Book Review: A Wizard of Earthsea

This is the first book in a series of 6 books by Ursula K. Le Guin.  She is an awesome science fiction writer.  Not too long ago I reviewed The Lathe of Heaven, another excellent book.  I listened to this book and had a hard time pausing it when life got in the way.  Just a great story that is very original.  Lots of adventure and magic.  I can’t wait to read the second book.

A Wizard of Earthsea Book Cover A Wizard of Earthsea
Ursula K. Le Guin

When Sparrowhawk, a young student at the School for Wizards, becomes overanxious and tries his dangerous powers too soon, he unleashes a terrible evil throughout the land.

Book Review: The Conscious Parent

Another Dalai Lama book!  So this co-author on this one is Shefali Tsabary, who also wrote The Awakened Family which is a New York Times Best Seller and was a book endorsed by Oprah.  “Parents . . . you will be wowed and awed by [Dr. Shefali].” —Oprah Winfrey  The Conscious Parent won the Nautilus award in 2011.  I would recommend this book to any parent.  I found it very helpful and trying to slow down and remember that my kids are going to remember things that I don’t think are a big deal.  Every time I lose it my kids will remember that and it will go into the idea of who I am in their eyes.  I highlighted substantially in this book.  Here are some lines I think are worth sharing:

perfection is an ideal of the foolish.

when we are in the grip of anger, we are anything but in control. We are prisoners of ego.

“It’s okay to be bored. There’s nothing wrong with feeling bored. Keep being bored.”

On weekends, my daughter is allowed an hour of television or an hour on the computer.

Not that they will blindly follow your dictates, but that they will seek your counsel

[to our children] I learn how to be a better person from you.

truly hearing what they are saying, without feeling we have to fix, correct, or lecture.

The smallest, “I don’t know, but let’s find out together,” has the power to evoke the most profound of life qualities.

we often don’t take the time or exercise the patience required to get at the why,

For a young child, times to nap and go to bed are aspects of the main rules and as such are non-negotiable.

If the parent is resolute, the child will quickly pick up that there is no argument around this issue.

The traditional dynamic of parent-versus-child would yield to the realization that our children are often wiser than us and able to advance us spiritually just as effectively as we can advance them.

I know that’s a lot but, I thought every one of them was worth sharing.  The highest praise I can give a book is buying extra copies to give other people.  This is a book that I can defiantly think of buying extra copies for friends and family.

The Conscious Parent Book Cover The Conscious Parent
Shefali Tsabary
Family & Relationships
Namaste Pub Incorporated


Written by Namaste author Shefali Tsabary, PhD, with the Preface by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and advance acclaim by authors Eckhart Tolle, Marianne Wiliamson, Marci Shimoff, Laura Berman Fortgang, and other leaders in the field of parenting, this is the book we've all been waiting for.

This innovative parenting style recognizes the child’s potential to spark a deep soul-searching leading to transformation in parents. Instead of being merely the receiver of the parents’ psychological and spiritual legacy, children function as ushers of the parent’s development.

Once parents are learning alongside their children, power, control, and dominance become an archaic language. Instead, mutual kinship and spiritual partnership are the focus of the parent-child journey.

Parents unwittingly pass on an inheritance of psychological pain and emotional shallowness. To handle the behavior that results from this, traditional books on parenting abound with clever techniques for control and quick fixes for dysfunctionality.

In contrast, in Dr. Tsabary’s conscious approach to parenting, children serve as mirrors of their parents’ forgotten self.

The parent who is willing to look in the mirror has an opportunity to establish a relationship with their own inner state of wholeness.

Once a parent finds their way back to their essence, they enter into communion with their children. The pillars of the parental ego crumble as the parent awakens to the ability of their children to transport them into a state of presence.

