We Review the Best of the Latest Books

ISSN 1934-6557

June 2017, Issue #218

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Guide to Contents this Page 

Blue Water White Sand by Joy Hewett (Silk Hope Press)

The Curse of the Pharaohs' Tombs: Tales of the unexpected since the days of Tutankhamun by Paul Harrison (Pen and Sword)

In the Black: My Life by B. Denham Jolly (ECW Press)

The Ragged Edge: A US Marine’s Account of Leading the Iraqi Army Fifth Battalion by Michael Zacchea & Ted Kemp, with a foreword by Major General Paul D. Eaton (US Army-ret.) (Chicago Review Press)

The Business of Broadway: An Insider’s Guide to Working, Producing, and Investing in the World’s Greatest Theatre Community by Mitch Weiss & Perri Gaffney (Allworth Press)

Another Economy is Possible: Culture and Economy in a Time of Crisis, 1st edition by Manuel Castells et al. (Polity)

Flipping Houses by Tim W. Lenihan & Patricia Burkhart Smith (Idiot's Guides: Alpha Books)

Beach Cocktails: Favorite Surfside Sips and Bar Snacks by Coastal Living (Oxmoor House)

The Maker's Atelier: The Essential Collection by Frances Tobin, with photography by Amelia Shepherd (Quadrille Publishing)

What's Worth Teaching? Rethinking Curriculum in the Age of Technology (by Allan Collins, with a foreword by John Seely Brown (Technology, Education-Connections (TEC) Series: Teachers College Press)

Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America by Mary Otto (The New Press)

And Then There Was Me: A Novel of Friendship, Secrets and Lies by Sadeqa Johnson (Thomas Dunne Books)

Origins of the Sphinx: Celestial Guardian of Pre-Pharaonic Civilization by Robert M. Schoch Ph.D. & Robert Bauval (Inner Traditions)

The Great Exposition of Secret Mantra in 3 volumes, by Tsongkhapa, with translation & editing by Jeffrey Hopkins, with a commentary by the Dalai Lama and explanatory material by Khaydrub Geleg Palsang (Snow Lion) His Holiness the Dalai Lama illuminates the highly practical and compassionate use of Tantra for spiritual development in this important classic work.

Volume 1: Tantra in Tibet (Revised Edition)  Volume 2: Deity Yoga   Volume 3: Yoga Tantra

Joyce Rupp: Essential Writings by Joyce Rupp with an introduction by Michael Leach (Modern Spiritual Masters Series: Orbis Books)

Paradoxology: Why Christianity Was Never Meant to Be Simple by Krish Kandiah (IVP Books)

Scripture as Real Presence: Sacramental Exegesis in the Early Church by Hans Boersma (Baker Academic)

The Fruits of Grace: The Ecumenical Experience of the Community of Grandchamp by Minke de Vries, translated with an introduction by Nancy S. Gower, with a foreword by Thomas F. Best (Pickwick Publications)

The Sex Effect: Baring Our Complicated Relationship with Sex by Ross Benes, with a foreword by A.J. Jacobs (Sourcebooks)

The Vanishing Stepwells of India by Victoria Lautman, with a foreword by Divay Gupta (Merrell Publishers)


Literature & Fiction

Blue Water White Sand by Joy Hewett (Silk Hope Press)

The author of Blue Water White Sand, Joy Hewett, a freelance writer, is an English and literature teacher retired from community colleges in Hawaii and North Carolina. I have known Joy for many years.

Joy asked me if I’d review her book Blue Water White Sand and I said “sure.” That was said without much thought about what it would mean. After all, I review lots of books. Now I’m realizing how hard it is to review a friend’s book – so I’m going to keep this short.

I get the feeling that the author had this story in her and it had to come out. It takes courage and determination to bring a big project like this to fruition. The same determination shown by the characters is also shown by the author, to tell the story that rings true in the character’s lives.

I’ve almost finished reading Blue Water White Sand and let me just say I see Joy in every page. Of course, her writing would sound like her since she wrote it. But I’m starting to wonder whether every single thing that happens to every character actually happened to her! That’s why you don’t want to review a friend’s book … for future reference.

I told another friend about the commitment I had made. She had also gotten a copy of the book at the book launch and had started reading it. Her erudite comment was: “Books tend to be either lyrically driven or plot driven – this book is both.”

In Blue Water White Sand, when Debra Bishop's ex-husband, Dave, a treasure hunter, dies mysteriously, she and longtime friend Sandy Perkins reunite in Key West for an unexpected adventure. Debra's daughter Melody insists they join her for his memorial service and the reading of the will. They encounter two more former wives of Dave, a devious stepson, and the mischief left behind by the man they once knew. With a little humor and a dash of danger, the three women end up on a search for a jade goddess and hidden treasure. While the two baby boomers explore intertwined memories, they must come to terms with the choices they made and the loves they lost along the way. All three women, Debra, Melody, and Sandy, reveal surprising secrets in the confrontations with their pasts and each other.

Spiritual and philosophical, the book has a lot of poetic passages. From Honduras to Florida, Hawaii, California, and North Carolina, this story moves through lush descriptions of nature, both on land and underwater. You can be reading along and be halted by admiration for a descriptive passage.

There is a fluid perspective on the characters as they move through their lives. Blue Water White Sand projects a strong sense of time – time moving through people’s lives and people’s lives moving through time. The book demonstrates how the past is present with us now and how memory plays a part in who we are.

And now I’ve finished it – complete with several surprises – and I’m not telling – read it for yourself!

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Archaeology / Egypt / Legends

The Curse of the Pharaohs' Tombs: Tales of the unexpected since the days of Tutankhamun by Paul Harrison (Pen and Sword)

The Curse of the Pharaohs' Tombs, a book on Ancient Egyptian tomb curses, provides new information and data never before published while exploring the many incidents and deaths associated with tomb curses. The book sets the record straight on matters which have been wrongly recorded by others, such as the legend of Tutankhamun, and presents new data associated with matters such as the torment Howard Carter suffered before his death. It also contains exclusive information and interviews with the family members and archaeologists associated with the curses, including experts at the British Museum and Cairo Museum.

