February Reviews

Reviews by Len Oppenheim

Dear friends, customers, and interested readers,

Last year turned out to be a painful one, for our economy and for many of us, in our personal finances. This year is not getting off to a very good start, and many forecasts are quite gloomy. As we exchanged holiday cards, calls, and visits with friends many of us took comfort in the fact that our health was good and our families were sources of strength, pleasure, and fulfillment.

Unfortunately, and maybe it is because “I am getting to a certain age”, more and more friends, family members, and others I know are experiencing illnesses and ailments of all types and durations, a number of which are life threatening or have resulted in the passing on of the afflicted individual.

Nothing is as precious as good health and a positive state of mind. While it is apparent that genetics play an enormous role in our health and life-span, duration and quality of life can certainly be enhanced by proper diet, exercise, and the use of medicines, vitamins, homeopathic concoctions, herbs, lotions, and a variety of other substances and applications.

In our store we have shelves of books about specific remedies or schools of thought. Over the years I have read dozens of books about health in general and about specific approaches towards the attainment of the best health possible. It seems to me that most of the books I have read are slanted, in the sense that the author has “an axe to grind”. The approaches are generally exclusive rather than inclusive.

A few years ago I read: Fantastic Voyage: Live Long Enough to Live Forever, by Ray Kurzweil and Dr. Terry Grossman. Ray Kurzweil is considered by many to be a true genius. His remarkable inventions during the 20th Century resulted in his accumulation of great wealth. His fascination with science, technology, and the progress which lies ahead for mankind resulted in his being acknowledged as one of the great living “futurists”. In his late 40’s he experienced some very serious health problems and his prognosis was not very good. He was out of shape, overweight, and his diet was not very healthy. Kurzweil turned his not inconsequential intelligence and energy towards the field of health and longevity. As a truly objective scientist and observer he did not start with a bias towards or against any approach. Eventually he encountered and worked with Dr. Terry Grossman, a traditionally trained Western, allopathic MD, who had gravitated towards a more holistic approach. The book they have collaborated on is, in my opinion, very unique in the sense that it takes the best from both worlds, traditional and non-traditional medicine. As a result I believe it provides a very unique and extremely valuable reference which each of us can use to find the best possible approach to treat existing conditions, or, most importantly, be pro-active in preventing disease and living a full, healthy, and active life.

Kurzweil is a great proponent of nanotechnology. As a futurist he foresees the day when little robots can cleanse and repair all of our organs and systems. He also believes that virtually all of our parts and organs can be replaced by man-made products in the future. The sutitle of this books “Live Long Enough to Live Forever” reflects his view that if we use all the current tools at our disposal perhaps it is possible to live long enough until future discoveries in the field of genetics and/or the technologies based on nanotechnology result in the potential for infinite life in our existing bodies. While I, for one, don’t buy this vision, I have found this book extremely useful in helping me to attain and maintain better health. I believe this a book that everyone ought to own. It should be read and then kept as a handy reference for referral when one or one’s family or friends develop any health issue that might require treatment.

I realize that seemingly infinite information and data is available on the internet. However, that information is gathered and/or made available by persons or organizations who may or may not be skilled, and who may or may not be biased. I have always lived by the philosophy that I do not have to reinvent the wheel. I like to find an expert in whom I have developed trust and then rely upon his or her opinion. I am fully confident in the intelligence and objectivity of Kurzweil and Grossman and that is why I am so totally sold out to the information and conclusions in this book.

This book is available in paperback for under $20 and, if you buy it and read it, it could prove to be the greatest investment in your entire life.

I think many of you might find this book so good and useful that you will come back and order additional copies for close friends and family members.

To your health!!!

Reviews by Tony Kainauskus

The following review was submitted by one of our long time customers and former Fairfield resident Carey Turnbull

I enjoy the reviews that you and Len write. In that vein would it be
appropriate to recommend a book I believe I ordered thru 21st Century
Bookstore about a year ago, and that I believe is right up the alley
of the bookstore’s clientele?

