MY REVIEW OF NOT FOR SELF BY JOSEPH CACIBAUDA

The novel, Not for Self, is set in the American state of Illinois at the time of the mass emigration from Europe to the United States, at the beginning of the last century.

A few immigrants move from Sicily to Marion, Illinois, to work in the coalmines. The work is hard, dangerous, and harmful to health, but it is better than starving. One of these Sicilian immigrants, Jack Valenti, does not like the job in the coalmine. He opens a bar where he serves soft drinks and alcoholic beverages.

Business is very good for him, but before long, he runs into the law that prohibits the sale of alcohol in the United States of America. He starts bootlegging alcohol, but has not come to terms with the Ku Klux Klan, a secret society that leaves him no way out.

Joseph Cacibauda’s novel is compelling and well written. It is also an insight into the American history of that time.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily (English edition)

– A Hidden Sicilian History (English edition)

– The Vibrations of Words (English edition)

– Travels of the Mind (English edition)

– Una Storia Siciliana Nascosta (edizione in lingua italiana)

– Viaggi della Mente (edizione in lingua italiana)

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MY REVIEW OF ZORBA THE GREEK BY NIKOS KAZANTZATIS

The British writer, Evelyn Beatrice Hall once wrote: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” The same goes for my review of Zorba the Greek by Nikos Kazantzatis. I say, “I do not agree with your book, Nikos Kazantzatis, but I respect you.”

The main character in his book is a Macedonian, named Zorba, who goes to the island of Crete with his boss to operate a lignite mine. They share the same hut, and Zorba tells him his life story, which is based on contempt for religions, priests, monks, and anything that sounds clerical. According to him, man should just enjoy life and live as if God did not exist.

My view is different: I cannot imagine the world and the universe devoid of God. For me God’s precepts are the only parameter to discriminate the good from the evil and live a good life. For me, Jesus is the lantern that illuminates the human beings’ way.

However, I respect Nikos Kazantzatis’s idea. On the other hand, something he says is right. Since we live in this world, we should enjoy worldly life as well.

Perhaps Buddha’s “Middle Way” is the best way to follow, for it avoids the extremes of the materialists and the spiritualists.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MY REVIEW OF A FANTASTIC DISCOVERY BY ANTONIO ARRIGO

A Fantastic Discovery by Antonio Arrigo is a well-written and educative book. It tells the story of a great Sardinian scientist, Professor Brotzu, who discovered cephalosporin from which a powerful antibiotic is derived. The central government did not take into consideration his discovery. On the other hand, drug companies saw no profit potential from this antibiotic. Therefore, Professor Brotzu donated his discovery to the University of Oxford for the sake of science and humanity.

A Fantastic Discovery is a metaphor for life. How many intellectual works are unknown to the public even if they are the result of the creative genius of artists and scientists! However, the work of genius has its own inner energy, which cannot remain buried forever. This is the case of Professor Brotzu, who will remain alive in our hearts now and for future generations.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

– November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MY REVIEW OF GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE BY POPE FRANCIS

In his apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, Pope Francis expounds that the call to holiness is for everybody. We don’t need to strive to be holy. We just have to live our ordinary lives by having God as the reference point.

According to Pope Francis, there are two subtle enemies of holiness: Gnosticism and Pelagianism.

The identity card of a Christian is Jesus’s sermon about the beatitudes. Pope Francis explains each beatitude in detail. For him, holiness is just to practice Jesus’s teachings about the beatitudes.

Pope Francis also stresses the importance of discernment. How can a human being know the ultimate truth, that is if something comes from the Holy Spirit or from the spirit of the world or from the devil? The ability of discernment is a God’s gift. If we turn to God, we will be able to discern reality as it is.

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

A Hidden Sicilian History

The Vibrations of Words

Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MY REVIEW OF RUNNING TO RESURRECTION BY CLARK BERGE

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All great masters teach that the secret to get enlightenment is to live life here and now, neither in the past nor in the future. Running is not different from the walking meditation of the Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh, on the condition that you are alert and watch yourself while you are walking or running.

A marathon is also a metaphor of life. Clark Berge took part in the Half Moon Bay International Marathon, California, when he was 58 years old. It was hard to complete the marathon, but he finally arrived at the finishing line in time.

What I appreciate a lot in this book is Clark Berge’s homily to the baboons he met while running in South Africa. “There is something beautiful about just being a baboon, just being who you are,” he says to the baboons.

What a difference between a baboon and a man! The former cannot have split personality, while men often show themselves differently from what they are. Don’t you think that being sincere, honest, consistent with oneself, natural, and spontaneous is the real finish line which we should run for?

