Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Show Me: Marketing with Video on the Internet

Online marketing is becoming an integral component, many a time the leading one, of an effective marketing plan in our age of cyber technology. With popular social networking websites, like MySpace and Facebook, and video-sharing sites, like Youtube, videos have become the most favorite media for publicity about one’s products, services, and/or talent. Hence, a large number of people are turning to videography for marketing on the Internet. Award-winning videographer Jessica Kizorek’s latest book Show Me: Marketing with Video on the Internet (PSI Publications, Illinois, 2008) is a practical guide to the basics of online video marketing that address the important considerations in video-making for enhancing one’s web presence.

As specified in the disclaimer, Kizorek’s book is not a commercial offer of services but only a useful guide that educates aspiring and professional business owners on the most important facts about video marketing. In 12 chapters, the author covers her topic well from various angles including the reasons for choosing video marketing; different barriers to video marketing; knowing the audience and gauging success of a video; producing and distributing videos online; and so on. There are two very important chapters on legal entanglements relating video marketing, and on the perils and pitfalls involved in international video production. Also included in the book is an appendix summarizing the basics of video marketing online along with endnotes with important references. The information in Kizorek’s book makes it a crash course in video marketing on the Internet.

The glossy pages and attractive images in the book add richness to Kizorek’s conversational style of writing. There are very few typos in the entire publication and the only thing that may interfere with the reader’s enjoyment is the slew of quotes about video ads and marketing – something that fills virtually every second page of the book. However, one may easily skip them by concentrating on the interesting text of the chapters. Show Me: Marketing with Video on the Internet is the book for all Internet users, business owners, and individuals/groups who want to know about video marketing on the Internet.

Book Website


Author Wesbite


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Theaters and Theater Companies of New York

For theater goers and drama lovers, the World Audience Publishers (New York) has published a brief guide to important theaters and theater companies in New York. Authored by Mike Stefan Strozier and Anthony Rubino Jr., Theaters and Theater Companies of New York (January 2008) carries a wealth of guidance on important drama production centers in New York along with full page photos of theater buildings.

Strozier and Rubino’s book inform the readers on the difference between different kinds of theater companies, working in New York; the background of their origin; and the profiles of more important theaters and production companies including their contact details and expert rating of their overall performance. Such an evaluation may help the readers decide what theater to go on their coming weekend. In addition, the authors of the book have also touched on the good and not-so-good critics and publications concerned with the quality of theater in New York. The book also warns against some places for security reasons – information, particularly helpful to strangers/tourists who want to enjoy nighttime theater in New York.

Despite the somewhat out-of-proportion abundance of theater images, Theaters and Theater Companies of New York does not lack in amusing substance. You learn about the story of the first actor, the story of the Tony Award, financial facts about theaters, the longest running plays, and more. This guide offers a snapshot of the art of theatrical production in New York, its past and present, and the business and pleasure of theater in the heart of America.


Friday, October 17, 2008

The Last Cowgirl

Dickie Sinfield, the 52-year old Salk Lake City journalist, ignored the call of her ‘cowgirl instincts’ for years in order to mix up in the more delicate and nifty urban lifestyle. But now, when her only brother is dead in suspicious circumstances, Dickie has little choice but to return to the ranch in Clayton, Utah, where she spent a childhood full of internal psychological conflict. The storyline of Jana Richman’s latest novel The Last Cowgirl (William Morrow Books, January 2008) points to the strong sense of connectedness to a place – in Dickie’s case, the country farmhouse where she had her first practical lessons in living a life.

The story of The Last Cowgirl proceeds as a first-person narrative, taking turns between Dickie’s voice as the 52-year old reporter in Salt Lake City and the child Dickie growing up on a farm. Unlike her elder sister Annie, Dickie’s characterization follows the view of her mother: ‘playing it safe is a shitty way to live a life.’ This holds for both the girl child on the ranch who would get lost in the hills at night and rescued by the ranchers as well as for the still-single, investigative reporter who would go politically incorrect in the face of crooked authorities. Strength, courage, stamina, and the spirit of adventure speak it for the west; Dickie Sinfield being an instance.

Jana Richman’s novel is a balanced work of inspiring literary merit. The language is fresh; the conversations are engaging; and all the main characters are memorably created. In a sense, The Last Cowgirl is a book of heroes chosen from apparently common people. Dickie’s conflict is both natural and vital for the expression of her real self – one that has escaped the lash of time by her half-conscious choice of shifting places. The motivation for returning to Clayton is gradually explored in the combination of the two subplots that fit into each other like mirror images to make a single, shining whole. Readers are cogently led to show how Dickie’s life is about keeping the legacy of courage and commitment that has been the pride of living in the openness of the American west.

The Last Cowgirl also critically brings up some burning issues, e.g. care for animals versus their abuse for vested-interests; passion for natural versus artificial life; speaking the disturbing truth about war as against a conciliatory silence; and finding the true love in contrast to mere companionship for the sake of a social life. With absorbing dialogues, captivating imagery, and delightful humor Jana Richman has scribed a heart-winning saga of exquisite western beauty.

ISBN: 978-0061257186



Author Page


Saturday, September 13, 2008

The GenoType Diet

Since William Sheldon’s seminal work on somatotyping, a number of scientific endeavors have been made to correlate behavioral traits with biological constitution. Dr. Peter J. D’Adamo’s latest book The GenoType Diet (Broadway Books, December 2007) discovers new connections between human morphology, genetic makeup, and blood types. He then theorizes a division of people into six main groups, the GenoTypes, on the basis of these characteristics and relates them to a person’s health, proposing a diet plan that best fits the nutritional needs of each category. After Dr. D’Adamo’s Eat Right 4 Your Type series, this book adds a new perspective to the diet-centered approach of naturopathic treatment.

