RECENT REVIEWS & ENDORSEMENTS
Transformations: Stories to Tell in the Classroom
‘Transformations’ is the perfect title for this excellent book as it has the capacity to transform classroom practice and bedtime stories and is an absolute essential for all classroom practitioners and parents who wish to inspire and excite children through the power of oral storytelling. Phil McDermott is a renowned storyteller himself and Transformations reflects his own unique voice which is able to transport us to different times, places and situations. With its powerful stories, commentaries and ideas for follow up activities and discussions, this book goes far beyond the requirements of the curriculum and will enable teachers and parents to set fire to children’s imaginations through the power of language. Within the book I found the most wonderful quote which illustrates the effective way that Phil McDermott is able to promote the power of stories. He writes:
‘when they hear a story it is best to tell it while it is still warm because like the smell of a school dinner in the hall, the images can disappear by the end of the day.’
I wholeheartedly recommend this much needed, powerful book.
Senior Lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University ~ Virginia Bower, Senior Lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University
Inner Goddess Revolution, The
A soulful and honest guide to connecting with the Goddess within. An inspiration to continue on this revolutionary journey! ~ Kirsty Skidmore
Heavy Radicals: The FBI's Secret War on America's Maoists
Aaron J. Leonard
Conor A. Gallagher
The story of the RU-RCP in the period covered by Leonard and Galagher is one of dedication to revolutionary principles and social justice. It is a commitment based on an understanding of the fundamental injustice of monopoly capitalism and imperialism, and evolved from years of political organizing trying to change that dynamic. It is set in the context of a period that saw the murderous war in Vietnam result in a victory for the Vietnamese; an antiwar and antiracist movement made of US students and working people of all races rise to victorious heights and then retreat; and a government in Washington determined to maintain and expand its power over the planet. It is a story of committed political radicals willing to give up their previous lives for revolution. Furthermore, it describes the dangers of factionalism and the pitfalls of dogmatism. The years portrayed in the text were also years of intensified police repression countered with growing cultural and personal freedom. Heavy Radicals does an exceptional job in layering these and other aspects specific to the times into a history well worth the read, even if you aren’t a historian (or a Marxist). ~ Ron Jacobs, Counterpunch
How I Left The National Grid
'Some of the descriptions of the feelings and anxieties (and egotism) of being on stage are unbelievably spot on.' ~ Kingsley Chapman, singer of post-punk band The Chapman Family, Narc Magazine
Timothy J. Jarvis
Since starting this blog and becoming part of the weird fiction community, I've been put in contact with many wonderful people, many of whom love to share their love of fiction. While I often have authors and publishers sending me books to review (I should also note, it's clear which ones actually read the blog based on what they propose to send me) I often review books I come across on my own, or books that ping my radar based on recommendations. The Wanderer by Timothy J. Jarvis falls into the latter category.
Much like the mysterious manuscript that makes up the majority of the book's narrative, The Wanderer was something I stumbled upon. A mention of it on the TLO message boards, an inclusion on a year's best list on a fellow review blog. The cover isn't too busy, and besides title and author it includes a creepy drawing of a Punch & Judy puppet stage. Puppets have long been a macabre fascination of mine, as well as several weird fiction writers and fans that I know, and since I've started reading weird fiction Punch has shown up a couple times and always gives me a chill. There's something inherently dark and twisted about the odd-voiced little demon of a puppet.
Jarvis, whose name struck me as familiar, is someone who knows weird fiction. He truly GETS it. His nonfiction articles published on the Weird Fiction Review website offer further proof of this,
The Wanderer is one of the best books of 2014, hands down. Weird fiction is dominated by short stories and novellas, and it's rare that a novel length piece of work comes along that is as engaging throughout as this book.
The official blurb reads:
After obscure author of strange stories, Simon Peterkin, vanishes in bizarre circumstances, a typescript, of a text entitled, The Wanderer, is found in his flat.
The Wanderer is a weird document. On a dying Earth, in the far-flung future, a man, an immortal, types the tale of his aeon-long life as prey, as a hunted man; he tells of his quitting the Himalayas, his sanctuary for thousands of years, to return to his birthplace, London, to write the memoirs; and writes, also, of the night he learned he was cursed with life without cease, an evening in a pub in that city, early in the twenty-first century, a gathering to tell of eldritch experiences undergone.
Is The Wanderer a fiction, perhaps Peterkin's last novel, or something far stranger? Perhaps more account than story?
The book opens with a Foreword and a Note On The Text to set the stage for the bulk of the book, which is the found typescript. Jarvis tells a sprawling, epic story and deftly weaves together a plot taking place over several millennia. The script is written in the far future, near the Earth's end, and tell's the narrator's story in a non-linear fashion. Parts of his story take place in our modern day, parts during his years of wandering the Earth, and others telling of the moments he is writing the manuscript.
The narrator's prose is often rambling, and includes some interesting syntax (consciously, as the Notes on the Text mention this) which lends a sort of authenticity to the entire book, allowing the frame narrative and book to work together towards becoming more than just a piece of fiction, but an excellent piece of meta-fiction.
