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    A re-imagining of Benjamin Franklin you will not soon forget... - Walter Isaacson, Author of Benjamin Franklin: An American Life and Steve Jobs

    A grand and gorgeous book!  I devoured it! The pleasures of prose, passion, and intelligence pervade these pages... Fitzgerald is that rarest of birds: a great writer and a great soul. – Michael Zuckerman, PhD, Professor of History, University of Pennsylvania.


    Benjamin Franklin has been confined to a private apartment in the Plantation of the Unrepentant for the past two-plus centuries. Instead of contemplating his ‘errata,’ however, Ben has added 12 more volumes to his Autobiography. Toward forcing the issue, Ben is brought before a panel of examiners, one of whom, disconcertingly, is the man who was largely responsible for Ben’s undeserved womanizer rap: John Adams. By the end of Ben’s examination, in which the sins of the Patre Patriae are brought devastatingly to fore, Ben fully expects to be cast into the abyss. Instead, he’s invited to bear witness to what’s become of the United States in the two-plus centuries of his absence. Ben’s odyssey of witness begins at his birth site in Boston, passes through New York (where Ben upstages a conference at the Waldorf Astoria), and ends, with wrenching poignancy, at his gravesite in Philadelphia. Interwoven into the main story is a second, this one beginning in the red-carpeted parlors of the West Wing and ending in the bloodstained streets of West Philadelphia. Eventually, the paralleling stories collide, like massive tectonic plates, in a stunning series of shocks and aftershocks. Following in the traditions of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, and Dante’s Divine Comedy, Poor Richard’s Lament, nine years in the writing, is an intricately woven, ultimately uplifting tale of hope and redemption, written in close consonance with the avuncular and aphoristic persona of Benjamin Franklin, Printer. Back Story...
    Please note: Poor Richard's Lament is available at Hobblebush Books. Click the blue "BUY BOOK" button which will re-direct you to the Hobblebush Books shopping cart page.
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    “In clear, simple prose, readers are advised to take stock of their own lives, trust but verify the good things they get from others, and keep their focus on the important things in life. A consistently interesting if occasionally frustrating collection of inspirational thoughts.” --Kirkus Reviews

    How did Tom Fitzgerald get inside my head and know exactly what I needed to be told? A thoughtful and thought-provoking book.
    -- Rabbi Harold Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People

    Beyond Chicken Soup is a delightfully penetrating book that lays the steps to wisdom at your feet. Reading Tom Fitzgerald is like having your own personal spiritual mentor at your side each day. -- Martin J. Wetherill, author of Eye of the Storm and You Make a Difference
    "Many of us who grew up in the Boomer Era were afflicted with a sort of chronic angst. Something not quite identifiable was ever not quite right. In an earnest effort to rid ourselves of our dis-ease, we tried all manner of remedies. We took the Road Less Traveled; we nurtured our Inner Child; we cared for our Soul; we ran with the Wolves; we illumed ourselves in Celestine light; we had conversations with God; we got tight with our Guardian Angel; we cavorted with the Goddess; we embraced the latest Diet; we pursued our Soulmate; we drummed in the Woods; we went on Vision Quests; we slurped Chicken Soup – by the bucketful; we squatted with the Buddha; we sat in Sweat Lodges; we recovered our Cheese; we rebalanced our Chi; we chanted in  Sacred Chambers; we followed our Bliss; even paid the toll for the car behind us. “Despite all these efforts, however, a sense of angst, both in ourselves and in the nation at large, would seem only to having gotten worse, as evidenced by a steady rise in such health-of-the-nation indicators as alcohol abuse, domestic violence, single motherhood,, absentee fatherhood, school shootings, road rage, teen suicide, personal debt, obesity, binge buying, clinical depression, device addiction, distracted driving, divorce, and opioid poisoning. “Why? How could such a wealth of remedies on the one hand lead to such dismal results on the other? One possible explanation – and the premise of this yet-one-more-book-on-the-subject – is that, instead of our having been encouraged by the self-help and mental-health communities to aim the arrow of our concern a bit more toward other people, we have been encouraged to keep the arrow of our concern disproportionately aimed toward ourselves.

