Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Book with a View March 2010

LeaveLight: A Motivational Guide to Holistic End-of-Life Planning
Authors: Marilyn L. Geary & Jacqueline Janssen
ISBN Number: 978-0-9825378-1-7
Publisher: GingerAle Press, 2010
Genre and Target Market: Mind, Body & Spirit
Pages: 220
Reviewed by: Sarah Moore for WITS

I currently sit before my computer screen presented with the challenge of reviewing one of the most beautiful books I have had the pleasure of reading in quite some time that confronts an issue most of us would rather ignore—death. The reality is that every single one of us will reach a day when we no longer exist on this earth. Why are we so afraid to discuss an activity in which everyone must participate? Perhaps it is because we fear what happens to us after we end our time in this physical realm. Perhaps we fear that nothing happens at all. However, through their new release LeaveLight: A Motivational Guide to Holistic End-of-Life Planning, authors Marilyn L. Geary and Jacqueline Janssen approach the sensitive subject of dying with compassion and what amounts to a literary embrace. It did not take much time spent in the pages of the book to discover the happiness and peace that can come with accepting and even engaging the issues that arise when we reach the end of our lives.

LeaveLight is divided into sections that allow the reader to plan for every aspect of her death, from the distribution of the physical property to the decisions concerning relationships to the way in which she wants to be remembered. And, each step is introduced with an understanding of the difficult emotions that accompany the reality of these choices. Geary and Janssen always keep the focus on the human who is behind the power of attorney paperwork and the organ donations. The authors include exercises which require the reader to focus solely on herself, if only for fifteen or twenty minutes of the day, including a quiet moment to enjoy a visual that brings peace or allowing some time to reflect on the personal meaning that a specific chair has in her life. LeaveLight ends with more than seventy pages of resources for the reader, including helpful book and internet resources and forms that will help to organize all of the end-of-life details.

One of the target audiences for LeaveLight is people with aging parents, and I am a member of that demographic. For several years, I have been searching for the “right” way to broach some difficult subjects with my parents and my efforts were always ignored with a palpable sense of discomfort concerning the topic. I believe this book may be the tool that I need to start these necessary conversations. With compassion clearly at the core of the book, my parents and I should be able to use its pages to break down the walls that have previously stalled a discussion of this inevitable journey.

While I understand this is not the intended purpose of the book, having recently experienced a painful divorce that left me the single parent of two small children, I also found applications within the text to my own life and the death of how I expected my family to develop. Who among us could not spend some more time discovering forgiveness and gratitude? These should be lifelong endeavors. I cannot say enough about LeaveLight and I sincerely hope that anyone who is searching for peace in the face of imminent death—of themselves or a loved one—will purchase this book and starting their planning today.

Lucifer Rising
Author: Barbara Fifield
ISBN Number: 978-1-4327-4478-6
Publisher: OutskirtsPress.com, 2009
Genre and Target Market: fiction; psychological thriller
Pages: 83
Reviewed by: Sarah Moore for WITS

Here are several elements that perhaps you never expect to find contributing to the evolution of a single story—dance lessons, Reiki healing, drug-dependent freeloaders, Italian food and, to top it all off, the rebirth of Satan into an earthly form. However, all of the factors are essential pieces of the plotline in the new release Lucifer Rising by Barbara Fifield. This short novel, which totals only eighty-three pages of text, wastes no time in taking its readers into a world of psychological depravity and dangerous charisma. If you are ready to invest your energy into a book that may leave you with a lingering feeling of discomfort and more questions left unanswered than resolved, then Lucifer Rising is for you, as it is these very elements that make this second novel by Barbara Fifield such a powerful piece.

Lucifer Rising focuses on the power wielded by Tyrell, a local religious leader who uses his magnetic personality to bring the most vulnerable members of society under his spell. He comes to the rescue of those suffering from drug addiction, abusive relationships, and loneliness with promises of healing and security. A local reporter, Elsa Eldridge, is given the task of uncovering what makes Tyrell such a popular figure and, instead of remaining an objective journalist preparing a story, finds herself in a relationship with the mysterious figure. The more time that Elsa spends with Tyrell, the more she realizes that his charm is not actually anchored in a sense of philanthropy, but a much more sinister motive.