Author Paul Harrison in The Curse of the Pharaohs' Tombs covers the history of Egyptian tomb curses, why they were placed at the entrance to some tombs and not others, and the reality of mummification after death in Ancient Egypt. The hundreds of deaths and haunted tube station (Museum) which are associated with the curse of Amen-Ra (housed in the British Museum) is covered along with the mysterious deaths and tragedy associated with Cleopatra’s needle on the Embankment of the River Thames.

Harrison, a retired police officer, is a full-time writer and author of thirty-six books. He uses investigative techniques to uncover new facts to help rationalize myths and legends. Harrison has traveled extensively, researching tales and legends surrounding the pharaohs' curse and has spent a considerable time in Egypt on archaeological digs.

According to Harrison, the first legends of the `curse of the pharaohs' arose sometime in the seventh century, when the first Arabs arrived in Egypt. Unable to read hieroglyphics, almost everything in the land was strange and had an air of the mysterious about it. The highly decorated tombs and the incredible mummy preservation ignited fantasies in their imaginations, and subsequent stories were based on those initial finds. Harrison relates a story that as a child held him spellbound and drew him into archaeology:

In 1972, England was gripped by the strange legends and history surrounding a dead Egyptian pharaoh, the boy king, Tutankhamun. A unique exhibition entitled `Treasures of Tutankhamun' was formally opened at the British Museum by Queen Elizabeth II. The exhibition, which displayed countless priceless artifacts recovered from Tutankhamun's tomb in the Valley of the Kings, was scheduled to run for six months but was so popular that it was extended until the end of December.

It was on November 25th, 1922, in Egypt's Valley of the Kings, that archaeologists first unearthed an ancient burial tomb that had been lost for over 3,000 years. This tomb was special for it was the final resting place of the boy pharaoh, Tutankhamun. As the entrance to the tomb was uncovered, the desert sands began to reveal the contents of what has been described as the greatest archaeological find of all time. Gradually, day by day, the contents of the tomb were removed, and it was during this process that strange, unaccountable incidents began to occur. The arduous task of carrying and lifting heavy objects from the tomb fell on the local Arab work force. It came as no surprise when a number fell ill – probably from exhaustion considering the cramped, hot and dusty working conditions – but it is claimed that a number of these people became violently ill, and died during the process of emptying the tomb. More incidents followed, the most high profile of which occurred in March 1923 when Lord Carnarvon, who was the financial benefactor behind the excavations, was allegedly bitten by a mosquito and, as a result of the illness contracted from the poisoned septic bite, died in Cairo on 5 April 5th, 1923. A few weeks later, a nurse who had been treating Carnarvon supposedly said: `This is a cover up, they know the truth, the death came from the curse of the dead pharaoh, the officials are too frightened to admit it! Carnarvon told me he could see the god of the afterlife (Osiris) awaiting him and the great black jackal (Anubis) watching and waiting. He was frightened, delirious, yet he spoke of seeing these things with great lucidity.' Across the world news stories about the excavation of King Tutankhamun's tomb and the so-called curse that was said to have been found in the tomb proved of immense interest to readers, to the delight of the newspaper owners who saw an increase in sales.

Back in England in the 1970s, the story describes the deaths that come to all those involved with the artifacts. According to The Curse of the Pharaohs' Tombs, Idris Fahoud searched for Egyptian antiquities and returned to his homeland with a variety of objects which he claimed belonged to King Tutankhamun. There, he privately took them out to the Valley of the Kings and returned them to the gods and the earth. The events were later retold by Fahoud on his deathbed in a confession to a Cairo newspaper:

`I swear that the curse will remain as long as the body of the boy king remains above the sands of Egypt. Each and every article stolen from the holy shrine of the son of God will bring death to any person who takes possession of it. My work is complete, Osiris awaits, I must go, I go to join my Lord, my task is done.'

Once Harrison heard this story he says his own fate was sealed: he was hooked and wanted to learn more, not only from books but also through his own research in Egypt and beyond. He went in search of the truth and found himself embracing not only the myths and the legends, but the life the ancient Egyptians enjoyed, and death and the afterlife that followed. The results of the research were fascinating and form the basis of The Curse of the Pharaohs' Tombs.

The Curse of the Pharaohs' Tombs sets the record straight on Ancient Egyptian tomb curses, providing new information and data never before published.

Biographies & Memoirs / Canada / Social Justice

In the Black: My Life by B. Denham Jolly (ECW Press)

What we needed as a community was our own voice. One that would speak loud and clear, and most importantly would speak to our young. Our newspaper, Contrast, was only partially successful in this, and unfortunately it wasn't financially sustainable. By the time Al and I were putting the paper to bed for the last time, we were already looking at a bigger project. We began to look for a loud voice for our community on Toronto's airwaves, and this would consume us for the next decade and more. – from the book

A remarkable memoir about achieving prosperity in the face of relentless prejudice,
In the Black traces B. Denham Jolly’s personal and professional struggle for a place in a country where Black Canadians have faced systematic discrimination. Jolly is an award-winning businessman, publisher, broadcaster, and civil rights activist. He was the founding president of the Black Business and Professional Association.

Jolly arrived from Jamaica to attend university in the mid-1950s and worked as a high school teacher before going into the nursing and retirement-home business. Though he was ultimately successful in his business ventures, Jolly faced both overt and covert discrimination, which led him into social activism. The need for a stronger voice for the Black community fuelled Jolly’s 12-year battle to get a license for the first entirely Black-owned radio station in Toronto. After its launch in 2001, FLOW 93.5 helped to launch the careers of artists like Drake, Shad, and Jully Black.

According to In the Black, from Hanover Parish, Jamaica, to Toronto, Canada, Jolly has been at the forefront of social activism for many years. His entrepreneurial ventures in Canada have been challenged by instances of systemic and casual racism since he immigrated. Unjust discrimination, however, has only fuelled his ambition to strengthen the voice of the Black community in Canada. The Black-owned station went on to act as a model for urban radio stations across the country, creating a voice and platform for the Black community in Canada.

