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Book Reviews


Romantic Escapades, Shifting Shapes, and Serene Independence
Edited by Jane Ganahl

A total of 29 women contributed to this delightful portrayal of how women over forty years of age aren’t old maids anymore. The description of spinster, who by definition is an old unmarried woman, no longer exists. It is no longer a fate worse than death to be unmarried and on our own in the world of today. We start off with the new rules of dating. The first question asked is, “What about getting naked?” The familiar queasiness that accompanies the first date, even though we’ve dated before, is back. The concept of an in-depth conversation is between the writer and her mechanic, about carburetors. Sometimes the situations are humorous, sometimes glamorous and often mundane, yet meaningful. We then move to a section entitled, “Prince Charming = Santa Claus” that delves into those issues of realizing certain myths and successfully dealing, then challenging those, before letting go, playing the game, and enjoying all of the good moments. The following sections show adaptability to a myriad of situations, including the acceptance of solitude, the ability to let go of useless conventions, and how to move on to success, and bliss, all by ourselves. The mid-life medications we read about here all reflect real life situations and adventures, sometimes happy, sometimes sad, but always insightful. Published by New World Library, this book is available at your local bookstore or www.newworldlibrary.com.
Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard


Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide
By Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

The emancipation of current-era female slaves is how Pulitzer Prize winning authors, Kristof and WuDunn, begin the odyssey to show us how extraordinary women are still struggling, yet overcoming, issues of exploitation in the world today. The two show us a glimpse of brutality inflicted on young girls and women, through stories they’ve heard. One example is the story of a naïve 15-year-old Cambodian girl unwittingly sold into a brothel, beaten, drugged, and forced to “serve” the clientele. After escaping, she is caught by police and arrested. After serving a year in prison for being an illegal immigrant, while supposedly being escorted home by law enforcement, the policeman sells her to a trafficker, who then peddles her to another brothel. Undaunted by her horrible situation, and never giving up hope, her strength eventually allows her to escape again and eventually become a successful businesswoman. The book is graphically illustrated through words and pictures, including many examples of feminine oppression, including torture, slavery, discrimination, and mutilation. While the rule by oppression is almost everywhere, this is a story of hope and empowerment, as well as a cue to join in the cure through investment in education and a support of contemporary medical availability, to turn victimization into empowerment for women everywhere. Published by Alfred A. Knopf, this book is available at your local bookstore or www.aaknopf.com.
Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard


Blessings, Prayers, Art, Songs, Poetry & Sacred Stories by Women
Edited by Carolyn Brigit Flynn, Foreword by Deena Metzger

Including works from more than 100 writers, musicians and artists from across the country, this collaboration of effort includes beautiful odes, poems, stories, prayers, journal meditations, blessings, pictures, artwork, and songs of beauty, created by a community of women, for women.
In a section entitled “White Lotus” we hear a story written in Kildare, Ireland, circa 100 C.E. about the goddess Brigid. In this same section we hear how a woman’s given name and an acceptance of her traditional religious name suddenly become part of her identity. We can read “Ode to the Mother” which evokes the goddesses vital to many traditions, as well as musings associated with birth and children. Even everyday chores, like cooking, cleaning and working in a garden, are instances that can move us. This simple act of meeting with a friend or acknowledging the change of a season can provide a moment of inspiration, awe and self-discovery. Finally, we remember homecomings, our ancestors, our families and places that have led us to one realization or another. There is so much material in this book that is inspirational, it is rather difficult to explain; however, if you’ve ever wanted a true glimpse into the female experience, this book has a multitude of riches for you to find. Published by Wild Girl Publishing, this book is available at your local bookstore or www.sisterssinging.com.
Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard


A Breakthrough Program for Connecting with Your Soul’s Deepest Purpose
By Debbie Ford

