As such, resistance is the epitome of self-sabotage.  But, therein lies the key to this curious conundrum: self.

Maraudering deep within our darkest realm, Resistance is the ultimate enemy which seeks to slay every one of our hopes, and cast limitations into each and every one of our dreams.

As Pressfield points out:

“Resistance is a bully.  Resistance has no strength of its own; it’s power derives entirely from our fear of it.  A bully will back down before the runtiest twerp who stands his ground.”[1]

In other words, if the percipient individual – guided by the self – is to overcome this ruthless opponent, they need to face it head on.  As the saying goes, fear is False Evidence Appearing Real.  Like the ego, it only grows when you feed it, so cutting Resistance of at the pass is crucial.  And this is where this book shines.

The War of Art is split into 3 parts.  In Part One, Pressfield shows a plethora of ways in which Resistance can be better understood.  Thereafter, Book Two features ways that the individual can tackle resistance in myriad ways, while Book Three goes beyond into deeper ruminations on invoking the ever-elusive Muse.  He also covers what separates amateurs from professionals, and an unorthodox – but refreshing – look at the artist and how the artist fits into the grand scheme of things.  The book yields more, but those are the core concepts.

As the author aptly notes, if Resistance couldn’t be overcome, the great works that humanity has wouldn’t be available these days.

If you are an individual who runs head on into Resistance daily – and who doesn’t? – or needs a healthy dose of inspiration, this book will definitely help you handle those in spades.  And if you seek to live a more creative life, whether by hobby or profession, then this is a must read.

Pressfield’s unorthodox approach to invoking the Muse is a breath of fresh air, and one that we can all relate too.  In his own words:

“When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication.  She approves.  We have earned favor in her sight.  When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings.  Ideas come.  Insights accrete.

“Just as Resistance has its seat in hell, so Creation has its home in heaven.  And it’s not just a witness, but an eager and creative ally.”[2]

After reading the book, my only regret was that the book was not longer.  That’s the sign of a good book.

If you want an active ally to accompany you in your personal battleground against Resistance and need a spark to light the tinder of action, get this book.
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Source:

[1] Steven Pressfield, The War Of Art, p. 99.
[2] Ibid., p. 108

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This article is free and open source. You are encouraged and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly 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.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.

March Book Haul 2017

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TheBreakaway | BreakawayConciousness
Zy Marquiez
April 6, 2017

This month there were some serendipitous finds within the realm of books and reading that help feed the addict’s voracious hunger.  The topics are wide in scope as they are intriguing, and have made for some thought-provoking reading when I’ve had the time.

#1: The Nuclear Axis: Secret Collaboration Between West Germany & South Africa by Zdenek Cervenka & Barbara Rogers

The title says it all. This book details the connection between West Germany and South Africa, which is actually more disturbing than at first blush.  The book also delineates which other countries were involved in this fiasco besides South Africa, and shows that Germany, who went on record never to create nuclear weapons post World War 2, became in fact a de-facto nuclear power.  Then again, it shouldn’t be shocking considering that Germany’s attempted world domination in three previous instances.

#2:  Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee’s Wisdom For Daily Living by Bruce Lee

Knowing that Bruce Lee is the epitome of Individuality, reading about him has been something that I’ve wanted to do for quite some time.

This book has been an inspiring read.  Due to its format, the book can be read straight through, or just broken up into small pieces given that it’s not a book which builds on itself like most non-fiction books.  For me the latter method has worked better.

Usually just slice off a few pages on a daily basis as the aphorisms give one much to ponder about in unexpected ways.  Granted, some of the aphorisms are fairly straight forward, but there’s plenty of insights to be had if one remains open minded.

#3Culture As History: The Transformation Of American Society In The Twentieth Century by Historian Warren Susman

Wishing to learn more about the change culture American culture has gone through, this book felt like a natural pick considering it was mentioned in Susan Cain’s Quiet – The Power Of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking.  In Quiet, Cain mentions how in her book Culture As History historian Susman covers the transition between the culture of character to a culture of personality.  Seeing the results of this change in modern times, thought it prudent to go back in time and see where society began changing.  Predictably, there was serious social engineering and propaganda taking place to bring this about.   I am definitely looking forward to research this topic further down the line.

#4:  The War Of Art: Break Through The Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles  Steven Pressfield

This book barely became known to me a few weeks ago.  Being the book-addict that I am, initially, I told myself not to purchase this or any other book for that matter until catching up on some reading, but after about a week of pondering, I just couldn’t resist.  This merits a shout out to all bodacious bloggers that feed that addiction!  [If you got time and want to check out another fellow wordpress blogger on all things writing, click this link to check out Calliope Writing]

This book is like the Art Of War but doused with much inspiration and creativity.  If there’s even one cell of creativity within you, ruminate upon getting this book.

#5:  Speed: Facing Our Addiction To Fast & Faster – And Overcoming Our Fear Of Slowing Down by Dr. Stephanie Brown Ph.D.

This book covers society’s addiction to living at the vanguard at Warp 9.  This book brings about quite a few different concerns, especially considering that a sizeable portion of society follows the actions noted in this book to a tee, particularly the younger generations.  If you have young ones or know of anybody that might be plugged in to the matrix 24/7 so to speak, considering having them get this book.  There’s a review of it here.

