Caught In Fading Light
Mountain Lions, Zen Masters, and Wild Nature
By Gary Thorp

This outstanding journal now available in paperback, has been heralded as “The Best Spiritual Book of 2002” by Spiritual and Health Magazine. Thorp weaves a mystical recount of his quest to find the mysterious and elusive cat known to most of us as a mountain lion — from his own backyard among the mountains of Marin County, California.

Written in meditative chapters, a writing style known in Japanese as nikki bungaku, Thorp weaves the various episodes of his journey through the lens of the serious Zen student he is. This allows the reader to get a glimpse of the psyche of a serious Zen student practicing the Zen tradition.

Thorp’s multidimensional reflection on nature and the mountain lion mirrors his idea of his own personal quest. He describes the process by explaining that during his search for the elusive mountain lion, his own consciousness took on a “revolutionary pivot” as he realized the search for the mountain lion turned into a search for himself.

In “Caught In Fading Light,” Thorp discovers the journey can be as awe inspiring as the destination. I believe we have all experienced this feeling during our own search for self, whether it be through basic meditation, learning from the lessons of life, or as Thorp discovers, through seeking to see and understand the beautiful mountain lion as a Zen-like practice. An inspiring read, I highly recommend this book for all audiences.

Published by Walker & Co., this book is available at your local bookstores.
Reviewed b
y Maryel McKinley


You Can Change the World
The Global Citizen’s Handbook for Living on Planet Earth
By Ervin Laszlo

With an outstanding introduction by Mikhail Gorbachev, Ervin Laszlo’s “You Can Change The World” is a powerful read, coup-led with realistic and idealist suggestions. It offers real solutions for literally saving our planet on many levels — change this planet — and the people on this planet so desperately need.

Laszlo encourages the reader to become “Global Citizens” by show-ing us how to start our own revolution of consciousness and how to pressure the government, corporations and the media to live up to its highest good, for the sake of our precious but highly exploited planet. With chapters on how to think and act responsibly, and how we can change ourselves for the betterment of the world’s future.

He even offers a tale of the ancient alchemists, written by Paolo Coelho, which offers ways to sustain your vision without succumbing to burnout, which so often happens to well-meaning truth seekers.

Today is the time for change, in the here and now, as Laszlo expounds upon in this life-changing book. It’s all about action and evolving our consciousness, not only for ourselves, but also for mankind. An outstanding book I highly recommend for all.

Published by Select Books, this book is available at local bookstores and
Reviewed by Maryel McKinley


The Divine Doctor
Healing Beyond Medicine
By Joseph Michael Levry
RaMaDaSa Healing CD  
By Joseph Michael Levry

Imagine having the keys to unlock the perfect state of harmony and health in you.
“The Divine Doctor: Healing Beyond Medicine” reveals timeless and priceless wisdom, once known only by masters and adepts, for healing the mind, body and soul. The basis for this healing wisdom is also the foundation that leads us to a more illumined and ascended state of being.
This knowledge can be utilized to restore one to a state of health and wholeness. Much of this divine wisdom has been  hidden in symbol and mystery and is found sprinkled throughout sacred teachings embedded across many cultures.
In this book the mystery and symbol have been decoded and are simply laid out so all may have access to this powerful healing knowledge. Specific techniques and healing remedies are given for dis-eases such as cancer,  heart, and mental imbalances plus many more.
The second half of this healing pair, the RaMaDaSa Healing CD,  is spectacularly beautiful. The union of music with the mantra RaMaDaSa consoles our pain and the source of our dis-ease and reaches the depths of our being.
Like many mantra or words of power, RaMaDaSa is a code that instills the seeds of healing and perfect health in the mind, body and spirit. When paired with the yogic exercises in the Divine Doctor it will move you to a state of harmony and joy.
Published by Rootlight, Inc., this book and CD are available at or (888) 852-2100.
Reviewed by Patrice Nerad

Polar Dance
Born of the North Wind
Photography By
Thomas D. Mangelsen
Story By Fred Bruemmer

Renowned nature photographer, Thomas D. Mangelsen, has produced another stunning book filled with untouched photos of Polar Bears in their natural habitat. Devoted to a lifetime of documenting the natural world, Mangelsen spends up to nine months each year documenting the wildlife he cares about so deeply.

His hope is that “Polar Dance” will, “touch people on an emotional level and move them to love and protect these fragile animals”. This 264-page hardcover book is not only filled with magical photos of polar bears and other wildlife indigenous to Alaska, but is also accompanied by a narrative-type story line that provides amazing glimpses into the world of the polar bear.

Photos of bears nestling together, standing on hind legs almost dancing together, and more, are all developed without computer imagery. It seems impossible that someone could get so close to these ominous creatures with such intimacy. This book and the work of Mangelsen is nothing short of miraculous!

He has been awarded an honorary fellowship by the Royal Photographic Society, The North American Nature Photographers Association’s Outstanding Nature Photographer, as well as BBC’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year. His work has also appeared in Audubon, National Geographic and Wildlife Art, and he has appeared on television programs from CNN to Good Morning America. An excellent gift item and coffee table piece that will be appreciated for years to come.

Published by Images of Nature, this book is available at your local bookstores.
Reviewed By Maryel McKinley


Chicken Soup for the Ocean Lover’s Soul
Amazing Sea Stories and Wyland Artwork to Open Your Heart
and Give You Hope
By Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Wyland

The sea has always been alluring to me and that is why I  bought this book long before writing the review. Besides being a fan of Wyland’s art and a fan of the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series, I  knew it would contain engaging and heartwarming stories about our animal friends in the sea and the relationships we have with them. My expectations were exceeded. Out of all the CSS series I have read, I like this one the most.