    Seekers after the kind of life that will matter even when one is gone might want to keep one copy of this unique offering at their workplace, a second on their nightstand.

    Back Story...

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    As its title suggests, Fitzgerald’s well-designed follow-up to his Beyond Chicken Soup (2019) takes its initial cues from Poor Richard’s Almanack, collecting the author’s wisdom and gentle humor on a wide variety of topics, ranging from ethics and morality to God to loneliness to sports. The author shifts easily from a tone of jocularity to one of serious concentration and back… The tone adopted throughout is that of inviting conversation; readers seeking practical reminders of everyday wisdom will doubtless respond. A friendly, all-purpose compendium of thought-provoking intellectual odds and ends. 
    -- Kirkus Reviews

    The wisdom in this unique offering will help guide and nourish you.
    -- Bernie S. Siegel, MD, author of Love, Medicine and Miracles and Prescriptions for Living

    Bread fills the belly; wisdom fills the mind; together they feed the soul. Tom Fitzgerald's Richard the Poorer’s Food 4 Thought is soul food like no other. I love this book
    -- Rabbi Dr. Rami, author of Recovery, the Sacred Art

    Richard the Poorer’s Food 4 Thought is a smorgasbord of thoughts and ideas carefully crafted to stimulate cogitation on all manner of topics and issues. For those cogitators who prefer snacky or hors-d’oeurvey kinds of fare in this regard, Food 4 Thought offers 880 bite-sized morsels in the form of what Ben Franklin referred to as ‘moral sentences, prudent maxims, and wise sayings.’ These tidy tidbits fall into 57 categories ranging from Anger to Men & Women to Hope & Happiness to Work & Career.

    “For those cogitators who prefer a little heftier fare, Food 4 Thought offers 69 mini-essays on a wide range of topics, from courtship to the state of manhood in America to the real cause behind the obesity pandemic. These ‘Buns & Biscuits,’ as they are herein referred, are a page or less in length and are meant to be partaken of one or two at a time. For those cogitators who prefer something heftier still, Food 4 Thought offers several hardy entrées. Rounding out Food 4 Thought’s salivating fare are several exotic confectionaries.

    “Bon appétit!”

    A must-have volume for the loo!

    Back Story...


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    Gabriel: King of Hearts is a moving, wise, and beautifully written retelling of the timeless spiritual lesson finding our own inner wisdom, and how one of our greatest gifts to ourselves and our world is to share this wisdom with all who seek it. By turns funny, heart-breaking, thought-provoking and tender, this is a book that will inspire you on your journey. — Ban Nyo Sho Shin, Zen student A meticulously-written, thought-provoking, massively-relevant, deeply-moving tale! Gabriel: King of Hearts should be required reading at the middle-school level and above. Bravo! – Paul Cooper, Former President, Southfield, Michigan Board of Education  The aptness of the name Gabriel is not lost on the reader. The original Gabriel was an archangel who served as God’s messenger. If you are of a religious or historical bent, you will like that echo. If you are not, it is enough to know that Gabriel brings us messages from the hidden parts of ourselves that we try to overlook as we chase after status. – Dori Hale, author of Disorientation and the Weather A warmhearted parable featuring a plucky squirrel who tackles life’s big issues. – Kirkus Reviews
    Gabriel, a pre-adolescent gray squirrel, is being tormented at school by the socially dominant letes, led by Chopper and Bammer, who are always finding new ways to humiliate Gabriel in front of their peers. Gabriel is estranged from a biological father who has lost all contact with his only son; alienated from a stepfather who seems to resent Gabriel’s very presence; and barely tolerated by a popular older sister, Cherice, who beats Gabriel time and again at video games. To the chagrin of his mother and stepfather, Gabriel is no longer welcome at the Church of the Sacred Elm, where Gabriel recently asked the Reverend Willow, in front of the entire congregation, if the Great Rodent could create an acorn so big he couldn’t eat it all. Curious and reflective by nature, Gabriel had meant no harm; he had simply been unable to resist the demands of an insatiable curiosity. Increasingly despondent and desperate, Gabriel sends a letter to Scurry McMurray, a celebrity pawnut player, requesting Scurry’s autograph. Gabriel hopes that possessing even a tiny piece of a celebrity pawnut player’s greatness will elevate his own stature in the eyes of his tormenters. When Gabriel does not receive a reply, he sets out, woefully unprepared, on a quest to get the great Scurry McMurray’s autograph in person. Venturing deeper into the forest than he had ever been before, Gabriel becomes hopelessly lost. What now?

