Official Review: The Long Passages by Paul Winder

Please use this sub-forum to discuss any non-fiction books such as autobiographies or political commentary books.
Forum rules
You must limit each topic thread in this section to only one book or only one series. Make the title of the topic the name of the book, and if possible also include the author's name. If you want to allow spoilers, you must include the word spoilers in the title of the topic, otherwise spoilers are prohibited.
Post Reply
User avatar
bluegreenmarina
Posts: 329
Joined: 26 Oct 2016, 14:43
2018 Reading Goal: 40
2017 Reading Goal: 30
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 102
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 176
Favorite Book: <a href="http://forums.onlinebookclub.org/shelve ... =6703">The Count of Monte Cristo</a>
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 1207
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-bluegreenmarina.html
Latest Review: Lost in the Reflecting Pool by Diane Pomerantz

Official Review: The Long Passages by Paul Winder

Post by bluegreenmarina » 05 Aug 2018, 13:31

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Long Passages" by Paul Winder.]
Book Cover
3 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


Although most memoirs tend to follow a similar formula in presenting a life story, there are many ways one can choose to relay the lessons and stories in a lifetime. Paul Winder, in his book The Long Passages (Paths of Self Discovery) presents the memorable moments of his life, along with some of his other writings, in a collection that goes beyond just a simple memoir. In his simple, straight-forward conversational style, the author tells the story of his life through a series of memories, broken up into short and easily-digestible pieces, almost like a series of vignettes or a collection of fictional short stories. The title is rather ironic, since many of the stories are only a page or two long, and several other memories are relayed in no more than a simple paragraph. This format allows for a quick and breezy reading experience, with plenty of space to pause and incorporate the message and lesson of the story before moving on to the next.

The majority of the book is comprised of these tidbits, which fit together to form a more complete picture of the overall history of Paul Winder’s long life. Some readers may be discouraged by the fact that the timeline is not chronological, and the stories bounce around from Mr. Winder’s early childhood, his adolescence, his college years, his experiences working as a teacher and school counselor, as well as some of the travels and experiences of his later adult years and post-retirement. Though the stories do fit together, and some themes recur throughout the collection, each memory is also entertaining and informative as a stand-alone piece, making the timeline (and chronology) unnecessary for the reader’s enjoyment.

These stories include many of the author’s experiences growing up on various farms, memories of his father, animal escapades, hunting adventures, and his experiences and close-calls with hitchhiking and sailing. Others tell of some of the memorable students he counseled, as well as his own learning experiences as a teacher and psychologist, and his personal experiences with Christian faith and religion. After the compilation of personal history, the author also includes a collection of some of his other writings, such as persuasive essays, poems, a prayer of gratitude, a letter to his daughter, copies of writings he submitted for his PhD program, editorials sent to newspapers, articles that were printed in magazines, and even a short work of satirical fiction. As several of these pieces are mentioned throughout his related life stories, having a chance to read them contributes to the full picture of the author’s personality and his opinions on the political and social issues of the past several decades.

Although the book is not easy to define within one particular genre, it is nonetheless an interesting and engaging read about a man who has lead a rich and diverse life. I personally would have enjoyed it more if the writings had a bit more cohesion and interconnectedness, but this is a personal preference, and other readers may enjoy the stand-alone nature of each piece. Several of the stories would also have benefited from being fleshed out farther, specifically the writings that dealt with emotional and philosophical issues, like faith and life/death. The reader was given a glimpse into the nature of the author’s own parents, but I believe the book would have benefited from going deeper into these relationships, as they were quite significant in shaping the author’s outlook. A few of the stories in their current state feel like a superficial tease rather than a complete picture of events.

Nonetheless, this collection is amusing, with several humorous anecdotes spacing out the more pensive and serious pieces. This is a book that has something for almost any type of reader, and the benefit of this format is one does not need to read the entire book to find something of value. I rate this collection 3 out of 4 stars, and recommend it to readers who enjoy memoirs and short stories, and would be interested in a merge of the two genres.

******
The Long Passages
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon

Like bluegreenmarina's review? Post a comment saying so!

User avatar
Cecilia_L
Posts: 1342
Joined: 08 Jun 2018, 22:16
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 113
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-cecilia-l.html
Latest Review: William and Tibby Forever by Lynda Hamblen

Post by Cecilia_L » 06 Aug 2018, 14:20

I enjoyed your candid review. I think I would enjoy this merging of memoirs/short stories. Thanks for the recommendation.

User avatar
kandscreeley
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 6121
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
2018 Reading Goal: 115
2017 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 83
2017 Reading Goal Completion: 94
Currently Reading: End of the Last Great Kingdom
Bookshelf Size: 224
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kandscreeley.html
Latest Review: It's Just a Matter of Balance by Kevin S. Garrison

Post by kandscreeley » 07 Aug 2018, 09:00

It sounds like the author had a wonderful, full life. It would be very interesting to those that enjoy reading about lives different from their own. Memoirs are not really my genre, but I'm glad that you enjoyed it. Thanks for the information.
“There is no friend as loyal as a book.”
― Ernest Hemingway

User avatar
gen_g
Posts: 1251
Joined: 22 Apr 2018, 10:31
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 44
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-gen-g.html
Latest Review: SAINT UNSHAMED: A Gay Mormon's Life by Kerry Ashton

Post by gen_g » 07 Aug 2018, 09:50

Thank you for the review! It seems like a light read, although I'm on the fence about the lack of cohesion. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

User avatar
Ruba Abu Ali
Posts: 503
Joined: 01 Jul 2018, 09:47
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 79
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-ruba-abu-ali.html
Latest Review: All in the Head by Jean Francois Rogeon

Post by Ruba Abu Ali » 09 Aug 2018, 13:11

I enjoy the merge of memoirs and short stories. Thanks for the recommendation and for your thorough review.

Post Reply

Return to “Non-Fiction Books”