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Malcolm Campbell has commented on (9) products.

Now Is the Time to Do What You Love: How to Make the Career Move That Will Change Your Life by Nancy Whitney-reiter
Now Is the Time to Do What You Love: How to Make the Career Move That Will Change Your Life

Malcolm Campbell, January 11, 2010

Or picture this: Joyce, who lives in Decatur, Illinois, has always loved children. She's wondered for years whether to become a teacher or open a daycare center once her own children leave the nest. But she keeps waiting for some future moment when her world is more settled, ensuring that "what night have been" will remain "what never was."

Dreams, some say, will take up as much space as we allow. According to Nancy Whitney-Reiter, most of us spend our careers trying to achieve success as it's defined by others rather than proactively following our dreams and doing what we love. Yet, "Now is the time to do what you love" makes clear that ill-defined career-change goals may remain pipe dreams if we take no action or may become nightmares when we fail to consider realities and create a comprehensive plan.

Immensely well organized and practical, "Now is the time to do what you love" is the perfect companion for anyone who is dissatisfied with their current career and/or who is considering a second career after they retire from the first. To become viable realities, dreams require work. Whitney-Reiter's experience, research and interviews show those ready to take the journey the important milestones to leaving a job that's just a job and entering a fulfilling career doing that makes them personally feel successful and happy. The book is a very wise dream catcher.
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Faust: My Soul Be Damned for the World: Volume I
Faust: My Soul Be Damned for the World: Volume I

Malcolm Campbell, February 16, 2009

E. A. Bucchianeri describes her two-volume work on the back cover as "a comprehensive exploration of Dr. Faust, the man who sold his soul to the devil, and those who lived to tell his tale."

"Comprehensive" is almost an understatement, for the scope and scholarship of this two-volume, large-format "Faust - My soul be damned for the world" is astonishing. Bucchianeri traces the evolution of the Faust legends and literature from the historical individual who called himself "Faustus" (c1466 - c1538) through early folktales and Christopher Marlowe's drama "The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus" (1604) to Goethe's closet drama "Faust: The Tragedy Part One" (1829) and "Faust: The Tragedy Part Two" (1832).

Clearly, the Faustian literature evolved with the times, and at each stage, Bucchianeri shows how the influences of the church, state, society and the education, upbringing and life experiences of the of the principal authors and commentators changed the intent and flavor of the legend. The Faust story, as Joseph L. Henderson notes in "Man and his Symbols" (Carl Jung, Ed.) dramatizes man's battle with the dark or negative side of his personality, the "'shadow' figure that Goethe describes as 'part of that power which, willing evil, finds the good.'"

One of the greatest strengths of Bucchianeri's work is in its heavily documented presentation of the vast symbolism found throughout the multiple versions of the legend.

The historical Dr. Faustus, Faust books and folk tales, Marlowe's drama with its "A and B texts," the puppet plays, and Lessing's unfinished drama comprise Volume I. At the outset, Bucchianeri writes, "Faust, the notorious reprobate who willingly forfeited his immortal soul to the devil in exchange of the fleeting illusory pleasures of the world as recounted in famous works of drama, literature, drama and music did not originate as the imaginary brainchild of a literary genius. A historical figure named 'Faust' did exist."

Separating the historical personage from the folklore that quickly arose in letters, pamphlets and that individual's own circulated exaggerations of his "powers"" requires careful research. "Faustus," was the title/pseudonym used by Georg Helmstetter who was born in or near Heidelberg, Germany in the mid-1400s. He was an educated man and, according to reports, an accurate astrologer. His self-aggrandizing claims of dark-side occult powers and an association with the Devil gave rise to the initial folklore and popular Faust books.

Bucchianeri brings order to the documented facts about Christopher Marlowe's contribution to the Faust legend during Elizabethan times. She writes that the poet and dramatist "recognized in the character of Faustus his personal cynicism in regard to the subject of religion and his ardent desire to accomplish great deeds in the world."

