RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Daniela Cascella invites us to listen. Her new book bypasses the usual descriptions of venturing into the world, rapt by sound (although she wants us to do this, too), and instead allows for an intense, internal stream of sounds to collide with words on paper, enveloping the silent reader.
Cascella is a London-based reader-writer-thinker-in-sound. Like her compatriot, Calvino, she seems to ascribe to the notion of ‘translator, traitor,’ a catchphrase imagined to mean that nothing translated from one language to another (from one listening experience to another) is ever without compromise. Cascella suggests her text is a proposition: a way of thinking and writing through listening and reading. Writer becomes channel; book as transmission.
Joan Schuman, Earlid
READ AND LISTEN: http://www.earlid.org/posts/cascella_intro/ ~ Joan Schuman, web
- Nursing by Heart
Julie Skinner has addressed a very lacking topic in the caring profession that is crucial for the health and well-being of those who serve humanity in this capacity. This book is a very useful resource and will most probably end up being an important text book in the many courses that teach those who spend their lives caring for others. It's long overdue. ~ Jenny Parker, Amazon.au
- Nursing by Heart
This is a spiritual work; for nurses whose hearts are open to more awareness of what goes on below the surface; open to understanding themselves better and open to making improvements ~ Carla Van Raay, Amazon
- Pop Grenade
Good, good stuff. Collin can write, no doubt, and evoke a scene with great mastery... What we have here are some great tales, told well. ~ Simon A. Morrison, Silent Radio
- Paganism 101
Paganism 101 is a very well organised book. The contents are divided into three sections; “Who we are”, “What we believe” and “What we do”. The 101 essays are just the right length and peppered with the names of recognized authors and acknowledged experts in their various fields of influence. It is easy to read and gives a broad view of paganism in a variety of forms. It would be ideal for a seeker exploring the pagan path, but also of interest to those who, like me, have been many years on the pagan path. As a solitary Druid with Wiccan/ Goddess leanings I had no idea there was a Heathen or Eclectic pagan path and knew little of Shamanism.
I enjoyed sharing so many people’s stories of how they discovered their path and the “Who we are” section of the book emphasises the freedom and flexibility available under the umbrella of paganism in an interesting and engaging way. The “What we believe” part of the book give clear information that demonstrates the common threads in paganism that link us all together. I found the sections on deities and ethics particularly interesting and informative.
But it was the last section; “What we do” that engaged me the most and would, no doubt, help a new seeker have a very clear understanding of the practices pagans engage in. From the detailed descriptions of herbs used in healing, to the essay that tells of a Celebrant singing a soul home, this part of the book goes a long way to demystifying paganism and demonstrating its potential for beauty, reverence and service to others.
I would, without hesitation, recommend this book. Trevor Greenfield has done an excellent job of casting a light over the many paths through the forest of paganism that gives an intelligent and helpful answer to the question: “What is a pagan?” Linda Perfect
~ Penny Billington, Touchstone
- Handbook of Urban Druidry, The
'Have you ever thought that there must be a better way to live than the way you do now?' begins this engaging little book. If you think it sounds like yet another self-help manual, then think again, for it soon becomes abundantly clear that we are in a safe pair of hands. Brendan Howlin writes exactly as I imagine he speaks. Here is a friendly down to earth voice with a solid helping of common sense and a good dash of humour, the kind of voice you could listen to for hours. The book is aimed at those new to Druidry and, as the title suggests, living in an urban environment. Not that the rural Druid would feel excluded in any way, and there's plenty of interest here here for even the seasoned Druid.
Brendan begins by tackling lifestyle and its difficulties for the average stressed and overworked city dweller. First comes learning how to stop and look, learning to see, unlike those in the car park on an autumn evening, rushing to get home and failing to see the large fox standing in the middle of the car park. We learn to take a few moments to stop, look and see, the sky, the sunset, the urban fox, learning how to live in the here and now, to create a little space in a busy life. Next comes learning to relax, to practice breathing deep and slow, to meditate.
