Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Featured Book: The Lost Colonies of Ancient America by Frank Joseph

About the book:

The Original Visitors to the New World Revealed

Was America truly unknown to the outside world until Christopher Columbus "discovered" it in 1492? Could a people gifted enough to raise the Great Pyramid more than 4,000 years ago have lacked the skills necessary to build a ship capable of crossing the Atlantic? Did the Phoenicians, who circumnavigated the African continent in 600 bc, never consider sailing farther? Were the Vikings, the most fearless warriors and seafarers of all time, terrified at the prospect of a transoceanic voyage?

If so, how are we to account for an Egyptian temple accidentally unearthed by Tennessee Valley Authority workers in 1935? What is a beautifully crafted metal plate with the image of a Phoenician woman doing in the Utah desert? And who can explain the discovery of Viking houses and wharves excavated outside of Boston?

These enigmas are but a tiny fraction of the abundant physical proof for Old World visitors to our continent hundreds and thousands of years ago. In addition, Sumerians, Minoans, Romans, Celts, ancient Hebrews, Indonesians, Africans, Chinese, Japanese, Welsh, Irish, and the Knights Templar all made their indelible, if neglected, mark on our land.

About the author:

Nominated by Japan's Savant Society as Professor of World Archaeology, Frank Joseph is a veteran scuba diver and participant in hundreds of underwater expeditions off the coast of Africa, in the eastern Mediterranean Sea, the Gulf of Mexico, and Polynesia. The editor-in-chief of Ancient American magazine from 1993 to 2007, he has traveled the world collecting research materials for his 27 published books.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Review: The Janitors by Tyler Whitesides

Have you ever fallen asleep during math class? Are you easily distracted while listening to your English teacher? Do you find yourself completely uninterested in geography? Well, it may not be your fault. 

The janitors at Welcher Elementary know a secret, and it's draining all the smarts out of the kids. Twelve-year-old Spencer Zumbro, with the help of his classmate Daisy "Gullible" Gates, must fight with and against a secret, janitorial society that wields wizard-like powers. 

Who can Spencer and Daisy trust and how will they protect their school and possibly the world? Janitors is book 1 in a new children's fantasy series by debut novelist Tyler Whitesides. You'll never look at a mop the same way again.

Received for review.

I love YA books and this just looked like a fun series from the first glance.  I certainly was not disappointed.  Shadow Mountain also publishes another author who I really like, James Dashner, and this series favorably reminded me of his books.

The combination of adventure, friendship, and scary monsters combined for a lovely fast, fun, supenseful read suitable for children and adults alike.  The young characters were likable and identifiable and one felt like they could be people you'd like to know in real life.  The story, while fanciful, was solid as well.

Overall, I found this quite entertaining and a great start to a new series.  I am definitely looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

Friday, December 27, 2013

Guest Post: Susan Shumsky author of The Power of Chakras

Susan Shumsky, author of the book The Power of Chakras, stopped by to share with us a piece she wrote.

About the book:

The Power of Chakras reveals the truth that has been concealed until now--astonishing secrets about the human energy field. Dr. Susan Shumsky has delved into the ancient Tantric and Vedic literature to uncover the veiled mysteries of the ages, where the most authentic information about the 7 chakras, 7 sub chakras, and the subtle energy system can be found. Until now, much of this wisdom has been locked in hiding places in the forests and caves of India and Tibet.

This COVR Award-winning book is now offered as a new edition. Highly praised by spiritual masters from India as well as thousands of grateful readers, it has been hailed as the "quintessential reference on the subject."

By reading this valuable book, you will:
  • Discover your subtle body and energy field and how to heal blockages.
  • Gain understanding of Kundalini energy and the chakra system.
  • Learn to maintain health of your energy field.