As a kid growing up in the GTA, and as a huge Hip Hop and R&B fan, I was introduced to Hip Hop and R&B music by FLOW 93.5. All Urban music lovers in Toronto should feel indebtedness to its founder, Denham Jolly. To hear Drake, Kardinal, or even Jay Z on a consistent basis, you had to listen to FLOW 93.5. This book gives you great insight into his story and should inspire young people to pursue their dreams no matter what the challenges. – Andre De Grasse, three-time 2016 Olympic medalist

Denham introduced the first Black owned and operated radio station in Canada’s history, and, in doing so, brought Urban music to Canada for the first time, introducing successful Canadian Urban artists like Drake, Kardinal Offishal, Jully Black, K-OS, K’naan, Swollen Members, Choclair, and many more to commercial airwaves. He is a recognized philanthropist and a visionary leader who possesses an uncanny balance of social, fiduciary, and political imperatives. On a personal note, he has impacted my life greatly as a mentor, friend and role model. – Farley Flex, Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award Recipient, National UNICEF Ambassador, B’nai Brith Canada Special Advisory Council League of Human Rights, and BBPA Harry Jerome Award Recipient for Entertainment & Community

The memoir of Denham Jolly, In the Black, is a very important book; it’s well written and a must read for anyone interested in a more just society. – Honourable R. Roy McMurtry, OC, O. Ont., QC LSM, Former Chief Justice of Ontario

Read this dynamic history of a leader who has given much to the development of Canada’s Black Community. We have made progress as Black Canadians because of the activism and advocacy of this giant of a man. Read his interesting life journey and his determination to give voice to the issues of the day. Denham Jolly has shown that with hard work, determination, and a readiness to ‘buck the system’ – to stand up for and with the community on social issues and injustice – one can accomplish much. This story of his life and his accomplishments is a must read for all who engage with their communities. – Honourable Jean Augustine, PC, CM, CBE, Former Deputy Speaker Canadian House of Commons

In the Black is a must-read. In the face of one closed door after another, Jolly’s perseverance against the odds is fascinating to observe. In the Black isn’t just a broadcasting story, but also one of struggle, of the strength of the human spirit, and of ambitions realized. This book should be required reading for business schools, or for anyone with entrepreneurial aspirations. – Gary Slaight, CM, President and Chief Executive Officer Slaight Communications Inc.

In the Black is more than a story of one man’s endless resilience; it is also the story of a community overcoming hardships and reshaping the country into a more open and just society. Part memoir and part manifesto, it documents Jolly's personal struggles while also chronicling the stories of an entire generation of social activists. It is a passionate narrative about personal ambition, a community's hardships and successes, and its search for a voice. It is a story about the search for social justice.

Biographies & Memoirs / US / Military

The Ragged Edge: A US Marine’s Account of Leading the Iraqi Army Fifth Battalion by Michael Zacchea & Ted Kemp, with a foreword by Major General Paul D. Eaton (US Army-ret.) (Chicago Review Press)

Deployed to Iraq in March 2004 after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, US Marine Michael Zacchea in The Ragged Edge says he thought he had landed a plum assignment. His team’s mission was to build, train, and lead in combat the first Iraqi Army battalion trained by the US military.
Lieutenant Colonel Zacchea (USMC-ret.) led the Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis of the Iraqi Fifth Battalion and their US advisers. He won two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, and Iraq’s Order of the Lion of Babylon. Zacchea is currently director of the UConn Entrepreneur Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities. Co-author Ted Kemp is an editor, writer, and foreign correspondent for CNBC Digital. Previously, he was digital bureau chief for CNBC EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), based in London.

Zacchea in The Ragged Edge says he quickly realized he was faced with a nearly impossible task. With just two weeks’ training based on outdated and irrelevant materials, no language instruction, and few cultural tips for interacting with his battalion of Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds, Yazidis, and others, Zacchea arrived at his base in Kirkush to learn his recruits would need beds, boots, uniforms, and equipment. His Iraqi officer counterparts spoke little English. He had little time to transform his troops – mostly poor, uneducated farmers – into a cohesive rifle battalion that would fight a new insurgency erupting across Iraq.
In order to stand up a fighting battalion, Zacchea says in The Ragged Edge he knew, he would have to understand his men. Unlike other combat Marines in Iraq at the time, he immersed himself in Iraq’s culture: learning its languages, eating its foods, observing its traditions – even being inducted into one of its Sunni tribes. A constant source of both pride and frustration, the Iraqi Army Fifth Battalion went on to fight bravely at the Battle of Fallujah against the forces that would eventually form ISIS.

Michael Zacchea and Ted Kemp have written a superb account of the efforts to build an Iraqi Army from scratch. This is a book rich in lessons and emotions. Every commander-in-chief contemplating intervention should read this. – General Anthony C. Zinni USMC (Retired), former commander of U.S. Central Command, author of The Battle for Peace and Before the First Shots Are Fired

Zacchea and Kemp have nailed it. They accurately captured the inspiration, joys, sorrows, and deep frustrations we had in standing up the New Iraqi Army and Special Police Forces in the early years of the Iraq War. This book is a great read for anyone struggling to understand what it was like on the ground, and it’s also a fine primer for anyone preparing to advise foreign forces. Highly recommended. – Major General Jeff Buchanan, Deputy Commander, U.S. Forces Afghanistan

A must-read for anyone who wants to understand what went wrong for the United States in Iraq – and whether we should put troops in Syria. – Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, chief international correspondent, CNBC
[Zacchea] offers vivid accounts of base life, urban combat in Fallujah, and his close friendship with one Iraqi soldier. An honest, revealing glimpse of the dangers inherent in acting on good intentions based on ignorance. – Kirkus Reviews 

