Complementing my interviews, today’s Author Spotlight, the four hundred and ninth, is of non-fiction author Yonason Goldson. If you would like to take part in an author spotlight, take a look at author-spotlights.
Try to imagine a marriage between King Solomon and the Mona Lisa. Now try to imagine that Malcolm Gladwell had written Chicken Soup for the Soul. If you succeed, you’ll have some insight into the imagination of Yonason Goldson.
The former hitchhiker, circumnavigator, and newspaper columnist took the long road to the rabbinate, visiting 20 countries and 30 states before settling in Israel for nine years to study the intricacies of the Talmud and Jewish philosophy. He now lives with his wife in St. Louis, where he teaches, writes, and lectures to a variety of audiences on contemporary issues, current events, education, childraising, history, and spiritual growth.
Graduating from the University of California with a degree in English and no plan for the future, Yonason took off on a hitchhiking adventure across the United States. He ended up in Key West, working for a company that transported boats seized by the Coast Guard for drug trafficking to the customs docks in northern Florida.
His travels eventually led him to the other side of the Atlantic to backpack across Europe before making his way to Israel, where he rediscovered the ancient wisdom of his Jewish heritage. Since receiving his rabbinic ordination, he taught high school first in Budapest, Hungary, then in Atlanta, Georgia, and currently in St. Louis, Missouri.
Yonason began his writing career as an irregular columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, then branched out to a variety of Jewish and secular journals. He has published hundreds of articles and three books, with his fourth due out in July, 2015 — Proverbial Beauty: Secrets for success and happiness from the wisdom of the ages. Midwest Book Review says that, “Real definitions of love and happiness are provided in a blend of proverbs and analysis that will delight those thinkers who want a lively discourse of possibilities and alternative visions.”
Enter the Goodreads giveaway by June 15th to win a free copy.
And now from the author himself:
I’ve always been fascinated by contradictions: good and evil, life and death, the body and the spirit. Maybe that’s what drew me in college to a course of study as impractical as English Literature. It’s certainly what drew me into the study of the Talmud, and it’s definitely what has shaped my style as a writer.
But nothing good comes easy. To write anything worth reading one needs either deep insight or extensive experience… preferably both. That’s why I set off on the road — not in search of adventure but in search of education, the kind I didn’t get in college. In never imagined what I would see and learn.
I saw how mothers in India maimed their children so they would become better beggars transposed against the fairy-tale beauty of the Taj Mahal; I met a poor tea plantation worker in Sri Lanka giddy with pleasure at having a guest in his hovel; I saw children living in a Manila tenement so filled with infectious joy that I didn’t want to leave. And, while hitchhiking, I heard endless narratives from lonely drivers complaining about their wives, their children, and their jobs. It struck me that the people with every reason to be unhappy were often much happier than the rest of us. After all that, it took a long time before the psychological and emotional dust began to settle.
Eventually, I found that many of the solutions to life’s problems have been accessible for thousands of years. And they have been largely ignored for just as long.
My newest book, Proverbial Beauty, examines the paradoxes of the human heart and mind, blending the eternal wisdom of King Solomon’s Book of Proverbs with the timeless symbolism of the Mona Lisa, and incorporating a variety of folktales, news stories, and historical vignettes to produce a medley of insights and observations into the secrets of happiness and success.
My earlier books include two anthologies of essays: A Crucible for Silver offers musings on how to help our children by adopting healthy outlooks as parents; and Celestial Navigation investigates the deeper meaning of the Jewish holidays. My major opus to date is Dawn to Destiny, and overview of Jewish history and philosophy from Creation through the era of the Talmud, published by Judaica Press.
A free PDF file of the first four chapters of Proverbial Beauty is available on request. Contact me through my website yonasongoldson.com.
Thank you, Yonason. It was great to meet you.
You can sign up to receive these blog posts daily or weekly so you don’t miss anything (see this blog’s right-hand side bar).
You can contact me and find me on the internet, view my books (including my debut novel The Serial Dater’s Shopping List, various short story collections and writer’s block workbooks) and If you like this blog, you can help me keep it running by donating. Thank you.
For anyone looking for an editor, do take a look at Editing and Critique.
If you would like to send me a book review of another author’s books or like your book reviewed (short stories, contemporary crime / women’s novels or writing guides), see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog. And I post writing exercises every weekday on four online writing groups.