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Book Reviews (and occassionally, music)

Myth America-Democracy vs. Capitalism by William H. Boyer
Myth America details the conflict between growing corporate power in America and the needs of a democratic society to achieve a just and sustainable future. The search for strategies to gain public control of the dangerous currents that threaten the future of humanity is interwoven throughout as Boyer inspires us to reclaim our democratic power and create a just and humane world. This is a provocative, comprehensive analysis of American society and the myths that support it.

Prescription Pot-A Leading Advocate’s Heroic Battle to Legalize Medical Marijuana by Christopher Largen & George McMahon
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.

Surviving Aggressive People-Practical Violence Prevention Skills by Shawn Smith
Learn the skills necessary to detect and deter aggressive behavior before the situation spins out of control. It is the first book of its kind to offer realistic techniques for preventing violence. The five ground rules are: establish common ground; don’t shame the aggressor; don’t shame yourself; choose the destination but be flexible in the path; and listen to your intuition. This is not a conflict management book, but a thorough description of easily understood step-by-step ways to recognize, avoid, or escape dangerous encounters.

Secret Societies of America’s Elite-From the Knights Templar to Skull and Bones by Steven Sora
Sora reveals in alarming detail how secret societies wield power—how organizations such as Yale’s Skull & Bones unite America’s modern ruling families as strongly as Masonic Lodges once connected the Astors, Livingstons, and Roosevelts. Their immense power and wealth allow this elite to control America to an even greater degree than the Templars once dominated Europe. The tale that unfolds is both compelling and chilling, especially so if it is all true. I found it hard to put this one down and read long into the night.

The Nine Modern Day Muses (and a Bodyguard)
10 Guides to Creative Inspiration for Artists, Poets, Lovers, and Other Mortals wanting to Live a Dazzling Existence
by Jill Badonsky, M.Ed.
I thoroughly enjoyed the joyful spirit and intimately humorous writing as Jill playfully, yet profoundly, leads you to work through obstacles that impede liberated creative expression. Creativity is addressed from the arts to the workplace as the Muses provide a profusion of resources, skills, insights, and inspirations to delight you into a more wonder-filled life. Jill will be at New Renaissance Bookshop in Portland on Nov. 8th, 2003

Your Hands Can Heal You-Pranic Healing Energy Remedies to Boost Vitality and Speed Recovery from Common Health Problems by Master Stephen Co & Eric B. Robins, M.D.
Based on profound universal truths thousands of years old, the techniques in this book teach you how to sensitize your hands to feel and manipulate the aura of prana that is part of every living being. Surprisingly easy to learn and apply, these powerful but simple methods to generate energy can be used by anyone to produce health and to facilitate bodily repair.

The Next Enlightenment-Integrating East and West in a New Vision of Human Evolution by Walter Truett Anderson
We usually think of maturity as growing up within a culture. Anderson proposes that the kind of maturity called enlightenment is more a matter of growing up beyond the culture. Personal enlightenment is a natural process of individual growth and evolution, rather than a supernatural gift bestowed upon a chosen few. And any of us can accomplish this maturity. The Next Enlightenment is a refreshing and easy to read book that I highly recommend.

Sacred Geometry Oracle Deck by Francene Hart
This is a beautiful 64-card deck with original artwork by nationally recognized visual artist Francene Hart. Sacred geometry is described as the key that unlocks all of the world’s art, science, and architecture. The book contains innovative spreads and thought provoking card explanations that draw on reflective insights from a wide variety of sacred traditions. This new tool, with its potent and compelling images, is accessible to both advanced and novice students of divination. Francene Hart is our front cover artist this issue. (Fall 2003)

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
I haven’t enjoyed reading a novel this much in years! I was intrigued by the outline on the cover: a 16 year old boy is stranded in a lifeboat with an adult Bengal tiger. Can he survive? The story begins with the end, and you know early-on that, yes, he survives and the end is a happy one. Yet, Martel weaves a compelling, page-turning tale that is full of the suspense of Pi’s struggle to stay alive and sane. It also made me smile openly and laugh out loud more often than I can count. I was surprised and delighted again and again.

Chimera by Delerium
The sounds of Chimera permeate this issue of Alternatives! We listened to it again and again as we worked, finding that it inspired us. Chimera marks the reunion of Bill Leeb and Rhys Fuller. Of the new release, Leeb says, “It gives you a cool vibe, and you walk away feeling better. I want it to be a bit of a journey, not just one style. It’s more of a record of a mythical journey that provokes your moods inside and your thoughts about your day and about life, things that aren’t driven by trends or time.” Perhaps exactly why we loved it when pushed by a deadline. You can hear a sample here.

You’ve Never Seen Everything by Bruce Cockburn
Bruce Cockburn is the poet/musician for the emerging culture. His ability to distill political events, spiritual revelations and personal experience into rich, compelling songs have made him one of my favorite artists for decades. This album has some powerful political songs reflecting his deepening frustration with a world out of balance, as well as joyous, uplifting tracks that keep the message from being hopeless. This combination of graphic raw truth and celebration of the best we can be is just what I love in Bruce’s music. You can hear a sample here.

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