About the author:

Susan Shumsky, DD, author of eight books published by Simon & Schuster, Random House, and New Page Books, has spent more than 45 years teaching thousands of people meditation, yoga, prayer, affirmation, and intuition. Her book titles include Exploring Meditation, Ascension, Miracle Prayer, Instant Healing, Divine Revelation, and How to Hear the Voice of God. A long-time close associate of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi--founder of Transcendental Meditation and guru of the Beatles and Deepak Chopra--Dr. Shumsky is a highly acclaimed and greatly respected spiritual teacher, award-winning author, retreat leader, tour guide to sacred destinations, and founder of Divine Revelation®--a unique technology for clearly hear-ing and testing your intuition. Her website is www.divinerevelation.org.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Featured Book: Explorer: The Lost Islands by Kazu Kibuishi

About the book:

The highly anticipated second volume to the critically acclaimed Explorer series, The Lost Islands is a collection of seven all-new stories written and illustrated by an award-winning roster of comics artists, with each story centered around the theme of hidden places. Edited by the New York Times bestselling comics creator Kazu Kibuishi, this graphic anthology includes well-written, beautifully illustrated stories by Kazu (the Amulet series), Jason Caffoe (the Flight series), Raina Telgemeier (Drama and Smile), Dave Roman (the Astronaut Academy series), Jake Parker (the Missile Mouse series), Michel Gagné (The Saga of Rex), Katie and Steven Shanahan (the Flight series), and up-and-coming new artist Chrystin Garland.

About the author:

Kazu Kibuishi is the creator of Amulet, the award-winning New York Times bestselling graphic novel series, and the editor and art director of eight volumes of Flight, the influential Eisner-nominated anthology series. He lives in Alhambra, California.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Dr. Seuss & His Friends Book Club

This time of year I always watch one of my favorite Christmas movies How the Grinch Stole Christmas, which is, of course, based on the Dr. Seuss book of the same name. It never fails to charm me each and every time. My favorite part will always be the Grinch's dog, Max, with the antlers on.

Dr. Seuss always had the wonderful talent of being able to create characters that stay with you throughout your life. My mom started reading to me when I was little and my love affair with books began there. Dr. Seuss's books, including the always beloved The Cat in the Hat, were among those we started with.

And, who didn't give or receive a copy of Oh, The Places You'll Go! as a high school or college graduation gift? It's the perfect message for anyone starting out on a new adventure in life and a book that will be treasured.

We all know reading to our children is an essential part of their development and creates a valuable time to bond as a family and prepare for bedtime. Dr. Seuss books are perfect for that.

Thankfully there's a great, economical source for Dr. Seuss books called the Dr. Seuss & His Friends Book Club. The Club was created to provide parents and grandparents with a perfect selection of books to read to their children and grandchildren, among them the favorites we enjoyed ourselves as children.

They offer a wonderful selection of books to help grow your child's library starting with five classic Dr. Seuss books plus a Dr. Seuss 2014 wall calendar for just $5.95. Their program will help you add high quality educational book, that your child will actually enjoy, to your library at a reasonable price.

I've given Dr. Seuss books as gifts many, many times and think the idea of a book club is delightful. I'm happy to have come across it!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Review: Night Buddies and the Pineapple Cheesecake Scare by Sands Hetherington

When pineapple cheesecakes start disappearing from the world's only Pineapple Cheesecake Factory across town, Crosley, a zany red crocodile, enlists the help of young John Degraffenreidt to straighten things out. In this adventure-fantasy, the unlikely pair sneaks out of John's house by becoming invisible, thanks to the I-ain't-here doodad Crosley uses from the bunch of whatchamacallits hanging on his belt. On the way to the subway they get better acquainted, and John finds out the wacky reason Crosley is red, and also what happens if he gets any water on him. They get on the Night Folks Limited train and ride all the way to the Cheesecake Factory where they meet the giant manager, Big Foot Mae. There is danger ahead, but the Night Buddies must stay with their "Program" (the Night Buddies word for Adventure) if the world's supply of pineapple cheesecakes counts for anything. And it surely does, especially to Crosley who is totally goofy about the things and never seems to get his fill.

Galley received for review.