There's a quick introductory gallop through the seasons and the Wheel of the Year. We touch on ethics, with a sensible discussion of Crowley's maxim 'Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law', and there's a section on environmental awareness and living lightly on the land. Finally we are pointed towards what it means to study through the three grades Bard, Ovate and Druid.
This book is written by someone who really cares, really wants the reader to have a more rewarding lifestyle. It's only a small book, but it really might change your life! Polly Morris
~ Penny Billington, Touchstone
- Shaman Pathways - The Druid Shaman
What an enchanting read! This little book resonates with the profoundly insightful teachings of Druidry and Shamanism all woven together with wisdom and sensitivity by Danu Forest. The book represents a starting point, it takes you on a journey, leading you confidently to a magical doorway and then, like a loving mother, it encourages you to take your first tentative steps. In reading this, feeling it, you can be confident in the knowledge that Danu has gifted you the wisdom to stand your ground.
Danu offers exercises to help you prepare yourself and to meet your allies. Those who will accompany you as you travel onwards through and between the veils. She offers supportive guidance that you can choose to follow, or not, while she reminds you that it's entirely your choice. Expertly researched, The Druid Shaman helps the reader to align with the cycles of the land infused with energies upon which you can draw. And while she urges curiosity she reminds us to talk always with honour and respect.
Danu introduces us to the tools of the shaman trade before leading us on an introductory tour of the three realms. Abred, the Middleworld, where the indwelling spirits are found and then to visit the Underworld and Upperworld, each with their own extraordinary gifts, tantalisingly close, ready for the novice shaman to connect with. I'd recommend this book for people taking their first steps since the platform is solid, it is beautifully written and Danu has shared her experience with love and deep respect.
~ Penny Billington, Touchstone
- Twerking to Turking
What we want to avoid at all costs is something that is common inside both academic and journalistic discourse; that is, criticising the popular from an imaginary privileged position of knowledge, and even setting up this imaginary position in the process, making it seem as though we can speak from somewhere outside of these discourses.
The above quote, taken from the introduction to the magnificently titled Twerking to Turking: Everyday Analysis Volume Two, encapsulates what is superb about the Everyday Analysis Collective and their enquiry into the banal minutiae of contemporary culture. The Collective are a group of students, scholars, writers, artists and activists pulled from all corners of the Earth, and are attempting to lower the highbrow of critical theory with short and snappy essays that deconstruct social and political life in an accessible, bit-sized format. They have only been operative since 2013, yet here we are already on Volume Two of the group's collected writings, just a year or so after Volume One, Why Are Animals Funny? (2014) made a small but significant splash. The writings here are more confident, vibrant, funny and lucid than that previous effort. With such a diverse range of subjects covered it is difficult to offer a constructive and concise review of everything covered in this volume. The term 'something for everybody' certainly applies, yet hardy goes far enough. Žižek, Derrida, and Lacan, sit side-by-side with Cowell, Gosling and Geldof, a mash-up of high and low culture which could, in other philosophical hands, have proved unwieldy.
Helpfully, the Collective have broken their analyses down into fields of interest: art, film, sports, work, digital cultures, sex and love, books and comics. This array of subjects offers an easy way in for the prospective reader, who can dip into the text at random and bounce from subject to subject at will, a literary equivalent to skipping television channels or, perhaps more fitting, surfing the internet. Rarely do the essays exceed 1,000 words; some barely scrap past 500. Perhaps this is increasingly the only way to grab the attention of an internet-obsessed generation who can't get through a EDA post without simultaneously opening a tab for Boredpanda.com to look at pictures of cats sleeping on top of dogs. A number of essays in particular stand out. ‘Getting Google's Approval’ is sharp in its assumption that Google is silently disapproving of your search topics, especially those it considers depraved. ‘Sending Shit to UKIP’ documents the UK populace’s juvenile, yet hilarious, ‘dirty’ protest at the politics of the far-right UK Independence Party. Dissenters took advantage of the party's freepost address to send it an assortment of unsolicited gifts, ranging from bricks to faeces.