The Ragged Edge is a compelling narrative of one Marine’s year in Iraq and his efforts to build a new Iraqi Army. Michael Zacchea offers his unique perspective on American involvement in the Middle East – a perspective that can only be gleaned from firsthand experience. – US Representative Elizabeth H. Esty (Fifth District, Connecticut)

A solid and informative account of the trials and tribulations of the U.S. military experienced in Iraq, Zacchea’s story is one we have heard before, but it’s told exceedingly well. – Library Journal

Fiction lovers will recognize the employment of suspense techniques in the many stories told here, and consumers of history will appreciate a supremely reliable narrator with an eye for the smallest details. – Booklist

The Ragged Edge is Zacchea’s deeply personal and powerful account of hopeful determination, of brotherhood and betrayal, and of cultural ignorance and misunderstanding. It sheds light on the dangerous pitfalls of training foreign troops to fight murderous insurgents and terrorists, precisely when such wartime collaboration is happening more than at any other time in US history.

Business & Economics / Performing Arts

The Business of Broadway: An Insider’s Guide to Working, Producing, and Investing in the World’s Greatest Theatre Community by Mitch Weiss & Perri Gaffney (Allworth Press)

New York’s Broadway theatre scene has long been viewed as the ‘top of the heap’ in the world theatre community. Taking lessons from the very best, The Business of Broadway delves into the business side of the renowned industry to explain just how its system functions.

Manager/producer Mitch Weiss and actor/writer Perri Gaffney in The Business of Broadway take readers behind the scenes to reveal what the audience – and even the players and many producers – don’t know about how Broadway works, describing more than two hundred jobs that become available for every show. Weiss, who teaches management courses at New York University, has managed several hundred Broadway and off-Broadway shows including Tony Award winners A Chorus Line, The Grapes of Wrath, and Beauty and the Beast, and he has more than forty years of management and producing experience with such clients as Disney Theatrical Productions, New York Shakespeare Festival, and Big Apple Circus. Co-author Gaffney adapted her debut novel, The Resurrection of Alice, into a Helen Hayes Award-nominated one-woman play and, in addition to numerous other works, wrote and performed in Josephine, a multimedia monodrama based on the life of Josephine Baker.

In The Business of Broadway a variety of performers, producers, managers, and others involved in the Broadway network share valuable personal experiences in interviews discussing what made a show a hit or a miss, and how some of the rules, regulations, and practices in place today were pioneered.

The Business of Broadway is essential reading for anyone interested in producing, investing, or working in theatre. Engaging and illuminating, Mitch Weiss and Perri Gaffney explain the myriad of people and roles they play to collaborate on a show from development to opening night and beyond. – Daryl Roth, producer of eight Tony Award-winning productions
The go-to book for everything you wanted to know about working on Broadway along with everything you didn’t know you needed to know! The Business of Broadway should be required reading for all theatre students and working professionals. – Dona D. Vaughn, professor and artistic director of opera at the Manhattan School of Music, theatre director, Broadway actress, associate producer, and stage manager

The Business of Broadway is a compelling, fascinating, colorful, and comprehensive inside look at an industry with as many moving parts as a Rubik’s cube. Even the most complex elements – the Turkus pension plan anyone? – are presented with clarity and intelligence, and there are plenty of slap-your-forehead insights that are as entertaining as they are informative. It's a must-read for anyone passionate – not to mention foolhardy – enough to play the game, and an idiot's delight for those of us who root and razz from the sidelines. – Patrick Pacheco, arts journalist, feature writer for the Los Angeles Times, and theatre correspondent for NY1's On Stage

For anyone interested in pursuing a career on Broadway, or who wants to grow a theatre in any other part of the world, the innovative guide, The Business of Broadway, offers an in-depth analysis of the infrastructure at the core of successful theatre.

Business & Economics / Public Policy

Another Economy is Possible: Culture and Economy in a Time of Crisis, 1st edition by Manuel Castells et al. (Polity)

Throughout the Western world, governments and financial elites responded to the financial crisis of 2008 by trying to restore the conditions of business as usual. However, economic, social and human damage inflicted by the crisis has given rise to a reconsideration of the inevitability of unfettered capitalism as a fact of life. A number of economic practices and organizations emerged in Europe and the United States that embodied alternative values: the value of life over the value of money; the effectiveness of cooperation over cut-throat competition; the social responsibility of corporations and responsible regulation by governments over the short-term speculative strategies that brought the economy to the brink of catastrophe.
Another Economy is Possible examines the blossoming of innovative new experiments in organizing work and life that emerged in the wake of the financial crisis. They include cooperatives, barter networks, ethical banking, community currencies, shared time banks, solidarity networks, sharing of goods, non-monetary transactions, etc., experiments that paved the way for the emergence of a sharing economy in all domains of activity oriented toward the satisfaction of human needs.

The author of the introduction and conclusion, as well as some chapters, is Manuel Castells, University Professor and Wallis Annenberg Chair of Communication Technology and Society at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and Professor Emeritus of Sociology and Planning at the University of California, Berkeley. The book has eight additional contributors: Sarah Banet-Weiser, Sviatlana Hlebik, Giorgos Kallis, Sarah Pink, Kirsten Seale, Lisa J. Servon, Lana Swartz, and Angelos Varvarousis.

Castells says in the introduction to Another Economy is Possible that from Spain to Greece, from the US to Australia, and to many other countries beyond their direct observation, they saw the blossoming of multiple experiences of innovation in organizing work and life that paved the way for a fast-developing sharing economy in all domains of activities oriented toward the satisfaction of human needs. Furthermore, while some of these new economic practices appeared to be a reaction to the inability of the standard economic operations to provide goods, services, and credit during the crisis, other innovations became increasingly visible when taking a broader look at the way economic transactions co-evolve with culture, technology, and insti­tutions in a fast-changing society.

