NAQUOYA'S BOOK REVIEWS | Where Epics Fail – Yahia Lababidi

in review •  2 years ago  (edited)

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Where Epics Fail – Yahia Lababidi (@yahialababidi)

I really wasn't sure what to expect when I started to read Yahia's new collection of aphorisms. I had heard of the term before, but would have been hard pressed to give a valid and useful explanation as to what they actually were. I suppose to me aphorisms hovered somewhere close to the poetry world, whilst being shorter, and perhaps, at times, wittier. So was this going to be a collection of sayings, or statements?

Perhaps that is what this is, but it is also, and more importantly, so much more than that. I was quite surprised by the mystical current flowing through so much of the work here. It took me back, at least in the feelings it conjured up, to reading The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, and even the many writings of Rumi. It has a Sufi feel to it. But still so much more than that. It reminded me of my early forays into the Tao Te Ching, and reading Lao Tzu's teachings, and his many statements to help align with life and make sense of the seemingly senseless.

Yahia's aphorisms cover many topics, but a theme runs through them. A reminder of the strength and purpose of silence. How much more powerful than words it truly is. Even as a child growing up in a thoroughly organised religion, with specific rules and doctrines, I still remember reading words that have stayed with me to this day. Words that I refused to interpret in the way those around me did. I read in the Old Testament of the Bible the need to "be still and know that I Am God." To me stillness and knowing stand out here more than God. Stillness is internal. It is akin to silence. Yahia's words were a reminder of its importance. It was a reminder that when I first truly learnt to think for myself, my first thoughts drifted towards the mystical.

I found as I went through this book that I was highlighting more than usual. If I wasn't careful I could have highlighted a majority of the collection. These aphorisms spoke to me, very clearly. They challenged me, amused me, taunted me, and also reminded me of truths I have known but glanced over or forgotten. There is wisdom here, and an opportunity to step aside from the mad rush of life, the constant words, the endless desire to be noticed and paid attention to, and just sit still and contemplate.

A great explanation for what aphorisms are is from one of Yahia's aphorisms themselves:

Aphorisms are headlines, yes, but they are also the entire stories.

There is a sense of the path that underlies the mystic inherent in these words. The concept of the dark night of the soul, or the wounded healer, and the need for an internal vision, and an internal strength comes through here. But a strength born from stillness, and silence. One that celebrates truth, and seeks out justice.

Strange, that surfaces should be celebrated, yet depths apologized for.

If we care for ourselves, we may turn our pain into gifts for others.

In exposing our wounds, healing begins.

There are far more aphorisms flowing through Yahia's work than I could do justice to, and each reader would be drawn to that which speaks to them the most, and perhaps even each new read would highlight ones previously unnoticed. That is their value, to be able to condense words without diluting their meaning. If anything, the lower word count seems to create a greater sense of connection between the reader and the words.

Some worry about dying with wealth unused – far worse to live with love unspent.

To struggle is to get further ensnared: surrender.

I was reminded of William Blake's words;

To see a World in a Grain of Sand And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.

when I read the following of Yahia's aphorisms;

Everything contains the secret to everything else.

Humour and wit are a strong element in many of these sayings. Like art, humour is a true antidote to the many difficulties we humans face throughout life, as they can pour light on a topic in ways that speak of pain, whilst transcending that pain itself.

Just be yourself, they say. Which one, I think?

As a writer and a poet, Yahia's sayings delve into these topics regularly. Into the relationship between words and the writer, and between words and silence. Here he has said in only a few what I have been saying with several thousand over the last year and a half;

Writers write to silence the voices in their head.

The poem teaches the poet.

The last one I wish to highlight is one that spoke to me profoundly. It challenged me, directly. It speaks of an issue at the core of my life, yet offers up a perspective worthy of being meditated upon, sat with, contemplated and allowed to speak a deeper truth, one inherently visible between the lines, yet remaining silent to those who cannot see.

