Reviewed By: Avraham Azrieli
Avraham Azrieli's latest novel is "Deborah Rising" (HarperCollins 2016), the story of the first woman to lead a nation in human history.

“Oracles” by Mario Brooks is a work that straddles the line connecting spirituality and philosophy. It is an interconnected collection of concise essays of reflection and insight, as well as poems and vignettes, arranged in an ideal assembly for the busy modern reader’s preference for succinct communications.

Perhaps fitting this prudent book’s direct approach to stimulating the reader’s mind and heart, the first piece in the collection, “The Heart’s Residence,” ends with the following words: “Our entrance door need not be adorned, only solid, sound, and hinged upon prudence, discernment, and kindness.”

A later piece, “Poetic Secrets,” utilizes prose in creating a very short story in which a poet encourages an admirer to try his hand in writing poetry. They converse intently, culminating in this frank and insightful exchange: “So poets are unhappy people?” he asked. [And the poet replies:] “No, quite the contrary. True poets have an inner peace saturated in love and regard sorrow as more of a distant relative.”

Touching on a related issue in “A Lesson in Creativity,” a student bemoaning her shortage of creativity is taught through the spinning of a coin. “Heads is the inspired thought. This you have.” But, says the teacher, “Your tail must be disciplined and sit long enough to nurture, develop, and bring your ideas into physical reality.”

The author’s creative approach to deep reflection in this volume includes not only words, but images that prompt contemplation of the elements of matter, life, and our world. Further explorations cover aspects of faith, trust, intelligence, good and evil, conformity (“kidnaps the soul and demands its silence”), and even death (“It is only the beginning of a new form, a new power, and a new beauty. It is a gateway to transformation.”)

In summary, “Oracles” by Mario Brooks is a wonderful journey through ideas and reflections. In the words of its concluding paragraph, as we read each short section of this book, “our bodies come into clearer form, our colors more vibrant, and the image beyond our reach, sharper.” This worthwhile transformative literary collection is highly recommended!