    Adults and teens who have been bullied or marginalized in their lives, or who have contemplated taking desperate measures to end their pain, will find deep comfort in this poignant tale.

    Back Story...

    Download Chapter One!


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    Wisdom Card Set #2

    $21.95 $19.95
    • Each card bears a different inscription from Gabriel: King of Hearts.
    • Each card is blank inside to accommodate any occasion (birthdays, graduations, etc.).
    • A set includes 20 cards and 22 envelopes.
    • A great gift!
    See the complete list of inscriptions
     
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    Wisdom Card Set #1

    $21.95 $19.95
    • A set includes two inscriptions and 20 cards, plus 22 envelopes.
    • Ten cards bear one of the inscriptions (see left); while the other 10 cards bear the other inscription:

    We fear death to the extent we realize we have not yet lived.

    Some poems are written; others are lived.


     
  • Share Your Thoughts & Ideas

    At Kingsley Books, we like to think of the space we have created as a place where thoughts and ideas can go to be shared. Ben Franklin, arguably one of the most creative thinkers of his time, shared his own thoughts and ideas, accumulated over eight decades, by a variety of means, including his famous almanacks. With a nod toward Franklin, Kingsley Books intends to publish a literary almanack every year dedicated to the dissemination and consideration of diverse thoughts and ideas, toward fostering a deeper understanding of the world we, of necessity, must all share. If you would like to be considered for publication in a KB almanack, please click GET PUBLISHED below. KB’s almanacks will be published in the style of Poor Richard’s almanacks, beginning in 2019 (for the year 2020). Each almanack will be offered for sale on the KB website, on a limited edition basis.
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  • As is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore, human males have been in charge of pretty much everything over the past 400 millennia and have pretty much managed to screw it all up. The underlying problem, given the consistency of this sad legacy, not to mention its enormity, would appear to be inherent to the Y chromosome, which, although puny in size relative to its Queen Bee counterpart, the X chromosome, would appear to be disproportionately predisposed toward wreaking havoc upon “every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” What to do? Indeed, how much more havoc and mayhem can our stricken world bear before all the chickens, having escaped from their factory cages, come home to roost? Drawing from Poor Richard’s Lament, this timely talk offers a radical alternative to ‘business as usual.’
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  • A Roadmap for an Amicable Separation of the Blue States from the Red States

    What right did Mr. Lincoln have to prevent the South from breaking away from the Union in 1861? Was it the same right George III had to prevent the American colonies from breaking away from the Empire in 1776? Consider in this regard the deep divides that exist today between roughly the same demographics of 150 years ago, over such issues as global climate change, abortion, school prayer, immigration, creationism, big government, compromise, social safety nets, environmental degradation, fracking, minimum wage, regulation, gay marriage, euthanasia, trickle-down economics, gun control, Common Core, and American Exceptionalism, to name some of the more obvious issues. Might these deep divides, in fact, represent irreconcilable differences? Might it be time to say good-bye: the Blue States to the Red States; the Red States to the Blue States?