#6:  UFOs for the 21st Century Mind by Richard Dolan

If you’ve ever wondered about where to start regarding the abstruse subjects of UFOs, START HERE.  Even if you have, this book still offers a lot of value given the severity of the subject.  Having read dozens of books on this subject, many books usually end up leaving the reader wanting more.  Additionally, there really isn’t anything as comprehensive and detailed as this.  The book is sourced to the hilt, is written in an easy to follow manner and considers a serious topic in a sobering and yet thought provoking way.  There’s a review that was written on this here.

#7J.R.R. Tolkien’s: A Biography by Humphrey Carpenter

Having binged on many Tolkien books in February, and having heard from John Taylor Gatto that reading many biographies allows individuals the foresight to see things they might have not seen, thought getting this book would be a prudent choice.  Haven’t delved into it, but hopefully am able to within the next month or so.

#8:  The Autobiography Of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin

Along the same lines as the above, this book was purchased in order to brush up a bit on one of the Founding Fathers through the autobiographical lens.  It’s definitely fascinating getting an inner look at one of the people responsible for helping create America.  It helps put things into perspective in a way that history books lack.   Review will come up soon.

#9:  The Elements Of Style [4th Edition] by William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White

This book was purchased with the intention to grow and learn as a writer.  Being an autodidact and seeking to teach myself more on this lengthy subject, this seemed like a prudent place to start.  BOY WAS IT WORTH IT.  The book, although small in size, offers much knowledge to glean from it.  If you’re a writer, you need to get this book for the tenets within it will undoubtedly help you grow.  That said, there is a newer version of this book available.  Found this out about a week after purchasing the first one, go figure!  Given that it isn’t in my hands yet, I can’t vouch for it, YET, but once it gets here it will be read and reviewed in due time.

Why read a book similar to one just read?  Great question.  Because the 4th Edition of Elements of Style offered so much, I thought that if the new book followed through and offer even more information than the previous book, why not give it a gander?  Might end up gifting the other one out to a friend, but either way, the investment will be well placed.

#10:  The Book Of Virtues: A Treasure Of Great Moral Stories by William J. Bennett

A veritable treasure trove of insights on virtue from countless angles, this book homes in on many of the core tents that used to get taught in society but don’t get taught as much nowadays.  It seems like a great place to seek historical sources that showcase virtues within literature.

#11:  Sekret Machines: Gods: Volume 1 Of Gods Man & War by Tom DeLonge & Peter Levenda

I reviewed this book a few weeks ago and predictably, it is being censored by Amazon, as per usual.  If you want to read how to verify the censorship, read the next bracketed paragraph, and if not, just skip it for the synopsis.

[This can be verified simply.  Click on the link above, scroll down to the reviews, and then take a look at the two pictures to the right of customers who took pictures of the book.  The picture on the right under the name ZyPhReX, was the review done by me.  As you can see from the picture, I gave the book 3 stars.  Now, when you go back into the original book link, and click to check on all reviews that gave the book 3 stars, my review will NOT be showing whatsoever.  My contention is that not only is my review critical of this book in sobering fashion, but it also outlines alternative books to this topic, and that’s something the consortium hates to hear.  Regardless of the reason, the Book Review being censored is ludicrous since it follows all guidelines by Amazon, and the review is even shown under the picture.  And no, this isn’t the first time and its happened and doubt it will be the last.]

My original thoughts were that since Peter Levenda is a top-notch researcher, of whom many books I own, and seeing as DeLonge seems to have a genuine curiosity on the subject, the book might be a good read.  Boy was I wrong!

Although the book does feature intriguing information, the authors paint a picture that’s quite bleak of humanity, even using the parlance of “Cargo Cult” for humans and even go on to write about humanity as if wholly incapable, even there’s plethora of evidence showing otherwise.

Moreover, the authors take a very narrow point of views in explaining UFOs, which is quite detrimental.  Not that beings from another place visiting the Earth is out of the question, far from it, but to use a one dimensional approach to explain a multi-dimensional issue served to make this book a catastrophe.

As I noted in the review of this book:

“… one particular point that was quite disconcerting is the fact that the authors take a unilateral point of view of making it seem like UFOs can only be explained by the alien mythos.  While this is certainly one possibility, and one with some solid grounding, it is not the only one, and not by far.  Dr. Joseph P. Farrell, Walter Bosley, and others have come up with an equally arguable case that argues for human ingenuity as one possible way to explain some UFOs.”

Lastly, a rather unexpected find was being able to get almost 20 National Geographic magazines, each for 10 cents at the library.  I am sharing this in hopes for people to realize that sometimes at local libraries there are incredible deals if you happen to venture there at the right time.

That said, did any of you purchase any intriguing books recently?  If so, what were they?  I am always genuinely curious as to what other individuals read and find intriguing. A significant portion of what I choose to read is because of what other people have made known to me, either directly or indirectly, and  this is my attempt to pay it forward.

Hope you are all well and have a great week.

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This article is free and open source. You are encouraged and have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Zy Marquiez and TheBreakaway.wordpress.com.
___________________________________________________________
About The Author:

Zy Marquiez is an avid book reviewer, researcher, an open-minded skeptic, yogi, humanitarian, and freelance writer who studies and mirrors regularly 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.

His own personal blog is BreakawayConsciousnessBlog.wordpress.com where his personal work is shared, while TheBreakaway.wordpress.com serves as a media portal which mirrors vital information usually ignored by mainstream press, but still highly crucial to our individual understanding of various facets of the world.