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Book Review: The Thirteenth Gift: A Novella of Hope for All Times by Charlene Costanzo

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What attracts us to look down and pick up objects like stones on city streets, parks or beaches? Is this pure happenstance or is there a deeper psychological meaning or feeling of release from being one with nature? Who knows for sure?

The Thirteenth Gift begins with Claire — a reporter covering the plight of the poor children from Mumbai, Baghdad, Bucharest and other places. The story has her meeting up with Baba and visiting a small one room cottage for soup. This could be a very typical meeting for a tourist visiting an unfamiliar locale.

The two share stories and relax while being warmed by the fire and good food alongside a live fireplace. A strength of the presentation is that the author makes readers feel at home as though each was experiencing the same sensations as Claire.

The book progresses to a tale of Royals and the 12 Gifts. Ultimately, the Royals travel to many places to relate the details of these gifts to all who would listen. Read the book to get the complete details on the chapter depicting the Royals.

The point of the book is to utilize a stone — any stone — to signify the presence of life in us all and throughout the world itself. Did you ever strike two stones together and experience the feeling of expectation in witnessing the sparks just prior to lighting a fire?

A similar sensation may be felt in experiencing the tintinnabulation of the jingling and tinkling of the bells. The experiences depicted in the book are real. Readers can identify with all of them during the various junctures of our finite lives on this earth.

The reporter Claire is portrayed as an enthusiast of nature and natural settings. She likes to drive through the rural countryside and enjoy the open spaces.

Charlene Gorda Constanzo is an award-winning author, workshop facilitator, graduate of Philosophy from St. Bonaventure with an M.A. in Spiritual Psychology from the University of Santa Monica. Her earlier book, The 12 Gifts for Healing, was written while Charlene was in treatment for advanced non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2001. Sometimes, great illness can produce great insight as was the case with Charlene Constanzo. Such an experience stops us in our collective tracks and forces us to appreciate the simplest and most elemental things in life. Sometimes, the most valuable things in life are free.

Thirteenth Gift contains a number of memorable quotations by famous persons. i.e. “Wisdom begins in Wonder,” said Socrates. Ostensibly, without contemplation and reflection, we cannot achieve wonder. “Wonder is the source of all true art and science. Without it we are as good as dead,” said Albert Einstein. “Remember. You must Remember,” was said by Cervantes.

The book is written in a pure belles letters style which is characteristic of light literary presentations. There is an Eastern European character to the book with a trace of gypsy themes in various parts of the presentation.

Overall, this would be a good book to read on a plane or a long car ride. The audience is universal. The acquisition would be a perfect gift for any occasion.

(Charlene has a website: CharleneCostanzo.com.)

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.