Dr. D’Adamo devotes individual sections of his book to explain the science, mostly epigenetics, underlying the role of diet in an individual’s overall health. How and why it differs for different GenoTypes is the hook in this publication. Most interestingly, though not very fully, the author relates diet and Genotype in an evolutionary context. Combined with the author’s storytelling skills, it makes the research work a kind of test for self-discovery. As one reads more, he/she is tempted to discover him/herself in the right category of GenoTypes.

While the The GenoType Diet remains an interesting read for most part of it, there is a good deal of repetition in more than one chapter – sometimes seen in replication of whole passages. This is the main weakness that actually starts boring you at the beginning, and/or end, of some chapters. There also remains some confusion about how the author places historical figures, like Julius Caesar and Elizabeth 1 etc, in a particular GenoType without having any possibility to know their morphological measures, blood types, and other variables. This is more of a problem when he categorizes religious figures – like Abraham – characters whose very historicity is in question.

Dr. D’Adamo’s books is not strictly confined to healthy diet only but he also suggests some easy-to-do exercises for people of the six GenoTypes in order to ensure optimal fitness. The book also contains a list of useful resources on the subject and a glossary of important terms. Recommended for health-conscious readers.

ISBN-13: 978-0767925242



Author Website

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Substance abuse continues to be a disastrous consequence of stress and pain, especially those experienced in the early years of one’s life. In her recent book Alive (Infinity Publishing, 2008), Eileen P. DeClemente has revealed intriguing connections between childhood traumas, familial stress, and addiction to alcohol and drugs. Starting with her collapse in her mid 30s, Eileen tells an aching tale of her journey through several years of alcohol and drug abuse. After surviving a number of near-death situations, she decided to put an end to her sufferings by seeking professional treatment. Her narrative keeps the reader glued to the pages of her book, till the very end.

Eileen’s depiction of the alcoholic’s angst carries the reader away not only by its openness and poignant honesty, but more so by her analysis of familial relationships and their interplay with substance abuse. An alcoholic/druggie not only loses control of his/her freedom of choice but is also robbed of his/her social life. For Eileen, it was not less than a miracle to come out of the extremes of substance abuse (over 90 pills a day) and live a normal life again.

Alive is an exemplary work of personal encounter with alcoholism and drug abuse. Eileen’s life story is alarming, mesmerizing, and didactic; at the same time inspirational, motivating, and full of hope for all people who are suffering from some form of debilitating stress in their lives. There are some typos in the book – the only thing that may be regarded as the book’s weakness (and one can point to the publisher only). However, the author’s magic hardly allows one’s attention to be distracted. Alive is just what the doctor ordered; a book for everyone including the teenage population.

ISBN: 0-7414-4578-6

Book Website: http://eileenisalive.com/

The Genie in Your Genes

To counter the invasive nature of allopathic therapeutic techniques, currently forming the bulk of mainstream treatment, alternate healing experts are knuckling down on scientific research that validates non-invasive, simpler, safer, and less expensive treatment methods. Part of the groundbreaking work in this direction comes from Dawson Church, founder of the Soul Medicine Institute (SMI) – a nonprofit education and research institute that focuses on consciousness and energy as primary modalities. In his recent book The Genie in Your Genes: Epigenetic Medicine and the New Biology of Intention (Elite Books, California, 2007), Dawson Church probes into the complex processes that switch on, or turn off, the genes in our bodies, a process that determines whether or not certain healing responses will be triggered. The pages of the book are filled with some of the most amazing findings on genes and illnesses, and their connection with the flow of electromagnetic energy in the body.

To date, mainstream science and popular media have convinced every second person that our biochemistry is mostly determined at birth and that allopathic treatment therapies are the most reliable and effective means of coping with diseases. The Genie in Your Genes challenges this view in a radical manner and underscores the importance of our beliefs and emotions as the dominant factors in determining our physiochemical as well as genetic framework. A simplified version of the author’s view can be created by thinking of psychological states – beliefs, emotions, and intentions etc – as directly affecting the flow of electromagnetic energy in our bodies. This energy has the ability to switch on (or off) particular genes as well as trigger the release of biochemical substances in the body that are important for quick and long-term relief from diseased symptoms. Such changes that start outside the DNA (i.e. epigenetic changes) are even heritable and, if adequately manipulated, have the potential of producing a healthier and peaceful generation of human beings. An amazing implication of epigenetic medicine!

Dawson Church is certainly not excessively critical of allopathic medicine. He acknowledges the use of such treatment in bringing relief from painful symptoms of certain conditions. But given the many adverse effects of allopathic treatments, their invasiveness and low effectiveness in many cases, and their high costs and many risks, he proposes that allopathic treatment should be the last resort of patients, not the priority. Explaining the simple, easy, and cost-free techniques of energy healing, Dawson Church equips the readers with some effective, quick-healing techniques that provide instance relief from stress and associated physical symptoms. The exciting research studies discussed in the book are fully referenced and a list of useful sources of information on energy healing is there for interested readers to consult. The Genie in Your Genes is yet another landmark publication on the subject of epigenetic processes, energy healing, and the biological changes resulting from non-physical stimuli.

ISBN: 978-1-60070-022-4


Award-winning author Herbert Lobsenz has returned to the publishing world with his latest novel Succession (Zumaya Publications, 2008), the story of an aspiring writer, Jake Garrison, who finds himself in the alienating corporate world of the 1960s’ America. While Jake struggles to hold on to his sanity amidst the materialistic pressures of his workplace, the inner conflict with his doubts over his wife’s fidelity and his own integrity silently push him to the darkness of distrust. Only later would he realize that his response to the antagonist forces was overly fueled by his deep-seated fears.

