The Power of Prayer

From Mother and Child by Carole Maso:

NO ONE COULD tolerate the girl in the newspaper’s death from an undiagnosed, treatable form of diabetes after her parents chose to pray for her rather than take her to the doctor. There was too little insulin in her body, the autopsy said, but when opened up, all that could be seen was that she was overflowing with prayer. The prayers could be examined and dissected, but the God had already exited the body, leaving behind the wreckage. After the autopsy, the child’s sweetened organs were placed in a glass jar as a lesson for all.

On a similar note:

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Books From the Back Room

images.jpgIt isn’t difficult to find a recommended list of authors you should read or have read. Everyone acknowledges the literary importance of authors such as Shakespeare, Tolstoy, Faulkner, Proust, Goethe, Flaubert, Dante, Cervantes, Eliot, Dickens. But so many of these authors have been normalized in press and education that they, even when most successful, tend to inhabit the most hackneyed regions of our collective memory.

As an aging member of the university study of literature which adhered to the precepts of the (then) new criticism with potent demiurges the likes of F. R. Leavis, William Empson, Harold Bloom, and Frank Kermode, I worshipped the works of those giants of literature. But looking back I see that my education tended to direct me down the avenue of the acceptable canon and I missed a lot of stimulating reading through the years.

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Books Endure. News … Not So Much

images.jpgLooking back at January: a new year of reading and oft overlooked reading suggestions. I actually read a few of the works on this list while they were still in the news. I notice that a couple of the titles were of that genre often considered non-fiction (wink wink) and it’s good that I have read them before they turned dated and uninteresting.

Although I enjoyed these very contemporary views on the current corruption in both government and in the oil fields, I must admit that for the most part they at best provided me with a clear depiction of things I already knew, albeit in one compact volume with a lot of extra detail.

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NY Ghost

download.jpgIn this, the early days of the Corona Virus, a narrative of the spread from China of a fictional but deadly illness,—Shen Fever—might be just a tad too relevant.

“In its initial stages, Shen Fever is difficult to detect. Early symptoms include memory lapse, headaches, disorientation, shortness of breath, and fatigue. Because these symptoms are often mistaken for the common cold, patients are often unaware they have contracted Shen Fever. They may appear functional and are still able to execute rote, everyday tasks. However, these initial symptoms will worsen.
Later-stage symptoms include signs of malnourishment, lapse of hygiene, bruising on the skin, and impaired motor coordination. Patients’ physical movements may appear more effortful and clumsy. Eventually, Shen Fever results in a fatal loss of consciousness. ”

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