This was a cute little children's book but not spectacular. Neither John nor Crosley were particularly likable and Crosley was more than a little annoying. The story itself was cute and had a vaguely Charlie and the Chocolate Factory feel to it.

If you're looking for a new children's book this is a solid option but I wouldn't rush out to get a copy.

★★☆☆ = Liked It

Friday, December 20, 2013

Guest Post: Marie D. Jones and Larry Flaxman authors of Viral Mythology

Marie D. Jones and Larry Flaxman, authors of the book Viral Mythology, stopped by to share with us a piece they wrote.

About the book:

Behind every myth, fairy tale, and legend--hidden within the art, song, and structures of ancient times--is an encoded layer of wisdom, science, and truth passed down throughout history. This book will examine how information went "viral" long before the Internet, and served as the foundation for mythology, sacred architecture, and symbolic imagery throughout the ancient world.

Viral Mythology reveals:
  • How primitive and ancient cultures conveyed cutting-edge scientific knowledge in their origin stories and myths
  • Why esoteric knowledge was hidden in symbols, art, and architecture during times of religious oppression and persecution
  • How stories, songs, and art served to describe actual historical events
  • Why diverse civilizations told the same stories and created the same art with common themes and symbols, despite no apparent communication
From the great myths of the Greek, Roman, and Norse to the texts of the world's major religions, from folklore and fairy tales of old to sacred edifices and monuments, from cave paintings to the mysterious symbology of the Tarot, Viral Mythology uncovers the information highway of the past, and explores how it affects the more modern methods of communication today.

It all began once upon a time....

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Review: The Sustainable Asian House by Paul McGillick and Masano Kawana

Today's byword is sustainability, and in few arenas is that more evident than in architecture. The Sustainable Asian House celebrates the new architectural vocabulary of environmental, social, and cultural sustainability as it is now emerging in Southeast Asia, specifically Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

The houses in this book are an exciting representation of the region's reinterpretation of tropical architecture and its growing interest in traditional materials and craftsmanship. There is a new emphasis on fresh air, natural light, and spatial variety. Designers are considering issues such as orientation to the sun and prevailing winds to reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint. The twenty-seven houses are featured in this fascinating and stunningly photographed study.

I've been fascinated by architecture for quite a while and I love to take a peek at what other people are doing in their homes via books such as The Sustainable Asian House.

This engaging and beautifully photographed volume is visually stunning, yet thought provoking as it really makes you think about what sustainable really means these days.

Sustainable no longer equates with the hippie ideal architecture of homes made of bottles in concrete or hay bales and mud with minimal light and air. It also no longer means that you have to live in the smallest space possible.  Sustainable homes can be beautiful and functional.  They can also be any size, bright, warm, and welcoming. This book showcases those elements beautifully.

The book features twenty seven homes which are completely different in size, shape, and location yet each is completely sustainable in every sense of the word. The homes are sustainably built but also function sustainably as homes which can change and grow with their owners and their needs. The architects truly considered whether their design could sustain a couple through the years while they were just married, had children, and then were just the two of them again after the children left.

Each home is shown from multiple interior and exterior angles in simply gorgeous photographs. They show that the houses featured are actually homes that function wonderfully for their owners. They range from ultra modern homes to more classic styles. They feature fireplaces and bookcases and everything one might desire from a home and look good while doing so.

What is perhaps the most gorgeous is the many homes which feature courtyard spaces that provide stunning yet functional outdoor living spaces, some complete with swimming pools. I never would have associated sustainable living with a swimming pool before this book!

My personal favorite of all the homes featured was the Carphenie House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It embodied everything the book discussed and was visually stunning as well. I loved the curves and light and the wonderful grand entranceway filled with plants. It was simply gorgeous!

I was absolutely blown away by this stunning volume and highly recommend it!

★★★★★ = Loved It

Disclosure:  This is a publisher sponsored post.  All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Featured Book: Perfect Timing by Laura Spinella

About the book:

There’s rock, there’s a hard place, then there’s Aidan & Isabel.