Lobsenz creates an intriguing story for his book. His construction of the plot is compact and somewhat intricate; more poised on the side of the corporate mania rather than the main character’s personal development. There are some weaknesses in the book that may distract an average reader from getting the most of its pleasure and gist. The story takes a sharp start with a captivating hook but soon looses the balance of Jake’s character and, at times, Jake becomes almost non-existent in the plot. Lack of continuity in the story and a rushed conclusion interfere with the novel’s impact as something enjoyable with a clear meaningful message.

On the positive side, Succession opens up a window of thought against the senseless world of business where one has to tread one’s kind, even one’s own friends and family, for making profit. Jake’s watchword ‘never show pain’ is a manifestation of the fears associated with the race for survival in the ever-tightening capitalist society. On the whole, Succession is a poignant and disturbing book, recommended only for a limited audience i.e. men who can enjoy a tale of the business world back in the 1960s.

ISBN: 978-1-934135-81-5



Friday, June 27, 2008

The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing

Book reviewing has been the hobby, profession, and passion of many practicing and potential writers as well as ardent book readers. Still, there had been no book length publication until now that may have served as a guide for reviewing books. Now we finally have one under the title The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing by Mayra Calvani and Anne K. Edwards, editors of the free monthly review ezine Voice in the Dark. Published by Twilight Times Books (2008), Mayra and Anne’s book covers all the basic elements involved in the art/hobby/profession of book reviewing.

As the title hints, book reviewing is a slippery art with a number of influences acting on the potential reviewers, hindering their objectivity and partiality in writing the review. The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing points out those slippery sides of the book reviewing art so as to enable the reviewer to write fair, objective, and reader-friendly reviews. Failing to do so not only betrays the trust a reader puts in the reviewer but also endangers the reviewer’s own reputation and integrity as a pen-holder. This is the most important aspect of The Slippery Art of Book Reviewing.

Mayra and Anne’s book also educates on the basics of reviewing like what a review is; what are the various types of reviews; how to write different types of reviews; and the relation between the review, reviewer, reader, author, and publisher. The examples of reviews and a simple step-by-step guide to review writing included in the book are certainly a great source of information for beginner reviewers. Also, a valuable list of publishing and reviewing sources, online and in print, at the end of the book will be of great interest and practical assistance to reviewers at all levels.

ISBN: 1933353228



Authors’ Websites

Mayra Calvani: http://mayracalvani.com/
Anne K. Edwards: http://www.mysteryfiction.net/

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Human Antenna

Acupuncture and other methods of alternate healing have been in use for centuries and have repeatedly been criticized by hard-shelled scientists and medical professionals as devoid of any solid scientific base. But Dr. Robin Kelly’s recent book The Human Antenna (Elite Books, California, 2007) brings up a whole new face of human existence in the light of some really fascinating research studies. Mainstream science has always attempted to attribute all bodily and mental functions to the material base of our existence. Here, Dr. Kelly presents evidence that we are essentially ‘energy beings’ down to our very last atom. A stunning theory of life!

Working as a medical doctor, Dr. Kelly tells how he found scientific and rational wisdom in ancient Chinese traditions of healing, particularly acupuncture. Not only did he become an acupuncture therapist but also pursued research on the healing aspects of universal energy. What Dr. Kelly learnt was radically different from the ruling concepts of ‘life’ in science; we turn out to be intimately connected to the universal energy that affects each and every cell of us, every passing moment. This universal energy is a major resource of healing various types of illnesses more effectively and almost free of cost. All we need to do is understand it better along scientific lines of research. The Human Antenna is a seminal work in that direction.

Including several accounts of the most exciting and revealing research in various scientific disciplines across the globe, The Human Antenna surprises the reader with its wonderful, little-known facts about life and its interaction with the universe. At the same time, Dr. Kelly narrates his own life experiences that inspired him to seek the truth of existence out of the dark realms of obscurity. His skills of story-telling and refined sense of humor make The Human Antenna a page turner, converting intricate scientific concepts into amusing tales for all his readers.

ISBN: 978-1-60415-014-8



Author Website

Monday, June 02, 2008

AIDS Orphans Rising

AIDS is one of the worst threats that have thwarted humanity. In human knowledge, it has a short history; though its origin is possibly as old as humanity itself. Now in the 21st century, AIDS has become ever more terrifying in a different way than a medical condition: it is prowling on the lives of children. In her latest book AIDS Orphans Rising What You Should Know and What You Can Do To Help Them Succeed (Loving Healing Press, December 2007), Sister Mary Elizabeth Lloyd alarms the readers with the frightening figures of the world’s minor population that is left orphan as AIDS continues to take their parents down. Every 14 seconds, such a tragedy occurs in some part of the world!

In many developing and poor countries, the death of both parents leaves the surviving children on their own. Thus a child headed household (CHH) is formed where the orphans, many of them under 9 years of age, have to work for their survival. Those who are not left a house by their parents have to live on the streets, beg for food, and are prone to falling into crime and prostitution in order to survive. The situation is assuming the status of a crisis in African countries, particularly in South Africa and Zambia, where the governments are economically too weak to support AIDS orphans. What do these helpless children do?

As Sister Mary Elizabeth explains in her book, viewing these children as totally helpless will not be so correct a view since these orphan kids have developed coping strategies of their own to ensure their survival. These range from menial labor to selling grains and nuts, and learning technical skills while continuing to go to school full time. Still, they are very much in need of help from grownups not only to live better but also for emotional support and the development of positive and fully functional personalities as they move into adulthood. Without help, they remain at a high risk of becoming a prey to exploitation and abuse.

How can the lives of these AIDS orphans be salvaged? Sister Mary Elizabeth provides a complete resource guide in AIDS Orphans Rising for the readers to help them play their role in helping the poor kids who have been left on their own in the struggle for survival. The Sister ad her team are working in various parts of the world to support AIDS orphans and their efforts make an instance of inspiration for all those who care to save human children from the claws of poverty and potential abuse. AIDS Orphans Rising is a major step in this direction.

