Book Recommendations To Help Heal Yourself


As a Combat Veteran, I spent many years healing my mind and transitioning back into civilian life, receiving more book recommendations than I could keep up with. I have ready many books and articles on healing, self help, overcoming traumas. I would pick and choose philosophies and techniques that would work for me at the time. And that was just it; I found that there are different stages of healing that we go through as humans. There isn’t a single answer or application that can help everyone or even the same person as they continue to develop.

Here are some great book recommendations for anyone who’d like to learn about trauma’s effect on the psyche and how to heal or re-train your mind.

Book recommendations The Paranoia Switch

The Paranoia Switch, Martha Stout ⁣

Five years after September 11, we’re still scared. And why not? Terrorists could strike at any moment. Our country is at war. The polar caps are melting. Hurricanes loom. We struggle to control our fear so that we can go about our daily lives. Our national consciousness has been torqued by trauma, in the process transforming our behavior, our expectations, our legal system.

Book recommendations The Myth of Sanity


The Myth of Sanity, Martha Stout ⁣

Why does a gifted psychiatrist suddenly begin to torment his own beloved wife? How can a ninety-pound woman carry a massive air conditioner to the second floor of her home, install it in a window unassisted, and then not remember how it got there? Why would a brilliant feminist law student ask her fiancé to treat her like a helpless little girl? How can an ordinary, violence-fearing businessman once have been a gun-packing vigilante prowling the crime districts for a fight?

Book recommendations Waking the Tiger

Waking the Tiger, Peter A. Levine 

Waking the Tiger normalizes the symptoms of trauma and the steps needed to heal them. People are often traumatized by seemingly ordinary experiences. The reader is taken on a guided tour of the subtle, yet powerful impulses that govern our responses to overwhelming life events. To do this, it employs a series of exercises that help us focus on bodily sensations. Through heightened awareness of these sensations trauma can be healed.

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Book recommendations The Dance of Anger

The Dance of Anger, Harriet Lerner ⁣

Anger is something we feel. It exists for a reason and always deserves our respect and attention. We all have a right to everything we feel—and certainly our anger is no exception.

“Anger is a signal and one worth listening to,” writes Dr. Harriet Lerner in her renowned classic that has transformed the lives of millions of readers. While anger deserves our attention and respect, women still learn to silence our anger, to deny it entirely, or to vent it in a way that leaves us feeling helpless and powerless. In this engaging and eminently wise book, Dr. Lerner teaches both women and men to identify the true sources of anger and to use it as a powerful vehicle for creating lasting change.

Power vs Force, David Hawkins⁣

Book recommendations Power vs Force

Building on the accumulated wisdom of applied kinesiology (diagnostic muscle-testing to determine the causes of allergies and ailments) and behavioral kinesiology (muscle-testing to determine emotional responses to stimuli), David R. Hawkins MD, PhD has taken muscle-testing to the next level, in an effort to determine what makes people and systems strong, healthy, effective and spiritually sound.

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More Book Recommendations to Heal Yourself

The Little Book of Consciousness, Shelli Joye ⁣

Book recommendations The Little Book of Consciousness

⁣The integral approach presented here assumes that valid data may be found beyond the traditional methodologies which compartmentalize knowledge. The integral method considers information as valid from multiple and often disparate domains, always with the goal of detecting correlations among them, resonances which might offer new perspectives and alternate paradigms. The theories of Bohm and Pribram present such trans-compartmentalized bridges, offering material with which to perceive new interconnections between neurophysiology, quantum physics, consciousness, and fundamental maps of the universe. Bohm and Pribram became colleagues, working together from within their different specialties, and together a new picture of consciousness in the universe began to emerge. Their theory is quite unique yet provides a clear map for those interested in future consciousness research, or through direct experiential exploration of introspection, prayer, contemplation, or entheogenic-fueled psychonautics.

