Archive for April, 2007

My Own Medicine by Geoffrey Kurland, MD

Wednesday, April 25th, 2007

Reviewed by Walt Pierson

     I found this book among some new titles at the library. It is about a long distance runner that overcomes a serious illness. My favorite genre for reading is first person adventures which made the book even more appealing. The author in his early forties was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. This came at a bad time for him as he was preparing to run in the Western States 100, a one hundred mile race.
     After various consultations he was referred to the Mayo Clinic, where coincidentally his father is a doctor involved in research. The narrative winds its way through various departments at Mayo. The trek was well greased and the author did not spend much time in waiting rooms. The treatments are detailed in an interesting manner.
    His recovery is explored on detail. He eventually returned to his practice at a west coast hospital. Through all of this he had a true love that spent time with him both at the hospital and during his recovery. At this same time he was considering taking a new position in Pittsburgh, PA. He eventually did relocate to Pittsburgh. He volunteered as a doctor at the Western States 100.
     When the book ended the reader was left dangling. I wondered if he ever did run the 100 and what became of the long distance and long suffering girlfriend. I had never written to an author and decided to try and send him a letter. I recalled that he was a specialist in children’s pulmonary problems and that he was probably in Pittsburgh. On the web site for Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital his name popped up. I sent off a letter in which I asked the two questions. Within a week a reply arrived from Dr. Kurkland.
     He had been able to run and complete the race where he still serves as a volunteer physician. On the matter of the girlfriend he said “I met my wife after the events of the book had taken place?.
    This book is a good read. It is a story of courage and persistence. It was reminiscent of Lance Armstrong’s book It’s Not About the Bike.

Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

Reviewed by Rosalie Paul

Oliver Gant was fifteen years old at the end of the civil war.  He went to Baltimore and became a stone cutter’s apprentice.  He worked for five years carving doves and lambs on tombstones; but never mastered carving the angel that drew him into the trade.  He wandered for a few years the finally settled in a little town named Altamont nestled in the hills of South Carolina.

He married Eliza Pentland.  Over eleven years they had nine children, six lived.  The story unfolds through the eyes of the youngest child, Eugene, born in 1900.  He is an oximoron being a well educated poor man.  He writes of life and death among the hill people and his difficult journey into manhood.

MicroMessaging, Why Great Leadership is Beyond Words

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

Reviewed by Carolyn Wood 

Stephen Young, an organizational development specialist and formerly the Chief Diversity Officer at JP Morgan Chase where he directed the worldwide diversity strategy for the company resulting in JP Morgan Chase winning many awards including Fortune Magazine’s Top 50 Companies for Minorities, uncovers the power of “micromessaging.?

Don’t be too surprised to learn that the author is not discussing electronic communication of any form.  Micromessaging is transmitted by humans through subtle behaviors such as glancing, gestures, voice intonation and inflection that communicate more effectively than the actual words that are spoken.

Have you ever felt instantly at ease with a person?  The rapport and level of comfort you feel when communicating with a certain person could be a result of the micromessaging you are both expressing.  In contrast, have you encountered individuals that seem remote and distant no matter how you reach out to them?  Here too, there may be more at work than a clash of personalities.  Stephen Young details how to reset the “filters? you use to “screen? others based on research from MIT and his experience with worldwide leaders. 

The enlightening book is a quick read that provides tips for honing your own mircomessaging and building an awareness of the micomessaging of others we meet and interact with in personal and professional arenas of society.

I hope you can visualize me smiling and nodding in approval of this selection.  If so, you are absorbing my micromessaging!

PHENOMENOM by Sylvia Browne with Lyndsay Harrison

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

 Reviewed by Joan Badie

PHENOMENOM  Everything You Need to Know About the Paranormal  is patterned on a dictionary listing every possible term in the paranormal/psychic realm.  It is supposedly non-fiction, yet I feel much of it IS fiction, or at best, fantasy of the author.