ISBN: 978-1932690477



AIDS Orphans Website


Friday, May 30, 2008

The Book of Life

The Book of Life by Chinese poet and philosopher Ronnie Lee is the first among a series of books that the author has scribed on the subject of existential philosophy and its role in explaining life. Published by Outskirt Press (December 2006), The Book of Life is a voluminous collection of Lee’s poems on existentialism, logic, and the reality of our existence. The aim of Lee’s work is attaining a greater understanding of truth and the core realities of life. The merit of his work is contained not only in his philosophical quest for discovering the meaning of existence but mainly in his use of poetry as a medium of explaining the otherwise mind-boggling views on issues that may not interest the general reader. But Lee makes his views both easy to grasp and enjoyable to read in poetic form.

The Book of Life is divided in five main sections: The Truth of Logic, Wills, Philosophy, World Science, and My World Experience. The first three parts deal with philosophical concepts and the role of logic and reason in understanding various phenomena of existence. World Science is a more mathematical part of Lee’s book, explaining the reality of life by applying existential logic to many mathematical expressions of our mainstream science. In the last part of the book, called My World Experience, Lee shares the many questions he asked himself for attaining a greater understanding of the reality of existence. His own curiosity for getting knowledge serves as a model of wisdom for his readers.

Lee’s The Book of Life is a founding work of philosophical poetry that is a rare genre in our times. Poetic composition makes philosophy easier and interesting. It is an invitation to discover grand realities in an enjoyable, artistic mode. We all have got our own ‘book’ of life; why not explore it in depth like Lee?

ISBN: 978-1432700096


http://www.amazon.com/Book-Life-Existentialism-Wisdom Philosophy/dp/143270009X/ref=tag_prf_item_edpp_ttl

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


As Tami Brady suffered from the painful and peace-haunting symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, she lost control of her life. To mask her fears, she pressed harder on herself in her field work as an archeology student, trying to convey that she was strong as ever. But one day, when she collapsed in the field and was raised to her feet by her friends, she heard the most important thing from one of the students; that she was human just like them. In her latest book Strategies: A Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Journey (Loving Healing Press, Michigan, 2008), Tami Brady tells the story of transformation as a person after her painful experience of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. In a very important sense, Dr. Brady found herself a more confident and wiser person even to the point of thanking the two diseases for visiting her and making this shift in personality possible.

Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are quite prevalent with no exact cause or cure known so far and often being wrongly diagnosed as one or more of several other disorders with similar symptoms. Strategies explores the nature of these two debilitating diseases via the author’s personal journey through them. Realizing the hazards of passively receiving treatment with prescribed medicine, Tami started to formulate her own treatment strategies, targeting both specific symptoms and general well-being. Thus we learn about three main strategies that every patient of these diseases can benefit from: physical support, stress management, and natural medication. Tami’s book is a valuable resource of various means of coping with fibromyalgia and stress that leads to exhaustion.

Strategies also includes a complete treatment plan in form of the many pages to be used by readers who are patients of fibromyalgia and/or chronic fatigue syndrome. By presenting her own treatment plan as a model, the book makes self-treatment easy and simple enough to be used with confidence by any and all readers. For every health conscious individual, and particularly for those who want to win their battle over stress and fatigue, Tami Brady’s book is highly recommended.

ISBN: 1-932690-48-4



Author Website


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Case Against ‘Jesus’

For nearly two thousand years, billions of people have believed in Jesus Christ of the New Testament as a historical figure who lived on this earth and performed miracles. But did Jesus really exist or is he an invented character, no more than a rewrite of the various mythical traditions predating the New Testament? This defying question has been raised before by more than one scholar in the past and now it comes with a shockingly greater force out of the pen of Burton H. Wolfe. In his fourth (revised) edition of The Case Against ‘Jesus’ (World Audience Inc, New York, 2007), Burton Wolfe launches a meticulous probe into the validity of Christian faith that stands on the belief that Jesus Christ existed as a living, breathing person; performed miracles; and was crucified. Digging up the most intriguing historical evidence against the very existence of Christ, Wolfe exposes organized religion as a hoax that serves to satiate the vested interests of more than one group of people.

According to Wolfe, there are many strong reasons for doubting the historicity of Jesus: the absence of any authentic historical evidence of Jesus extrinsic to the New Testament; the startling resemblance of pre-Christian traditions, especially of the Hebraic origins, to the Biblical accounts of the Christ; the contradictions in the Bible regarding the story of Jesus and his crucifixion; various frauds perpetrated by the Church and media to perpetuate the story of Jesus as an authentic fact; and the direct historical evidence proving Jesus as fiction rather than a historical fact. The author’s attention to detail and his vigorous criticism of irrational beliefs pose a serious problem to the world’s dominant religion as well as to organized religion as a whole.

The Case Against ‘Jesus’ is not only a hard blow to religion but also to different media that side with religion in furthering its deceptions. Wolfe is a relentless pursuer of truth who does not hesitate clawing at the fraudulent excesses of some of the most celebrated media channels and publications for their repeated misrepresentations of reality. He names the popular TV channels, newspapers, and magazines that have played with the ignorance and credulity of millions, singling out a few cases of their deception and presenting them as examples of their partiality. These revelations about the most trusted sources of information demand a revision of our very standards of credibility and truth.

Burton Wolfe writes his case against the historicity of Jesus with the knowledge of a scholar, the logic of a philosopher, and the fiery spirit of a nonconformist. At a few places in the book, his tome assumes a certain degree of anger, sounding harsh, but he counters this impression by arousing a good deal of laughter as he encourages making fun of lies disguised as truth. His book is a challenging read for all audiences concerned with truth, history, logic, and of course, with the Judeo-Christian religions.