What’s a Jersey Girl to do when she moves to Catswallow, Alabama? Isabel Lang finds the answer in an unlikely bond with the musically gifted Aidan Roycroft. The two share everything from a first kiss to startling family secrets. But when Aidan is accused of a violent crime, the two flee to Las Vegas where Isabel’s future comes tumbling down.

Seven years later, the past is buried, including any relationship with Aidan. Isabel is busy running a radio station and closing in on commitment with Nate Potter, a guy who defines ideal. Life seems cozy until new station management demands a sudden-death ratings grabber, putting everyone’s future on the line. What should be a simple solution leads to a stunning revelation as Isabel is forced to call on the past and the only rock star she knows.

About the author:

Laura Spinella is the author of the award-winning novel Beautiful Disaster.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Review: Turtle Season by Miriam Ruth Black

After the premature death of her husband of thirty years, Anna Simon learns the comfortable life they shared in Seattle had been built on lies. The discovery of her husband's betrayal challenges everything she had previously believed.

Grief and shock combine with menopause to topple her formerly secure identities as wife, mother, and educator. In an effort to build a new life, Anna pursues an interest in documentary film where she is surprised to find herself attracted to a talented and engaging woman. Will she have the courage to claim a new path, to trust her own feelings? Or will she scuttle back into her shell?

A funny and touching story of personal discovery, Turtle Season follows the deep inner journey of a woman at midlife as she chooses hope over despair and seeks a future that is true to her authentic self.

Received for review.

First I have to mention that this book had the incredibly annoying formatting of not starting new chapters on a new page, let alone a right hand page. It turned me against the book from the start, which was unfortunate as I think I could have enjoyed it more if it weren't so physically annoying to read.

Frankly I don't know what to say about this. I really don't. I mean, one minute Anna is married for thirty years with two kids, discovers that her husband was living a secret life, and then suddenly becomes a lesbian. Really? She just randomly becomes a lesbian in mid-life? Why did she even get married in the first place then? If she knew she was a lesbian then why did she get married to a man? To have kids? That's just offensive beyond belief - that all women want to have children and the best possible way is to lie to a man, get married, have the stupid kids, and then after he dies or you leave him you take a lesbian lover. I'm really speechless. This is just so offensive on so many levels. The author is essentially condoning Anna's unbelievably wrong behavior. There is no mention of just how much of a terrible human being Anna is to have lied to her husband and children for thirty years and to have built her "marriage" on a bed of outright lies.

I cannot recommend this at all. At all. Seriously, this is among the most offensive garbage I've read lately. It's not "funny" or "moving". It is simply nauseating. Do not touch this trash with a ten foot pole.

☆☆ = Didn't Like It

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Easy Canvas Prints Facebook Promotion

I've worked with Easy Canvas Prints before and was very pleased with my print.  You can win one too during their Facebook promotion!

Here are the details from their site:

Christmas is just over a week away and we’ve finalized our wish lists for Santa here at the office! Now it’s time to focus on gifting to friends and family this holiday season. We all know that personalized presents are a great way to show loved ones how much you care. To help with gift giving this year, we’ve created a contest for your chance to win Easy Canvas Prints credit!

Follow the easy steps below to enter.

  1. Upload a photo that you’d want to create on canvas and give as a gift
  2. Provide a description
  3. Spread the word via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Enter our photo contest here or on our Facebook page. The 3 entries with the most votes will receive photos on canvas credit and those winners will be announced on our blog December 22nd!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Featured Book: Marilyn Monroe: On the Couch: Inside the Mind and Life of Marilyn Monroe by Alma H. Bond, Ph.D.

About the book:

There is much written, rumored, told, and retold about Marilyn Monroe, but the most unusual and remarkable fact about her is this: In person as well in her films, she appeared to be outright luminous? enveloped by a glow, like a firefly in the dark.

Even Laurence Olivier, who costarred with Marilyn in the 1957 film The Prince and the Showgirl, saw it. Though he seemed to dislike her intensely, he had to admit that, in all her scenes, she lit up the screen.