Whilst a majority of the subject matter is overtly party political, some of the items are more subtle. The section devoted to sport, for example, digs deep into issues of racism in football ('Croatian Football and Racism' and 'Dani Alves: A Banana Used as a Banana'), and the spectacle of the sporting event ('Loving Football' and ‘World Cup 2014: Sky Sports Live! and Alain Badiou's “Event”’). The section marked 'Miscellaneous' explores the ridiculousness of modern life with essays on social awkwardness, 'On Almost Bumping into Someone when Walking Around a Corner' and 'On Seeing Yourself on a Big Screen' are particularly cringeworthy ruminations on how we react to ourselves and each other in modern society.
However, no matter the subject, a spectre haunts Turking to Twerking: the spectre of David Cameron and Nick Clegg. It seems to me that a collective such as the EDA could only exist and thrive in Austerity Britain. Their currency is the the sheer absurdity of the past five years, of nation ruled over by a toff version of The Office’s David Brent and a feebler Gareth Keenan at his side. The EDA Collective embody this schism in history; their work wouldn't resonate so well in any other recent political era. There was genuine warfare under Thatcher's iron rule, and only satire, or straight-up violence could explain and dispel it. Under Tony Blair’s New Labour the nation was caught up in its own exhilaration at once again being Cool Britannia to question the pillars of society. And why on Earth would we? We were also prosperous under New Labour, at least for a short while. In 2010 the United Kingdom decided to experiment with a form of sitcom style politics in which we as a nation collectively played the straight man. In the wake of the comedy of errors dealt out to us over the past five years, we have become more questioning of our leaders’ motives. We have become partial to other forms of political engagement, through protest, Occupy, online social media, music and street poetry. We are finding new avenues to communicate with one another, and are reclaiming language from the idiotic soundbites of political discourse.
We are looking everywhere – and in the case of EDA, at everything – for answers, and finding them in the most mundane of objects and situations. Political criticism and incisive commentary are no longer coming out of academia, or traditional outlets such as Newsnight or The Andrew Marr Show. Through social media we are transcending the old forms, and opening the argument up to all. And this argument will not go away now we that we face another five years of austerity measures – this time with an absolute Conservative majority. We will need the EDA Collective and their like to continue to articulate, with wit and humour, our resistance to the cruelty of austerity politics. ~ Stephen Lee Naish, Review 31
- Nursing by Heart
This is a great read with something to offer all who care for others. Nursing by Heart offers tools we can find within ourselves to nurture “self” and create awareness of our place in the world. Julie’s book gives Nurses “permission” to make self-care a priority and allows a more centered, energetic perspective from which to work. Julie has given Nurses permission to care for ourselves in our everyday practice and relates her own journey to self-care in this very real and generous work. Thank you Julie. ~ Jo Burton, Amazon.au
- Romeo and Juliet in Palestine
Original and fresh [...] An assumption-shattering book that offers a perspective on Palestinian life not often seen on the news or in the papers. For the most part this is a personal memoir, packed with tales and anecdotes [...] Blended in with the personal writing are aspects of educational theory and literary criticism – not so much as to become an exclusively academic book – as well as those of a travel book. The book will suit students and academics as well as those readers merely intrigued by the topic. [It is] as complex and serious as the Palestinian/Israeli situation demands, but a lively read. ~ Charlie Pullen, The Bookbag
- Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?
"What really makes this book work are the characters and the dialogue... think of it as The Matrix as told through the eyes of Stan Lee and then rewritten by Jim Thompson. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome." ~ , Chicago News
- Master Communicator's Handbook, The
I worked with Tim and Teresa early on in my career with notable results and I’ve made many a return visit. They scrubbed me of acronyms and schooled me to making everything more relevant and real to my audience. We’ve now engaged them in training our leaders in a Master Communicators program and I’ve seen a watershed difference in bringing our work to life. ~ President Carter Roberts, President and CEO, World Wildlife Fund
- Nursing by Heart
Excellent read, its not common for Nurses to be acknowledged, we carry out a unique role and rarely take care of ourselves. This book is strong reminder of the need to have good self care in order for us to carry our many tasks. Thank you Julie, this is open and honest book that made me stop and re think my professional practice. This really should be part of every Student Nurses reading requirements, as self care needs to be embedded in our practice from the onset. ~ Debbie Mole, amazon.au
- Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa?