Book recommendations Morphic Resonance

Morphic Resonance, Rupert Sheldrake ⁣

⁣When A New Science of Life was first published the British journal Nature called it “the best candidate for burning there has been for many years.” The book called into question the prevailing mechanistic theory of life when its author, Rupert Sheldrake, a former research fellow of the Royal Society, proposed that morphogenetic fields are responsible for the characteristic form and organization of systems in biology, chemistry, and physics–and that they have measurable physical effects. Using his theory of morphic resonance, Sheldrake was able to reinterpret the regularities of nature as being more like habits than immutable laws, offering a new understanding of life and consciousness.

Book recommendations Becoming Supernatural

Becoming Supernatural, Dr. Joe Dispenza

The author of the New York Times bestseller You Are the Placebo, as well as Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself and Evolve Your Brain, draws on research conducted at his advanced workshops since 2012 to explore how common people are doing the uncommon to transform themselves and their lives.

Becoming Supernatural marries the some of the most profound scientific information with ancient wisdom to show how people like you and me can experience a more mystical life.

Dante’s Inferno: What the Hell is all About!

We can thank Dante’s Inferno for those horrific dreams of burning in purgatory.

Yes, this was first published over 400 years ago, yet, it remains relevant today in all of our media. If Hell appears in a movie, book, TV show, or cartoon, it’s going to drawn from Dante. If you haven’t read THE DIVINE COMEDY yet, then you must. Whether or not you are Christian, you will find some of the most indelible images in the history of literature, as well as a book of redemptive philosophy the likes of which are rarely matched. Also, it’s just great poetry. Seek it out.

Also, Horror fans seem to be less prejudiced when it comes to old or ancient literature. Sure, we all like to stay abreast of Stephen King, Clive Barker, or any number of great living horror authors, but I know of no horror fan who hasn’t read Bram Stoker’s DRACULA, Mary Shelley’s FRANKENSTEIN, Milton’s PARADISE LOST, Henry James’ THE TURN OF THE SCREW, or Robert Louis Stevenson’s THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE. And, yes, no horror fan alive isn’t intimately familiar with the various mythic works of H.P. Lovecraft, or the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe.

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There are a few notable details, however, that we would do well to remember when thinking about Hell. First of all, you don’t necessarily have to be dead to go to Hell. In Dante’s visions, he sees people he knows to be alive already languishing in certain Hell circles. Their bad habits on Earth are already torturing their souls. This means that, even though they are in Hell, they are still perhaps poised for redemption.

dante's inferno
Dante’s Inferno still influences our perceptions of hell, to this day!

And OH, the tortures Dante cooked up for these people in the eighth circle of Dante’s Inferno! Some of the liars are eternally forced to fight among themselves, punching and kicking and biting for as long as they are lost in their own interests. People have their heads forced down into rock tubes where they are blind and eternally bent. Others are blinded, and also forced to walk backwards eternally.

Evil clawed demons called Malabranche tear apart corrupt politicians. Hypocrites wear lead robes and are forced to march. Thieves are eaten alive by serpents. Most notably, some lost souls are in a state of eternal immolation, invisible because of the flames. The notion of Hell being a fiery place likely comes from this very punishment. Yes, demons rend people with swords, and people are forced to live with the symptoms of all the worst diseases. Hey, it’s Hell. Things aren’t supposed to be rosy.

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Unlike the epic poems of Homer and Virgil, which told the great stories of their people’s history, Dante’s The Divine Comedy is a somewhat autobiographical work, set at the time in which he lived and peopled with contemporary figures. Dante’s Divine Comedy, a landmark in Italian literature and among the greatest works of all medieval European literature, is a profound Christian vision of humankind’s temporal and eternal destiny. It follow’s Dante’s own allegorical journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory (Purgatorio), and Paradise (Paradiso). Guided at first by the character of Virgil, and later by his beloved Beatrice, Dante wrote of his own path to salvation, offering philosophical and moral judgments along the way.

The author of La Commedia (The Divine Comedy), considered a masterwork of world literature, Dante Alighieri was born Durante Alighieri in Florence, Italy, in 1265, to a notable family of modest means. His mother died when he was seven years old, and his father remarried, having two more children.

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How Reading Makes us Better People

Every day more than 1.8 million books are sold in the US. Despite all the other easy distractions available to us today, there’s no doubt that many people still love reading. Books can teach us plenty about the world, of course, as well as improving our vocabularies and writing skills. But can fiction also make us better people?