To those who once held our peace of mind or self-worth hostage. We may gently let them go with these words: "I no longer accept your version of reality."

I have highlighted just a very small number of the ones that grabbed me for one reason or another. Whilst I read through Where Epics Fail quickly, in order to write up a review, this is not really a book you read in one sitting and put away. I don't really think you can put a book like this away. Not once the words have entered in to your soul and your psyche. They will call to you again. I know they have for me.

I am going to forgo giving a rating as I have no idea how to score it. I think my words above explain sufficiently how I value this book, and it's contents. It is, to me, pain relief for a wounded soul. So is that 5 out of 5 stars? You tell me. All I'll say is I recommend this book, just as I recommended Yahia's poetry in general.

You can find more of Yahia's work at his Steemit channel @yahialababidi

You can purchase a copy of Where Epics Fail here

Images provided by @yahialababidi.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you liked it then please like, comment, and follow.


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Links to earlier works

- Fiction
My Fiction Writing Collection
Writing Myself Out of Existence
When the Levee Breaks
Reality Fading
Lessons Learned From a Dying Man - includes audio version.

Book Reviews
Hellbent - Gregg Hurwitz
1Q84 - Haruki Murakami
Soon - Lois Murphy
Altered Carbon - Richard Morgan
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larrson
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep - Philip K. Dick
American Gods - Neil Gaiman
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
Crooked God Machine - Autumn Christian

Audio Poetry
The Dance of Destiny and Fate
One Day, Just Not Today

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Dear Scott, thank you, for the privilege of being seen and with such perception.

You have packed much in this aphoristic review, touching on all of my masters: Gibran, Rumi, Sufism, Tao te Ching, Blake, St John of the Cross, Humor, Silence...

In connection, I think of Rumi’s wise injunction to sell cleverness, and buy bewilderment. I have tried to do something like this, and not entirely consciously, in the decade or so that this book has been rewriting my spirit...

It’s deeply gratifying to know that what has sprung from my soul has reached/touched yours 🙏🏼

Stillness and the mystical way are, indeed, what I would most like to impart to the reader—I think you do a better job of communicating that in your penetrating review than other reviews I’ve received, so far (in big name news outlets...)

Thank you, for introducing my work to Steemit with such sensitivity, heart, and generosity (I will talk to my publishers about including your excellent review on the book’s website).

May you be seen and helped as you do others, brother. Gratefully, Yahia

Thank you for entrusting me with the opportunity to review your work for Steemit. It was a privilege, and one that ultimately surprised me, as you may have noticed from the review. Although I haven't read those works listed for many years, they made such an impact on me, that your words brought so much of that back to me, and reminded me of the value I once found in it. Somewhere between then and now I got burnt and jaded by many spiritual concepts. That is why that last quoted aphorism stood out so much.

It is a beautiful piece of work. I wish you every success in your endeavours with it.

To help you return to a safe harbor, somehow, means a great deal to hear. I, too, turned my back on much of this spiritual world until I received a call I could not refuse (as tender as a lover’s kiss).

That last saying that marked you was my jailbreak from a too limiting space and a late chance to rewrite the (victim/rebel) narrative that I was living in and step into the limitless...

In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg'd manacles I hear

—William Blake

Peace, Scott, all ways, Yahia

Scott - what an incredible gift you bring to this community. This review makes me inpatient - that Autumn of 2018 date feels impossibly far away. Much love to both of you.

Love back to you, Inna. Hardcover is out in summer, and can be ordered directly from website (though it is quite pricey, I’m afraid).

The trade edition is paperback (published by Penguin Random House) and that will be available in Autumn in all bookstores, etc ❤️

Thank you so much for reading this review. So glad that you liked it. Yes, the wait has begun. I'm looking forward to its release, I would very much like to see this out there in the world.