If a genre mashup book is done right, it can be a beautiful thing. When an author can get a bunch of genres that shouldn’t fit together swirling and twirling around together like a Dancing with the Stars champion, the odds are it is going to make for a very unique and interesting book.
Andrez Bergen’s Who is killing the Great Capes of Heropa? is just that. A unique and interesting Frankenstein monster of a book that combines science fiction, noir, and comic book superheroes and actually gets it to work.
The first thing you will probably notice about this book is the cover artwork. It is a stunning piece that somehow manages to capture all of these genres perfectly. The city looks like an old 1940s skyline, the body in the spotlight gives that mystery noir feel to it, and it has the appearance of being a frame straight out of a 1960s comic book. It is a beautiful piece of artwork that really catches your attention, and, fortunately, Bergen was able to back up this art and create a story that is just as good.
But what exactly is the story and how the heck does Bergen get it to work? Well, without giving too much away (haven’t you learned by now that these never include a summary of the plot! The less you know going into a story, the better it is!), think of it as The Matrix as told through the eyes of Stan Lee and then rewritten by Jim Thompson. Yeah, it’s pretty awesome.
And while the setting of the city of Heropa is built beautifully and really feels like a city you would find being defended by caped crusaders during the Silver Age of Comic Books, what really makes this book work are the characters and the dialogue.
First, the characters are all interesting. Each one has their own superhero persona and special power and costume. They are all familiar, but with a twist. Kind of like the book itself. They have names such as Southern Cross, Pretty Amazonian, and the Brick. They are all fun, interesting, and surprisingly complex.
Part of what makes these characters so compelling, and quite possibly the best part of the novel, is the dialogue.
This 450-page book is incredibly dialogue heavy, and that isn’t a bad thing. Not when the dialogue is so expertly crafted. Each character has their own voice and the conversations flow so naturally it seems like Bergen was just recording people’s actual conversations and putting them down on paper (The Brick’s dialogue is particularly fun to read. He is like a 1940s wise guy).
During some of the parts that are a little more exposition heavy, you will most likely find yourself very eager to get to the next round of dialogue, not because Bergen is particularly bad at writing straight prose, but because he is so good at writing dialogue.
Adding to the comic book feel of the novel are occasional illustrations throughout the book (done by 35 different artists) that illustrate certain aspects of the story. Typically this is newspaper headlines/covers and character models (what is a good superhero tale without a sketch of the heroes in their costumes?). There aren’t too many illustrations, but the ones that are there add another layer to this book to help make it work.
Is this book fine literature? Nope. But who cares. Not every novel needs the pompous title of “fine literature”. Sometimes a novel can just be a damn good book. And that is exactly what Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? is; a damn good book.
The dialogue is as good and as true to life (at least, the life that is portrayed within the book) as you will find and the characters are incredibly interesting. Oh, and the mystery aspect isn’t too shabby either.
So if you aren’t someone who is too interested in reading Faulkner, Hemingway, or Dostoyevsky, or if you just need a break from novels like ones by those authors, Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? is as good a book as any to turn to.
It is the type of book that will have you smiling as you read it, it is just that fun. And who among us couldn’t use some more fun in their life? Do yourself a favor and give this book a shot. ~ David Malone, Chicago News
- Patient in Room Nine Says He's God, The
Not a review but an article by Louis Profeta:
"We're Living in an Age of Cell-Phone Cowards"
Jun 19, 201573,809views955Likes346CommentsShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookShare on Google PlusShare on Twitter
Which is more likely to happen? You get assaulted in a mall parking lot and someone comes to your aid, helps ward off the attacker and calls the police? Or, you get assaulted in a mall parking lot and someone holds up a cell phone and records it all the while providing commentary like, “Damn, she’s getting her ass beaten; someone should call the police?”