The claims for fiction are great. It’s been credited with everything from an increase in volunteering and charitable giving to the tendency to vote – and even with the gradual decrease in violence over the centuries.

Characters hook us into stories. Aristotle said that when we watch a tragedy two emotions predominate: pity (for the character) and fear (for yourself). Without necessarily even noticing, we imagine what it’s like to be them and compare their reactions to situations with how we responded in the past, or imagine we might in the future. Be an epic reader!

If You Don’t Use it You Lose it

This exercise in perspective-taking is like a training course in understanding others. The Canadian cognitive psychologist Keith Oatley calls fiction “the mind’s flight simulator”. Just as pilots can practice flying without leaving the ground, people who read fiction may improve their social skills each time they open a novel. In his research, he has found that as we begin to identify with the characters, we start to consider their goals and desires instead of our own. When they are in danger, our hearts start to race. We might even gasp. But we read with luxury of knowing that none of this is happening to us. We don’t wet ourselves with terror or jump out of windows to escape.  

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Having said that, some of the neural mechanisms the brain uses to make sense of narratives in stories do share similarities with those used in real-life situations. Reading the word “kick”, for example, areas of the brain related to physically kicking are activated. If we read that a character pulled a light cord, activity increases in the region of the brain associated with grasping. Even if it’s an eReader versus a paperback book!

If you are enjoying this article, we have more great literary content on The Ritual Blog here.

The Plot Thickens

To follow a plot, we need to know who knows what, how they feel about it and what each character believes others might be thinking. This requires the skill known as “theory of mind”. When people read about a character’s thoughts, areas of the brain associated with theory of mind are activated.

With all this practice in empathizing with other people through reading, you think it would be possible to demonstrate that those who read fiction have better social skills than those who read mostly non-fiction or don’t read at all.

The difficulty with conducting this kind of research is that many of us have a tendency to exaggerate the number of books we’ve read. To get around this, Oatley and colleagues gave students a list of fiction and non-fiction writers and asked them to indicate which writers they had heard of. They warned them that a few fake names had been thrown in to check they weren’t lying. The number of writers people have heard of turns out to be a good proxy for how much they actually read.

We have some fiction horror as well as non-fiction being available as an eBook on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Play and Kobo.

The Neuroscience Behind Reading

Next, Oatley’s team gives people the “Mind in the Eyes” test, where you are given a series of photographs of pairs of eyes. From the eyes and surrounding skin alone, your task is to divine which emotion a person is feeling. You are given a short list of options like shy, guilty, daydreaming or worried. The expressions are subtle and at first glance might appear neutral, so it’s harder than it sounds. But those deemed to have read more fiction than non-fiction scored higher on this test – as well as on a scale measuring interpersonal sensitivity.

At the Princeton Social Neuroscience Lab, psychologist Diana Tamir has demonstrated that people who often read fiction have better social cognition. In other words, they’re more skilled at working out what other people are thinking and feeling. Using brain scans, she has found that while reading fiction, there is more activity in parts of the default mode network of the brain that are involved in simulating what other people are thinking.

If you are enjoying this article, we have more great literary content on The Ritual Blog here.

So the research shows that perhaps reading fiction does make people behave better. Certainly some institutions consider the effects of reading to be so significant that they now include modules on literature. At the University of California Irvine, for example, Johanna Shapiro from the Department of Family Medicine firmly believes that reading fiction results in better doctors and has led the establishment of a humanities programme to train medical students.

It sounds as though it’s time to lose the stereotype of the shy bookworm whose nose is always in a book because they find it difficult to deal with real people. In fact, these bookworms might be better than everyone else at understanding human beings.

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Henry James – “Of Course I Was Under the Spell”

Henry James was an American novelist and, as a naturalized English citizen from 1915, a great figure in the transatlantic culture. His fundamental theme was the innocence and exuberance of the New World in clash with the corruption and wisdom of the Old, as illustrated in such works as Daisy Miller (1879), The Portrait of a Lady (1881), The Bostonians (1886), and The Ambassadors (1903).

