Honoring the Medicine by Kenneth Cohen


Title: Honoring the Medicine: The Essential Guide to Native American Healing

Genre: Reference

Page Count: 429

Publication Date: 2003

Summary: This well researched book explores Native American healing, spirituality and life philosophies.  Native American practices are compared with other worldwide indigenous practices and religions. Topics covered include the Vision Quest and dreams, smudging, sweat lodges, sacred pipe ceremonies, herbal healing, good and bad spirits and the importance of nature.

Recommended: Yes, this book is an excellent introduction to Native American beliefs and practices and would make a good reference book.

If You’re Offended: There are only three instances of bad language.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “Although pipes with a separate stem and bowl are now the most common, in ancient times, simple tubular pipes were created from the leg bones of deer, antelope, or other animals. Tobacco was packed in the wider end of the pipe, and the entire pipe could be wrapped with sinew or rawhide to prevent the hot pipe from cracking and to make it easier to hold.”    “Smudging means using the smoke and scent of a smoldering aromatic plant to purify a space of toxic energy, feelings, thoughts, or spirits and to create a fragrant atmosphere that attracts healing and helping powers.”


Three Cups of Tea


Authors: Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin

Genre: Biography

Page Count: 349

Publication Date: 2006

Summary: Greg Mortenson, an expert mountain climber, travels to Pakistan to attempt to climb the world’s second-tallest mountain.  He gets lost from his team and ends up in the village of Korphe, a village that has never before seen an outsider.  The villagers take Greg in and care for him and in return, Greg promises to build them a school.  This is the story of Greg’s travels throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan, building schools and providing other instruments of humanitarian aid.

Recommended: Yes, I really enjoyed learning about the Pakistani culture though the book reiterates to me that this is a part of the world that I have no intentions of visiting.  One potential drawback to the book is that I found myself continually questioning how Mortenson and his team spend so much money in such a short amount of time, based on the figures and estimates he provides.

If You’re Offended: There are about 5 instances of swear words.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “After brewing green tea in a blackened tin pot, he added salt, baking soda, and goat’s milk, before tenderly shaving a sliver of mar, the aged rancid yak butter the Balti prize above all other delicacies, and stirred it into the brew with a not especially clean forefinger.”    “She wore her long hair elaborately braided in the Tibetan fashion, under an urdwa, a wool cap adorned with beads and shells and antique coins.”

The Professors’ Wives’ Club by Joanne Rendell


Genre: Fiction

Page Count: 321

Publication Date: 2008

Summary: A group of women bonded by a secret garden in the center of Manhattan University. One woman is trying to gather the courage to leave her abusive husband. One woman is stuck in a loveless marriage and is torn between her lover and her husband. One woman is a stay-at-home mom who misses the drama of being a Hollywood talent agent. One woman lives with her girlfriend but is too afraid to come out to her overbearing parents. A mystery involving Edgar Allan Poe in the background.

Recommended: Yes, this is a fast read with lots of drama! This would be a good choice for a reading group because there is a reading guide at the end of the book.

If You’re Offended: Beware of moderate swearing and sexualized scenes.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “She would come home later and his anger would be forgotten. It was only the times when she stood up to him, the times she argued her point, that he got really mad and then violent.”     “She tried to remind herself that this was her husband, the man she loved, the man she might even have a child with soon. But as she studied him further, he seemed more and more like a stranger, and more and more like someone she used to know and used to love.”


Twinkie, Deconstructed by Steve Ettlinger


Genre: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 282

Publication Date: 2007

Summary: Have you ever looked at a food’s ingredient list and wondered how the ingredients came to be? Some of them are so hard to pronounce that it is hard to imagine they began as a natural material but sure enough, all of the processed foods we eat started out as plants, animals, or minerals and only through much processing and chemistry (all around the world) did they become the ingredients we know them as today. This book explores the origins and science behind the most commonly found ingredients as found in the beloved Twinkie.

Recommended: Yes, particularly if you are interested in chemistry. This is one of those books that I found in a used book store and it sounded curiously interesting to me and indeed, it was.

If You’re Offended: No problems here.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “Sugar and its derivatives also have some surprising industrial uses: as a flame retardant and plasticizer in polyurethane foam, as a water-based ink for printing on plastic bags, for curing tobacco (spread on leaves to help them dry evenly), and, my personal favorite, for cleaning out cement mixers.”     “Phosphorous is the source of some of the most common chemicals used in everyday life. It’s also what puts the glow in tracer bullets and causes artillery shells to explode, because it bursts into flame when it makes contact with air. So it does seem odd that it’s part of the Twinkies recipe.”

You Can You Will by Joel Osteen


Title: You Can You Will – 8 Undeniable Qualities of a Winner

Genre: Inspirational

Page Count: 171

Publication Date: 2014

Summary: A Biblically-based inspirational book, the author separates his message into eight ideals needed to achieve your goals: Keep your vision in front of you, Run your race, Expect good things, Have a positive mind-set, Commit to excellence, Keep growing, Serve others, and Stay passionate.

Recommended: Yes.  This is a quick read and is very positive yet realistic. Rather than just quoting Bible verses, the author explains the significance of short Bible stories.

If You’re Offended: No problems here.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “God did not call you to keep everyone happy. It’s good to be loving, kind, and generous, but you are not responsible for the happiness of others. You are responsible for your own happiness.”    “If you’re the smartest one in your group, then your group is too small. You need to be around people who know more than you and have more talent than you. Don’t be intimidated by them; be inspired.”

Curious by Ian Leslie


Full Title: Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It

Genre: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 216

Publication Date: 2014

Summary: This book explores the nature of curiosity – what causes it and how we benefit from it.  Using psychology, it explores how we learn and why we learn.  It looks at the history of curiosity – how it has been banned and celebrated over the years. It also looks at the roles of schools and education in helping our curiosity to flourish.

Recommended: Yes! If you like to learn as much as you can about the world around you, this is the book for you. It is filled with anecdotes and real-world success stories of people being curious.

If You’re Offended: No problems here.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “When people are interested in what they’re reading, they pay closer attention, process the information more efficiently, make more connections between new and existing knowledge, and attend to deeper questions raised by the text rather than merely noting its surface features.”     “Knowledge, even shallow knowledge – knowing a little about a lot – widens your cognitive bandwidth. It means you get more out of a trip to the theater or a museum or from a novel, a poem, or a history book.”

PCOS for Dummies


Authors: Gaynor Bussell and Sharon Perkins

Genre: Non-Fiction

Page Count: 268

Publication Date: 2011

Summary: PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is a disease that affects up to 10% of women of reproductive age.  This book, in classic “For Dummies” style, gives you a basic overview of the disease and treatments in an easy-to-read style of writing.  The book also includes information about how to incorporate a low-glycemic-index diet, weight loss, medications that can be used to treat symptoms, and how to deal with infertility and pregnancy.

Recommended: Yes.  The information is very user-friendly and you can either read the whole book or just the sections that are interesting to you.  There is a section at the end that includes resources that provide information and support.

If You’re Offended: No problems here.

Noteworthy Excerpts: “If you have PCOS, you may be told that you have insulin resistance (pre-diabetes). There aren’t a lot of physical signs of insulin resistance, but the following clues can warn you of the possibility: darkened areas of skin around the neck, in the armpits, on the elbows, behind the knees, and around the knuckles, fat accumulation around the waist, and skin tags that grow off the skin.”    “If you keep blood glucose levels under control, eat well, and lose even a small amount of weight before getting pregnant, you can significantly decrease your risk of complications during pregnancy.”