Another Economy is Possible is not a collection of diverse case studies; throughout the collaborative research of the nine authors, there is a common theme that provides the link to their polyhedric observation. There are as many economic practices as there are cultures. If standard­ized forms of capitalism appear to provide uniformity to economic practices it is only because of the cultural domination of capitalism, of the different forms of capitalism, enforced by institutions whose rules result from power struggles institutionalized in the law – always in flux. Thus, when standardized economic practices do not mesh with people's practices, either because they cannot practice them in situations of crisis, or because they challenge the values embodied in financial capitalism, alternative economic practices appear. These are not necessarily anti-capitalist (bitcoin is not), but different from current capitalism. At the source of this observation is the common statement: the economy is not simply related to culture: economy is culture. If economy is culture and if cultures are diverse and often contradictory, a whole range of economic practices are equally relevant and equally able to organize the way people produce, consume, exchange, innovate, invest, and live. This is the terrain the authors explored for three years in their research network, moving freely between observation, quantitative analysis, theory, and practice. This is their project: to unveil the cultural foundation of all economic practices by focusing on those that, because they are ‘alternative’ (to contemporary financial capitalism), make more visible the cultural content of their economic logic. They constructed an argument; their argument is this: economic practices are human practices that, as such, are determined by humans who embody their ways of being and thinking, their interests, their values, their projects. Humans can and do redefine the goals and means of their economic practices, as in all dimensions of their practices. This is their story, the story of Another Economy is Possible, told in a plurality of voices, but in the harmony of a shared intellectual purpose.

Manuel Castells and his colleagues have underscored a fundamental truth: that all economics are cultural forms. And just as the financial crisis of 2008 demonstrated the bankruptcy of neoliberal capitalism and the human suffering inflicted by it, so too it spawned countless experiments in alternative ways of organizing economic life based on cultures of sharing and solidarity, some of which are explored in this timely and pathbreaking volume. A must-read. – Paul Mason, author of Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future

On the basis of a cross-cultural analysis of alternative economic practices, Another Economy is Possible develops an important theoretical argument: that the economy, as a human practice, is shaped by culture, and that the diversity of cultures, as revealed in a time of crisis, implies the possibility of different economies depending on the values and power relations that define economic institutions. The book will be of great interest to students and scholars in sociology, economics and the social sciences generally, and to anyone who wishes to understand how our societies and economies are changing today.

Business & Investing / How To / Guides

Flipping Houses by Tim W. Lenihan & Patricia Burkhart Smith (Idiot's Guides: Alpha Books)

Buying, renovating, and selling houses – or flipping – can be a great way to make money but also requires lots of planning, preparation, and hard work. In this guide, readers learn from a professional flipper how to locate properties, make the necessary repairs and updates, and price their flip to make a profit. Idiot's Guides: Flipping Houses takes a real world look at the process by presenting the risks and rewards of flipping real estate.

Author Tim Lenihan is a top-producing real estate broker, investor, and house flipper with more than 10 years of experience. As a realtor, he helps clients identify homes that are suitable for flipping in Seattle's wonderfully eclectic neighborhoods. Patricia Burkhart Smith, a seasoned author, served as both a general assignment and medical reporter for People Magazine for 6 years and worked as a medical producer and news writer at KRIV in Houston for 8 years.

Flipping Houses includes:

·        An in-depth discussion on devising the perfect flipping strategy, including a business plan and timeline, which enables a flipper to take a property from drab and shabby to modern and eye appealing.

·        Tips on how to target neighborhoods, properties, and selling markets to find a perfect flip property.

·        Tips on finding and working with realtors, contractors, investors, and inspectors.

·        Checklists so readers can ensure they have performed all the Flip Timeline Steps, including legal paperwork, staging the house, inspection, and closing.

·        Discussion on finding financial funding and assembling their team of experts.

·        Advice on choosing a house, setting a budget, and designing and implementing the remodel.

·        Pointers on knowing what permits they need and how to secure them.

·        Ideas for maximizing their flip's curb appeal.

·        Guidance on pricing their property, attracting buyers, and gathering offers.

·        Instruction on performing a quick makeover for a quick sale or a more in-depth update to really impress buyers.

·        Tips and tricks to negotiation their sale and what to expect at closing.

·        Post-flip financial analysis on determining their profits, taxes to pay, and how flipping affects their income.

According to Flipping Houses, the odds of becoming a successful flipper are determined by the first few decisions readers make. Part 1, Laying a Solid Foundation, defines flipping and helps readers get organized. It shows readers how to seek out financing and build a great flipping team. Then it takes them through a detailed planning process to get them ready to flip.

Almost nothing has more influence on a flipper's odds of success than the location of the prop­erty. Part 2, Selecting the Right Property to Flip, teaches readers how to find great houses to flip and how to use demographic data to define their target audience of potential buyers. It discusses how best to work with realtors and contractors, and guides them as they buy their first property.

Part 3, Demolitions and Renovation, gets to the nitty gritty of flipping a house, everything from pulling permits to understanding style. It takes readers through a quick makeover and a to-the-studs demolition and renovation, teaching them about everything from scheduling to selecting finishes and the importance of curb appeal. It also discusses what to do if they run into problems along the way.

Now readers are ready to sell or ‘flip’ their first property. Staging is an important part of effectively marketing a house. Part 4, The Flip, reveals the smartest use of staging dollars, then discusses pricing and marketing strategies. It takes readers from their first offer through the act of sale, and finally, shows how to analyze results and profits.

Flipping Houses includes a glossary of terms, a list of resources, and an appendix of helpful checklists.

Practical and written in a style that is easy to understand, Flipping Houses helps readers determine if they have the necessary time and cash, and guide them through the process of successfully purchasing, rehabbing, and profiting from their investments.

Cooking, Food & Wine / Travel

Beach Cocktails: Favorite Surfside Sips and Bar Snacks by Coastal Living (Oxmoor House)

A cocktail served by the shore … doesn’t so much repair as enhance. It gilds the lily of life. – from the foreword

Cheers! Bottoms Up!

There are certain drinks that are best imbibed on a sandy beach. Beach Cocktails, a full-color book packed with 125 cocktails, will transport readers to the world's most tropical locales – with or without a plane ticket.

