Sunday, February 24, 2013

Professor writes about New Age beliefs in novel

Books Editor for Lancaster Online in Pennsylvania, Jo-Ann Greene, describes the new novel The Book of Why by Franklin & Marshall College associate professor of English Nicholas Montemarano under "Novel examines a New Ager's crisis of faith". According to this piece, "In his Jan. 10 piece "Wishful Thinking" on, Montemarano reveals himself as a "closeted self-help junky" who has long kept a stash of such books in his basement without bothering to hide behind the novelist's classic excuse: "research." Wayne Dyer is a special favorite, but he also drops the names of Timothy Ferriss, Deepak Chopra, Eckhart Tolle and Thomas Moore."

In his Huffington Post blog, Montemarano writes, "... I've been a closeted self-help junky for years. I keep my stash in boxes in the basement, beside the dog crate where our German Shepherd hides during storms. Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Jack Kornfield, Thomas Moore, David Richo — an all-star roster. Every so often, when I'm feeling especially blah, I go down to get one. Nothing to be ashamed of, I decide, and up it comes to my office. When I'm not reading it, I put it on the highest shelf where even a very tall person wouldn't likely see it. There are two reasons I keep them hidden. The first is that self-help books, though they can be helpful, are often filled with treacle, the kind of sentimentality and simplicity I strive to keep out of my fiction. The second is that if people see you reading a self-help book, they will wonder what's wrong with you and why you need help."

Greene shares that The Book of Why is about the character Eric Newborn, a self-help guru, who examines his beliefs while facing his wife's fatal brain tumor.