BOOK REVIEWS

 

 

WILDWOOD
A Journey Through Trees
By Roger Deakin

To enter into the woods is to pass into a different world into which we ourselves are transformed. Wildwood is a meditation on the Chinese "fifth element" of wood, as it exists in nature, in our souls, in our culture and in our lives.

The author, a writer, broadcaster and filmmaker who died shortly after completing this manuscript, makes his way through the world and guides us through his affinity with nature and woodland plants. Starting from his400-year-old oak and chestnut house in Suffolk, he ventures outward, first south, then west across England.

He continues further, to the Pyrenees, Australia, Asia and China in search of the most ancient walnut and apple trees. We are taken through pastures, picnics and camping adventures under the moon and stars.

Deakin¹s writing style is smooth, soothing and illuminating. It is fluid and very easy to follow. It is not difficult to picture the landscape and terrain as he describes it, without leaving out the colors, the soft caress of breezes or the warmth of the sun.

Eventually, Deakin returns home and reunites with his familiar orchards and other flora and fauna. He ends with an entire chapter about ash, the most limber of woods and equates it to the energy capability of our future. This work is a quest for the residual magic of trees and wood that touches all of us beneath the surface of our daily lives.

Published by Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, this book is available at your local bookstore or on the website at www.simonandschuster.com .

Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard

 

FARM SANCTUARY
Changing Hearts and Minds About Animals and Food
By Gene Baur

Most animals raised for human consumption are confined for their entire lives and often live without companionship, fresh air and sometimes even lack for adequate food and water. Author Gene Baur, an animal-rights activist and the president and co-founder of the nation¹s leading farm animal protection organization, investigates the ethical questions involved in the production of meat, milk and eggs.

We start with one almost-dead sheep that caught Baur¹s attention as he visited a stockyard. Eventually, she was nursed back to health and became the first resident of the author¹s sanctuary. We then meet a small pig that, by falling off a truck on the way to a stockyard, is rescued. The author discovers that the "old time" farm we often picture in our minds, with happy animals, flowers and picket fences, no longer exists in reality.

The "factory farm" of today is almost the exact opposite. Animals are often unable to walk or lie down comfortably and in some cases remain in crates for their entire lives. Cruelty and systematic mistreatment is condoned, and with large sums of money at stake, factory farming techniques are fully supported by commerce.

This book shares with us the triumphs and ongoing struggles of the animal-protection movement, offering specific stories and examples. Included is also a rather hefty section with resources and definitions, as well as suggestions on how the reader can extend compassion in order to create a kinder place for animals.

Published by Touchstone, a division of Simon & Schuster, this book is available at your local bookstore or on the website at www.simonandschuster.com.

Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard

 

2012 AWAKENING
Choosing Spiritual Enlightenment Over Armageddon
By Sri Ram
Kaa and Kira Raa
While many believe the portend of ramifications of the year 2012 to be ominous, there are others who believe this significant date on the Mayan calendar predicts an age of enlightenment.

The authors, both ordained ministers and master healers, believe we each have the ability to choose an ascended perspective toward the events of the outer world, thus aligning with greater wisdom, should we choose to claim dominion over our own consciousness.

They explain the prophesies surrounding this date are both positive and negative, but that mostly we have the power in us to create the outcome. This book also expands upon the themes of their previous books on foundational teachings and insights around the coming paradigm shift. Through the concept of Archangelic Insoulment, co-author Kira Raa, who is also a clairvoyant, shares with us a teaching taken from encounters with, and journeys of an Archangel named Zadkiel.

Several excerpts from direct conversations offer us opportunity to benefit from higher wisdom about development of the knowing of our own powerfulness, our souls, our spiritual awakening as well as our responsibilities in quashing negative energies in exchange for positive emotional disbursements. For example, a section that deals with understanding the Fifth Dimension includes a checklist about physical manifestations alerting you to the fact that you may already be experiencing a personal shift. Advice is given about how to manage a spiritual life in a technologically-dominated age. Theories of the Pyramid of Spiritual Awakening and its four steps are discussed in depth, along with a discussion about Karma.

This book touches upon so many aspects of the influences towards enlightenment and answers many specific, practical questions about our role in the outcome with regard to the many predictions of 2012.

Published by Ulysses Press, this book is available at your local bookstore, online booksellers or on the website at www.ulyssespress.com  .

Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard

 

GLOBAL SHIFT
How A New Worldview Is Transforming Humanity
By Edmund J. Bourne, Ph.D.