    SET THE TIME AND PLACE FOR THIS TALK

  • Ben Franklin’s Big Boo-Boo

    In his famous Autobiography, Ben Franklin proffers 13 virtues as ‘necessary or desirable.’ Necessary or desirable toward what, Franklin does not explicitly tell us. With Industry and Frugality leading the pack, however, Order and Resolution in close company, one can fairly infer what Franklin intended: If we want to be materially successful in this world, we had better comport ourselves in accordance with Ben’s 13 virtues. In short, we had better tend to business. Two hundred-plus years later, the fruits of tending to business are plain to see – an SUV in every driveway, a Weber on every patio, a wide-screen TV in every media room, a smartphone in every pocket, a sartorial surfeit in every closet, a strip mall in every burb, and so on and so on. If we will look, we also see something else, do we not? Expediency trumping principle, for example? Self-indulgence trumping public service? Career trumping family? Ambition trumping restraint? The profitable trumping the ethical? Accumulation trumping contribution? Rights trumping responsibilities? Despoliation trumping preservation? ‘Me’ trumping ‘thee’? Is there a link here? Are we perhaps ‘tending to business’ a bit too much? Did the good doctor miss something?

    SET THE TIME AND PLACE FOR THIS TALK

  • We live in a time when opportunities to realize personal fulfillment are limited and diminishing. In the past, our forebears, especially the more distant of these, could depend on two natural sources of personal fulfillment – work and relationship. In our time, however, these ancient wellsprings of true happiness have become all but lost to us. Indeed, what do ‘TGIF,’ ‘twenty and out,’ ‘burnout,’ ‘work to rule,’ and ‘early retirement’ suggest about the nature of work today; what do ‘ex,’ ‘significant other’, ‘chat room’, ‘hookup,’ and ‘Facebook friend’ suggest about the nature of relationship? In attempting to compensate for the loss of fulfillment in our lives, many of us have unwittingly fallen into a trap: Confusing psychic emptiness with hunger, pleasure with happiness, we have set into motion a vicious cycle, a downward spiral, from which we are finding it increasingly difficult to extricate ourselves. Using the income we derive from work that fails to fulfill us, we attempt to compensate by pleasuring ourselves, largely through the consumption of material things. In doing this, however, instead of filling the void within, we seem only to deepen it. Around and around we go – down, down we go. Based on Beyond Chicken SoupToward a life worth all the considerable bother, this talk exposes the insidious workings of the pleasure trap and offers us a way out.

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  • We live in a world in which mentors, crones, medicine men, role models, and elders – traditionally every community’s repositories of wisdom – are increasingly unavailable to us, not only when we are young and callow but also later in life, when we are fully fledged. How, then, are we to find our individual and collective way in the world? Who is to point us in the right direction? Who is to instruct us on how to get there? Based on Gabriel: King of Hearts, this talk serves to remind us of the oracle that dwells within every human being. The problem inherent to finding one’s way, this talk presupposes, is not so much a matter of not knowing what we need to know as it is a matter of not trusting what we already know.

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  • We sons and daughters of Puritanism and the Protestant Ethic seem particularly taken with the aphorism (a genre Ben Franklin defined as ‘moral sentences, prudent maxims, and wise sayings’). We salt our speeches and homilies with them. We collect them in our desk drawers. We hang them on the walls of our kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, and offices. We send greeting cards inscribed with them. We introduce books and chapters with them. We weave them into songs and anthems. We wear T-shirts emblazoned with them. We append them at the end of our e-mails. One notable figure of history once upon a time included them in his popular Almanacks. This talk uses a potpourri of ‘moral sentences, prudent Maxims, and wise sayings’ from Food 4 Thought to stimulate introspection and discourse on a wide range of subjects. A few examples:

    If puffballs were to choose the most beautiful puffball of all, would they choose one round and fat, or one lean and tall?

    Women who fail with men seek the counsel of psychotherapists. Men who fail with women become psychotherapists.

    What if, instead of saying “We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” FDR had said, “I never had sexual relations with that woman…Eleanor Roosevelt.”

     Humility is the last lesson learned, the first forgot.

    If pleasure has no meaning in the absence of its opposite, and vice versa, what are we to make of eternal bliss?

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