Book Review: Secrets of the Chest

This is a tough review.  I really like the story in the jacket sleeve of this.  Actually, that was sent to me from the publisher and I liked it so much I requested a copy of the book.  When it came I was excited to start it, but as I read I lost interest in the story.  IT started out okay, but it kept going on subjects it needed to just move on with.  This is another book that it took me a very long time to get through.  I kept putting it down to read something else.  However, since I hate leaving a book unfinished, I picked it up when I could.  5 months passed and I finally had it done.  I gave it 2 stars.  I think this book had potential, but it didn’t execute.  What makes this review tough is I asked for this book and I don’t want to give it a poor review, but I have.  I’m the only reviewer of this book on good reads and the poor thing has a 2-star rating.  I hope others will review this book, but I can recommend it.

Secrets of the Chest
Evelyne Morris
Historical Fiction
Austin Macauley
May 31st 2016

Thornton, 1603. Mary de Courtsey, a four year old ‘little maid' is given a handmade oak chest in which to keep her secrets and treasures. Throughout her coming of age, marriage, separation and darkest hours she maintains its secrecy and vows it will be always passed on via the female line to future generations. Now in 2015, Suzanne has just turned 18 and inherits the chest from her grandmother. As Suzanne reads a final letter from her grandmother bequeathing the mysterious chest to her, an amazing family history is revealed. From the tempestuous and challenging tale of survival and murder in the 1600s, illicit children at the turn of the 19th century through to a more recent past via France and Istanbul, her female ancestors reveal themselves and their engaging stories to her through their diaries and their unbroken protection of the family chest.

Book Review: Last Full Measure

I like Star Trek.  You could even call me a Treky.  I really liked the Enterprise tv show.  I have watched it on Netflix from start to finish in addition to seeing it live when the show was still airing.  I can watch those episodes over and over.  When the show was pulled I was bummed.  The world without a Star Trek series currently on air makes me sad.  I hope it someday makes its way back on the air.  In the meantime, there are always books!  I started reading the Star Trek Enterprise series back in 2013.  The books feel real comfortable to me.  Probably because I have watched all the series from the original to Enterprise.  I have not read a book in the series that I hated.  I’ve read some that I particularly care for, but I wouldn’t call it a waste of time.

The Last Full Measure follows along the story from the original episode when the show was still on.  Therefore, I like this one a little less because I already know the story.  Having said that I still enjoyed my time reading this book in the series.  If you are reading the series and don’t want to read the books that are also an episode you can skip this one.  If like me, you enjoy all the Star Trek you can get, this book is a good addition to the ongoing series.  I’m looking forward to the next book.

Last Full Measure Book Cover Last Full Measure
Michael A. Martin, Andy Mangels,
Pocket Books/Star Trek

When a Xindi weapon unleashes an unprovoked attack on Earth, killing millions across two continents, a contingent of Military Assault Command Operations personnel (the MACOs) joins the Enterprise to work together with the Starfleet personnel to stop Xindi depradations across the galaxy. Original.

Book Review: The Lathe of Heaven

Price: $8.98
Was: $15.00

Ursula K. Le Giun is the woman!  She is an amazing weaver of science fiction stories.  She will completely immerse you in her stories and make you believe the unbelievable.  I love her work.  I recently finished the first Earthsea book and I can’t wait to read the rest.  This book takes you on an incredible journey asking the question what if what you dream came true?  At first, if you are like me, you think awesome, all my wishes coming true.  Alas, we forget our nightmares.  Also, who is to say how your dreams will be interpreted?  This is just a fascinating read.  Highly recommended.

The Lathe Of Heaven Book Cover The Lathe Of Heaven
Ursula K. Le Guin
Simon and Schuster
April 15, 2008

George Orr discovers that his dreams possess the remarkable ability to change the world, and when he falls into the hands of a power-mad psychiatrist, he counters by dreaming up a perfect world that can overcome his nightmares, in a new edition of the classic science fiction novel. Reprint. 20,000 first printing.

Book Review: Grendel

Price: $9.45
Was: $13.95

This is a delightful book!  Great prose and a very original idea.  One of my favorite books is Beowulf.  This is a twist on that story.  John Gardner asks us what if Beowulf was told from the monster’s point of view.  I don’t want to say much more and ruin this read for you.  I really enjoyed this fantastic story and would highly recommend for anyone who is a fan of the original Beowulf.  I was delighted to find this book.  It’s a short read and you won’t be disappointed.  Give it a shot.

