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Book Reviews (and occassionally, music)

Tinderbox - U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism by Stephen Zunes
Clearly written, timely, and wise, this book does an excellent job of explaining the tragedy of U.S policy in the Middle East. Years of complex history are easily understandable, even for those who haven’t been following these issues. Zunes shows that we have become the targets of terrorism, not because of our values, but because our foreign policy does not adhere to those values. Any American that wants to find out “why they hate us” should read this book.

Fast Food Nation - The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser
In this provocative, insightful book, we view George McMahon’s life and struggles: his medical history of surgeries and near death experiences; his success with medical Cannabis; his battle with daunting federal bureaucracy and drug companies; his experiences at the hands of law enforcement officials. George is deeply self revealing and his story puts a human face on this pressing controversy. This should be required reading for every doctor and politician in the country.

Is Your Child’s Brain Starving? - Food not Drugs for Life and Learning by Dr. Michael Lyon, MD and Dr. Christine Laurell, PhD
Smart people who care about their brains—and their children’s brains—will read this book. Backed up by clear science, clinical experience, and common sense, Dr. Lyon makes the case that keeping your brain healthy can make an enormous difference in mood, attitude, behavior and intellectual capabilities. Begin by removing the toxic influences of junk food, pesticides, synthetic food additives and GMOs, follow-up by identifying food allergies. Extensive recipe section and hints for parents.

The Fasting Diet - A Practical Five-Day Program for Increased Energy, Greater Stamina, and a Clearer Mind by Steven Bailey, N.D.
This well written and easy to read book is thorough, yet not long-winded, in its descriptions of how the human body works: how it processes foods and toxins, how it eliminates dangerous or unusable substances, and how it benefits from periodic fasting. With chapters on “Aligning Body, Mind and Spirit,” and “Basic Concepts in Nutrition,” and an Epilogue to address “Beyond the Fast,” this is a comprehensive guide to safely incorporating fasting into your life.

Cooking by the Seasons - Simple Vegetarian Feasts by Karri Ann Allrich
This is a rare cookbook. The opening thoughts are about aligning with Nature’s cycles, seeking the spirit of the Goddess in everyday living, and how food is a way of celebrating the presence of the Goddess in the bounty of the earth, in those we cook for, and in ourselves. Each season has an array of recipes, including festival menus, seasonal soups, everyday feasts and sweet endings, that are delicious without being pretentious. This is well on its way to being a stained and dog-eared favorite in my home.

Legend of the Rainbow Warriors by Steven McFadden
The telling of an essential American myth and how it connects to the environmental, racial, religious and political crises of our time. The legend of the rainbow warriors relates that “when the Earth becomes desperately sick, people of all colors and faiths will unite, and rise to face the overwhelming challenges with insight, honesty, caring, sharing, and respect.” I especially value the compendium of insights and observations about the spiritual path, based on the counsel of learned elders from around the world.

Falling Out of Grace - Meditations on Loss, Healing and Wisdom by Sobonfu Somé
Deeply personal and unsparingly reflective, this pithy and profound book grew out of personal tragedy. Through reflecting on her own experience, Sobonfu offers a bracingly unique perspective on topics from family and intimate relationships to leadership and death—all in the context of falling from and restoring a state of grace. In a world that seems to have fallen seriously out of grace, these observations offer hope and some navigational aides to steer by.

Alchemical Healing - A Guide to Spiritual, Physical, and Transformational Medicine by Nicki Scully
Alchemical Healing is primarily a hands-on manual that provides a series of initiatory steps toward mastering a powerful healing form. Nicki Scully creates a modern alchemical tradition based in the same eternal source of intelligence that sustained the high civilization of ancient Egypt. Beyond the how-tos, Nicki tells moving stories of her own journey toward being a healer and being healed. I particularly appreciate the chapter on Ethics in Healing, and recommend it to healers in every modality.

The Old Girls’ Book of Dreams - How to Make Your Wishes Come True by Cal Garrison
Life is incredible and it gets better as you get older! Cal Garrison is here to remind us how to dream from the heart, not the mind. Bold, truthful and funny, this book (or journal, if you prefer) is for women ready to restore the role of Elder Female to a state of grace and respect. Ready to set an example for every woman-child who comes after us. Each of its 12 cycles gives inspiration, wisdom, humor and blank journal pages for you to write your own dreams and create your own magic.

The Real Middle Earth - Exploring the Magic and Mystery of the Middle Ages by Brian Bates
Two thousand years ago, stretching from Old England to Scandinavia and across to western Europe, there arose a vast civilization. Bates brings together historical, literary, psychological and archaeological research on this forgotten world, the civilization from which Tolkien drew his inspiration. He brings to light the magical view these people had of everyday life. This is an enjoyable, and interesting, book to curl up with on a damp winter day—and glimpse an elf out your window.

Never Drift Apart by Mairéid Sullivan
Never Drift Apart creates a comforting and engergizing canopy of sound. It is an imaginative musical journey through soulful ballads, soaring slow airs and mesmerizing dance rhythms—songs of joy, struggle and hope. Contemporary songs, like River of Tears, are intermixed with traditional Irish and English selections, all sung in Mairéid’s soothing style. This is music to delight and calm, music to help you thrive in a chaotic world. Click here to hear a sample.

Mountain Gate by Solala Towler
Light a candle, take the phone off the hook, lie down, and allow yourself to enter into this musical journey with the ears of your spirit. Let it take you to your own inner world, your own sense of the infinite. This is ideal music for practicing qigong, taiji, yoga or during massage. The CD consists of two 30 minute selections, a morning session and an evening session. The morning is more yang—more energetic and uplifting. The evening is more yin—quieter, more soothing and spacious.

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