Theology after Vedanta, by Francis X. Clooney, S.J.
The author is a Jesuit priest and therefore to some extent an outsider to the Vedic tradition but his read is one that demonstrates a sensitivity to and admiration for Advaita. His title is Theology After Vedanta precisely because of the transformative value he finds in its study. Advaita philosophy is familiar territory to most of your readership because most of them are long time students of it, primarily due to Shankara’s relation to Maharishi’s background. I found the book enormously informative on a topic that has remained to me quite opaque over the many years of my involvement with Advaita, and that is the chronological development of the Vedas and the various aspects of Vedic literature, and the chronology of the development of, and relation to each other of, the systems of Indian philosophy, including of course Buddhism. Clooney traces this arc as he explores Shankara’s commentaries that set down the tenants of Advaita in the context of those competing philosophical views. What are the Vedas, how does Indian philosophy develop afterward, who were Jaimini and the Mimamsakas, when and how were the Upanishads authored, who was Veda Vyasa, when and in what context did he write the Brahma Sutras. All that as the backdrop to an erudite look at Vedanta philosophy. As they might say on QVC, “that and more”. Satsang of the highest order and intellectually fascinating.

Carey Turnbull

Seasons of the Stars: Eastern Astrology Daily Transit Calendar 2009

This is the first Daily Transit Appointment Calendar of its kind. Not only does it have an Eastern Astrology chart of the Planetary Transits for each day, but there is a full daily interpretation as well. There is also a Visual Lunar Calendar for each month to help us become aware of how the different phases of the Moon can affect how we feel.

By following the movements of the planets on a daily basis, we can become more conscious of how they can influence every aspect of our lives.

As well, by knowing in advance the favorable and unfavorable days of the month, we can more confi­dently plan our lives for the greatest success.

This book represents 22 years Jyotish research which has focused quite a bit on the knowledge and wisdom of the day to day Transits.

The Transits are those ever present influences of the stars which create our world and affect each of us intimately.

This book includes a good introduction to astrology in the beginning. Then, 365 days of descriptions of each day, from January 26,2009 to Jan.31, 2010. (After this first printing, future printings will be like from Feb. 1, 2009 to Feb. 1, 2010. In other words, the calendar will be available throughout the year, and always a full, up-coming year.)

The Transits are able to identify the specific positive, neutral and negative vibrations of each day so that even over months ahead we can plan around the most favorable and unfavorable days.

The Transits will also show us where we’re personally, lacking in strength with any of our personal planets. Once anyone knows which planets are needing improvement, the 3rd part of the book includes choice and profound remedies that show people what they can do to strengthen their weaker or malefic planets.

The book finishes with a vision of what’s possible in the science of astrology, and how Astrology is evolving to be the really profound Vedic science it’s supposed to be!

As a special bonus, Mark will be giving a free 15 minute Vedic Astrology consultation to the first 100 people who buy his book. This will be scheduled for a later time either by phone or e mail. A contact number will be sent with copy of book

My most current fiction reading adventure was

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

A very unusual book—written with much intense energy. Gripping fiction filled with footnotes of the history of The Dominican Republic under the brutal dictator Trujillo.

The author weaves a fascinating history with stories of love, sensuality, spirituality, political thugs, and suppression of human rights. Filled with satirical humor… the author is not always the calm watcher of the narrative. His personal strong feelings shine through his emotional observation. This results in intensifying the dramatic scenes that take place. Weaving back and forth between the Dominican Republic and New Jersey, the so called generational curse that has plagued the characters and their Island is observed by the reader. The author himself pens this book as his own personal antidote to that curse… somewhat akin to a yagya for debilitated planets.

The main character, an orphan whose family was destroyed by the brutality of the Trujillo regime, is a strong sensual creature. Her toughness under the extreme circumstance of her life is amazing… living in a country that is a virtual prison… her search for freedom takes on a strong potent immediacy and is the main theme of this novel. Her son ( Oscar Wao) is a total nerd… immersed in science fiction writing as his own personal escape from the prison of his life. Overweight and always falling in love with women who hardly look at him, his attempts at love and deep compulsiveness towards women are both funny and sad to observe.

After finishing the book I immediately reread it! This is not something I usually do with any book. However, the author’s talent deserves this as there are many facets to the story that are not seen on the first trip.

A Pulitzer prize winner, and deservedly so, this is a book of historical fiction that will grab you with its intense unique narrative.