Whether on the shores of a beach or at home with friends, readers can serve up flavored cocktails of the coast like Hawaiian Mai Tais, Cuban Daiquiris, Key West Rum Runners or a Brazilian Caipirinhas.
Over the last 20 years Coastal Living has provided readers with the best of seaside life, and this latest publication, Beach Cocktails, serves up cocktail recipes alongside beautifully photographed coastal scenery for casual readers, mixologists, and guests alike.
In Beach Cocktails readers learn the origin and key ingredients of tiki bar favorites, gear up must-have bar essentials like mixers, tools and glassware, and refresh their bar basics by learning how to make simple syrups, to create garnishes and to muddle. Whether readers prefer a classic sip on the sand, a cutting-edge contemporary toddy, or a refreshing mocktail while watching the tide roll in, Beach Cocktails is their thirst-aid kit.

As readers flip through Beach Cocktails, they learn the origin stories and key ingredients of famous libations. The final chapter serves up recipes for favorite bar snacks, like mango-lime salsa, ceviche verde, and glazed honey-garlic chicken.

From old-time favorites to modern mixes, these drinks to make readers relax and say ‘ahh’ after just one sip:

  • El Diablo
  • The Drunken Sailor
  • Caribbean Rum Swizzle
  • Key Lime Gimlet
  • Tangerine Toddy
  • Acapulco
  • Bushwacker
  • Hot Buttered Rum
  • Seaside Sunrise
  • Peach Fuzzies
  • Aloha Punch (non-alcoholic)

With Beach Cocktails in hand, it's always happy hour. Complete with beautifully photographed scenic shots of the globe's best beaches and coasts, this book is an encyclopedia of tiki bar classics, high spirits, and foamy and frothy sips. It's the perfect book for anyone who appreciates a spirited sip on the sand, a cutting-edge contemporary cocktail, or a mouthwatering mocktail.

Crafts & Hobbies / Fashion / Design / Sewing

The Maker's Atelier: The Essential Collection by Frances Tobin, with photography by Amelia Shepherd (Quadrille Publishing)

The Maker's Atelier is for women of any age or shape who want to dress well but cannot always find what they want in stores. Frances Toibin's self-proclaimed mission is to help fashion-conscious women create their own beautiful clothes to wear with style. It is founded on the belief that the simplest shapes in the finest fabrics make the most successful clothes. In The Essential Collection, designer Toibin has taken the key shapes from some of the most enduring fashion trends, such as the pencil skirt and the boxy shirt, and refined them into clear dressmaking patterns with easy-to-follow instructions. Toibin has been making clothes for as long as she can remember. Initially taught dressmaking as a child by her mother, Toibin then trained in Fashion & Textiles and graduated from the Royal College of Art. Toibin went on to design fashion ranges for many leading brands, including Gucci, Esprit, and French Connection, she continued to make her own clothes to her own designs rather than using commercial patterns in order to get the look that she really wanted.

For The Maker's Atelier, Toibin has designed eight essential patterns, with variations to create a collection of over 30 versatile pieces. Within the collection, key fashion trends are refined to create stylishly simple shapes and then translated into dressmaking patterns that make up easily into garments – offering everything from lifestyle outfits for office days to weekend dog walks to elegantly glamorous evening wear.

Toibin has sourced the perfect fabrics to suit each garment and shows four alternative looks for each pattern to provide further technical know-how as well as style ideas to enable home dressmakers to make their own capsule collection of garments unique to them. For example, the pencil skirt is shown in navy gabardine to suit an elegant working wardrobe, but alternatively this skirt takes on an edgier look when made up in metallic stretch fabric with a raw hem. With dressmaking patterns supplied in the pack alongside the book, The Maker's Atelier: The Essential Collection makes it possible for all women – whether dressmaking novices or accomplished seamstresses – to own an enviable selection of timeless and adaptable staple garments.

The patterns are in a large range of sizes, with information on measuring and fitting, and advice on fabrics. Only simple sewing skills are needed, and clear illustrations guide the maker to confidently create their own essential collection.

For The Maker's Atelier Toibin has taken the styles that she has found indispensable over the years and refined them further to create a range of versatile separates made up of three tops and three bottoms, with a piece of outwear and a really useful accessory. The clean tines and simple shapes mean that each garment works beautifully in a variety of fabrics and will flatter a broad range of sizes.

Each piece in the collection has been given its own chapter in The Maker's Atelier: The Essential Collection; readers will learn how the shape evolved and Toibin offers suggestions for how it can be worn. Illustrated, step-by-step instructions are given for how to make the garment in one form, followed by a section on how to vary this to create two or three very different garments; not only through using different fabrics, but also by changing elements or details of construction. The patterns are in a full range of sizes, and can be found in the envelope at the back of the book.

The Maker's Atelier crosses the divide between fashion and craft, bringing style back to dressmaking with this elegant, desirable and do-able Essential Collection. Readers will be inspired by the collection not only to make what they see in the book, but also to develop their own ideas, in the fabrics they like, creating a collection that's unique to them and their style.

Education / Teaching & Learning

What's Worth Teaching? Rethinking Curriculum in the Age of Technology (by Allan Collins, with a foreword by John Seely Brown (Technology, Education-Connections (TEC) Series: Teachers College Press)

This contribution to the future of education, by bestselling author and renowned cognitive scientist Allan Collins, proposes a school curriculum that fits the needs of the modern era.

Collins, professor emeritus of learning sciences at Northwestern University, has studied teaching and learning for over 30 years and has written extensively on related topics. He is the coauthor with Richard Halverson of Rethinking Education in the Age of Technology: The Digital Revolution and Schooling in America. The Series Editor for the Technology, Education-Connections (TEC) Series is Marcia C. Linn.

