Journey to the Center of the Mirth by Leonard Ryzman

All You Need Is Life: A Lighter Look At Life With A Sprinkling of Wisdom by Leonard Ryzman is  short book about different topics looked at in a philosophical manner.  Each chapter is centered around a Beatles song which gives the topic of concern.  The wisdom offered is unique ways of thinking of the topics discussed that often even asks the reader why something is the way it is or a tongue in cheek look at some of the topics of interest.  It is a light-hearted and whimsical approach to life’s questions where no right answer is available.

I have read several of the author’s books and I was sad to see some repeated work in this book.  I was hoping to read some new approaches on various topics.  Overall the idea was an interesting one; to take multiple songs of a particular artist and use them as a springboard for talking about social and life issues.  The stories don’t quite connect in a meaningful way though…I somehow felt like the big picture got missed although I think I made this comment on another one of the author’s works; somehow we miss the forest for the trees.  There’s just something missing that brings the book together so it just slightly misses the mark for me.

The book style is really nicely done.  Other than the chapter that seemed a little off which included dozens of references to Beatle songs, the idea of giving a chapter a line from a song and writing an essay on it was compelling and nothing I have really seen before so very creative.  The editing is of a professional standard.  I know the author commented at the end about the book being short but honestly I would have liked each essay to be a little more detailed and given enough material to somehow connect the stories the author was telling us.

The stories themselves are very intriguing to read.  The author has “met” quite a few celebrities; at least long enough to be invited to a dinner party for.  I enjoyed reading about his experiences and how he used some of his stories in a rather comical way.  Overall, I really enjoyed the connect of this book and the essays within it, but it is just missing something special to throw it over the top for me.  However, I think readers will like this short work and the manner in which the material is handled.

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