But exquisite as it can be, luminosity can be a kind of camouflage. It can hide the truth underneath.

What exactly was Marilyn illuminating in the atmosphere that surrounded her? Her beauty was certainly stunning, dazzling—blinding, even—but what did it hide?

Marilyn, more brilliant than many understood, knew well the difference between looking upon the light and seeing beyond the glow. "Men do not see me," she said. "They just lay their eyes on me."

Psychoanalyst and longtime woman's biographer Dr. Alma Bond imagines, in detail, a several-year stretch during the late 1950s and early 1960s, when Marilyn, an exceedingly fragile figure, submits to analysis on the couch of Manhattan psychoanalyst Dr. Darcy Dale and, following her . return to Hollywood, corresponds with her.

Brilliantly, entertainingly, and movingly, Marilyn Monroe: On the Couch shows just what lay beneath Marilyn's radiance. Dr. Dale, a fictional stand-in for the author, Dr. Bond, sees Marilyn Monroe as few ever have, both inside and out, and transfers those insights to readers. It's impossible to imagine anyone providing a better, more complete, intimate, and unforgettable understanding of this truly remarkable, iconic, and even pivotal figure in film and sexual history.

About the author:

Dr. Alma H. Bond is the author or co-author of twenty-one published books, including this one. Among her others: Jackie O: On the Couch; Lady Macbeth: On the Couch; Michelle Obama: A Biography; The Autobiography of Maria Callas: A Novel; Margaret Mahler: A Biography of the Psychoanalyst; Camille Claude: A Novel; America’s First Woman Warrior: The Story of Deborah Sampson; and Who Killed Virginia Woolf? A Psychobiography.

Dr. Bond received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University, graduated from the post-doctoral program in psychoanalysis at the Freudian Society, and was a psychoanalyst in private practice for 37 years in New York City. She “retired” to become a full-time writer.

Dr. Bond is a member of the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the Dramatists Guild, and the Authors Guild, as well as a fellow and faculty member of the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research, the International Psychoanalytic Association, and the American Psychological Association. She was one of the first non-medical analysts to be elected to the International Psychoanalytic Association.

Dr. Bond grew up in Philadelphia, where she obtained her undergraduate degree in psychology from Temple University, and following voluntary military service, moved to New York, where she earned a graduate degree in psychology from Columbia University.

A longtime resident of New York City, she lived for nearly a dozen years in south Florida, and now resides in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Review: Driving the Saudis by Jayne Amelia Larson

After more than a decade of working in Hollywood, actress Jayne Amelia Larson found herself out of luck, out of work, and out of prospects. Without telling her friends or family, she took a job as a limousine driver, thinking that the work might be a good way to dig out of debt while meeting A-list celebrities and important movie moguls.

When she got hired to drive for the Saudi royal family vacationing in Beverly Hills, Larson thought she’d been handed the golden ticket. She’d heard stories of the Saudis giving $20,000 tips and Rolex watches to their drivers. But when the family arrived at LAX with millions of dollars in cash—money that they planned to spend over the next couple of weeks—Larson realized that she might be in for the ride of her life. With awestruck humor and deep compassion, she describes her eye-opening adventures as the only female in a detail of over forty assigned to drive a beautiful Saudi princess, her family, and their extensive entourage.

To be a good chauffeur means to be a “fly on the wall,” to never speak unless spoken to, to never ask questions, to allow people to forget that you are there. The nature of the employment—Larson was on call 24 hours a day and 7 days a week—and the fact that she was the only female driver gave her an up close and personal view of one of the most closely guarded monarchies in the world, a culture of great intrigue and contradiction, and of unimaginable wealth.

The Saudis traveled large: they brought furniture, Persian rugs, Limoges china, lustrous silver serving trays, and extraordinary coffees and teas from around the world. The family and their entourage stayed at several luxury hotels, occupying whole floors of each (the women housed separately from the Saudi men, whom Larson barely saw). Each day the royal women spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on plastic surgery and mega-shopping sprees on Rodeo Drive. Even the tea setup had its very own hotel room, while the servants were crammed together on rollaway beds in just a few small rooms down the hall.

