September Book Reviews

Reviews by Len Oppenheim

I have three books to review this week. Each is quite different from the other. Two are non-fiction, and one is fiction. I hope many of you will choose one or more and enjoy them at least as much as I did.

Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality, by Dean Radin, is a book that I hope every single person will choose to read. Whether you are a Muslim, Jew, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu or Atheist; whether you are strict materialist or a believer in spirituality, whether you are rich or poor, a doctor, lawyer, Indian Chief, or welfare recipient I think you will appreciate this book and be a better informed person for having read it.

The book explores what I consider to be the most important philosophical and scientific issues we encounter in life. It deals with what the author calls “The New Reality”, which is an important paradigm shift that is arrived at by a scientific and statistical analysis of PSI experiments all over the world, combined with the most cogent and easily understandable explanations of quantum mechanics I have ever read. It is rounded out by the author’s understanding of the emerging paradigm of “entanglement”.

The first 7 or 8 chapters (about 150 pages or so) are somewhat heavy on the statistical analysis, but done in a very easy to understand and fun to read style. The author lays out incredibly convincing evidence for the existence of PSI. PSI is a term that includes all sorts of mind to mind and mind to matter relationships. These include simple tests for ESP, and moves on to precognition, gut feelings, dreams, mind influencing matter etc. In my opinion some of this stuff is so exciting and so mind-blowing or mind-boggling that it is impossible to read this book without getting very excited.

After demonstrating beyond a reasonable doubt the existence of PSI, the author next tackles the more formidable job of trying to explain the mechanics of how it works. Chapter 12, A New Reality, I would rate as probably the single best chapter I have ever read in any book at any time. If one wants to skim the first 200 pages and go right to this chapter you will still get your money’s worth.

One of my hero’s is Richard Feynman, Nobel Laureate physicist. (By the way, Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman—reviewed on this site, just click on the title—is one of my all-time favorite books.) Feynman believed that the single most important experiment in quantum physics was the famous “two-slit” experiment which demonstrates that light and/or particles like electrons are both particles and waves, depending upon how one observes them. In chapter 12 of this book Dean Radin does the best job I have ever seen of explaining how the two-slit experiment works, what it implies about reality and consciousness and how we draw on it and our own understanding to better perceive the mysteries of creation, of time, space, and physical reality.

If you never read a book about relativity and quantum physics I can understand why it might be intimidating to do so. I think that the explanations in Chapter 12 are so well done and put into such a perfect context that anyone at all could gain great insight and pleasure from reading it. You might gain everything you need to know or grok from this single chapter rather than wading through hundreds or thousands of pages as I have done.

The author does an outstanding job of presenting many different and credible theories of the mechanics of how PSI might operate. This in turn is done in the context of some very special insights into the nature of consciousness, group consciousness, and reality drawn from a scientific basis but integrated into a more holistic outlook.

I could go on and on, but this review is already too long. One of my favorite books of all time is The Holographic Universe, by Michael Talbot. I can’t say that this book is quite as good or important as Talbot’s book, but it is right up there with the best and most important books I have read that try to tie together themes of science and consciousness. Some of the studies about group consciousness and how it affected random numbers generated by computers is not only compelling, but mind-blowing.

Obviously I recommend this book as highly as I can and I do hope many of you will enjoy it nearly as much as I did.

Those of you who consider yourself spiritual seekers, and love to hear about “flashy experiences” will love reading Secret Journey to The Enlightened Mind: Life with Three Spiritual Giants of Our Age, by Dr. James Weldon.

Some readers told Tony they loved the book once they got past the first 60 or 80 pages which dealt with the Author’s early years. In fact, I found his youth and upbringing and experiences very entertaining and quite useful in putting into context the rest of his life.

The “sizzle” begins with his initiation into TM and his experiences with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. He goes on from there to associate with Siddha Yoga (Muktananda and his spiritual heir Gurumayi Childvilasananda). Finally, he finds his fulfillment with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

The book has integrity. I felt the honesty of the experiences and enjoyed the journey. For those of you, like me, who enjoy autobiographical accounts of spiritual quests, this is a must read.

It is truly a memorable spiritual saga, and for those of us who like to hear about the intimate details of spiritual enfoldment this is a true page-turner and not to be missed.

Dr Weldon was recently in Fairfield, and unfortunately I was unable to see him speak or attend his workshop. If anyone reads this that did see him I would like to hear from you and your thoughts about Dr. Weldon.

Trudi Montag was born in 1915 near Dusseldorf, Germany. That would not be so unusual, except for the fact that she was a dwarf. She is the main character in an epic work of fiction authored by Ursula Hegi. Stones from the River is a very remarkable work of fiction.

Had this book not been recommended by an avid reader, and someone whom I know to have good taste I would never have bought it, and I certainly would have put it down after about 50 pages. I mean, give me a break, who cares about a female dwarf in pre-War Germany!

However, the writing is remarkable. The characters just draw the reader into a web and the reader cannot escape. I was caught and I loved it. This is not a new novel, and it was even a best seller. However I do not think it is very well known and that is why I feel I am doing some a service in calling attention to this gem.

It is a fantastic work of compassion and insight. Not only that, the understanding I gained about small town life in Germany from late WWI until after WWII was incredibly revealing.