Sylvia Browne is very well known as a psychic, hypnotist, teacher and now leader of her very own church.  She comes across as a genuine psychic, interesting and earnest with a great sense of humor.  However, to me, she is a fallen-away Catholic who has taken on the aura of a mystic teacher who wants to thrust upon others her comfortable ideas of a God (who never did have the Justice feature) who is also feminine, who does not punish, who has not created a hell and demons, though Sylvia describes an Underworld of seven levels of monsters, evil spirits up to fairies and a banished first “Eve? called Lilith.  Yet that is not to her, hell.  Sylvia is happy to recall her Catholic days.  She believes in Jesus.  She feels the Blessed Mother and her apparitions in the world are really the Mother or female part of God.  She describes seven levels of the white spirit world with the seventh level as a uniting with God Himself.  Jesus preached to all to give up the world and follow Him, to be united with the Father through Him. Sylvia states she does not want to enter the seventh level.  The book does open up a whole new realm of various stages of existence.  It is fascinating, yet terrible.  One can sense the error of her imaginings.

Sylvia expresses “affirmations? rather than prayers, such as “I will love myself completely today, regarding myself with pride and honor……..?  She describes Gardens, Towers, a Scanning Machine and a multitude of souls shining their white lights along with the white light of the Holy Spirit.  She says even the most evil humans, such as Hitler, just go back into the uterus of an unsuspecting mother on earth.  Yet, reading her works, it seems every one of us plans a chart that includes choosing parents, children and loved ones to meet on earth.  She says we live many lives to learn something every time around, yet we can do absolutely nothing to help the lost dark souls, like Hitler. Since the Bible and ancient religion teaches the devils fell from heaven because of pride, I wonder about these “affirmations.?  I wonder if perhaps her spirit guide “Francine? which Sylvia invites to use her body in a “channeling process,? is not perhaps an evil spirit.

This book has a definition for every type of paranormal circumstance.  Sylvia even describes her own out-of-body experience.  In that, she is stopped before she leaves the tunnel by her grandmother, Ada, who extends her hand in a STOP position, and a voice from her room brings her back to her bed.  My interpretation is that her dear grandmother is urging her to STOP her prideful inclinations to her own religion and a consequent loss of heaven for eternity.  Jesus, in whom she believes, invites us to pray, “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name,..? before we get to our selves and even then..?Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses, ……?   Sylvia’s emphasis on self and spirits send us on a tangent. Multiple dimensions? Dark and light spirits, fairies, gnomes and monsters?  Reincarnation?  Flying by night astrally with silver cords? Maybe.  However, I feel we need to stay on course, through Jesus, to be good, lead others to Heaven and along the way learn what lessons need learning.  I do not feel one must live (Sylvia is in her 54th reincarnation.) many lives to learn the basics of existence.

PHENOMENON represents more fiction than fact, to my understanding.

True Tales of Nonfiction

Saturday, April 7th, 2007

March 27th’s tea prompted “lively discussion?
in the words of Rosalie Paul. 

Getting Started 

Check out the group’s nonfiction title list below.  Reviews will be posted throughout the month of April.

What’s it all about Alfie by Michael Caine
700 Sundays by Billy Crystal
Gap Greek by Robert Morgan
The Lost Maps by Miles Harvey
I Roger Williams by Mary Lee Settle
John James Audubon by Richard Rhodes
My Own Medicine by Geoffrey Kurland
Phenomenon:  Everything You Need to Know About the Paranormal by Sylvia Browne and Lindsay Harrison
Micromessaging, Why Great Leadership is Beyond Words by Stephen Young
The Cruelest Miles by Gay Salisbury and Laney Salisbury

Whitethorn Woods by Maeve Binchy

Sunday, April 1st, 2007

Reviewed by Sue

I recently read “Whitethorn Woods” by Maeve Binchy.  She is from Ireland and all her books are set in Ireland.  My very favorite by her is “Firefly Summer”.  I have read ALL of her books.  I was very disappointed in the latest book “Whitethorn Woods”.  She usually draws a lot of characters who seem not to be inter-connected but by the end she weaves them together in some kind of connection.  She did NOT do this in this book and left you hanging as to what happened to the characters.  I was very disappointed in this one and would not recommend it to anyone.  I am not alone in this opinion about this title.  I personally feel that she was in a hurry and had a deadline to meet so she just wrote whatever.