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Tuesdays with Morrie
An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson
by Mitch Albom
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to Amazon.comMaybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher, or a colleague. Someone older, patient, and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching. Someone helped you see the world as a more profound place, or gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded, and the world seemed colder. Wouldn't you like to see this person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you, receive wisdom for your busy life today the way you once did when you were younger? Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man's life. Knowing he was dying, Morrie visited with Mitch in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final "class: lessons in how to live. Tuesday's with Morrie is a magical chronicle of their time together, through which Mitch shares Morrie's lasting gift with the world.

A Name I Can't Read
The Rocky Road to Literacy, A Mother's Story

by Claudia M. Darkins
Review by Candace Talmadge

Go to Three whites stand accused of brutally murdering an African-American man in Jasper, Texas, in June 1998. Meanwhile, Houston author Claudia M. Darkins documents how teachers and principals in Illinois and Texas sabotaged her sons' education and undermined their self-esteem. Racism is the connection between these events, the first of which is from today's headlines, and the others dating back as far as two decades.

Overt and extreme racism prompted the killing. It's easy to identify this sort of racial hatred, and just as easy to dismiss it as an isolated extreme, the result of ignorance. But what are we to make of the kind of covert racism that the Darkins' sons encountered consistently throughout their years in schools in two states? The kind of prejudice displayed by teachers and principals who presumably are among the most educated members of our society.

A Name I Can't Read is profoundly disturbing, yet highly important. This book examines and documents the devastating long-term effects on the education of minority children of just this kind of hidden racism. Some examples of the kind of bias the book describes includes several teachers' outright refusal to provide textbooks to the Darkins' sons. Others sent the boys out of the classroom during instruction periods. Although Gregory and Chris did well on standardized tests in their early years, principals and teachers refused to put them in accelerated learning classes.

Not surprisingly, the boys started to fall behind in their academic achievements. Yet their parents regularly read to them, encouraged them consistently to complete all homework, and even took the unusual step of teaching Chris, the younger child, to read during the summer between kindergarten and first grade.

Throughout the school years of these two young men, now grown, too many of their educators underrated their abilities and desire to learn. The author speculates that these educators meant well, but had lower expectations for the Darkins' sons because of the adults' unconscious racial bias. This type of bias, invisible to those who have it due to denial, is not subject to the law of the land. By the time Gregory and Chris were in school, physical segregation had been outlawed. But they were still segregated in the minds-and hearts-of many of their teachers and principals. These children were separate and unequal solely because of their race, not their test scores, abilities or willingness to learn.

The author's claims might seem unbelieveable if she did not include written evidence. As parents and as tax-paying citizens, the Darkins had to work twice as hard in the public schools to obtain a lesser education for their children. Ms. Darkins offers her experience of hidden racial bias as one of the unnamed and unexamined causes of too many minority children's academic difficulties. Passing more laws will not improve the public schools, which already are gridlocked by endless legal paperwork and bureacratic red tape. Healing will be possible only when educators and the rest of us end our denial and take personal responsibility by owning up to the biases in our hearts. This means taking the time and effort to examine ourselves at the deeper levels of self, where true healing and change occur.

Afterwards, You're a Genius
Faith, Medicine, and the Metaphysics of Healing
by Chip Brown
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to Chip Brown is an award winning journalist, has been a staff writer for the Washington Post, and has written for numerous national magazines. He takes us along on his personal inquiry into the mystical ways in which we heal, and the attendant scientific and philosophical questions that arise once we allow for the possibility that the mind can affect the health of the body.

Journalist Chip Brown employs a variety of investigative tools in an effort to comprehend the allure as well as the mechanics of such unorthodox yet increasingly popular practices as energy healing and Therapeutic Touch, and the real meaning of such esoteric terms as the subtle body, psychic energy, auras, chakras, prana, and chi. Brown treks through history to describe the evolution of the medical fringe from the mainstream. He makes pilgrimages to scientists and physicians who have risked career and reputation in their pursuit of the paranormal. He studies with healers and communes with their spirit guides. He goes head to head with students and foes of enlightenment to thrash out such delicate matters as faith, the mind/body dialectic, and the power of prayer. Brown witnesses healing sessions in which injuries incurred in past lives are healed, torn auras are sewn, and then submits to such treatment himself. This is an honest and heart-felt personal account of one man's journey into the world of alternative medicine.

Behaving as if the God in All Life Mattered
by Machaelle Small
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to Machaelle Small is a visionary empath with the profound ability to see, hear, and interact with invisible forces that surround her. She recounts her personal story of triumph from a childhood of torment and isolation to the discovery of her ability to communicate with the world of nature. At Perelanda, her 20 acre farm in Virginia, she devotes her life to understanding the messages that are communicated to her from entities of the nature kingdom. This is a book for all of us who dream of a world of harmony, love, truth and understanding.