ISBN: 978-1-934209-55-4



Burton H. Wolfe’s Page at Authors Den


Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Bunko Babes

There are three Fs in this heart-warming debut novel from Leah Starr Baker that make the book rich with all the fullness of life: Friendship, Family, and Faith. This trinity lies at the core of a complete life of a woman as we are shown by thirty-seven years old Rebecca Thornton who tells the story of her encounter with a life-threatening illness and a heap of other problems within the circle of her close friends-the ‘Bunko Babes’. By mutual support, trust, and faith in divine intervention, Rebecca gets the most in her life and emerges as a woman better prepared for living the life to the lees.

The story of Rebecca Thornton is, in every sense, the story of a modern American woman who has a family to care for and who is burdened with the responsibility of keeping things in place while the surrounding circumstances push her to anxiety and lack of direction. All the Bunko Babes have their own problems and insecurities but they all share the most valuable resource of support-good friendship and mutual trust. These two things alone suffice to let a woman’s spirits stand up to their responsibilities. Adding to the meaning of one’s difficult experiences is the element of faith which, though may be lacking in good times, serves to balm the inner soars and makes healing complete when some physical and/or psychological trauma batters one’s integrity.

Like many other good works of women’s fiction, Leah Baker’s first novel takes a critical look at the nature of various problems that plague families and relationships, ranging from problems with growing kids to infidelities of husbands and issues related to aging. Many women usually have to bear the brunt of the aftermath of these problems and it takes a long time and good deal of effort to pull the boat of life out of the troubled waters. With trusting friends, honesty, and faith, these trials of life can be dealt with most effectively, gaining in the process instead of coming to a loss. Mrs. Baker’s novel instantiates the practice of writing purposeful fiction that has the potential of making a difference in the reader’s own life.

The Bunko Babes is a special treat for women-entertaining, inspiring, and educating- but it will also make a touching read for men who value family, friendship, and faith.

ISBN: 0978513754



Author Website


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Spaces Between Things

The latest collection of Linda Benninghoff’s poems is here under the title The Spaces Between Things (erbacce-press, Liverpool, 2008). Like her previous chapbook departures, this collection brings memories of childhood, friends, family, and experiences of natural elements (animals, trees, water, and weather) to life. The 34 poems in this short book deal with the experience of feeling the space between things and how it relates to our definition of life as a conscious individual. Language and compassion transcend the physical barriers while the unstoppable arrow of time marks the position of our individual existence as a being apart from all the rest. Benninghoff certainly writes more with her brains while making room for the beat of her heart in her unrhymed verse.

The Spaces Between Things is intimately involved with the theme of ‘change’. As we move through time, a sense of sameness remains as the essential core of our self but a lot of scenes change on the canvas of life. The two states are often reconciled by the silence of the memory of our past. But there are times when our mind considers things in a questioning mood. Thus Benninghoff asks why her father would not give her the same degree of support as he did when she was a child (Hyannisport). What has changed in the process of becoming an independent individual? Even things that we consider our ‘own’ may not be so when viewed in the context of this constant flux. In Butterflies, for example, we read:

‘I know I have never owned anything
not my hands, my thoughts
nor even the butterflies’

The Spaces Between Things comes without any prelude or formal introduction. Linda Benninghoff does not choose to interpose her presence between her poetic work and its audience. The effect is immediacy of getting to see the scenes she paints with her words. The world of her observation and imagination is peaceful, natural, and beautiful with birds, trees, family, friends, and more.

ISBN: 978-1-906588-12-0



Sunday, March 30, 2008

Proceedings of the 6th Rocky Mountain Region Disaster Mental Health Conference

George W. Doherty, an LPC in Wyoming and the president of the Rocky Mountain Region Disaster Mental Health Institute, has put together the most important papers on managing the impact of disasters on the mental health and behavior of people, especially those who provide emergency services during and shortly after disasters. Published by the Rocky Mountain DMH Institute Press (March, 2008), this edition serves the important purpose of exploring the hazardous effects of disasters on human behavior and on family and society at large.

The papers printed in George Doherty’s book deal with the main issue of disaster impact on mental/behavioral health from different angles and with respect to different groups of population. First responders, emergency workers, and soldiers are always at a higher risk of developing mental/behavioral abnormalities that would endanger their individual and family life. But many other categories of people are at a higher risk of suffering from disasters, tourists, for example, who need special measures of security on account of both natural hazards and terrorist traumas. Then there are the senior citizens for whom old age, illness, abusive treatment, and neglect form a constant trauma without any manifest disastrous situation to be noted by mental health institutes. Managing the stress of all these people is inevitable for the definition of a healthy society.

The target audience of George Doherty’s publication is broad: all mental health professionals, disaster management officers, and local policy makers who have anything to do with a better quality of life for the citizens. Some papers would be of great interest to all readers like Jamie Egolf’s Flyboy’s Daughter and John G. Jones’ The Forgotten Trauma Victims: America’s Elderly. Generally, any educated person caring about an improved quality of life can benefit from this publication of the Rocky Mountain Region Disaster Mental Health Institute.

ISBN: 978-1932690569

Book Details


Website of the Institute:

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Never Better

After the death of her husband Eugene F. Connolly, school counselor and teacher Sally A. Connolly sensed the need to reorganize her life around positive activity and resetting the parameters of life. Her experience of a new life as a woman after the loss of spouse has been chronicled in her latest book Never Better: All Things Considered (Connolly Associates, Massachusetts, 2007). The book is a collection of her short, first-person entries that record her transition from wife to widow and to a single senior. ‘Everything’ considered in Never Better serves to make people, particularly of families and community, educate on potential threats to their health, safety, and the overall quality of life.