“Of course I was under the spell, and the wonderful part is that, even at the time, I perfectly knew I was. But I gave myself up to it; it was an antidote to any pain, and I had more pains than one.”

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, born on this day, April 15, 1843.
Henry James
Henry James Horror writer. Used for mind on fire books.

Although his work did not gain much recognition during his lifetime, Henry James now has a standing amongst the most significant writers of the nineteenth century realism. The Portrait of a Lady and Daisy Miller are his most widely read and best known works. Henry’s critique, short stories and novels are heavily influenced by European history and culture. His interest in Europe’s upper class and their formal traditions is evident in his writing. Henry’s engaging stories of Americans exploring the prim and proper lifestyle of the Europeans have gained him immense popularity. James has to his credit 22 novels, more than a hundred short stories, autobiographical works, several plays and critical essays.

Henry James, OM, son of theologian Henry James Sr., brother of the philosopher and psychologist William James and diarist Alice James, was an American-born author, one of the founders and leaders of a school of realism in fiction. He spent much of his life in England and became a British subject shortly before his death.

If you are enjoying this Horror writer feature, we have more great Literary content on The Ritual Blog here.

He is primarily known for a series of major novels in which he portrayed the encounter of America with Europe. His plots centered on personal relationships, the proper exercise of power in such relationships, and other moral questions. His method of writing from the point of view of a character within a tale allowed him to explore the phenomena of consciousness and perception, and his style in later works has been compared to impressionist painting.

Here are 6 Novels Written by Henry James that he is most known for:

1. “The Turn of the Screw” (1898)

2. The Portrait of a Lady(1881) 

3. The Golden Bowl (1904)

4. The Tragic Muse(1890)

5. “The Aspern Papers” (1888)

6. The Bostonians (1886)

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Ralph Waldo Emerson Top 10 Works

I was first introduced to Ralph Waldo Emerson in high school. I don’t recall exactly what I first read, I simply remember carrying his collected works around, along with my journal. Writing and Emerson to me were synonymous and my writing wasn’t writing unless it came after reading some Emerson. His essay on Self Reliance was what I needed and desired to hear at that time. I was a young man, coming into age, I was boxing and finding my self. 20 years later and Emerson is still my go to intellectual when I am going through some rough times, or simply stuck inside my head, and not in a productive way.

For those of you who are not familiar with Emerson, his upbringing and philosophy, this video below created by the Pursuit of Wonder provides a wonderful overview of his life and works:

Ralph Waldo Emerson and his top 10 works. Article for Mind on Fire Books

Ralph Waldo Emerson was an American essayist, lecturer, philosopher, and poet who led the transcendentalist movement of the mid-19th century.

Below are the top ten works produced by this prolific intellect:

  1. Nature (essay): This is the essay in which he put forward the foundation of Transcendentalism, a belief system that espouses a non-traditional appreciation of nature. He believed that one can learn to understand reality by studying nature.
  2. Self Reliance (essay): Emerson says “Trust thyself”. It is about trusting the force within you, working in harmony with your inner self (particularly the laws of nature), doing things naturally instead of mechanically.
  3. Brahma (Poem): Named for the Hindu god of creation, this poem is both religious and not at the same time.
  4. The American Scholar (speech): This is his speech given to the Phi Beta Kappa society at Cambridge University in which he stated the need for America to declare an intellectual independence from Europe and to develop our nation’s own identity.
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  1. Politics (essay): This essay lays out his ideas on politics – being in favor of democracy and individualism. He was very opposed to the State and even goes so far as to say, “Every actual state is corrupt.
  2. The Poet (essay): This essay offers a profound look at poetry’s role in society. It was a major influence for Walt Whitman to publish his own book of poetry, Leaves of Grass.
  3. Experience (essay): An essay about the over-intellectualization of life and why utopian societies will never work. Quite astounding for someone of that era.
  1. The Snow Storm (poem): A beautiful rendition of both the fury or a nighttime winter storm as well as the creative artistry it brings. A poem which runs from furious conflict to slow appreciation in the period of a few lines.
  2. Divinity School Address (speech): A speech given to the graduating class of Harvard Divinity School, it argues that moral intuition is more important than religious doctrine.
  3. Uriel (poem): A tale of Gods and Goddesses, lines vs circles in nature, and the difference between “understanding” and “reason”. This poem, while deep and complex, has everything.