Life After Life
The Investigation of a Phenomenon - Survival of Bodily Death
by Dr. Raymond A. Moody
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to When Dr. Moody first published this book in 1975, it revolutionized the field of near-death research. He carefully documented the cases of over 100 near-death experiences. Perhaps his greatest achievement is the identification of 15 separate elements of the near-death experience (NDE) that were present to some degree in each case. This laid the foundation for later studies to apply the scientific method in determining whether the common occurrence of these elements warranted placing the NDE in the realm of verifiable phenomena.

Needless to say, the debate over NDEs is far from resolved today. Partly from my own experiences and beliefs, and partly as a result of this book and the ones that followed it, I am convinced that NDEs do not exist solely in the mind of the near-deceased. I believe that they fulfill a very comforting and necessary role in helping the person to cope with the experience of death. As such, they are a fascinating window into the process of physical death and the survival of the soul.

Closer to the Light
Learning from the Near-Death Experiences of Children
by Melvin Morse, M.D.
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to Dr. Morse applied the research of Dr. Raymond Moody and others to a very soundly based scientific study of near-death experiences (NDEs). This book is the result of many years work on this subject. His work began primarily with the NDEs of children, but later also included the NDEs of adults.

These questions are addressed in this book: Do children have NDEs that are different from those of adults? Does one need to be near death to have an NDE? Is there an area of the brain that produces NDEs? Have the researchers missed any traits? How did NDEs affect children after they became adults? Buy the book and find out how Dr. Morse answered these and other fascinating questions about NDEs.

Transformed by the Light
The Powerful Effect of Near-Death Experiences on People's Lives
by Melvin Morse, M.D.
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to This book takes up where Dr. Morse's best selling book 'Closer to the Light' leaves off. In 'Transformed by the Light', Dr. Morse examines the changes that take place in the lives of those who have had near-death experiences (NDEs). Based on the largest NDE study done at that time (400 cases, 1992), this book convincingly shows that the lives of those who have had NDEs are permanently and radically changed for the better in both spiritual and physical ways.

After a battery of tests, interviews, and examination of medical records, these are the reults that were reported: People who have NDEs are healthier and have fewer psychosomatic complaints. Psychologically they are happier, have stronger family ties, have more zest for living, and have a greatly diminished fear of death. A significant increase in psychic abilities was found in almost all NDE participants of the study. This study provided the scientific data to propose a new theory of brain/mind interaction linking physics, medicine, neuroscience, and the human spirit.


Anam Cara
A Book of Celtic Wisdom
by John O'Donohue
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to When Saint Patrick first came to Ireland in the fifth century A.D., he encountered the Celtic people and a flourishing spiritual tradition that had already existed for thousands of years. The Celts had a refined and passionate sense of the divine. The Celtic imagination articulates an inner friendship that embraces nature, divinity, the underworld, and the human world as one. The Celts never separated the visible from the invisible, time from eternity, or the human from the divine. Surviving to this day, the Celtic reverence for the soul in all things is a vibrant spiritual heritage unique in the Western world, one that is capturing the imagination of thousands of people as they rediscover the wisdom of the past and their own Celtic roots.

In Anam Cara, Gaelic for 'soul friend', John O'Donohue invites you into the magical and unobtrusive world of your own divinity; to that place in the soul where there is no distance between you and the eternal. The ancient wisdom, poetry, and blessings of Celtic spirituality will awaken and grace the beauty of your heart's landscape. Exploring such themes as the mystery of friendship, the spirituality of the senses, the brightness within solitude, work as the poetics of growth, aging as the art of inner harvesting, and death as eternal homecoming, this book will encircle your heart with Celtic benediction.

Conversations with God
An Uncommon Dialog: Book 1
by Neale Donald Walsch
Review by Suzanne McBride

Go to I really enjoyed this book! Page after page offers insights and questions about the nature of an individual human's relationship with God. And here's a warning: if you really think about the issues raised in the text, it will take you a long time to actually read. Whether you agree with Walsch's understanding of his Creator's will or not, the principles in this book will certainly make you take another look at your relationship with God. I particularly liked the section that discussed the 10 Commandments!

Conversations with God
An Uncommon Dialog: Book 1 Guidebook
by Neale Donald Walsch
Review by Suzanne McBride

Go to This is a companion workbook for 'Book 1'. It has further examples of the principles in action, and is chock full of exercises and questions to help you discover the principles at work in your own life. Designed for work within a group of interested people, an individual may nonetheless work through this book on his/her own to great benefit.

Conversations with God
An Uncommon Dialog: Book 2
by Neale Donald Walsch
Review by Suzanne McBride

Go to This book discusses social revolution of the most subtle kind; a change in attitude and attention. Covering everything from sexuality to politics, war, and education, this book contains ideas on the nature of human inter-relationships, and the price of hidden agendas and expectations. Again, even if you do not agree with what Walsch offers as his understanding of God's ideas, the discussion can lead you to a more thorough understanding of your own relationships.

