Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Carry This Book Everywhere You Go...

A Perfect Book to Carry With You...., February 10, 2010

Short, Shorter and Shorter Stories
For People Who Have To Wait
Author: Chuck McCann
Publisher: Nitengale Press
ISBN: 1-933449-01-2

No one enjoys all that wasted, lost time we have to deal with....long lines waiting at the bank or grocery store, waiting for the receptionist to call your name for your appointment, waiting for the kids in the school parking lot (I think I spent some of the best years of my life sitting in the car, waiting on the kids....)the list goes on, and on and on... Chuck McCann understands your pain. His solution? He wrote a series of books for people like us, the ones who are mighty sick of wasting all that valuable reading time! He's written a group of highly entertaining and eclectic short stories. Some will take a couple of minutes to read, some take longer.

Every type of story imaginable is represented here. Be it mystery, drama, romantic, thought-provoking or just laugh out loud funny. The timeframe for these stories ranges from present day back to the Salem Witch Trials, and further on back to the time of the ancient Romans. My personal favorites? Kind of hard to decide, but I think it's the group of stories about Benjamin, the unluckiest criminal you will ever encounter. I know people looked at me strangely as I laughed aloud and giggled quietly while reading.

Carry this book with you. It would fit in your briefcase, your backpack, and even a purse, if you carry a big one. If your purse is small, leave some of that junk at home and cram this book in anyway. You will be so glad you did! I look forward to reading the rest of these books. They almost make those long irritating waits bearable. And for that, I sincerely thank Chuck McCann.

A Must Have for the Professional's Reference Library

Coping With Physical Loss and Disability
Author: Rick Ritter, MSW
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
ISBN: 978-1-932690-18-7

Rjck Ritter, a social worker, veteran, and himself disabled certainly knows about this topic. Written in an easy to comprehend and easy to use workbook style, it's outstanding as a reference tool. All facets of dealing with disability are covered: the physical, spiritual, mental and emotional, as well as the actual practical logistical adjustments that need to be made.

Coping with a physical loss and disability is difficult, and attempting to work through the emotional, financial, logistical, family and other areas of change can seem hugely daunting. Knowing where to start can be an immense help.

Ritter's workbooks offers just that kind of help, and in an easy to understand series of questions. Through honest answers to these questions, you can learn the best method of dealing with your difficulties. You will learn how to establish a support system of caring professions, family and friends. You will be led through the process of setting your daily schedule, rehabilitation and recovery, along with determining realistic short and long term goals.

Additionally, the author includes an extensive list of suggested readings, films on pertinent issues and an excellent guide to therapeutic techniques. Also helpful is the listing of available organizations, foundations and associations, including organizations that support sports for persons with disabilities.

A specific section of the workbook is prepared especially for therapists and will prove most helpful to professionals in assisting their clients with disabilities.

An outstanding resource for anyone dealing with a disability, professionals in all areas of therapy as well as friends, family and caretakers of the disabled. Highly recommended as a permanent part of the professional's reference library.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Witches of Cahokia A Fascinating Story

Witches of Cahokia
Author: Raymond Scott Edge
Publisher: Redoubt Books
ISBN: 978-0-9794737-2-2

Based on the Indian Settlement and Burial Mounds of Cahokia Mounds in Cahokia Illinois, this "reality-based" fiction novel is a true find.

The story consists of 2 archaelogists, Daniel and Lauren French of Southern Illinois University. The Frenches are both teachers and researchers, who met and married during grad school and are now affliated with the same university they once attended as students. Residing in nearby Alton Illinois, they are called in by the University when a construction crew working on a new road stumbles upon what appears to be the skeletal remains of 2 Indian females. As the Frenches investigate the burial site, they discover that it appears to have been the burial site of dozens of ancient indians, strangely all female.

This novel alternates between the current day study of the remains and the story of the group of women that have been laid to rest there.

These Indian women span numerous generations of women gifted with healing and shamanistic abilities, and their stories are a fascinating study of healing herbs, ancient Indian medical practices, and local indian lore. Standing on it's own, these tales would make a fascinating educational and imaginative read.

Add into this the discovery, recovery and research of the burial ground by the Frenchs and their students; and the story comes full circle with the ongoing learning of a truly fascinating part of American and local Illinois history.

But this inventive author doesn't stop there; add to the mix an underground student anarchy cell determined to halt progress on the roadway and what they consider to be the destruction of indigenous flora, fauna and landscape. Working with other far-flung underground cells; these groups conspire to place stolen achealogical finds from other international sites at this burial site, thereby muddying both the waters of research and the economy of the local area, as well as the ongoing infrastructure of the new roadway. Can the University's archaelogical dig continue in the face of these intrusions? And will we ever truly learn what actually began here so many generations ago?

The author, Raymond Scott Edge, has written a beautiful story mixing Southern Illinois Indian cultural heritage, the migratory study of ancient tribes, current academic research and an educational organization's "political" infighting and relationships. I look forward to reading the other work of this author; and hope he has plans to continue this line of research and sharing of local indian lore.

Readers will find themselves drawn into these story lines, and the book offers wonderful characters and believable plot lines to hold the reader enthralled and enraptured from beginning to end. Bravo to Raymond Scott Edge for a novel that is truly innovative, entertaining and educational.

Uplifting, Motivational and Thought-Provoking

Advice My Parents Gave Me: and Other Lessons
I Learned from My Mistakes
Author: Rodolfo Costa
Publisher: AuthorHouse
ISBN: 978-1-4490-2552-6

This is a truly entertaining, delightful and thought provoking collection of 409 quotes, lessons, thoughts, words of advice and encouragement. The author gleaned these from his own life experiences and a far-ranging variety of sources.

Reading this book will offer a venue into looking at your own life experiences, past mistakes, family history and future aspirations. By taking the time to read this book, page by page or section at a time, you can find the determination, motivation and understanding you need to move forward in your life.

I think this book would be a wonderful tool for personal reflection and future reference; to take from your bookshelf like an old and caring friend when you need encouragement, a boost of determination, or just a thought-provoking meditation to help you remind yourself what is truly important in your life. I plan to keep it in mind as an excellent gift for an upcoming graduate or a friend pondering a change of circumstance in their own life.

A Must Have for Crisis Counseling..Professional or LayPersons

Coping With Crisis: A Counselor's
Guide to the Restabilization Process
(Book #5 in the Explorations In Metapsychology Series)
Author: Jim Burtles
Publisher: Loving Healing Press
ISBN: 978-1-932690-41-5

The author of this excellent psychology tool, Jim Burtles, has outstanding expertise, background and practical experience in disaster recovery and emergency management, both in the business and professional world; and in working with other experts in crisis recovery as well as trauma survivors.

The rehabilitation and recovery methods covered in this book were originally created and developed in response to helping people handle and react to catastrophic events; they will prove invaluable to both professionals and laypersons working with survivors of any traumatic personal, local, national or international event or crisis.

The volume offers an extremely useful glossary of crisis/trauma/recovery and rehabilitation terminology helpful to readers of all experience levels; as well as very useful indexes and appendices.

Burtles discusses the five common reactions to crisis, the techniques of Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). REBT is an established documented and proven model to alleviate stress, depression, anxiety and the other resultant issues of trauma and catastrophy, Valuable advice for couselors is covered; as well as an excellent discussion and overview of the "dark serpent theory" of survivor behavior. This dilemma and the resultant treatment suggestions are covered in what I personally believe is the best and most thorough explanation I have seen.

I would wholeheartedly recommend this work to anyone interested in learning more about crisis management, coping and rehabilitation skills and techniques. A very valuable learning tool and reference on an extremely timely and important subject.