By committing to twenty-days and nights toward building a relationship with our core, we can learn to uncover our inner source and earn from it the power to rise above destructive behaviors and mediocrity, into a position of deep peace, hope and excitement for the future. The profound process offered here is divided into three segments of seven days each, to cover three important evolutionary phases: the past, the present and the future.
By virtue of undertaking this intensive approach, the author promises that we will experience a total immersion towards a process of self-knowing, first by clearing out our outdated beliefs and letting go of false assumptions that are deep rooted in our minds and souls. Recognizing your worst experiences and becoming aware of what is holding you back by examining your past is the first step in awareness, emotional freedom and spiritual liberation. The author, a life coach, speaker and teacher for the last 20 years, guides us by first explaining the process and showing us the preparation and tools necessary to embark on this 21-day journey. The next step is to be in a position to take an honest look at who you are and what you truly desire today. Finally, after recognizing the power of the present, you will have an opportunity to use your clear channels to recognize your aspirations and make them come through. Published by HarperOne, this book is available at your local bookstore or www.HarperCollins.com.
Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard


The Divine Way to Heal You, Humanity, Mother Earth, and All Universes
By Dr. Zhi Gang Sha

As part of a four-book series on spiritual healing, ancient teachings, soul communication, soul healing and divine living, Dr. Sha now guides us on how to find the keys for spiritual guidance by learning the concepts and wisdom of the soul, mind and body, concepts which can heal everyone and everything.. The author, Dr. Sha, is an M.D. in China and a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine who has trained in the most advanced cellular healing science now practiced and is involved in breakthrough research on the effect of spirituality on the human system. Beginning with detailed discussions on types of karma and soul blockages, attitudes, mind-sets and beliefs, we are also shown how to recognize energy and matter blockages, from inside ourselves as well as from our outside environment. After telling us how the system works, we are then shown strategies, word-by-word, along with practices for purification, flexibility, self-healing and forgiveness. Whether you already employ a practice, or are a neophyte to the process, you will be put into a position to remove the negative and receive the positive. Using the power of the soul for healing, rejuvenation, the prolonging of life and transformation of every aspect of life, including relationships and finances, you will benefit by the techniques put forward in this book. Published by Atria Books, this book is available at your local bookstore or www.HeavensLibrary.com.
Reviewed by Sonia von Matt Stoddard


An Emergency Guide for Women Who Feel Like They Are Falling Apart
By Mia Lundin, R.N.C., N.P.

An entirely new way of looking at female hormonal imbalance that resonates with 25 million women who feel like they are falling apart, losing it, or “going insane,” is presented by author Mia Lundin, a “last hope” women’s health practitioner. Without grouping all women into one category, she identifies the symptoms of emotional and psychological problems — be they depression, panic attacks, memory loss or even acting out of character and then offers support, information and treatment. The core of the plan is to use bio-identical hormones and supplements carefully chosen to manipulate brain chemistry. Based on the author’s experience in her thriving medical practice, women can be liberated from their emotional turmoil with step-by-step tailor-made rescue prescriptions. Unlike other books about hormones on the market, Female Brain Gone Insane is less focused on physiological changes such as bone loss and weight gain, and instead tackles the legitimate panic and distress women feel as they experience symptoms associated with emotional and intellectual turmoil, including mood swings, loss of memory, brain fog, irritability and insomnia, to name a few. The key to a woman’s well-being is balanced brain chemistry and this book offers valuable, customizable solutions for every woman. The author’s primary message is that women do not need to suffer debilitating emotional symptoms. Published by HCI Books, this book is available at bookstores and www.femalebraingoneinsane.com
Reviewed by Kathy DeSantis


Herbs, Nutrition & Other Natural Therapies
By Amanda McQuade Crawford, RH (AHG) MNIMH

The first edition has been a women’s favorite for over a decade. In this new second edition, Crawford focuses on the newest natural ways to cope with perimenopause and the postmenopausal years by combining biomedical and herbal traditions. She addresses issues such as hormone replacement therapy and hot flashes, night sweats, depression, cardiovascular risk, and osteoporosis, as well as the most effective and least toxic ways to meet these challenges. The Natural Menopause Handbook focuses on herbs, nutrition and other natural approaches for perimenopause - the time leading up to and including the Change - and postmenopausal years. Women need high-quality information placed in the correct context to make smart choices about their self-care as well as their health care. Women need to know what lifestyle choices support their health and reduce risk, and what tools they have to manage their symptoms in effective, non-toxic ways. These needs are especially acute as women transition through menopause. This book empowers women to discover such therapies in the pursuit of good health. Published by Crossing Press, this book is available at bookstores and www.crownpublishing.com
Reviewed by Kathy DeSantis