3 out of 4 stars
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Taking the Time: Experiments in Kindness by Kevin Thompson is a collection of uplifting reflections to encourage readers to notice the grace and goodness in everyday life. With humor and intentionality, Thompson shares his thoughts, memories, and observations as well as some of the simple ways he practices kindness. The book contains over 50 brief chapters and traverses themes such as peace, faith, grace, gratitude, kindness, goodness, compassion, aging, spirituality, forgiveness, and love.
Thompson’s writing style is relaxed and conversational. As the subtitle suggests, he shares examples of ways to practice everyday kindness, but rather than experiments, the chapters are mostly comprised of his musings and memories. Thompson's reflections are spiritual rather than religious, and he alternately references God, the Divine, the Creator, and the Universe. Likewise, he mentions Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Kabbalah. The short chapters are contemplative in nature; they are not chronological and can be read in any order.
I most like Thompson’s creative use of imagery throughout the book. While it's fairly common for an author to use imagery to create picturesque scenery in the reader's mind, Thompson evokes an emotional response with some of his gems. "Love is this. It is not content with a side hug. It wants a 'seeing a grandparent for the first time in a while' hug." My only grandchild lives in a different state, and I can relate. On a few visits, my grandson's first-time hugs have literally almost knocked me off my feet--Thompson nails it. I also appreciate the information he shares at the end of the book regarding the small company he and his son, Carter, have created to help the homeless. I admire that he is putting actions to his words and by doing so, setting an example for his son.
The only thing I dislike about the book is Thompson's habit of contradicting himself. To be fair, he does acknowledge this tendency in the introduction. "Some ideas may contradict each other. Some ideas, even still, might be directly opposed to what I claim to believe. This is alright with me." He shares his thoughts on a range of topics, and I find I don't necessarily need to agree with his opinions in one reading to enjoy another. However, while I appreciate Thompson's disclaimer to forewarn readers, his contradictions to his own statements become somewhat distracting.
Additionally, Thompson's tendency to incorrectly capitalize words and write incomplete sentences is problematic, and the number of errors prevents a perfect rating. Therefore, I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to readers who enjoy spiritual reflections with a hint of humor. Due to Thompson's inclusivity, the book will appeal to readers of various faiths. However, I would not recommend it to readers with black-and-white views pertaining to religion.
Taking the Time
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