The authors of “Chicken Soup for the Ocean Lover’s Soul” have carefully collected true stories to warm our hearts, give us hope and make us realize how precious God’s underwater creatures are. This book has amazing stories of swimming eye to eye with great whales, sharks and manatees, as well as legends of dolphins saving a man. The pages also contain pictures of Wyland’s exclusive paintings and a few wonderful stories of his own, adding even more to the appeal of this book.

It’s no wonder that Wyland had a big part in creating this book. He has been a leading advocate in the effort to protect our ocean resources. More than one billion people see his art each year in museums, galleries, public art displays and private collections throughout the world. 

Another good reason to buy and read this book is that a portion of all proceeds will go to the Wyland Foundation, which has partnered with the Scripps Institute of Oceanography at UC San Diego to create a free, nationwide marine life art and science educational program for every school in the nation. This program is designed to teach children everywhere about the importance of our marine resources. Your purchase of this book helps with the program. Ocean lovers, dive in!

Published by Health Communications, Inc., this book is available at all major bookstores, Wyland Galleries, and  online at
Reviewed by Kathy DeSantis


The Divine Nature of Plants
Wisdom of the Earth Keepers
By Laura Aversano
“The Divine Nature of Plants” is written from the perspective of author Laura Aversano’s personal encounters with plant spirits. She discovered these “plant spirits” while meditating on a Cherokee healing site at the foothills of the Smokey Mountains. Aversano states that “The Earth Keeper Spirits” spoke to her about the ancient ways. This included cures, remedies, prayer rituals and ceremonies utilizing various plants the Elders of the Cherokee Tribe had used for thousands of years.

Aversano explains that physical illnesses arise as a signal to the suffering individual to awaken. Furthermore, she states that in order for us to heal from illness at the core root level, one needs to be willing to look deeply within to find the source of our original woundology. According to the book, this requires a gentle, nonjudgmental process of letting go.

Aversano actually walks the reader through their healing process while sharing the intuitive experiences she has had with many healing plants and their individual vibration qualities. Each plant vibrates with very specific emotions, which when used properly can help the healing process accelerate at exponential rates.
What is special about this book is that the author not only offers cures for various symptoms, she encourages the readers to commit themselves to the healing process. She believes that with the exposure we have all had from the abuse of antibiotics, drugs, dyes, chemicals in our food and pollution in the air, we need to transmute the stagnant energy we as a species and our Mother Earth no longer need.

Published by Swan Raven & Co., this book is available at your local bookstores.
Reviewed by
Maryel McKinley

Wai Lana’s Favorite Juices
Over 85 of Wai Lana’s Favorite Juice and Smoothie Recipes
By Wai Lana
The health benefits of natural antioxidants like vitamins A and C are still being discovered. While supplements can be useful, the most complete source of vitamins and minerals is fresh food, especially fruits and vegetables. One of the most interesting and delicious ways to enjoy the benefits of fresh produce is juicing.

Wai Lana, a well-known yoga instructor with a nationwide PBS television series and numerous yoga videos to her credit, makes juicing seem easy and delicious with this appealing book. Over 85 recipes are included, all beautifully illustrated with luscious photographs. Many of the recipes will appeal to kids as well as the rest of the family. The pictures alone will entice you into trying these intriguing combinations. Each recipe includes a list of benefits as well as ways to boost nutrition and flavor.

There are separate sections for fruit juices, vegetable juices, smoothies, and desserts. There is even a section on how to use the pulp left over from juicing, including recipes for pates, vegetarian burgers, and muffins. There are fact-filled charts on vitamins and minerals, details on finding the best produce, and on storing your juice, as well as information on supplements and herbs to add to your juice for taste and added nutrition.

If you have been thinking about adding fresh juices to your life, or if you are looking for some new and interesting juicing recipes, this is a great book to explore. While the recipes require a juicer or at least a good blender, most of the fresh ingredients are readily available in Southern California. Recommended.

Published by Wai Lana Productions, this book is available by calling (800) 228-5145 or at
Reviewed by Lyda Whiting


Across America, People Want to VEG OUT™
By Kathy Lynn Siegel
and Carey Ann Strelecki
With the population of the U.S. nearing 300 million, it is estimated that about 5 percent of Americans are vegetarian. That’s around 14 million people! In a 1999 poll by The Vegetarian Resource Group it was found that about 57% of the population sometimes, often, or always orders a vegetarian item when eating out — and that equals a huge number of people looking for meatless dishes and healthy, nutritious fare.

Now, finding tasty vegetarian and vegan foods just got easier — introducing VegOut!™ Vegetarian Dining Guide to Southern California. Whether looking for a quick bite, a refined and elegant meal, or a place to buy fresh, organic produce, VegOut!™ is the definitive resource to finding hot spots, hideaways, markets and cafes that specialize in vegetarian cuisine.

The Guide covers central and southern Los Angeles, South Bay, Santa Monica, the San Fernando Valley, Orange County, San Diego, and everything in between. VegOut!™ also features an alphabetical index, a cuisine index, an atmosphere index, a “Top 10” index, a resource guide, and a glossary for those who aren’t clear on the difference between quinoa and kombu. Each also has a convenient fold-out map, so finding any location is a piece of cake.

The Southern California edition of VegOut!™ was published by Gibbs Smith and is available at on-line booksellers and at your local bookstores.

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