Mrs. Connolly’s approach to life as a single senior citizen is very mature. She places high importance on family, education, and belongingness to a peace-loving community. In her usual life, she sees so many things that guarantee a happy and satisfied life; things that are accessible to everyone and the only reason they are not cherished with great enthusiasm is our way of looking at them as ‘routine’. By stepping inside the day-to-day matters as a person belonging to a place and people, life can be filled with joy and positive activity. Never Better radiates that inspiration to make our thinking blend into the fullness of our lives.

Sally Connolly’s fondness for the written word filters through the passages of her book not only in her own writing but in the pearls of wisdom, coming from eminent figures in literature, included in the book. The book’s cover and vignettes reflect a pleasing liveliness that transcends the values of a society obsessed with money-making and self-seeking individualism. The author’s individual voice instead carries all the flair of living usefully and serving a noble purpose. While not offering any expressly stated guidelines, Never Better is more like a picture that shows the beauty of living a good life and sharing it with others.

ISBN: 978-0977265329



Author Website


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Random Thoughts

Letting one’s thoughts ramble is sometimes a delightful venture. Meaning and order may arise from the apparent randomness, like the Brownian motion of particles that determine the temperature of an object. Howard Wu’s anthology Random Thoughts (Trafford Publishing, British Columbia, 2008) is an instance of creating meaning through randomness of thought and content.

The eight entries chosen for Random Thoughts vary in genres and subject mater, hence the complier’s choice of the word ‘random’. The structure of all pieces, except one however, is fairly consistent. The mode is inquisitive and disposed toward criticism, though situations vary widely from the exploration of identity (Deep Thoughts) to an adventurous quest (The World After) and the authoritative control of behavior against innovation (im in punctuation prison).

What makes Random Thoughts unique is the fact that all the entries have been published nearly unedited. The typos and grammatical errors are there and they speak for the book’s gist: the need for sense precedes that of formal accuracy in linguistic expression. Lloyd Hudson Frye’s im in punctuation prison expressly calls for a refinement of thought that would aim at the greater purpose of meaning. Howard Wu is to be credited for putting together a nice collection of thoughts, all random but well worth considering.

ISBN: 9781425162382



Tuesday, March 18, 2008


One thing a good inspirational book achieves is making its readers realize the worth of life and the state of living just in normal good health-something we often take for granted. Canadian author Shireen Jeejeebhoy’s biographical account of Judy Taylor, titled Lifeliner: The Judy Taylor Story (iUniverse Inc, Nebraska, 2007), is a recent instance of personal inspiration with the life and courage of a woman whose medical treatment for severe gastroenterological damage was about to revolutionize the medical technique of intravenous feeding.

Being the daughter of Dr. Khursheed Jeejeebhoy, Shireen Jeejeebhoy met Judy Taylor while still a young girl. Back then, in the early 1970s, Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) was a medical strategy in its infancy, used diffidently by physicians for keeping seriously ill people alive only for a short time. Gastroenterologist Dr. Khursheed Jeejeebhoy decided to use TPN as the alternative mode of nutrition to sustain Judy Taylor-the woman who suddenly had become a victim to a horrible blood clot that destroyed her innards, making eating impossible and inviting death in the form of infection and starvation. Lifeliner is the true story of what happened in Judy’s life as she fought death with the help of Dr. Jeejeebhoy. By staying alive and functional on TPN for over twenty years, Judy became the first successful ‘lifeliner’, a source of hope for more patients like her, and Dr. Jeejeebhoy practically became the father of Total Parenteral Nutrition.

Lifeliner is more than an inspiring biography; it’s a book about the developmental course of TPN as well as a case study of the emotional aftermath of seriously ill people, like Judy, to their families and relationships. Shireen’s pen has all the force of a great storyteller and the artistic skills of reviving a past scene in its most original form. She shows us the situation, taking us to the time and place of the event without throwing in a single unnecessary word. Choosing the present tense for telling Judy’s story, the book gets over the sense of temporal gap that so often interposes between the reader and the events.

There are many medical terms in Lifeliner which the lay reader may have to grapple with and so the author has taken care to add a glossary of the difficult terms at the end of the book. All material is well-researched and a bibliography of relevant works makes the book a complete guide to TPN for interested readers. Lifeliner is for all audiences, and especially a must read for people whose lives have been touched by serious illness. This book will give them hope and courage, helping them to appreciate life better.

ISBN: 9780595445448

Author/Book Website


Judy Taylor Video


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Geochemistry of Marine Sediments

David J. Burdige’s Geochemistry of Marine Sediments (Princeton Univeristy Press, New Jersey/Oxfordshire, 2006) is a comprehensive publication on all the components of marine sediments and every significant process involved in their derivation, transport, lithification, and diagenesis. The book cruises through the marine environment with the eyes of a detail-oriented observer, revealing the surface and pelagic (deep sea) geochemical processes and the mechanisms by which they contribute to the prospective shape, composition, and other properties of marine sediments.

Of particular interest and importance in Professor Burdige’s book is his treatment of the role of organic geochemical components throughout the sedimentation and post-depositional (diagenetic) alteration of marine sediments. In a broader sense, this approach bridges the gap between the inanimate (inorganic) elements of our planet and the animate (organic) components of the earth. Marine organisms, fluid media, and sediments forming/settling in oceans are seen, perhaps for the first time, in a detailed continuum of physiochemical interaction. Not only does this probe into the marine geochemical environment build an invaluable basis of fundamental knowledge about the subject but the book also comes as a guide for the explorers of fossil fuels (the matured products of organic matter).

Geochemistry of Marine Sediments is exhaustively illustrated with figures, tables, mathematical equations, schematic representations of the relation between various components and processes operating in the marine realm, and many profile diagrams for depicting the relation of factors s involved in the processes relating to the sedimentation and diagenesis of marine sediments. Most impressive is Professor Burdige’s complete list of references at the end of the book-a great resource for the research-oriented reader in the relevant field(s) of study-geology, chemistry, and biology. For all graduate students, and above, this book is a self-contained course in both basic and advance marine geochemistry.