Here, as with the Goethe material, the author ostensibly presents readers with a miniature biography of the dramatist as a means of demonstrating important themes in the resulting play. Marlowe's difficult route to a college degree and his rebellious views and lifestyle play into his version of "Faust."

Goethe worked on "Faust" throughout his lifetime. Like Marlowe, Goethe had deep and basic questions about religion. He brought to "Faust" his youthful, manic-depressive mood swings and a wealth of study into subjects including the greater and lesser mysteries, alchemy and freemasons as Bucchianeri shows in Volume II.

Written in an academic style, "Faust - My soul be damned for the world," will be of especial interest to scholars as well as serious students of the Faust legends, Marlowe, and Goethe. The scope of work and impeccable research may, in fact, be definitive insofar as the development of the literary Faust is concerned.

Some readers will find the biographical detail about Marlowe and Goethe to be too lengthy, far exceeding that which is required to illustrate how their personalities and their lives and studies influenced their Faust dramas.

If a second edition of "Faust - My soul be damned for the world" is released, the work will be greatly strengthened by the addition of an introduction that explains how this work differs from earlier Faust literature, concise chapter summaries and additional subheads and sidebars to break up the ponderous sections of straight text, a biography showing the author's credentials for writing the book, and a comprehensive index.

That said, this work is a labor of love that greatly adds to our understanding of the literary Faust as he grew with the changing times.

--Malcolm R. Campbell
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Malcolm Campbell, January 24, 2009

Titania Hardie's inventive novel "The Rose Labyrinth" places Alex and Lucy on a dangerous quest to find the long-buried secrets of Elizabethan astrologer and alchemist John Dee. While Alex's mother intuitively understood the import of the Sterling family secrets before she died, no one ever knew where they were hidden, much less what they were.

When Alex's brother Will starts looking for the manuscripts and artifacts, he discovers that researchers of evil intent have a head start; in fact, they have been watching the family for years and now are on a short timetable to retrieve the secrets at any cost.

Students of esoteric philosophy and Christian symbolism will find much to like in Hardie's well-researched story. The characters are well-drawn and the dangerous quest to find the hidden treasure is intricate and compelling.

Unfortunately, "The Rose Labyrinth" struggles with the same structural problems as "The Da Vinci Code." Like Brown's characters, Hardie's characters are secondary to the philosophical riddle they must solve. While discussions about the philosophy advance the plot, they are a wordy device for instructing readers about the meaning of it all.

The precise synchronicity of Alex and Lucy with Dee's secrets is contrived and the broad-scope indictment of fundamentalist Christianity is unnecessary.

Readers who enjoyed "The Da Vinci Code" may find more than enough in "The Rose Labyrinth" to make it an interesting journey in spite of the large holes in Hardie's tapestry. In that regard, it can be very cautiously recommended.
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The Fortune Teller's Daughter
The Fortune Teller's Daughter

Malcolm Campbell, January 2, 2009

While Harry Sterling is an alcoholic, he has redeeming qualities, among them a former investigative reporter's sense of what makes a good story. When he hears second hand that a local psychic claimed famed physicist Charles Ziegart didn't actually discover the "Ziegart Effect," Sterling has a prospective new focus for his blocked writing career. And, as a junior member of the faculty at a north Florida university, he is highly conscious of the publish-or-perish rules of academia.

Unfortunately, Ziegart and the other potential sources for Sterling's investigation are dead or may soon be dead as he begins to ask powerful people unsettling questions. Sterling, who met the withdrawn Maggie Roth--the fortune teller's niece--while he was drunkenly throwing up on her front porch--believes she holds keys to the story and possibly his heart.

Shaara has drawn a haunting romantic mystery out of the piney wood woods of north Florida where she grew up. Her characters are three-dimensional, believable and delightfully diverse. This slightly Southern Gothic tale is an addictive, well-written page turner, otherwise known as a good story.
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