Just the fact that you have to pause for an instant and contemplate the answer is proof enough.
We are becoming a nation of cell phone cowards, legions of do-nothing iPhone creepers who think that helping a fellow man or woman stops and ends with pressing “record.”
I’ve been thinking about all of this more and more lately after seeing a recent news clip of two women fighting in our local Wal-Mart — the personal hygiene section, I might add — while a gaggle of Google-eyed, cell-phone cyclops looked on.
The video went viral, predictably, resulting in news coverage across the country.
We should take comfort, though; not all is lost. It seems a six-year-old boy stepped in during the brawl and beat one lady over the head with a shampoo bottle to make it stop. You can’t make this stuff up.
Intervene, or record?
There used to be a time in America when we rushed to each other’s aid. Now, we’re more likely to rush to capture someone’s distress for a chance at a snippet of YouTube fame.
Yes, there are exceptions. You surely could provide some real – or perhaps exaggerated, urban-myth – examples of person X dying while putting his own life at risk, or person Y getting sued trying to help break up an altercation. But, come on. You probably know someone who’s held a phone out the side window of his car and recorded a crash scene or assault or whatever before giving a single bit of thought whether the police and fire had been called, if the occupant had been killed or if the family had even been notified.
But that’s what Facebook and Twitter and Instagram are for, right?
We can now instantly post a photo or video of some tragedy and set into motion a chain of events leading to a Facebook instant message from a concerned “friend” that says, “I was on Facebook and I just saw a photo of a car just like yours. It’s rolled over and smashed in a ditch and I just wanted to make sure you or your kids are OK.”
Now I do not want to suggest that Facebook is not the way to break this kind of tragic news, and most likely the “friend” vis-à-vis Facebook is better suited at breaking this news to you than a police or hospital chaplain or the ER physician and a grief support team. After all, just last week they “liked” your recipe for red velvet cake, so now you have developed a lifelong bond.
This is the world we now live in. One where you can see a photo or a video of tragedy that befalls your family way before the hospital or the police notifies you.
My take: If it comes to a decision about whether or not you should intervene, it would be more acceptable and understandable if you just say, “I can’t, I couldn’t, I’m just not suited to get directly involved.” That is okay.
Not everyone has the physical gifts, aptitude, courage or even recklessness to jump in and try to stop whatever is happening. I get it. I’m an ER doc. It took me years to be comfortable in a crisis. I also know that we can be so overwhelmed with emotions that we get lost as to what our role should be and how we should respond. It has happened to me many times. It even happens to those (police, fire, military, nurses, physicians, etc.) who have made it a lifetime career to help in a crisis. But I’ll give you my other take on it.
If that cell phone in your hand is doing anything other than calling 911, then you are doing something wrong.
Sure, you’ve seen these headlines and the associated videos.
Maybe you clicked upon them in some Facebook or Twitter feed. You might have paused the changer on a bit of trash journalism from a rerun of MSNBC’s “Caught on Camera.” This is voyeuristic garbage that, if bundled up and sent to deep space, would make an alien gaze upon it and decide humans are a decent source of easily harvested protein able to be sucked up raw with a dollop of horseradish and a squeeze of lemon. We are becoming a generation of spineless mollusks.
It’s sad, because even a slug will dive into a cabbage leaf.
Some of you might take offense to me calling you or your kid a coward or refuting the argument that his or her recording of the locker room fight between the gym teacher and the student was meant to provide “proof” or “to make sure those responsible were identified.” Please; that never crossed your kid’s mind. What did though, is this: “Dude, dude, this will look awesome on Twitter.”
Here is a bit for you to contemplate. I have yet to take care of a person who has been beaten to hell, whose first words were, “Gee, I hope someone recorded that.” Every time you watch a video of someone suffering, either by an accident, an assault, or even some fault of their own, know that the person on the other end of the camera is most likely doing little to stop it, exhibiting a callous disregard for the physical or emotional well being of the individual or their family. In many instances they compound the humiliation by either posting it or doing nothing to stop it.