ISBN: 978-0-691-09506-6



Author Website

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Humanizing Madness

The 21st century is frequently experiencing intellectual challenges to several established theories in science. Lately, seasoned Australian psychiatrist Dr. Niall McLaren has put the practice of psychiatry to a hard challenge by showing its lack of any sound theory of mind. In his book Humanizing Madness (Future Psychiatry Press, Michigan, 2007), Dr. McLaren criticizes the arbitrariness of psychiatrc treatments based on a crude reductionist view that fails to satisfy the criteria of scientific accuracy and exists more of a convention than a scientifically legitimate practice. He also attempts to fill the void of understanding that surrounds mental activity, its biologic overlap, and its relation to psychiatric problems, by proposing his biocognitive theory of mind.

The need for sound theoretical foundations in psychiatry has been around since the very start of psychiatric practice. The main problem has not only been the absence of a reliable model of how the mind works but also of a reification of personal beliefs that closed the doors of progress in psychiatry by authoritatively dictating whatever felt like intellectually (and personally) rewarding; a case of easing off at the expense of the self-correcting approach in science. Thus Watson’s behaviorist approach in explaining all human behavior is as immune to objective analysis as a zealot’s fideism. Dr. McLaren raises serious doubts about any/all hardwired demarcations of scientific concepts, illustrating through his autopsy of the psychiatric system with the lancet of logic.

Humanizing Madness covers more than one aspect of the psychological and philosophical underpinnings of psychiatry. It is a brief history of the evolution of psychiatry, a critique of the mainstream psychiatric practice and its social/philosophical implications, a critical assessment of the treatment approaches toward mental disorders, and also a thought-provoking analysis of the possibilities that lie in the way of mental health’s future as a genuine science. Dr. McLaren’s genius shows in his out-of-the box approach to redefine scientific concepts more flexibly without compromising major scientific paradigms, rules of logic, and common sense all at once. As he proceeds with his analysis of mental theories, some of the presumably well-defined concepts like consciousness, self, and (above all) mind appear to be no more than loosely nucleated layers around a mere void.

Dr. McLaren’s writing is clear, nearly free of jargon, and easy-to-understand. Nevertheless, Humanizing Madness is not likely to amuse the lay reader. It is a work of scholarly caliber, particularly focused on psychiatry and befitting the reading interest of those interested in psychiatry in particular and in the philosophy of science at large.



Author Website


ISBN: 1932690395

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Last Call

By way of common experience, we don’t usually tend to stay motionless in a seat or else we may feel numb. Discomfort causes motion and only when we start shifting sides within the confines of a seat do we realize that arriving at a balance of ease is not a promised lot. Similar is the case of the protagonists of Blair Oliver’s book Last Call (World Audience Inc., New York, 2007) who are all men, mostly in their thirties, shifting ‘sides’ in the ‘seat of relationship’. The nine short stories included in Blair’s book picture a movement in the psychosocial co-ordinates of relationship, self-image, and responsibility.

Last Call intelligently portrays the disappointments and disillusionments that characterize the dynamics of social life and, particularly in Blair’s stories, family life. The book’s representative hero is a man with a troubled marriage, who must seek the least unacceptable way of losing himself to familial obligations, past grievances, and the fragility of circumstances. Movement is his necessity while caution serves as a learned signal of security against the odds of messing things up for himself but also for his ‘extended self’. The point of the matter is that you can’t be sure what the attempt of movement toward comfort will bring-a little ease or a debilitating fall.

The situations in Last Call pertain well to our modern urban culture where, as Michael Gilbert put it in his recent book The Disposable Male, man is increasingly being cornered as something good for a short-term use. There were times when women would give their soul to save their marriages but things have moved on since then. It is men’s turn now to resume the balance of family life by giving part of their authority and thus-paradoxically-gain control of their lives. Fatherhood and spousehood need to be reconsidered in a new social context. This is a challenge one can hardly obviate and the first thought of it may be the last call that can save our men from ultimate disposability.

Blair Oliver’s stories are fresh, concentrated in mood and feel, subtly revealing, and genuinely correcting. There is humor at places where the situations spontaneously call for it. Last Call is a book for all lovers of literary fiction, a must read for all men, and only the first in a potentially long list of quality fiction from this talented American teacher and writer.

ISBN: 978-1934209745




Introductory Video


Saturday, February 23, 2008

Let Us Share

Reading Lou Dunn Diekemper’s latest book Let Us Share: A Conversation on Growing Older (Synergy Books, Texas, 2007) rolls your fear of aging one-eighty degrees to bring the bright side of aging to the attention of your thought. And thinking is what her viewpoint underscores: ‘introspection can increase our victories.’ Admit it or not, we are in constant fear of aging and death, suppressed consciously or unconsciously to some dark corner of our mind whence it pokes at our ease off and on. But Let Us Share is a book, by a 78 year old lady, that shows us how we can easily transform our fear of old age into enjoyment and peace.

Diekemper’s book is very different from the many self-help books where an author assumes authority over a particular sphere of life and starts casting pearls of wisdom. Let Us Share is what its name reveals: sharing with a senior friend whose number of years of life has not marred her love and enjoyment of it. By simply thinking over our life’s experiences in a new optimistic light, we can take pride and happiness in each day added to our age. In 180 pages of Let Us Share, Lou Dunn Diekemper shows us the beauty of aging and you realize, for the first time perhaps, how evanescent and unnecessary was our fear of getting older.