Jarvis explores many ideas over the course of his novel: what happens when man crosses borders into strange places he is not meant to be, what is it like to be hunted and live in fear, how does immortality over the ages affect a person? The novel is filled with scenes of terror, scenes of awe, and a glimpse into an ordinary man's millenia-spanning world.
I say this is my favorite novel of 2014, and it's a statement I stand by. Jarvis has chops, and The Wanderer is an epic sized tale of weirdness and horror that no one should miss. It's terrifying, mind-bending, beautiful and unforgettable. ~ Justin Steele, Arkham Digest
Heart of the Hereafter, The
BOOK REVIEW: The Heart of the Hereafter, Love Stories from the End of Life
Posted on January 26, 2015
by Janet Simpson Benvenuti
The Heart of the HereafterEach month I read dozens of books, articles and research reports about aging and healthcare, looking for tidbits of information that I can share with you, knowledge that will make your family life easier, healthier, more joyful. After 25 years in healthcare, it’s rare that I find a book that makes me pause and reconsider how we care for the dying. The Heart of the Hereafter, Love Stories from the End of Life, is one of those books.
Author Marcia Brennan, Ph.D., is a professor of Art History and Religious Studies at Rice University in Houston, Texas. She also is the Artist In Residence in palliative medicine at the renowned M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Curious about her role, I anticipated that her book would describe anecdotally how art therapy can help a patient cope with their cancer diagnosis. Far from that, Dr. Brennan becomes our guide to life’s greatest transition – death – using art as the language to describe what words cannot.
Dr. Brennan briefly provides context about historical guides to the art of dying called the ars morendi, small printed books widely used in the 14th century to help people understand the dying process and acknowledge the moment between living and death, when an individual is suspended between worlds. “Sometimes when I visit people at the end of life,” she writes, “I get the sense that they are inhabiting multiple worlds at once…their physical appearance changes and they become extremely beautiful.” This state of grace, a moment of sustained peace and comfort, a convergence of the physical and spiritual, is captured through her stories about 10 patients, including a child, who are dying.
In “The Heart,” Dr. Brennan brilliantly demonstrates how she creates a complete summation of each patient’s life in a single poem, words that are transformed by a visual artist into a charcoal drawing. She places their reflection in the context of her deep knowledge about religion and art, centering each story around the different types of love that influence and transform a person’s life. The result is breathtaking, especially as each patient acknowledges the accuracy of her work, comforted by her understanding and a sense of accompaniment when facing the transition between worlds.
The news today is full of stories about how to navigate the last years of life. Housing choices, hospice care, insurance coverage and legal plans are mundane but necessary decisions that distract families from what truly matters: being present with loved ones in the last months and moments of their lives. Dr. Brennan, a stranger to the patients she meets, reminds us that our role is to listen and affirm, to remain open to whatever arises, to acknowledge that “the end of life is all about life itself and the many different types of love that we experience as human beings.” This book is a gift to us, one to re-read each time someone in your life approaches the end of their own.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Click this link to purchase The Heart of the Hereafter: Love Stories from the End of Life
c2015 Circle of Life Partners, LLC. All rights reserved.
http://dontgiveuponthem.com/ ~ Circle of Life Partners, Janet Simpson Benvenuti
Rhian E. Jones
What makes Jones’ angle very interesting is that she connects dots that very often aren’t put into context: The economic crisis, the demonisation of a new underclass and the appropriation of working class traditions and expressions. [...] The book is important for a variety of reasons: At one hand it represents a small crack in the monovoice driven cultural scene and looks at how pop culture has been manufactured in order to suppress its audience. On the other it is one of the signs that there is a new kind of engagement with the current status quo, challenging what many people see as ‘unchangeable’. ~ , http://hovezak.com/blog/2013/06/review-clampdown-rhian-jones/
What A Blip
What's a guy like me doing reading a memoir about breast cancer? I'm interested in literature in general and memoirs in particular, and like all good memoirs, this is an unabashed look inside someone else's life experience, by turns grueling and uplifting. Told with deft sensitivity and emotional clarity, it's a journey inside the mind and soul of a wise, funny, compassionate young-to-middle-aged wife and mother. As the subtitle suggests, it largely consists of journal entries - and might have benefited from having more straightforward narrative sections interspersed here and there. But then again, the book is so readable and takes such a light touch to such a seemingly deep, dark subject that perhaps a more conventional narrative arc would have bogged it down. (It's so real and unaffected and defiantly funny that the last third of chapter titles in the Table of Contents is crossed out!)
What this book is not: a heartrending storybook account from "is that a lump?" to "Praise God, I'm healed!" - or anything nearly so predictable and clichéd. Neither is it bossy or prescriptive. What it is: refreshingly frank and personable. Though it is one person's very particular experience, it is sufficiently open-minded and life-affirming to have a universal appeal. After all, this could be anyone's story, but nobody I know of has told one like this before.