Offering guidelines for deciding what is important to learn in order to become a knowledgeable person, a good citizen, a thoughtful worker, and a valuable friend in the 21st century, Collins in What's Worth Teaching? considers the qualities needed for a healthy and productive life. Taking a close look at how advances in technology, communication, and the dissemination of information are reshaping the world, this volume examines how schools can foster flexible, self-directed learners who will succeed in the modern workplace. A concluding chapter presents a broad, new vision for how schools can be redesigned to teach the kinds of knowledge and skills students will need in an increasingly complex society and global world.

What's Worth Teaching?:

  • Identifies global trends and their implications for what we should be teaching our children.
  • Explains how schools are teaching an outdated curriculum.
  • Proposes a radical revision of the math and science curriculum.
  • Describes how literacy is changing in the digital age.

In the preface John Seely Brown says what he finds particularly intriguing in What's Worth Teaching? is the blending of hand, heart, and head learning – almost a return to the mechanisms that John Dewey laid out many decades ago. Perhaps we have here a turn toward a pragmatic approach to cognition and to imagination. In a world of constant change we are finding that imagination is increasingly key for sense-making – reading context – and unleashing a sense of agency, from which comes identity.

Coupled with this, Collins goes on to develop the importance of each student becoming a reflective practitioner – reflecting in action and after action to see what might be learned. And what is especially powerful in scaffolding the processes of becoming a reflective practitioner is the role of collaborative sense-making. The digital age has provided many tools to make this much easier to do; now all we need is to cultivate the ability to listen to each other with a touch of humility and to engage in productive critiquing (which is different from criticism) and help instill the dispositions to do so through role modeling and skillful mentoring.

What's Worth Teaching? is a much-needed wake-up call for imaginatively rethinking what education needs to become in this complex, networked, and radically contingent world, where problems are increasingly ‘wicked.’ That is, they are not stable, are continually morphing, and are deeply entangled with each other. The problems and ideas that Collins lays out require all those involved in education to rethink how they train teachers, what schools of education need to focus on, and how they might actually create a blended epistemology.

Every book club, city council, school board, parent group, and teacher research network should dedicate time toward reading this book. – Shirley Brice Heath, professor emerita of English and linguistics, Stanford University

What are the powerful ideas that will allow students to live lives of meaning and fulfillment? This book helps us imagine what this kind of education would look like. – Janet Kolodner, chief learning scientist, Concord Consortium, and professor emerita of computer science, Georgia Tech

In a post-industrial millennium, we need a foundational education so that all people can become the adaptive lifelong learners they will need to be. Collins` manifesto launches the comprehensive conversation we need on the future of learning. – Roy Pea, David Jacks Professor of Education and Learning Sciences, Stanford University

Again, What's Worth Teaching? is a much-needed wake-up call and an important contribution to the future of education.

Health Care / Social Issues

Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America by Mary Otto (The New Press)

“Show me your teeth,” the great naturalist Georges Cuvier is credited with saying, “and I will tell you who you are.” In this new work, Teeth, veteran health journalist Mary Otto looks inside America’s mouth, revealing unsettling truths about our unequal society.
Otto is the oral health topic leader for the Association of Health Care Journalists. She began writing about oral health at the Washington Post, where she worked for eight years covering social issues including health care and poverty.

Teeth takes readers on a journey into America’s silent epidemic of oral disease, exposing the hidden connections between tooth decay and stunted job prospects, low educational achievement, social mobility, and the troubling state of public health. Otto’s subjects include the pioneering dentist who made Shirley Temple and Judy Garland’s teeth sparkle on the silver screen and helped create the all-American image of ‘pearly whites’; Deamonte Driver, the young Maryland boy whose tragic death from an abscessed tooth sparked congressional hearings; and a marketing guru who offers advice to dentists on how to push new and expensive treatments and how to keep Medicaid patients at bay.
In one of its most disturbing findings, Teeth reveals that toothaches are not an occasional inconvenience, but rather a chronic reality for millions of people, including disproportionate numbers of the elderly and people of color. Many people, Otto reveals, resort to prayer to counteract the uniquely devastating effects of dental pain.
Otto also goes back in time to understand the roots of our predicament in the history of dentistry, showing how it became separated from mainstream medicine, despite a century of growing evidence that oral health and general bodily health are closely related.

With many adults still uninsured, children’s dental care far from universal, and the future of government-supported health care unclear, Otto’s sobering report should not go unheeded. – Publishers Weekly
Otto’s well-reported and important book will arouse concern over the fact that dental health, which is so essential to our well-being, gets such short shrift, and, hopefully, help instigate reform. – Booklist

An astute examination of the complex, insular business of oral health care. – Kirkus Reviews
Mary Otto hits us right in the face – our teeth – with this important book. The lack of dental care for millions of Americans is a national shame. Teeth breaks new ground in the canon of books about poverty. It should be read by anyone concerned about the class divide in the U.S.
– Dale Maharidge, author of And Their Children After Them, winner of the 1990 nonfiction Pulitzer Prize
I can’t remember the last time I read a book that so brilliantly yokes physiological, political and cultural systems. Rife with discovery, and a spur to social action, Mary Otto’s book is a beautifully readable and essential testament for these times. – Mary Cappello, author of Swallow: Foreign Bodies, Their Ingestion, Inspiration, and the Curious Doctor who Extracted Them
Mary Otto brings history, policy and painful personal realities together in this compelling and engaging book about our nation’s highly preventable epidemic of oral disease.
Teeth should be read by every policy maker and health professional who believes we can and must act to reduce the current barriers to dental care. – Louis W. Sullivan, MD, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, 1989-1993, and chairman of the Sullivan Alliance to Transform the Health Professions
Who eats too much sugar, leading to dental trauma? Primarily the poor. Who cannot sleep because of continuing dental pain and no available dental care? Primarily the poor. Even with Medicare and Medicaid, dental care has remained a stepchild – and these programs are in jeopardy now. ‘The teeth are no match for ... a life of poverty,’ Otto says. More teeth failure and its consequences are on their way. – Peter Edelman
Here’s a book that will enlighten you, upset you, and give you hope. I highly recommend it. – Bob Herbert, Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos and former Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times
Mesmerizing and important. Mary Otto’s unflinching work on the miserable state of oral health in America gnaws at you like a toothache
. – Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-8)

Muckraking and paradigm-shifting, Teeth exposes for the first time the extent and meaning of our oral health crisis. It joins the small shelf of books that change the way we view society and ourselves – and will spark an urgent conversation about why our teeth matter.