Our collective future depends on our ability to move away from a materialistic view of life to a humanitarian, spiritual orientation. We are presented with the theme of an overlapping worldview that includes a conscious universe, multidimensional realities, interconnected minds and life beyond physics.

The author, a visionary who has specialized in the treatment of anxiety disorders and related problems, believes we are not hardwired to be selfish and materialistic. If we are, then we are simply in our adolescent stage and need to find the tools to move forward. Bourne believes that humanity is inherently cooperative and that we need to nurture our senses of reverence, compassion, intuition and consciousness in order to get to the next level.

We begin with an overview of the personal here and now. Then, we move into the larger picture, such as climate change, poverty, corruption and disease. Next, the premise of fundamental love is introduced along with a shift in our daily lives, such as present living, letting go, putting others first, recognizing the spiritual, minimizing our needs for material items, simplifying our lives and thinking globally.

This book heralds a shift in your way of viewing the world by allowing you to view yourself within the context of the larger picture. With the mention of all these positive traits, we are provided exercises and specific "basics" for reaching the many positive ideals presented within this book.

Published by New Harbinger Publications, Inc., this book is available at your local bookstore or on the website at www.newharbinger.com.

Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard

 

THE MYSTERY OF 2012
Predictions, Prophecies and Possibilities
By Gregg Braden, Peter Russell, Daniel Pinchbeck, Joanna R. Macy, Ph.D.,John Major Jenkins and more

According to the Mayan Calendar, the "Great Cycle" ends in the year 2012.Planet earth is said to undergo a dramatic astronomical shift that will bring it into an alignment with powerful forces of change. It will be a time of great collective transformation.

This book is a collection of over two dozen essays on the mystery of 2012,from a wide variety of perspectives. A few examples are Gregg Braden¹sdiscussion regarding a shift in the earth¹s magnetic field, CorinneMClaughlin¹s exchange relating to the transformation of business and politics, and ecologist Joanna Macy¹s vision on how we can take part in the shift.

It was the publisher¹s goal to create a book designed to aid the open-minded person and the investigative reader in exploring the mystery of 2012efficiently, thoroughly, and from a number of different vantage points.2012 is most often described as a choice point, a time of intensified possibility and opportunity, rather than an apocalyptic time bomb destined to explode at some finite point in time.

Our realization of the possibilities requires us to be open to the mysteries and powers of the cosmos that are outside of those we already know exist. This wealth of accumulated knowledge provides us with profound and thought-provoking explanations for further exploration.

Published by Sounds True, this book is available at your local bookstore or on the website at www.soundstrue.com.

Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard

 

EMOTIONAL FREEDOM
Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life
By Judith Orloff, MD

Emotional Freedom is the perfect book to come along at the perfect time. Icouldn¹t put it down!

We live in a tumultuous, fear-dominated period in history and must become masters at overcoming fear and other negative emotions so they don¹tsabotage our power. With skill and compassion, Dr. Judith Orloff shows us how to become heroes in out own lives by transforming anger, loneliness, envy and more, rather than simply "reacting" when our buttons get pushed.

An Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA and intuition expert, she shares her wealth of personal and professional knowledge to illuminate the field of emotions. She draws on the wisdom from traditional medicine, but goes light years beyond it by presenting emotions as a path to spiritual, energetic, and intuitive awakening.

Why is this leap so important? The intellect has restricted vision about emotions, but bringing intuition into the feeling realm lets us go deeper within. Dr. Orloff asks us to see every success, every heartbreak, every loss, every gain as vehicles for transformation.

Part One introduces you to the four components of emotions: their biology, spirituality, energetic power, and psychology. Understanding each component in yourself will lead to inner breakthroughs that aren¹t possible without seeing the whole picture. It offers a self-assessment test to evaluate your current level of emotional freedom so you can increase it practicing thebook¹s principles.

Dr. Orloff invites you into her romance with sleep and dreams as revolutionary states of consciousness. She also helps readers determine their "emotional type" including "the intellectual," and "the empath," so they can make the most of their own finest qualities. As an empath, she knows the gigantic challenges of being an "emotional sponge" and teaches other empaths who have been labeled "overly sensitive" how to stay grounded in an often-overwhelming world.