We have become cell phone cowards, a new generation of do-nothing iPhone peepers and creepers.
One day perhaps you could be on the receiving end of one of these tragedies and your grief and your distress can be paraded for the whole world to see.
And get a million likes if you’re lucky.
Dr. Louis M. Profeta is an emergency physician practicing in Indianapolis. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book, The Patient in Room Nine Says He's God.
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/were-living-age-cell-phone-cowards-louis-m-profeta-md ~ Dr. Louis M. Profeta, Emergency physician & author
- Brief Peeks Beyond
This book is a multi-faceted exploration and critique of the human condition as it is presently manifested. It addresses science and philosophy, explores the underlying nature of reality, the state of our society and culture, the influence of the mainstream media, the nature of free will and a number of other topics. Each of these examinations contributes an angle to an emerging idea gestalt that challenges present mainstream views and behaviours, and offers a sane alternative.
The book is organised as a series of short and self-contained essays, most of which can be read in under one hour.
Bernardo Kastrup has a Ph.D. in computer engineering with specialisms in artificial intelligence and reconfigurable computing. He has worked as a scientist in some of the world’s foremost research laboratories, including the European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) and the Philips Research Laboratories (where the “Casimir Effect” of Quantum Field Theory was discovered). Bernardo has authored any scientific papers and five philosophy books.
~ Wendy Stokes, Psychic News issue 4129 - July 2015
- Good Pussy Bad Pussy in Captivity
Hot and Steamy
This is the follow up to Good Pussy Bad Pussy: Rachel’s Tale and it doesn’t disappoint!
This book starts with her beloved Albert being kidnapped and from there between what simply just happens to Rachel, and what happens to her based on her own choices, is often violent and graphic, yet oh so hot and steamy.
Again, A. Aimee gives us a guilty pleasure book that leaves you both excited and shocked at yourself because of your excitement! She takes you to the edges of places you’ve never been before, and leaves you no choice but to jump.
I highly recommend this book (both of these books) to anyone wanting to explore their naughty side. You might be surprised at what you find!
~ January Gray, Amazon & her blog
- Kitchen Witch's World of Magical Food, A
This is a great book! As with Rachel's other books, its filled with so much useful information and presented in her usual friendly approachable way. I love the idea of using food as a form of magic! As we already know relating food to seasons is common place, but Rachel takes this basic principle ten stages further - food for moon cycles, the wheel of the year and food for spell work, or intent. Included is a handy and very thorough Correspondent section, along with scrumptious recipes and tips for your produce last longer (herb butter for example.) However my very chapter is on Tea, especially how to change the hum drum cuppa into a ritualised ceremony with deep meaning and purpose. Also I have to point out, some of Rachel's herbal tea recipes are amazing!
A very proactive book, and a must for anyone who has followed Rachel's Kitchen Witch series. ~ Vate Pathfollower, Amazon
- Nursing by Heart
Nursing by Heart is a lovely, open and practical book for nurses and really anyone in the caring profession. You can feel Julie's writing is from her heart, a place where she holds her own experience of self care and the whole nursing profession very dear. ~ Patti McBain, amazon.au
- Nursing by Heart
A MUST READ For Nurses and well... all those in carer roles. You know who you are! With every page I can feel the angst and frustration of feeling alone in a huge institutionalized system dissolving and solutions are revealed. So many layers are opened up- simply, practically, and with much humility and grace. I am not alone.
As a long time professional carer and holistic healer now working as a nurse, I am so grateful for this "guide" to support my heart in holding the knowing, while deepening my understanding and dismantling my biases.
Thank you to this author for her ability to take me deeper into my self awareness, for her insights and the work she has done to carve a path of hope and possibility for new doors to open in how nurses practice- actually, it feels like Nursing by Heart has a way of transforming whatever obstacles come up, (no matter how cemented in place) into more love. I have more true joy in myself as I work. - I hope this becomes part of the mandatory competencies!! ~ Margurite Carney, amazon.au