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Sunday, 6 September 2009

Confessions of a Bibliophile #8 - Books for Body Mind and Spirit

Confessions of a Bibliophile #8
Books for Body Mind and Spirit

Throughout most of my adult life I have strived to find balance - balanc
e between body, mind and spirit and balance between work, school and play. That balance has often been elusive, yet something I ever strive to achieve. Consequently, for the time being this will be the last installment in Confessions of a Bibliophile. As such, I wanted to leave you with a series of snap-shot mini reviews of some of my favorite books that I frequently reference to help me achieve some level of that equilibrium in life.

Jacob The Baker
Noah benShea

This first book in a trilogy is a fantastic collection of stories, thoughts,
penses and ideas in the great Jewish wisdom tradition. Jacob is a simple baker, and each day on his way to the bakery after his prayers he thinks and reflects on God and life. While the ovens are warming up, he jots down his thoughts on scraps of paper, and then at the end of the day takes them home to organize them. Then by accident, or by fate, one of his scraps gets baked into a loaf of bread. The lady who finds it is overwhelmed by its insight and wisdom. She asked the owner of the bakery if Jacob will share more of his ideas by baking one in each of some rolls for a dinner party for her. Reluctantly, Jacob agrees and his peaceful life is shattered.

So
on Jacob has no time for himself. When he goes home people are awaiting him; in the morning they are on the path to work; and every day they are in the bakery, asking him questions, seeking advice and wisdom. They soon desire to make Jacob their Tzadik, their wise man. These stories will warm your heart, and open your eyes to the divine in yourself and in others. It will teach you to live with love and to extend grace and mercy towards others. Separate reviews: Jacob the Baker, Jacob's Journey and Jacob's Ladder.

Ishmael
Daniel Quinn

This book looks at the history of humankind on this planet and all we have done to it. It will challenge th
e prevailing belief that more and bigger is better. The book begins with an ad in the paper "TEACHER seeks pupil. Must have earnest desire to save the world. Apply in Person." In the book, the gorilla Ishmael has learned to communicate through thought with humans. He also has a message that we cannot afford not to hear. The book focuses around a series of conversations between Ishmael and his student. It presents a different interpretation of how we went from being a hunter-gatherer society to an agrarian one, and also how that system is bound to fail. For me the most haunting thing in the book is two quotes. Early on we see a poster that states: "WITH MAN GONE, WILL THERE BE HOPE FOR GORILLA?" and much later, on the back of the first poster, "WITH GORILLA GONE, WILL THERE BE HOPE FOR MAN?" This is also the first in a trilogy. The rest of the books are: My Ishmael, The Story of B and a collect of short stories called Tales of Adam.

Bench Press
Sven Lindqvist
Translated Sarah Death

What do you get when a skinhead body builder and an aging author meet by chance at the gym? In Benchpress you get a life being transformed. This book begins with a quote from Marcus Aurelius: "Does transformation frighten you? Yet what can happen without transformation? Can you yourself take a hot bath without the wood being transformed, can you nourish yourself without the food being transformed? Do you not then see that your own transformation is equally necessary?", and this book will change you. As I read it, my own childhood dreams and aspirations, long put away, were awakened. This book is broken up into 85 penses or thoughts. Some are the personal reflections of the author, some of history, and tidbits of information fun and bizarre, and a few are visions that Sven has along his journey. It is also the first in a trilogy. The last chapters of the first two are the first chapter of the next. They are Desert Divers, a journey into the desert to see childhood dreams, and Exterminate All the Brutes, a history of genocides in Africa committed by Europeans and leading up to the great genocide of the Nazi reign. For full review click here.

Way of the Peaceful Warrior
Dan Millman

For many years Millman's books have been among my favorites. This is a first in a Trilogy that includes Sacred Journey of the Peaceful Warrior and The Journey of Socrates. Millman himself went though an incredible story, from injury back to Olympic athlete and from those events has creat
ed a series of books to help bring out the best in other people. This book far exceeds the recent film of the same name. Any of Millman's books are great tools for personal growth.

God Is Not Reasonable:
and other tales of Mother Macrina

Irma Zaleski

This is an updated and expand
ed edition of the great book Mother Macrina that was published by Novalis press in 2000. This version has nearly twice as many stories and bits of wisdom to pass on to the earnest reader. About the original edition I wrote: "This is the first of Zaleski's books that I found. It is a collection of penses - thoughts and meditations from a woman who will remind you of the desert mothers of old." I also wrote a profile of all of Zaleski's books here.

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
Robin Sharma

This is the interesting story of a lawyer who appears to have it all - the corner office, the life style, the cars, women … then he gives it all up and tours the
East. While there he comes across this strange monk and monastery. He comes to live life in a much different way. Yet he is challenged by the monk who has trained him to go back home and share the message he has learned with the West. Julian, our main character, returns to his old law firm and to his protégé John. He tells him a parable; then the rest of the book explains the parable and how it relates to different aspects of our lives. The parable is rather simple and a little strange but as it is explained you will never forget it. Read it to find out how a garden, lighthouse, sumo wrestler, pink wire cable, stopwatch, roses and a winding path of diamonds are symbols of timeless principles and virtues by which to live your life. This book could help raise the quality of your life to a new level.

The Alchemist
Paulo Coelho

This is an amazing
book. It is a story of a young man who has a dream of hidden treasure. It is a book that alludes to that fact that all of us have a purpose and a dream. Yet many settle and give up their dream, and lose their passion for life. In this book it is stated again and again that each of us has our own Personal Legend, a quest: "When you pursue your personal legend the universe will conspire with you to make it happen." You will follow Santiago on his adventure and during the process be challenged to think about your goals and dreams and what you would have to do to pursue them.

How to Get Better Grades and Have More Fun
Steve Douglass and Al Janssen

Do you want to keep your grades up or even improve them? Do you want more time for friends and fun? Then this book is a must read for you this school year. It guarantees a grade point increase or your money back.

By simply reading a chapter a week, at most 12 pages, you will learn tricks and techniques to help you learn how to do school better. This book takes the 80/20 principle and applies it to academics.

Each of these books could bring something new into your life. They are also easy enough to read you could add them in with your school work without too much effort. If you want to see more of my reviews and literary ramblings please stop by my blog www.bookreviewsandmore.ca and maybe we will meet between the covers again.

(First Published in Imprint 2009-09-04.)

Excerpts taken from previous posts:
Books that will change your life.
More books that will change your life.

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