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On Writing Horror Willy Martinez

  • On Writing Horror amassed from an obsession to learn where the power of fear resides. An anthology of works studying the way in which writers evoke fear and how they may affect us. On Writing Fear is an index of terror, drawing from Aristotle, Longinus, Edmund Burke, Che Guevarra, Wordsworth, Foucault, H.P. Lovecraft, Todorov, and many more.

    Chapters include digital illustrations created by the author.

    Also available at the Apple iBookstore, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

    A must have collection of research on the power of Horror- a tormented treatment of the human passions!

    Table of Contents for On Writing Horror

    Ch 1. Fear and War: Crafting the War on Terror Using Fear Appeals Ch 2. The Art of the Coup D'etat Ch 3. The Feminine Supernatural versus the Male Supernatural Writers Ch 4. Projecting Ghost Children to Find Identity Ch 5. The Supernatural Power of the Sublime in Wordsworth's Poetry Ch 6. Disorienting Characters with Haunted Spaces and Auditory Hallucinations Ch 7. Modern Ghosts Ch 8. The Fantastic in Fear Ch 9. The Fun Side of Fear: Faustus' Tricky Imp of Satan Ch 10. Glorifying Satan

    Some of the art included:

    [caption id="attachment_4846" align="alignnone" width="188"]Art for On Writing Horror Art for On Writing Horror[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4847" align="alignnone" width="200"]Art for On Writing Horror Art for On Writing Horror[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4848" align="alignnone" width="194"]Art for On Writing Horror Art for On Writing Horror[/caption]

Mad Men

  • Mad Men is a collection of three disturbing horror shorts from authors living in the Midwest. The themes explored in this collection range from man versus self, man versus man, and man versus creature. [caption id="attachment_4742" align="alignleft" width="188"]Mad Men eBook Mad Men eBook at Mind on Fire Books[/caption] Mad Men begins with Matt’s tale, a thought-provoking thriller which causes the reader to question his reality and what he fears within himself. The second tale explores the grotesque juxtaposed with beautiful nature, where the ending unfolds into a horrific dream, waking in even more terrible pain. The third tale is by seasoned horror writer, A.R. Braun – and his diabolical creatures never disappoint!  A.R. Braun’s goal is to be on the banned book list; we think this tale may just be evil enough to be considered. A must read before it does get banned! Mainstream Horror Shorts don’t always satisfy us in the way they should. They don’t open conversations about what it is that we fear or why we fear such things, they focus mainly on pop culture and gore. The writers in the Mad Men anthology understand the need for literate horror, opening discussions of man’s psyche. When these writers set out to tell a story, they are less interested in conveying fear and more interested in wonder, the sublime, and the infinite strangeness that drives all man and woman. Highly recommended for tweens, teens, and adults. The Mad Men anthology published by Mind on Fire Books. Written by Willy Martinez, A.R. Braun and Matt Lavitt. No part of this book shall be copied without permission from the publisher.

Kafka and Being Kafkaesque

Kafka being Kafka- his work and views are often dark and disorienting. Yet they connect with a great many readers. The works of Franz Kafka provide a paradoxical comfort in its confrontation with the inexplicable discomfort we can often all feel in life. The emotion of Wonder is the feeling of curiosity and/or appreciation inspired by something that is beautiful or unfamiliar. At Pursuit of Wonder, they produce content with the goal to stimulate that feeling of the absurd.

Kafka and the philosophy of being kafkaesque

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7 Benefits to Reading

As many young kids are stuck sitting in a classroom for a long period of time, with very few social and scenery changes, these kids are constantly told how important reading is to their health. With the current uptrend and growing studies in neuroscience, these grammar-nazi teachers are being validated by science. It’s a no-brainer, the more time you spend on cerebral activities, the better prepared your brain is going to withstand the ravages of age. The benefits to reading do more than just make you smart.  Reading helps you socially, cognitively and academically. 