Ettore Grillo author of these books:

November 2: The Day of the Dead in Sicily

– A Hidden Sicilian History

– The Vibrations of Words

– Travels of the Mind


http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MY REVIEW OF FACING YOUR GIANTS

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Facing your Giants by Max Lucado has helped me overcome some of the challenges I have encountered in my life. While reading it, I have also looked inside myself to understand my real nature. I consider this book as powerful as psychoanalysis, maybe more.
A maxim in Max Lucado’s Facing your Giants impressed me a lot: “Focus on giants, you stumble. Focus on God, your giants tumble.” David could kill the giant, Goliath because he focused his attention on God, not on the giant who was facing him. Obviously, the giants are just metaphors that symbolize the difficult situations we encounter along our way.
I have applied this maxim to my ordinary life and I have to say that it has always helped me. Whenever I confronted a giant, that is a very difficult situation, I tried to overcome it not through my reasoning, but simply by trusting in God. Through God’s help, I have always succeeded, while through my reasoning, sometimes I lost.
I would recommend this book to whomever wants to proceed on their spiritual path toward the final destination, which is to be one with God.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MY REVIEW OF LOVE, SEX, MARRIAGE IN ANCIENT GREECE

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If it had been possible to rate this book six-star or even seven-star, I would have done it, definitely. Actually, reading Love, Sex, Marriage in Ancient Greece by Nikos A. Vrissimtzis is like being projected into life in archaic, classic, and Hellenistic Greece. It looks like reliving those eras!
Nikos A. Vrissimtzis describes the habits of the ancient Greeks in a simple way, and upholds his narrative with detailed reference to Greek literature and archaeological finds. Superb is his narration about symposiums where hetaeras took part. They were prostitutes of high rank, learned and above all of extraordinary beauty. Even Pericles fell in love with one of them, called Aspasia, and had a child from her.
Some commonplaces are debunked. There is no evidence that the famous poet Saffo was a lesbian. In my opinion she can be considered as the archetype of modern feminism.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MY REVIEW OF AT THE FEET OF THE MASTER BY J. KRISHNAMURTI

AT THE FEET

When I was a university student, the professor of civil law said, “Don’t take my words as gospel truth! You must check what I say and do your own research.”
Reading At the Feet of the Master, I recalled the words I heard from my professor a long time ago.
In this book J. Krishnamurti answers questions about life, meditation, and the like.
Undoubtedly, he is a great master, but I want to discuss his teachings, instead of accepting them blindly.
A student asks Krishnamurti, “Can you tell us the meaning and purpose of our living?”
The master replies, “What do you mean by life? Does life have a meaning, a purpose? Is not living itself its own purpose, its own meaning? We prefer to run away from ourselves, and that is why we seek the purpose of life away from relationship.”
He may be right, but I think we had better verify what the master, any master, says, living life in our way and searching for the purpose of life!

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MY REVIEW OF EGYPTIAN MYTHS AND MYSTERIES BY RUDOLF STEINER

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I used to be a lawyer for thirty-seven years. Every time I faced a case, I took care of supporting my thesis with evidence.
Egyptian Myths and Mysteries by Rudolf Steiner turned upside down my mindset. In fact, the author gives no evidence of what he claims. But, it doesn’t entail that what he writes is pure fantasy.
According to Rudolf Steiner, there was a time when the earth, the moon and the sun were one single mass. Then, the earth and the moon separated from the sun, and finally the moon separated from the earth.
During the evolutive process, man underwent a progressive transformation. He became materialistic and his soul was about to die. To prevent the death of the human soul, Jesus came to the earth and saved humanity through his sacrifice.
I heard about Rudolf Steiner when I was a member of an esoteric group long ago. My brethren considered him a great writer. They said that one must be an initiate to know the occult and esoteric truths. Who knows, they might be right.
I enjoyed reading Rudolf Steiner’s Egyptian Myths and Mysteries. It was easy to read and broadened the horizons of my mind.

Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo

MY REVIEW OF LIVE ZEN BY OSHO

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I have tried to find Zen doctrine, but without avail. Finally, I have come to the conclusion that Zen doesn’t have it.
According to tradition, the first Zen Patriarch was Mahakasyapa to whom Buddha transmitted the wordless dharma, from mind to mind.
Osho explains the reason why there is no Zen doctrine: Words cannot convey the truth. The transmission of truth can happen just from mind to mind, from heart to heart. Since there are no words to explain dharma, Zen masters use paradoxes. In his Live Zen, Osho unravels the meaning of some Zen paradoxes.
What surprised me in this book was his interpretation of the series of paintings called The Ten Bulls of Zen. They are just metaphors. In the pictures, the cowherd is the searcher for enlightenment which is symbolized by the ox. They show the ten stages to enlightenment. Surprisingly, in the last stage the cowherd, after catching the ox, that is, after reaching the truth, goes to the marketplace. He returns to the ordinary life and remains in the world. Enlightenment doesn’t entail staying isolated, but living with others.
In the last chapter of Live Zen, Osho talks about a kind of meditation called no-mind. It consists of three parts. The first part is gibberish, a meaningless language, the second part is sitting silently, the third part is just relaxing.
I enjoyed this book, and I have a plan to experience Zen meditation sooner or later.
Ettore Grillo, author of these books:
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
-Travels of the Mind

http://www.amazon.com/author/ettoregrillo