From Publishers Weekly
Often rambling and occasionally pedantic, the essays in Walker's latest collection can also be stunningly insightful. Mixing prose with poetry, she discusses Martin Luther King, feminism and meditation, among other subjects, always circling back to themes of integrity and activism. The most substantial entries are based on live lectures. In a speech to the graduating class of the California Institute of Integral Studies, Walker urges that we not fear the pause that "wisdom requires" when "something major is accomplished," despite our eagerness to rush into "The Future." She manages to show how this "moment of reflection" is natural and necessary, whether the defining event is college graduation, menopause or the buildup to a military invasion. Her 2002 lecture, "I Call That Man Religious," argues that Fidel Castro is a "truly religious man" because he "speaks out for the rights of the poor," in contrast to the Catholic Church, which hid its priests' abuse of children for so long. More contradictory is "Crimes Against Dog," in which she describes a visit to buy a labrador retriever and her discomfort at the similarity between dog breeders and slaveholders, but doesn't consider getting a mutt. Despite the annoying inclusion of homework-like assignments at the end of most essays, this book will inspire hope. (Dec.)
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Walker, best known as a novelist, offers a collection of her essays and talks in a variety of venues and efforts to express and encourage spirituality and progressive political ideas. Talking to midwives, black yoga instructors, college students, Buddhists, and other admirers of her work, Walker offers commentary on the ways that modern society is destroying itself and the earth, and yet stands on the threshold of promising development. Walker urges resistance to war, lower birth rates, simpler living, and simple kindness as ways to improve life for us all. In a commencement address, she urges her listeners to value "the pause," the time between accomplishments when we wonder what is next and are afraid of the temporary emptiness. Taking her title from words by the poet June Jordan, Walker encourages the reader to recognize the potential that each of us has to make positive changes in the world and our lives. This is a thoughtful and reflective look at life and the search for meaning. Vanessa BushCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved