Lightposts for Living: The Art of Choosing a Joyful Life
By Thomas Kinkade
published by Warner Books
238 pages, 1999
Buy it online
Reviewed by Jonathan Shipley
Wanting to feel good about yourself is definitely in. Everyone's writing books to make you feel good, worthwhile and loved. James van Praagh's latest Reaching to Heaven, discusses the spirit world. Mitch Albom's Tuesdays With Morrie shares his experiences with his dying mentor. The Dalai Lama draws on his teachings in The Art of Happiness. And now Thomas Kinkade, world renowned artist, has entered the fray with Lightposts for Living.
In it, Kinkade provides inspirational guidance for all those searching for a more meaningful and fulfilling life. Lavishly illustrated with his own romantic oil paintings, Kinkade's book showers us with affirmation and the power of positive thinking.
Broken up into twelve principles, or "lightposts", Kinkade reveals his spirituality and inner self, for example: "True simplicity begins when you learn to enjoy the amazing abundance of what is already yours." And, "the flow of blessings in our life is directly related to our passing blessings onto someone else." With these twelve lightposts, the reader is supposed to find a place of contentment and well-being.
Unfortunately, there is a glut of these kinds of books on the market today. The Celestine Prophecy comes to mind. With the exception of the illustrations, there is nothing absolutely original or fresh in Lightposts for Living that hasn't been already shared by others. The book is full of quotes -- from The Bible, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and John Keats -- that one could find anywhere. Perhaps Kinkade's work would be better suited on coffee mugs and calendars, not complete book form.
Don't get me wrong, Lightposts for Living does relay important messages about our spirit and happiness. If this is the type of book you enjoy, or if like the artwork of Kinkade, by all means read the book: it'll be well worth your while. If not, you could probably learn a lot more in a one hour church sermon. | April 1999
Jonathan Shipley is a graduate of Washington State University and the editor of the literary magazine Odin's Eye. Shipley works for The Seattle Times and anticipates the day when he'll write his own novel for others to review.