Conversations with God
An Uncommon Dialog: Book 3
by Neale Donald Walsch
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to This is the last book in Neale Donald Walsch's Conversations With God Trilogy. It begins by re-hashing some of the material already covered in the first two books, but does have some interesting insights of its own to offer. Walsch does a nice job of wrapping up the dialog that has filled three books. Here is a quote from the last chapter in the book:

For truth is the body, and joy is the blood of God, who is love. Truth. Joy. Love. These three are interchangeable. One leads to the other, and it matters not in which order they appear. All lead to Me. All are Me. And so I end this dialog as it began. As with life itself, it goes full circle. You have been given truth here. You have been given joy. You have been given love. You have been given here the answers to the largest mysteries of life. There is now only one question remaining. It is the question with which we began. The question is not to whom do I talk, but who listens?

Friendship with God
An Uncommon Dialog
by Neale Donald Walsch
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to This is the first book in a new series by the author of the Conversations With God trilogy. In the author's words, he began his relationship with God as a fearship rather than a friendship. He speaks of his struggles to see God as a friend instead of a punishing judge. Like the books in his first series, this book is also written mostly in dialog format. It shows us how any of us can have a conversation with God. But more than that, this book also shows us how to deepen and strengthen our own friendship with God. I highly recommend this book.

The Essential Rumi
by Coleman Barks
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to Jelaluddin Rumi is a 13th Century islamic poet, scholar, teacher, and mystic who is finally achieving well deserved recognition in western christian society. This is due in large part to the modern translations of his work by Coleman Barks. The impact of Rumi's works upon islamic culture has been compared to the impact which William Shakespeare's works had upon christian culture in the west. This book is a collection of Rumi's most beautiful and influential poems. Coleman Barks has been passionate in his treatment and arrangement of this important writer's work.

Rumi's poetry is full of mystery, magic, and a love of life. Rumi embraces all of life's experiences and is always pointing out to us that the essence of God is present in all that we see and do, no matter how ordinary it may seem to us. And he does so in a language that our soul understands, even if our conscious mind does not. This is the beauty and the power in Rumi's poetry. Buy this book and give your soul a wonderful gift.

Essential Sufism
edited by James Fadiman and Robert Frager
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to The Sufis are the mystics of Islam. Essential Sufism is a broad but very readable survey of literary treasures produced over many centuries by men and women of a faith that has influenced at least a dozen cultures for over fifteen hundred years. More than 300 works of incredible beauty and inspiration are included.

Written by Sufi prophets, saints, and teachers, these luminous stories, fables, prayers, and aphorisms help us to see the love and generosity of God in all his creation. Through these works we can experience for ourselves the love for all things that embodies the Sufi's relationship with God. This book is filled with works that are sure to touch your heart.

The Celestine Prophecy
An Adventure
by James Redfield
Available in Hardcover and Paperback.
Review by Suzanne McBride

Go to By now, most people have probably heard about this book, and most people accept it as a parable about one man's journey to discover the source and meaning of power and relationships. Even though the events in the book are fictitious, the descriptions of how energy appears, and of how it flows among living beings, reflects some of my own experiences with energy. I enjoyed this tale because not only is it told as a fast-paced adventure (complete with bad guys and mysterious kidnappings), it also offers concrete examples of how the Insights can be used in real situations.

The Legend of Altazar
A Fragment of the True History of Planet Earth
by The Hermit of the Crystal Mountain
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to On the surface, this is the story of Altazar, the king of Lemuria, at the time of its destruction a long time ago. This story is really a parable full of hidden meanings. It is a story about a journey of the soul, and all of the characters represent different parts of our personalities. The author calls them the 'master patterns' of humanity. I found myself resonating to several of the characters. The story itself is compelling and it held my interest to the very end. How does it end? Get the book and find out!

The Living Face of Ancient Egypt
by Isha Schwaller De Lubicz
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to This book is a re-creation of the spiritual life of ancient Egypt. It is fiction, but it does a masterful job of conveying the atmosphere of the times and always treats the Egyptian religious heritage with the awe and respect that it deserves. I found myself absorbed in the story to the point that I began to imagine that I was actually there in that time taking part in it. This is the first of two books that tell the tale of an Egyptian peasant boy who becomes am initiate in an Egyptian temple. In this first book we find him being put to many tests and learning the ways of the priesthood. See my review of the second book below to hear the rest of the story.

Egyptian Initiate
by Isha Schwaller De Lubicz
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to In this second book (see the above review for the first part of the story) we find Her-Bak has passed many tests and had many setbacks on his quest to become an Egyptian temple priest. Here he begins to learn about the inner workings of the temple. At the same time, his knowledge and his confidence in his priestly skills are increasing. Does he achieve enlightenment? Read the book and treat yourself to a wonderful story as you find out.

God on a Harley
by Joan Brady
Review by Walter Parrish

Go to This is much more than a charming little novel. In the spirit of 'The Celestine Prophecy', this witty, inspirational tale offers life-transforming wisdom for us all. A metaphor for self discovery, we follow one woman's quest for healing and personal truths. At 37, Christine Moore had a frustrating career, a few dead-end romances, no husband, and a less than perfect figure. From this less than auspicious beginning we follow her on a voyage of the spirit that frees Christine to appreciate each precious moment. Everyone who believes that hopes and dreams can be attained will find in this book simple, yet profound, guideposts to an enlightened new life. This is a wonderful story guaranteed to warm your heart.


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