Here are 7 benefits to reading:

  1. Reading can reduce stress up to 68% according to the University of Minnesota.
  2. Reading works better and faster than other relaxation methods such as listening to music or drinking tea, according the Canadian National Reading Campaign.
  3. Reading adds longevity to your health.
  4. Reading can slow cognitive decline, according to the well known journal, Neurology.
  5. When you only read news articles online has a downside in that it may add anxiety, stree, or reduce sleep.  Reading fiction however, will increase empathy, vocabulary, boost creativity, and increase happiness.
  6. Reading can improve sleep.  Digital media wreaks havoc on your sleep, read more books in print.
  7. Reading can enhance social skills.

We have a plethora of articles pertaining to book reviews, famous writers, and dark fiction gems, here.

On Writing Horror Willy Martinez

  • On Writing Horror amassed from an obsession to learn where the power of fear resides. An anthology of works studying the way in which writers evoke fear and how they may affect us. On Writing Fear is an index of terror, drawing from Aristotle, Longinus, Edmund Burke, Che Guevarra, Wordsworth, Foucault, H.P. Lovecraft, Todorov, and many more.

    Chapters include digital illustrations created by the author.

    Also available at the Apple iBookstore, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords.

    A must have collection of research on the power of Horror- a tormented treatment of the human passions!

    Table of Contents for On Writing Horror

    Ch 1. Fear and War: Crafting the War on Terror Using Fear Appeals Ch 2. The Art of the Coup D'etat Ch 3. The Feminine Supernatural versus the Male Supernatural Writers Ch 4. Projecting Ghost Children to Find Identity Ch 5. The Supernatural Power of the Sublime in Wordsworth's Poetry Ch 6. Disorienting Characters with Haunted Spaces and Auditory Hallucinations Ch 7. Modern Ghosts Ch 8. The Fantastic in Fear Ch 9. The Fun Side of Fear: Faustus' Tricky Imp of Satan Ch 10. Glorifying Satan

    Some of the art included:

    [caption id="attachment_4846" align="alignnone" width="188"]Art for On Writing Horror Art for On Writing Horror[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4847" align="alignnone" width="200"]Art for On Writing Horror Art for On Writing Horror[/caption] [caption id="attachment_4848" align="alignnone" width="194"]Art for On Writing Horror Art for On Writing Horror[/caption]

Mad Men

  • Mad Men is a collection of three disturbing horror shorts from authors living in the Midwest. The themes explored in this collection range from man versus self, man versus man, and man versus creature. [caption id="attachment_4742" align="alignleft" width="188"]Mad Men eBook Mad Men eBook at Mind on Fire Books[/caption] Mad Men begins with Matt’s tale, a thought-provoking thriller which causes the reader to question his reality and what he fears within himself. The second tale explores the grotesque juxtaposed with beautiful nature, where the ending unfolds into a horrific dream, waking in even more terrible pain. The third tale is by seasoned horror writer, A.R. Braun – and his diabolical creatures never disappoint!  A.R. Braun’s goal is to be on the banned book list; we think this tale may just be evil enough to be considered. A must read before it does get banned! Mainstream Horror Shorts don’t always satisfy us in the way they should. They don’t open conversations about what it is that we fear or why we fear such things, they focus mainly on pop culture and gore. The writers in the Mad Men anthology understand the need for literate horror, opening discussions of man’s psyche. When these writers set out to tell a story, they are less interested in conveying fear and more interested in wonder, the sublime, and the infinite strangeness that drives all man and woman. Highly recommended for tweens, teens, and adults. The Mad Men anthology published by Mind on Fire Books. Written by Willy Martinez, A.R. Braun and Matt Lavitt. No part of this book shall be copied without permission from the publisher.
Benefits to Reading

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Homeless Man Reviews Books for Sale

This young homeless man sits on the side of Empire Road in Johannesburg and instead of begging, he provides book reviews. He collects books, reads them, and provides reviews for people passing by. If you like the review, he will try to sell you the book. This is how he makes a living. Have you seen this amazing individual?
 If you are enjoying this article, we have more great Literary content on The Ritual Blog here.