Oh wow! That book must've touched you profoundly, mate! I think this is the most gushing I've seen from you ever. Definitely worth checking out, but the eBook price tag is quite hefty. It's actually 650% more than the price tag for my own book! But, your words really give it a resounding endorsement. Aphorisms are new to me, but I am learned in the ways of the Tao Te Ching, I just didn't know that it was what I was reading. I am a big fan of that William Blake quote though!

The Tao Te Ching probably doesn't qualify as aphorisms in the truest sense of the word. It was more the similarity, and sense of reminder the caused in me. And the similar nature of material, subject wise. I was more highlighting the similar nature of themes with the names mentioned, as that was my point of reference.

As for the book, yes it did touch me. It surprised me more than that. I think the review speaks for itself, but it is material that is of a different type of value to a novel. Well it was for me. But that may just as well relate to my own personal history in the area.

Love this one: "Some worry about dying with wealth unused – far worse to live with love unspent."

Yes, that one was a standout one for me too. Succinct, but powerful.

What a cool review, I will definitely have to take a look at this!

I hope you find a lot of value in it, I know I did. Thanks for dropping by :)

I’m glad it piqued your interest, @dreemit, and have posted excerpts from book on my blog, here, on Steemit, too :) Thanks, for your support 🙏🏼

This is a work of art in itself, a really beautifully written review here. Thanks for opening up yourself and your own journey and self reflections as they related to and were surfaced by Yahia's words. He has a gift for writing sentences that feel universal and timeless, and yet urgently present and timely right now.

Much love - Carl "Totally Not A Bot" Gnash / @carlgnash

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Thank you for reading and appreciating this review. I very much agree that Yahia's words do feel universal and timeless. I feel these aphorisms work on so many levels, and perhaps dependant on the reader. To me they spoke directly to the spirit, in many cases. Thus the style of review I ended up writing.

Sold! I most definitely am interested in acquiring this book.

This review was fantastic. My interest never waned.

...and you delivered a message that was spot on for my current world.

This bit is going on my wall, and I would love to know how best to credit it if I use it elsewhere.

To those who once held our peace of mind or self-worth hostage. We may gently let them go with these words: "I no longer accept your version of reality."

@yahialababidi ? @naquoya ? Your thoughts ?

Hugs, @borrowedearth

Wonderful to hear, @borrowedearth and many thanks, to @nawuoya for presenting my book in its best light.

I’m happy you’ll be ordering this collection & you’re certainly welcome to quote from it; I would appreciate if you mention my name & book title (Where Epics Fail, by Yahia Lababidi).

Also, you might be interested to learn that I posted more excerpts from Epics on my Steemit blog, earlier today 🤓

Hugs back, Yahia

Thanks for the prompt answer to my question.

I appreciate the heads up on your posts. I've added them to my to-do list.

Thank you for reading the review. Very happy to hear this work has inspired you. That was what I was hoping to achieve when sharing Yahia's words here. Sounds like these aphorisms will be like medicine for you, which is gratifying. They were certainly for me.

I see Yahia has already commented on the crediting side of things, so I wont add to that.

Once again thank you for for being open to this review and the words contained within. I poured a lot of myself into this review, but with a deliberate purpose. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me here.

Thanks for posting that personal and insightful review. 'Where Epics Fail' is now on my 'to read list'

Thank you for having a read of the review. So glad you enjoyed it, and got value from it. And to know I helped put you in touch with a wonderful piece of work.

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Thank you.

I’m not sure what to say here, but I feel words want to come out. I feel bewildered and humbled. My clever tongue is at a loss. I want to follow both of you until I can describe with words the profoundness (profundity?) I feel.

Don't worry, a piece of art work like Where Epics Fail will do that to you. It did to me, as you can see from my review. It was what I needed to read at this point in my life. The simplicity of the word count hides a depth of meaning and richness. Well it doesn't hide them, so much as reveal them, piece by piece, as you wander through the work.

Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

good post, I like your post ..

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