~ Ben Mattlin, Author, Miracle Boy Grows Up
Coarse Witchcraft Trilogy, The
13 customer reviews on amazon.co.uk and 10 reviews on amazon.com 25/1/2015 ~ Cusomter reviews, Amazon
Alpha Wolf, The
The Alpha Wolf is both novel and real account - inspired by his own contact with a remarkable healer. The main character ~ Caduceus, Simon Best
God Needs Salvation
In this book the author embarks on an ambitious project : a reformulation of how we should interpret God. He feels that the 'traditional' idea of God does not resonate well in the twenty-first century.
'Rock' takes as a starting point the idea that an academic, philosophical idea of 'God' has 'won out' over and against a more personal God, it seems he is teetering on accusing the academy of being pretentious and hijacking the idea of God, taking it away from the everyperson's 'God-for-me.
One point to mention, on which I strongly agree with the author, is his suggestion that society has not undergone as fundamental a shift towards the secular as is often maintained. ~ The Furrow, Gary Keogh
Afterlife Unveiled, The
Without doubt, one of the best books in this genre.
Life after death - the Afterlife etc is a very emotive subject to a lot of people.
I have studied very many books and comments on the subject, some of which can be quite misleading -- but not this book.
It is very well written and easy to understand, I congratulate Prof. Betty for a fine effort and wisdom worth sharing ~ Bob Mason, Amazon.co.uk review
Magnificent Me, Magnificent You - Grand Canyon
I felt the book was imaginative and informative at the same time, there was a clear story that flowed. Lots of visual aids which are so important to children and there was a good balance of emphasis placed on postures and breathing and meditation Loved the affirmation 'Within you there is also a treasure trove of magnificence.' Personally speaking as a teacher this book would fit in with many areas of the curriculum.
Thanks for a good read
~ Melanie Lee - Yoga Teacher
Teen Spirit Guide to Modern Shamanism
S. Kelley Harrell
Author S. Kelley Harrell does a very good job of laying out the basic concepts of Shamanism.
Her first task is to explain cosmology, the framework that a shaman uses in order to navigate the worlds of spirit.
As a basic overview , this is an excellent book. The author lays out the concepts in a series of chapters that each end with questions and exercises for the reader, if the book is followed in order someone could become familiar with a number of techniques.
If I was to rate this as a standard 101 guide, I'd give it a solid 4/5 broomsticks. ~ Terence P. Ward, witches & pagans
Being Sarah Chilton
By julie keen -
This review is from: Being Sarah Chilton: ( A guide for all Mums when the sh*t hits the fan) (Kindle Edition)
if you love Bridget Jones you will love this laugh out loud book ~ Julie Keen, Amazon
Your Simple Path
Simple and effective.
This book is easy to read, full of good ideas to put the suggestions into practice & backed up by online meditations.
I like the format & the way Ian has created an accessible self help guide that does what it says it will. I have the kindle version and also won a paperback copy via the website,
I can recommend both formats. ~ Gae Jones, Amazon UK
Your Simple Path
Fantastic.What a great read.
The book is easy to read and understand and proves that in your life you can take that simple path.
Its not rocket science it is about being true to your self and being who you want to be and not what the world expects you to be.
Something I have learnt alot about recently.
Written from the heart.Its almost like a snap shot of the journey i am on. ~ Sally, Amazon UK
Good Pussy Bad Pussy
Nothing like contemporary erotica. 5 Stars
Good Pussy Bad Pussy aka Rachel's tale is totally an overwhelming tale and nothing like contemporary erotica. It is a captivating tale that swept me and swayed me like a mighty tornado. The tale begins with the main character Rachel leaving the traditional life of being a wife and mother and run off with her Lover Stefan who has ties with Albert, who is linked to a suspicious business overseas. Rachel is a modern woman who is relentlessly seeking liberation, freedom and fulfillment. And even if she is undecided and unsure of what she really wants, life takes her to an untold dilemma when she finds her lover Stephan sharing her with his friend Albert. She is also in turmoil seeking to resolve the guilt of leaving her husband and son.
She seeks fulfillment and what life offers her is not one or two but innumerable opportunities as well as challenges in fulfilling her desire to be free emotionally whilst exploring and seeking to define love for herself. I fell in love with Rachel because she beats the odds of her love life with a sure determination and finds out what there really is; I mean do we know what we know? How sure is it that one is sure to find fulfillment in marriage? Or how sure am I that what 'm told is good for me and that's all. My first encounter of Rachel was sure bait and I fell for her to the end...and I can't wait for book two to see where we head. You will love Good Pussy Bad Pussy: Rachel's Tale as early as the first chapter :) ~ Thomas Muriuki, Goodreads
Open Book Theater Management
This is the new Bible for recession theatre.
Whether you're in Rotterdam, anywhere, Liverpool or Rome this book is hugely important for a long and developing career. SPREAD THE WORD and we can change the face of British Theatre. Rafe is inspirational and honest. I shall continue to refer to this book throughout my career. ~ Thomas Steer, Amazon
Shanti and the Magic Mandala
Shanti and the Magic Mandala won a Honorable Mention at 2014 - New England Book Festival - Young Adult ~ 2014 - New England Book Festival , http://www.newenglandbookfestival.com/winners2014.html