Wendy (here_be_dragons) wrote,

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Books - #s 27 through 32

#27 - Essential Feng Shui by Lillian Too

I enjoyed reading this book, and it does give what seems to be a decent overview of the principles behind feng shui, but I found it very much lacking in practical advice for making adjustments to the environment. She talks about using a compass to determine the directions/orientation of the rooms in the house, but doesn't actually say how to do it - it would surely be easy enough if one's house is oriented flush with one of the cardinal directions, but mine *isn't*, and this is the second book I've read on the subject which fails to give me detailed enough information to actually figure out how to move forward with feng shui cures in my home. So, poo. I suppose that once I find out how to do this (I'm reading yet another book right now which looks promising), I can come back to this book and implement some of her suggestions. But it was more than a bit disappointing to read through the whole thing and still not really be able to use any of the info just based on what she included in the book. She calls it a step-by-step guide, but really it isn't. It's not nearly detailed or explicit enough, IMO. I wouldn't recommend this as a first book on the subject. (Part of PC)

#28 - The Wizard of Seattle by Kay Hooper

This was a surprisingly good book. I've had it on my shelf for about a decade, having received it (as an uncorrected proof) when I was managing a bookstore years ago. It's classified as a romance, but there were some interesting fantasy/time travel elements which I enjoyed. The basic plot (with a few spoilers) centers on a wizard and his female apprentice in the modern day - as the story goes along, we find that he is breaking wizarding law to teach magic to a woman - that "women of power" were outlawed several millennia in the past, for a reason that is not entirely clear. In order to find out why, and perhaps change things so that she will be allowed to practice magic, they travel back in time together to Atlantis. My main criticism is that the characters are a bit Mary-Sueish - red hair, sparkling emerald green eyes with fluttering lashes, that sort of thing. I also have a bit of disatisfaction with the way they handle the repercussions of their time travel. They *do* make a significant change in the past, and I don't think it was handled very "realistically" with regards to the present day when they return. Basically, they do something big enough that it should have (IMO) made the present day pretty much unrecognizable. ::sigh:: Oh well. Others might not feel the same, though. I guess that's the problem with (and part of the fun of) time travel. Anyhow, it was an enjoyable read. I'd recommend it to anyone wanting a bit of fluff with a somewhat more substantial plot and social message than offered by the typical romance novel. (Received as ARC; have BookCrossed)

#29 - Sins of the Seventh Sister by Huston Curtiss

This book calls itself "A novel based on a true story of the Gothic south." This intrigues me, as I always wonder how much of it really happened, and what bits the author made up. In any case, it was a great book - an interesting story of a family in West Virginia during the Depression. Most of the story is told from the perspective of a seven-year-old boy, who is not always the nicest person, although that didn't really hit me until almost the end of the book. And the last page packed a massive punch that had me in tears. Wow. I enjoyed this book very much. (Library book)

#30 - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

This is a re-read; I read this one many times as a child, although it's been years and years since my last time through. This has been C's bedtime book for the past week or so - we read this one pretty quickly, because we cheated a few times and read chapters during the day, too. It stands the test of time, I think - it's a great story. C enjoys the film, and it quick to point out places where the book and film are different. One thing I notice now that I didn't notice as a child is that it is a bit preachy - really slams things like watching television, and most of the unpleasant people are fat - and this fact is brought up time and time again. Methinks Dahl had some issues here, which is unfortunate, as I would prefer that C not get hit with a bunch of propaganda about being overweight. But I still enjoyed the book, and C loved it. This is a different edition from the one I had growing up, with illustrations by Quentin Blake, rather than the ones by Joseph Schindelman with which I was familiar. I miss the Schindelman illustrations, but found that Blake did a great job of capturing the whimsy in his own way. C has a number of books by Quentin Blake (his favourite being Zagazoo), so this was probably a better edition for him, in any case. And after finishing up this book on Monday, last night we went straight into The Great Glass Elevator. (Purchased new; part of PC)

#31 - Old Souls by Tom Shroder

This book discusses the work of Dr. Ian Stevenson, who studied cases of children who have verifiable memories of past lives - in other words, the children knew enough details about the life and death and family of the "previous personality" that it was possible to verify that such a person really had lived, and died, as remembered by the child. Most of the case studies featured in the book are from Lebanese or Indian children, but there are a few in the U.S., too. I found it to be very interesting, and what I would consider fairly compelling evidence for reincarnation. Of course, I began the book already believing in reincarnation (based partly on my spiritual beliefs, and partly on personal experiences I've had). So I wasn't in a position of needing to be convinced. One thing that I found really interesting is that the author himself was most definitely a skeptic when he began writing the book. (By the end, I think he was convinced, but he never comes straight out and says so). What was interesting to me, in addition to the case studies themselves, is that there was such an emphasis on needing to have "scientific" proof. In this culture, so many people scoff and say anything like this is simply impossible, just because it can't yet be scientifically measured. (That's a tradition in my own family, in fact. I was raised to believe in nothing but Science). Yet, in some parts of the world, reincarnation is considered to be fact, and in my own culture, there are areas where many people are willing to put aside this need for proof (for religious beliefs, for example). My father was one who definitely considered people who believed in the "supernatural" to be foolish for believing something that couldn't be irrefutably proven. But I think back to some of the scientific beliefs people held in the past, things that have long since been replaced by new beliefs, as human knowledge expands, and I think that people like him are being at least as foolish (probably more so) themselves in the opposite direction. (/philosophical musings). Anyhow, it was an interesting book. (Library book)

#32 - The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman

Wow. This was a fantastic book. One of the best I've read in a while. It's sort of a murder mystery, about a woman who, as a student at a private boarding school, lived through the hell of having two of her roommates commit suicide; now, she's returned to the school as a teacher, and strange things start to happen. I don't want to say more, and risk spoilers. Overall, the tone was reminiscent of "The Secret History," but I think I enjoyed this book a bit more. Partly because there was more of a central "mystery" - and I was able to figure it out - a few big things fell into place for me as I went along. I always enjoy that. I used to think I wasn't any good at guessing plots and things, but lately I seem to be getting better at it. Or maybe I'm just reading books that are more obvious. ::grin:: In any case, I really enjoyed this book, and would highly recommend, especially to anyone who enjoyed "The Secret History." (Library book)
Tags: books

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