ISBN: 1-933538-76-7



Friday, February 15, 2008

Good-bye, Baby Max

Many children books are printed each month to amuse kids of varying ages. This colorful, hardcover children’s title Good-bye, Baby Max (Bridgeway Books, Texas, 2007) by Diane Cantrell & Heather Castles is special in its purpose of teaching an invaluable lesson: that of properly saying the final farewell to a loved one who is no more. The book tells the story of the unfortunate baby chick Max who doesn’t make it into life while his twins Dora and Spiderman appear healthy out of their shells. The kids, eagerly awaiting the birth of the chicks, are heartbroken over the death of Baby Max and so their teacher uses her wisdom and care to lead them toward the appropriate way of showing their love and expressing their grief.

The importance of involving children in mourning is increasingly being acknowledged by developmental psychologists since children do sense the loss no matter how much they are coaxed into believing that ‘everything is ok.’ By being left out with the ‘mystery’, their wee minds are inclined to conclude that something terribly wrong has happened; something that is not worth speaking. This sows the seeds of fear and detachment in their mental development. Being a Licensed Professional Counselor and former KG teacher, Diane Cantrell has created a very purposeful book for children-one that is at once a story, a poem, and a healthy course of helping children get over grief. The book’s illustrations by Heather Castles are very appealing to a child’s imagination. There is a good deal here in Good-bye, Baby Max to learn for children ages 4 to 8 years and the 32-pages book is a must read for all kids of this age category.

ISBN-10: 1933538953
ISBN-13: 978-1933538952

Book Details and Availability

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Literal Translations: Issue 8

Litmocracy’s quarterly literary supplement Literal Translations’ 8th issue is out with the 13 finest entries to the site printed in a mini paperback form. Including mostly short stories and poems, Literal Translations gives voice to the ‘personal’ in the world of amateur literary expression. From the provocative to inspirational and nostalgic to inquisitive, these literary tidbits make a great reading for a couple of hours.

This latest issue of Literal Translations includes vibrant shorts like Maureen Wilkinson’s Recreational Sex, Brian Brown’s Dinner Alone, Dave Scotese’s Befriending Dead Uncle Joe, Les Dalgliesh’s The Farmer Cut the Rye, Robin Reed’s The Ultimate Cell Phone, and more. Each page is a unique experience with thoughtfully created characters and questions that tend to stay with the reader after he/she is through the edition’s 50 pages. Brief bios of the author are included at the issue’s end.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Disposable Male

Compared with medieval, Victorian, and early-20th-century times, women today enjoy an awesome degree of freedom with work, relationship, and individual life choices. Or is it an awful and undue burdening of the female members of society at the expense of men? In the context of evolutionary biology, Michael Gilbert, of the University of Southern California, presents some seriously challenging questions to modern men and women of urban societies. In his book The Disposable Male: Sex, Love, and Money (The Hunter Press, Atlanta, 2006), he defies the prevailing hard-shelled feminist attitudes that are confusing gender roles and subjecting both sexes, especially the male, to a dysfunctional status in both individual and social lives.

Michael Gilbert is concerned with the imbalance of gender-based responsibilities for which both sexes are biologically and socially yet unprepared: women suffering from multiple duties at work and family while most men having little to do while biologically though equipped for doing a lot. Adding to this is the Second Wave’s feminist aggression that has supported an invasion of the formerly male spheres of activity by women while providing no alternative to positively channelize the masculine energy. Hence the disposable male!

Mr. Gilbert’s writing style is hip and absorbing; making an enjoyable story of the early beginnings of life on our planet and its evolution to the modern human form. At times, while touching on feminist attitudes, the author’s tone does assume a slightly bitter feel. The book also challenges the rooted beliefs of a divine origin of life and the various conventions that attribute existence to supernatural forces. To the author, life and humanity are natural, not divine, and in their naturalness lies their great appeal to respect and conservation.

After a thorough discussion of the gender-based problem, very little of which is uninteresting, the book lists some remedial measures for a more peaceable and stable social life in modern urban settings. This calls for a greater understanding between both sexes, a careful consideration of the existing needs and sources of living, and mutual cooperation of both genders for meeting the inescapable demands of their evolutionary heritage.

The Disposable Male is targeted at any educated reader who likes to appreciate the flip side of gender issues and for all those who are interested in human sociobiology, current events, and relationships at large.

ISBN-10: 0977655237
ISBN-13: 978-0977655236



Book Details and Discussion


Sunday, January 20, 2008

Temples, Tombs, & Hieroglyphs

In her revised and updated second edition of Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs (HarperCollins, New York, 2007), Egyptologist Barbara Mertz (also known variously as Elizabeth Peters and Barbara Michaels) takes us back to antiquity on a new journey through the ancient Egyptian civilization. This publication on Egyptian history is written with all the objectivity of a scholar combined with the story-telling skills of an author and the orderliness of an organizer. It is to the latter of these that the book owes its success of completeness while covering thirty-one dynasties and reaching the Roman conquest of Egypt by Julius Caesar.

Egyptology is a vast subject-a whole field of knowledge within the broad realm of history. It may be approached as a science or art, always in danger of biases, nescience, pedantic exaggeration, or even political partiality. Barbara Mertz accomplishes a balanced roundup of the genealogical, political, cultural, intellectual, and archaeological history of Egypt through 5000 years. She speaks to her readers through the pages of the book and maintains her personal voice-much like a learned commentator does in a documentary video.

While Mertz’s imagery is concise, her book carries a number of sketches, some maps of ancient Egypt, and some high-quality colored photographs-all illumining the important archaeological details of the ancient Egyptian civilization. For the interested reader, the book includes a list of useful readings on related topics along with an index to the book’s key topics at the end.

Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs also deconstructs some popular myths about the Egyptian history and civilization. This is one good reason why the speculating mind should go through this book. By her explanatory, easy-to-grasp style of writing, Barbara Mertz makes Egyptology easy and interesting with this latest, hard-cover edition of Temples, Tombs, and Hieroglyphs.

ISBN: 9780061252761


Author Website