You¹ll enjoy the "emotional vampire survival guide" ‹ specific advice for dealing with emotional drainers. We¹ve all met them. You¹re talking to someone, when suddenly you feel anxious, depressed, or tired. She describes the narcissist, the victim, the controller, and other types of vampires. Plus, there are quizzes to help you determine "Are you in a relationship with an emotional vampire? " or if you might be one yourself.

Part Two offers a hands-on approach for facing the most prevalent negative emotions and building positive ones. Each chapter is called a "transformation" in which you learn how to transform a negative emotion into its counterpoint.

You learn to do this in your life by taking a wealth of quizzes, from Dr.Orloff¹s patient studies, and her own intimate journey with each emotion. Emotional Freedom is the rare book that can open your mind and your heart to more empowerment.

Published by Harmony, a division of Random House, this book is available at local bookstores.

Reviewed by Caroline Myss

 

LOVE HAS FORGOTTEN NO ONE
By Gary R. Renard

We eagerly await this new book, and it will not disappoint. No, I won¹t be giving away any details here, and spoil your reading fun. As with the earlier books, it¹s not even those little personal details that make it an exciting read, they are just glitter. So, if not for the news items, why are we eager for more?

The truth, for his growing body of steady readers, is that Gary has agreed to share his life with us, warts and all, and enables us to learn the Course with him, in a fun and intense way, always going deeper and deeper into its experiential implications. The slapstick comedy of his life invites us, to increasingly realize what A Course In Miracles really says.

We don¹t have to have his extraordinary adventures, but reading with empathy and identification immerse us in some intense experience of our own. He has become a brother and a friend to many of us. We can¹t get enough of it, because we still have a long way to go, and his example makes it easier to continue, never mind if our experience looks very different in detail.

By extension of his openness, we are included in the learning experience, and it is this "where the rubber meets the road" quality which continues this very practical and meaningful sense of excitement.

Published by Hay House, this book is available at local bookstores, or www.garyrenard.com

Reviewed by Rogier F. van Vlissingen

 

SUPER NATURAL HOME
Improve Your Health, Home and Planet ­ One Room at A Time
By Beth Greer

If converting to green living causes confusion over all the choices, expenses and products to consider, this book is an ideal guide with step-by-step practical advice "to easily make a shift" into safer, healthier lifestyle changes.

The author addressed this topic personally and seriously as she was forced to confront a health crisis, which led to the creation of "Super Natural Home."  Through her extensive investigative research, she identifies potential toxic hot zones and addresses what consumers  really need to know and what they can do right now to protect themselves.

For example, the first chapter discusses "What Goes In You: How to Eliminate Exposure to Toxic Chemicals in Your Food and Drinking Water," bringing attention to facts that we should know but are not told, or do not notice, but that could make a huge difference in our quality of life. She also offers solutions and simple tips such as "The Fearsome 5 Things to Avoid," as well as useful suggestions to better health, written in a positive and easy-to-read style that encourages and inspires readers to apply the tools and other critical information for protection of  themselves and their families.

Thought-provoking material is provided within the ten chapters, in addition to useful and helpful supplemental information which will support the consumer in shifting to a super natural home.

Published by Rodale Inc., this book is available in bookstores and at www.rodale.com

Reviewed by Kathy DeSantis

 

STOP GLOBAL WARMING, THE SOLUTION ISbr /> An Activists Guide, 2nd Edition
By Laurie David

Written by one of the leading environmentalists in the country, Laurie David provides facts that contribute to global warming and its devastating effects on the planet but which can be changed or stopped if everyone does something to protect the planet.

Her heroic efforts to raise the awareness of consumers, build bridges and create alliances to bring about positive change makes her an authority on solutions. She is the founder of StopGlobalWarming.org, the Virtual March to Stop Global Warming, a bi-partisan campaign with more than one million marchers and producer of the Academy Award-winning documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

This is the updated 2nd Edition that continues the grassroots movement to bring out the activist in everyone and provides the influential voices of Barack Obama, Senator John McCain and Arnold Schwarzenegger. The update serves to provide needed inspiration to our youth and correct information to those who need the "cold hard facts," as David says.

A large chapter is dedicated to "What You Can Do," which provides major and small ways that everyone can participate in to conserve resources, connect with, and bring others to join in the action to spread the message about the devastating effects of global warming. This edition reflects David¹s passion for change and conveys important messages of taking action to manage, protect and preserve on behalf of our planet.

Published by Fulcrum Publishing this book is available at bookstores and at www.fulcrumbooks.com

Reviewed by Kathy DeSantis

 


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