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  • John Falicki - Intrepid ExplorerDaniel Pinchbeck is our new Allen Ginsberg psychenaut and Connector for the "New Sixties" that is on its way, to explode next decade. Rolling Stone mag tried to level him into a feckless "more of the same", but it's not the same, it's not ever going to be the same, just as nothing has ever been the same since the 1960s, in spite of the ridiculous reactionary period we have had to suffer through with Reagan and the Bushes at the helm. All the right-wingers and "Christians" are going to be facing a monster '60s Revival and Transcendence they cannot possibly stop. Pinchbeck stands out as someone who is doing a damn good job voicing all of this. His latest book, "2012", is like his life, I imagine: a general direction of flow with many interesting sidetrips that seemingly come out of nowhere. Some reviewers who require too much structure see this as random or chaotic; I see it as interesting and necessary. Anyone who has ever taken LSD knows that you don't get a straightforward "narrative" experience out of the trip; instead, you get nonlinearity, crazy fluctuations galore, and above all, the Unexpected. That is Pinchbeck in a nutshell. If you want simple-minded and predictable narrative, read Danielle Steel; if you want exploration and intelligent probing, read Pinchbeck. I don't agree with everything in "2012" (above all I have no interest in number mysticism), but most of it is fascinating & honest & heart-felt. Pinchbeck lets you see into his inner psyche, what he's going through as he traverses these boundary territories, including his interest in women and his "troubles" with them. I expect plenty more good books from him. But finally, I want to say I don't believe "apocalyptic" (N.B.: the word 'apocalypse' comes from a Greek word meaning revelation, *not* destruction, as most people think) events will be descending upon us in 2012 or anytime next decade, but rather powerful creative openings and radically new ideas, just as the original champion of the "2012 Singularity", Terence McKenna, foresaw in his early 1970s vision: he said the decade that begins with 2010 will be the Decade of Novelty, and that I believe 100%.
  • VicG - Romance And Biblical Historical FictionTessa Afshar in her new book, "Harvest of Rubies" Book One in The Sarah/Darius Series published by River North Fiction Division of Moody Publishers takes us back to Biblical Persia 457 B. C.

    From the Back Cover: Remarkable talent Threatens to cloud a life

    The prophet Nehemiah has a cousin who can speak several languages, keep complex accounts, write on rolls of parchment and tablets of clay, and solve mysteries.

    This cousin is catapulted into the center of the Persian court - working long hours, rubbing elbows with royalty, and completing high-level tasks as a scribe for the queen.

    Not bad, for a woman living in a man's world.

    The talented Sarah has a glowing future, and those closest to her believe her good fortune is the product of none other than God's glorious design. Yet a devastating past has left Sarah with two strong conclusions: that God does not love her, and that her accomplishments are the measure of her worth.

    The only thing that will help her escape her idol of success, Sarah must learn to love and be loved - a task that could prove dangerous.

    I like history and Tessa Afshar, if she wasn't a writer of fiction, would make a great historian. Now add in that "Harvest of Rubies" is Biblical historical fiction and we have a full-blown winner. "Harvest of Rubies" takes place at the time of Nehemiah, the cup-bearer to King Artaxerxes, who will return, later, to Jerusalem and rebuild her walls. He has his own book in the Bible. Sarah is his cousin and she does the unthinkable at that time, which is to learn to read, write and do numbers. Eventually, this gets her promoted to being the Queen's scribe but none of these accomplishments give her a feeling of self-worth. When Sarah solves a mystery for the Queen, the Queen rewards her with a husband which doesn't work out so well at first. Now Sarah, with a little help, must deal with her self-worth issues and then, with her husband's help, once again come to the aid of the Queen. As I said if you enjoy history like I do then this book is for you. Ms. Afshar really makes you feel the heat and the dust. Every one of her characters seem to come alive and it is like actually being there in Persia with them. "Harvest of Rubies" is all about loving who God made you to be, families and relationships and that is what makes this book a winner. I enjoyed this book a lot and am looking forward to the next one.

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    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from Wynn-Wynn Media for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."