Fifield’s extensive writing background, which includes a previous novel and published works in newspapers and literary journals, is obvious throughout the content of Lucifer Rising. She creates characters that come to life with her carefully selected language and finds a way to have her readers (at least this reader!) committed to discovering the outcome of the story within the first few pages. In Elsa, we find a woman to whom most of us can relate in some way. She is struggling through personal loss, anxious to make a name for herself in her profession, and approaches new situations with a healthy skepticism. I certainly can relate to these characteristics. Therefore, when Elsa falls under the spell of a cult leader whose intentions are endlessly more nefarious than one initially realizes, it is not impossible that readers may be able to imagine themselves in such a terrifying yet enthralling relationship.

In Lucifer Rising, Barbara Fifield has created a novel that dances around many issues surrounding religion and absolute good and evil without offering clear conclusions. Instead, her writing leaves the audience the opportunity to sit with their own emotions concerning the characters and the relationships that develop. In more than one instance, I found myself questioning how I would have reacted when confronted with the emotional and physical challenges put before Elsa Eldridge when she simply wanted to write a newspaper article. I like to think that I would have maintained more distance from the dangerous figure of Tyrell, who is revealed to be the embodiment of evil, but so goes the inexplicable power of charismatic leaders. Whether or not you believe Satan actually exists, I offer that the cult of personality in our world is undeniable and on full display in Lucifer Rising.

From Beer to Maternity
Maggie Lamond Simone
Brodman Publishing (2009)
ISBN 9780615289922
Reviewed by Carol Hoyer, PhD, for Reader Views

The author gives readers laughter, sarcasm and humor in this incredibly funny but true book. She admits that she writes today the way she wrote in college; the only difference she wasn’t drunk this time.

Ms. Simone writes what most of us, especially women, think but dare not speak out loud. She addresses topics such as: why women are jealous of each other, how men think, if one is single they are out to find Mr. Right, and being an older mother.

One of my favorite chapters was entitled “Cooties” and deals with how to tell if your date is bored, and how dating companies will check out a potential date by looking at their resume, education, credit scores, and criminal records. She tells us that we all have made stupid mistakes in our life, but do you really need all that information to consider dating someone?

Her chapter titled “Tick Tock” is one that many of us have been through. When our mother keeps pestering us as to when she is ever going to have grandchildren. Ms. Simone relates that raising children is like raising dogs - you feed them, water them and talk to them in baby talk.

Readers will find that the author is saying things we have always wanted to say or question. One will laugh, cry and make notes on witty things to say the next time one of these topics come up. From Beer to Maternity by Maggie Lamond Simone was such a funny read; once you start you can’t put it down till you reach the last page and then you want more.

The Evolutionary Glitch: Rise Above the Root of Your Problems
Dr. Albert Garoli
Loving Healing Press (2010)
ISBN 9781615990177
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views

If you’ve ever wondered why you keep recreating the same problems over and over again in your life, you will find the answer in The Evolutionary Glitch. The author, Albert Garoli, MD, has an interesting and varied background in specialties that include Internal Medicine, Ayurvedic traditional medicine, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), Acupuncture, Electro-acupuncture, Phytopharmacology and Homotoxicology. Through his studies he developed a theory that humans have developed a “glitch” in our neural network. He states that this glitch, “…is at the root of human physical and mental suffering.”

Negative conditioning has caused many of us to develop a persona that leads us into creating negative patterns by which we live our lives. These personas are separated into six categories: The Sanguine Persona; the Lymphatic Persona; the Nervous Persona, the Melancholic Persona; the Bilious Persona and the Phlegmatic Persona. By exploring our conditioned neural networks, we can identify which persona we have embedded in ourselves, and use the techniques offered to overcome the glitches. In doing so, we will be able to live the life that we were meant to live, not the faulty one which find ourselves stuck in.

I found “The Evolutionary Glitch” to be absolutely fascinating. It is written in a manner that combines science with philosophy. Rather than calling it a “self-help” type of book, Dr. Garoli refers to it as “self-challenging.” The process of identifying our personas so that we can overcome our glitches is going to be challenging, because our personas do not necessarily want to change. Even identifying which persona we have takes some in-depth thought and discovery. However, the idea that I can get past those, “Why do I keep doing this, or thinking this way,” thoughts is incredibly appealing and makes me realize that it will be well worth the effort required so that I can live the life that I was meant to live, instead of the one that I find myself stuck in.

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