Larson witnessed plenty of drama: hundreds of hours of cosmetic surgery recovery, the purchasing of Hermès Birkin bags of every color, roiling battles among the upper-echelon entourage members all jockeying for a better position in the palace hierarchy, and the total disregard that most of the royal entourage had for their exhausted staff. But Driving the Saudis also reveals how Larson grew to understand the complicated nuances of a society whose strict customs remain intact even across continents. She saw the intimate bond that connected the royals with their servants and nannies; she befriended the young North African servant girls, who supported whole families back home by working night and day for the royals but were not permitted to hold their own passports lest they try to flee.

While experiencing a life-changing “behind the veil” glimpse into Saudi culture, Larson ultimately discovers that we’re all very much the same everywhere—the forces that corrupt us, make us desperate, and make us human are surprisingly universal.

Received for review.

First, let me state that I found the entire book of stories incredibly offensive. The tales of these rich people disgusted me and turned my stomach. I had zero sympathy for these poor little rich girls no matter the author's efforts to humanize these frankly disgusting monsters. They had zero redeeming qualities. It was like someone trying to get you to like a certain hotel heiress as a person. It wasn't going to happen. She (and the people in this book) is a horrible, horrible person and frankly makes my skin crawl. To call them animals is offensive to the animals. They're just outright monsters.

So, why the four stars? The writing was excellent, and the author did do her best to represent these people fairly, which is more than I could have managed. She told of her experiences with an often humorous tone that made reading more bearable. So, the combination of excellent writing and use of humor made this an interesting anthropological study.

If you're looking for insight into the ultra rich then this is for you. Just put your humanity to the side as you start reading or you will never be able to finish the book.

★★★★ = Really Liked It

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Book Blast: The Tempest Murders by P.M. Terrell

Detective Ryan O’Clery has always had dreams of a beautiful woman he’d loved and lost but when he discovers his ancestor’s journals from his native Ireland, he realizes his dreams are really the other man’s memories.

Now he is working a series of murders in North Carolina that are eerily similar to cases Rian Kelly was working when his soul mate was murdered during one of Ireland’s most horrific storms, in which the Atlantic Ocean swept over the island all the way to the Irish Sea.

As Hurricane Irene barrels toward the North Carolina coastline, Ryan discovers the serial killer’s real target is a reporter who bears a striking resemblance to the woman of his dreams—a woman with whom Ryan O’Clery is falling deeply in love.

Is history destined to repeat itself? Or can Ryan save Cathleen Reilly from a killer intent on destroying everything he ever loved?

Purchase Your Copy Here

About the Author:

P.M. Terrell is the award-winning, internationally acclaimed author of more than 18 books in 4 genres. A full-time author since 2002, she previously opened and operated two computer companies in the Washington, DC area. Her specialties were in the areas of computer crime and computer intelligence and her clients included the Secret Service, CIA and Department of Defense as well as local law enforcement. Computer and spy technology are two themes that recur throughout her books. She is the co-founder of The Book ‘Em Foundation, whose mission is to raise awareness of the link between high illiteracy rates and high crime rates. And she founded the annual Book ‘Em North Carolina Writers Conference and Book Fair which takes place each February. She is also an animal advocate and helped to start the New Leash on Life program in which dogs destined for euthanasia are rescued and paired with prison inmates in Robeson County, North Carolina, who train them. The dogs are then adopted into loving homes.

Book Excerpt

They were bites away from finishing their meal when the sky opened up. There might have been a warning, had he been by himself and able to observe his surroundings; but by the time he noticed the trees bending deeply and the gray clouds roiling, the rain had descended on them in a torrent. Within seconds, their food was floating.

A tiny shriek escaped Cathleen’s lips as she vainly tried to keep the rain off her head.

Ryan jumped up, grabbed her wrist and in one fluid movement, had her on her feet. They raced for the back door, managing to rush inside just as a wicked clap of thunder sounded, followed almost instantly by a white streak of lightning.