Grendel Book Cover Grendel
John Gardner

The Beowulf story retold from the monster's point of view reveals the darker side of human nature and values

Book Review: The Bad Beginning

This is the first in a series of books that follow some “unfortunate” children along with their sad story.  It was written by Lemony Snicket which is the pen name for Daniel Handler.  The books are very popular and well read with young readers.  So much so that even though there was a movie release in 2004 for these books there is another slated for 2017.  For my part, it was not a bad book, but a little too juvenile for me.  I think my 8 years old might like them, but they are very sad.  So, I have not yet recommended them to her.  There are other more inspiring stories for that age set.

The bad beginning Book Cover The bad beginning
Lemony Snicket
Harper Collins

Dear Reader,

I'm sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant. It tells an unhappy tale about three very unlucky children. Even though they are charming and clever, the Baudelaire siblings lead lives filled with misery and woe. From the very first page of this book when the children are at the beach and receive terrible news, continuing on through the entire story, disaster lurks at their heels. One might say they are magnets for misfortune.

In this short book alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, and cold porridge for breakfast.

It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.

With all due respect,
Lemony Snicket

Book Review: The Red Badge of Courage

Price: $4.03
Was: $5.99

This is one of those books that you get to and your like “Why haven’t I read this before”.  I should have probably read it in high school, but I have not gotten to it until now.  This is another classic that surprised me.  I really enjoyed this far more than I thought I would.  My average rating was 3 in 2016 and this book was a 4, which I think says a lot.  It is not my all time favorite book but I would read it again.  The book is about a young man’s experience joining the war effort.  Very good.  I really recommend.

The Red Badge of Courage Book Cover The Red Badge of Courage
Stephen Crane
Juvenile Nonfiction
Prestwick House Inc
January 1, 2004

As he faces battle in the Civil War for the first time, a young Union soldier comes to grips with his fear and conflicting emotions about war. This edition includes Crane's short sequel, The veteran.

Book Review: An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life

This book reads as a little instruction book on how to be compassionate.  It was a good book to read after the depressing David Sedaris book Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary.  If that book said everyone is awful, this book said, maybe but you can still be compassionate.  Don’t be evil, be a nice person.  I always like the stories told in the books with the Dalai Lama as the author.  Not that he writes much of the book himself mind you.  He has a writer do the work and they kinda get a feel for what he wants to say from the Dalai Lama’s speeches and interviews.  I have two notes from this book that I think are worth sharing with you:

It is difficult to hold back from anger when provoked unless we have trained our mind to first recollect the unpleasant effects such thoughts will cause us. It is therefore essential that we begin our training in patience calmly, not while experiencing anger. We must recall in detail how, when angry, we lose our peace of mind, how we are unable to concentrate on our work, and how unpleasant we become to those around us. It is by thinking long and hard in this manner that we eventually become able to refrain from anger

Compassion is the wish that others be free of suffering.

An Open Heart Book Cover An Open Heart
Dalai Lama XIV Bstan-ʼdzin-rgya-mtsho, Nicholas Vreeland,
Little Brown

The Dalai Lama shares some of his key teachings on the practice of compassion, presenting a collection of meditations and introducing the fundamental philosophy of Buddhism and its core concepts.

Book Review: Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk: A Modest Bestiary

This book wins the strangest book of 2016 award from me.  It is a bunch of short stories where the main characters are animals.  I get what Sedaris is trying to say here, but the book is still strange and the stories can be violent and disturbing.  I feel like the main idea here was people are animals and they suck.  In my humble opinion, there are other things I’d rather read that don’t have this message.  Can’t recommend.

Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk Book Cover Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk
David Sedaris
Little Brown & Company
September 28, 2010

An original collection of humorous fables features animals with unmistakably human failings, including a cynical cat struggling to sit through his prison-mandated AA meetings, and a pair of lovers separated by prejudiced family members.