Those of you who are not afraid to tackle a five hundred page novel about a character with whom you might think you have nothing in common with, and a period in history that was very sad and often cruel will be richly rewarded and hopefully find great enjoyment in the reading.

Reviews by Tony Kainauskus

Jerry Yellin came to our store to do a book signing last August.

A former Farifield resident, Jerry was a fighter pilot during World War II. His story is told in Of War and Weddings. After many years of hatred towards the Japanese, Jerry finally learns forgiveness and understanding…the catalyst being Jerry’s son who falls in love and marries a Japanese woman.

After the book signing Jerry gave me an assignment to read his latest book The Blackened Canteen and to e mail him with my observations.

Well the book is a mirror image of Jerry.

Jerry’s deep passion and unsentimental but heartfull emotions shine throughout his historical account of an incident in Japan during World War II.

Jerry’s book is based on actual events that took place during the war.

Some of the characters stories have been fictionalized, but the facts are historically accurate.

This is an inspiring story told within the backdrop of the horrible sufferings of the bombing of the Japanese town of Shizuoka. A local resident interred the bodies of 23 dead Air Force pilots, soldiers responsible for the bombing and destruction of 2/3rd’s of the city and the death of 2,000 people, alongside the bodies of the dead Japanese. He later went on to build a memorial to honor the lives of both the Japanese and the Americans who lost their lives on that fateful day.

A blackened and charred canteen belonging to one of the fallen American soldiers has now become part of an annual memorial service honoring the dead of that tragic day

Told with vivid immediacy… we see the war through the eyes and fears of soldiers—young, innocents saddled with a responsibility few of us could even fathom. The main character driving the story is Jack O’Connor, whose dreams of pitching for the New York Yankees and life with the woman he loved was interrupted by the War. Jack is one of the fallen that fateful day… his body buried with the local citizens of the town.

The book has many intriguing scenes such as the secret diplomacy between the US and Japan attempting to avert conflict.

Much of this behind the scenes narration gives us fascinating glimpses of history. I can now see more clearly the reasoning behind the Japanese surprise attack on the US.

One of my favorite minor characters is the Admiral of the Japanese Navy who tries to prevent and block the path to war… he was not alone , as other Japanese military leaders were also against the attack of The US: poignant scenes of the leaders doing their duty, dying for their Emperor in a war they wish never happened.

Many lives intertwine and meet on that fateful day in Shizouka… lives meeting a destiny they could not have ever imagined, a destiny that laughs at us and our feelings of individual control.

Here is what Yoko Ono says about Jerry Yellin’s book:

Having campaigned for peace for many years, this beautiful story strikes a deep chord with me. I hope it will become more widely known around the world and inspire other people too"

The world is a better place because of brave men like Jerry Yellin, Jack O’Connor, and the citizens of Shizouka who put aside hatred to find common ground.

Jerry recently attended the annual memorial service in Shizouka Japan (a service that honors the Japanese and Americans that lost their lives that day)… his inspiring visit can be viewed at this link

The book is not only a great peek into a world that the majority of us baby boomers could not imagine… but also a heartwarming inspirational message that resonates to the reader with the same powerful qualities of Three Cups of Tea.

For anyone who has tried to make vegetarian dishes appealing to the non vegetarian… this may just be the ticket…

By local author and cook Sharalyn Pliler

The Reluctant Vegetarian Cookbook: An easy introduction to cooking without meat, eggs, and other once-favorite foods and discovering what tastes even better.

“Not many cookbooks are page-turners but with her light-hearted style, down-home sense of humor and master's level writing skills, readers are carried effortlessly as she tells her story of awakening to the pleasures and techniques of vegetarianism. Once a cook in a vegetarian university kitchen, now with three decades of vegetarian experience, she seems to anticipate every question.”

This is what Miriam Kasin Hospodar (author of our best selling cookbook: Heaven’s Banquet)

Has to say about Sharalyn’s cookbook:

“Packed with information and written with lively good humor, making it accessible to novice vegetarians and those who want to cook for vegetarians. The recipes are simple, easy to prepare, and employ original methods of rendering traditional dishes meatless and satisfying”

We are placing a bulk order from England for the following new books on Guru Dev.

If you would like copies of any of the 3 volumes… please place your preorder with us…

A wonderful 3 volume collection of Guru Dev has just been published in England by Paul Mason.

The 3 part series consists of…

Vol 1. 108 Discourses of Guru Dev (translated from the Hindi) with notes, transcription of Devanagari text & transliteration of Sanskrit quotations, 352 pages. 38 illustrations $42.00 paperback

Vol 2. The Biography of Guru Dev. 336 pages. 54 illustrations $42.00 paperback

Vol 3. Guru Dev as Presented by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Transcripts of Maharishi speaking about Guru Dev and about his philosophies, with additional complementary material; including transcripts and translations of the Acharya Vandana Puja & the 108 Names of Guru Dev. 336 pages and 35 illustrations. $42.00 paperback

I must have been a bird in my last life.

I read many texts filled with spiritual wisdom… and I parrot what I have read.

Mimicking  wisdom.

Does my mind even believe what my mouth is saying?

Can I even begin to comprehend what death of false self is???

Am I being deceitful when I say I do not fear this death?

If I garnish enough merits this life… I pray I find true wisdom.

Not a mindless chatterer of beliefs: A wind up toy in overdrive.

But a silent comfortable sense of ignorant non belief.