Once inside, he closed the door, plunging them both into relative silence. He turned around, an offer to get her a towel on his lips. But when he laid eyes on her, the words froze. She was completely drenched. Her hair was hanging in folds from which water streamed until it formed a puddle on the hardwood floor. Her thin blouse was plastered to her body and seemed to highlight the black lace bra beneath. It further accentuated a slender waist before giving way to jeans that she now appeared to have been poured into. Her feet were soaked and as he took in the petite toes peeking out, he found himself staring at the pink polish and a Celtic toe ring before his eyes moved back up her body.

By the time they reached her eyes, he felt as if he was on automatic pilot. His mind was completely blank, his emotions swept away. He stepped toward her at the exact moment he reached out and pulled her to him, the wet blouse teasing his chest. He didn’t look in her eyes but closed his as his lips locked onto hers.

They were everything he’d dreamed about; full and moist and soft. But she wasn’t kissing him.

He stopped and took a step backward, separating them. She stood perfectly still and stared at him with eyes that had grown round and huge. Her face had lost its color and as she continued staring at him, he realized she was in shock.

Horrified with his own boorish behavior, he stumbled over his words. “I am so sorry. I’ve never done anything like that in my life—”

She rushed at him and for the briefest of moments, he didn’t know if she planned to slap him or pummel him or push him to the side to rush out the door. He staggered backward to get out of her way but when she descended on him her arms encircled his neck, pulling his head down to hers.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Review: Seven Thousand Ways to Listen by Mark Nepo

MARK NEPO MOVED AND INSPIRED millions of people with his #1 New York Times bestseller The Book of Awakening, a spiritual daybook that draws on his awakening through cancer to offer life lessons from all the spiritual traditions. In his continuing exploration of the human journey, Nepo has been called “one of the finest spiritual guides of our time,” “a consummate storyteller,” and “an eloquent spiritual teacher.” In his latest book, he inquires into the endless ways we are asked to listen. Experiencing hearing loss himself, Nepo affirms that listening is one of the most mysterious, luminous, and challenging art forms on Earth: “Whatever difficulty you face, there are time-tried ways you can listen your way through. Because listening is the doorway to everything that matters. It enlivens the heart the way breathing enlivens the lungs. We listen to awaken our heart. We do this to stay vital and alive.”

In Seven Thousand Ways to Listen, Nepo offers ancient and contemporary practices to help us stay close to what is sacred. In this beautifully written spiritual memoir, Nepo explores the transformational journey with his characteristic insight and grace. He unfolds the many gifts and challenges of deep listening as we are asked to reflect on the life we are given. A moving exploration of self and our relationship to others and the world around us, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen unpacks the many ways we are called to redefine ourselves and to name what is meaningful as we move through the changes that come from experience and aging and the challenge of surviving loss.

Filled with questions to reflect on and discuss with others and meditations on how to return to what matters throughout the day, this enlightening book teaches us how to act wholeheartedly so we can inhabit the gifts we are born with and find the language of our own wisdom. Seven Thousand Ways to Listen weaves a tapestry of deep reflection, memoir, and meditation to create a remarkable guide on how to listen to life and live more fully.

Received for review.

I am always intrigued by self-help books. I just find them fascinating and I was immediately drawn to this volume because of the author's warm, friendly tone which was reminiscent of Deepak Chopra.

To focus an entire book on listening may seem odd but it is a skill that many in today's society need to cultivate. This meditative book is not one that is necessarily read cover to cover in a matter of hours, but rather one that is picked up here and there and a few pages or a chapter read and digested before moving on. Cover to cover reading might prove to be too information intensive and overwhelming.

Although this is a spiritual book it is not a religious book and can thus anyone can enjoy and benefit from its teachings. It does have a distinct new age feel to it, so if that is something you're not into this may not be for you. If you are a Deepak Chopra or Wayne Dyer fan you should enjoy this and find much food for thought.

★★★★ = Really Liked It