Literature & Fiction

And Then There Was Me: A Novel of Friendship, Secrets and Lies by Sadeqa Johnson (Thomas Dunne Books)

Even best friends have secrets.

Sadeqa Johnson's And Then There Was Me is the story of love and friendship, heartache and betrayal. It’s the journey of a woman stripped down to her lowest point and needing to find the will to press on.

Johnson, a former book publicist who spent years working with blockbuster authors such as JK Rowling, Bebe Moore Campbell, Amy Tan and Bishop TD Jakes. Her debut novel, Love in a Carry-on Bag, was the recipient of the 2013 Phillis Wheatley award for Best Fiction and the 2012 USA Best Book award for African-American fiction.

Now, she's back with her highly-anticipated new novel, And Then There Was Me – a story of love and friendship, heartache and betrayal. The book explores the story of a woman wrestling with motherhood, an unfaithful husband, and a friend who may not be who she seems, all while trying to make sense of her new neighborhood.

In And Then There Was Me Bea and Awilda have been best friends from the moment Awilda threw her fourteen year-old self across Bea’s twin-sized bed as if they had known each other forever. Bubbly, adventurous Awilda taught sheltered, shy Bea how to dress, wear her hair and what to do with boys. She even introduced Bea to her husband, Lonnie, in college, who pledged to take good care of her for the rest of their lives. But philanderer Lonnie breaks that promise over and over again, leaving Bea to wrestle with her self-esteem and long-time secret addiction.

Recently Lonnie has plopped the family in a New Jersey upper class suburb, which lacks the diversity that Bea craves but has the school district and zip code envy that Lonnie wants. Bea needs Awilda more than ever.

The demands of carrying a third child and fitting into this new environment while pretending that her husband is not cheating on her again, is more than she can handle. Just when she thinks things can’t get any worst, the ultimate deception snaps the thread that was holding her life together and all comes tumbling down.

And Then There Was Me is a well-written, thought-provoking novel that many women will relate to. – Kimberla Lawson Roby, New York Times bestselling author of Copycat
Bea seems to have it all: the husband, the two kids, and the new house in a chichi suburb. Only problem is, Bea feels like an outcast, being biracial in her new neighborhood, and her husband is cheating on her. Again. She has her childhood best friend, Awilda, for support, but when the unthinkable happens, she finds herself with nowhere to turn. And Then There Was Me is a thought-provoking novel about marriage, parenthood, and friendship. – PopSugar, 26 Brilliant Books You Should Read This Spring

A story of one woman’s journey toward the life she deserves, with plenty of satisfying and surprising twists along the way. – Kirkus Reviews

And Then There Was Me is a gripping novel about the secrets best friends keep from each other and finding courage when all seems lost.

Religion & Spirituality / Archaeology / Egyptology / New Age / Ancient Mysteries

Origins of the Sphinx: Celestial Guardian of Pre-Pharaonic Civilization by Robert M. Schoch Ph.D. & Robert Bauval (Inner Traditions)

No other monument in the world evokes mystery like the Great Sphinx of Giza. It has survived the harsh climate of Egypt for thousands of years. According to orthodox Egyptology, the Sphinx was built around 2500 BCE as a memorial to the pharaoh Khafre. Yet this ‘fact’ has scant to no supportive evidence. When was the Sphinx really built and, most importantly, why?
In Origins of the Sphinx, a provocative collaboration from two Egyptology outsiders, Robert M. Schoch, Ph.D., and Robert Bauval combine their decades of research to show how the Sphinx is thousands of years older than the conventional Egyptological timeline and was built by a long forgotten pre-Pharaonic civilization.

Schoch, a tenured faculty member at Boston University, is known for his research on the Sphinx. Egyptian-born Bauval, a construction engineer, began studying Egyptology in 1983. Schoch and Bauval examine the known history of the Sphinx, contrasting what Egyptologists claim with prominent historical accounts and new research, including updates to Schoch’s geological water weathering research and reanalysis of seismic studies. Building on Bauval’s Orion Correlation Theory, they investigate the archaeo-astronomical alignments of the monuments of the Giza Plateau and reveal how the pyramids and Sphinx were built to align with the constellations of Orion and Leo. Analyzing the evidence for a significantly older construction phase at Giza and the restoration and recarving of the Sphinx during the Old Kingdom era, they assert that the Sphinx was first built by an advanced pre-Pharaonic civilization that existed circa 12,000 years ago on the Giza Plateau, contemporaneous with the sophisticated Göbekli Tepe complex. They examine how the monuments at Giza memorialize Zep Tepi, the Golden Age of legend shown in Origins of the Sphinx to be an actual historical time period from roughly 10,500 BCE through 9700 BCE.

Schoch and Bauval say that Origins of the Sphinx is a true collaboration, but it is also the product of two different scholars with different backgrounds, training, and experiences. They decided that it would be best, truest to their personal integrities and points of view, to keep the authorship of each chapter and appendix separate and distinct. Thus, readers will find two different voices, chapter to chapter, as they read. They believe that these voices harmonize and combine together in a complementary fashion. Likewise, in a few cases there is some overlap where similar themes and significant features are visited and discussed by each of them, again from their own perspectives and each confirming the work of the other.

Origins of the Sphinx contains a number of photographs and other illustrations, including various antique images showing relevant details that are now obscured or totally lost to time. There are also various appendices, which strengthen the text and delve into certain details that are too technical or too obscure to be included in the main body of the book. Each of these appendices can be read on its own as a stand-alone article (and indeed several were originally written as such); however, they also complement one another and the chapters of the main text. With the appendices thoughtful readers have the material to delve deeply into, and evaluate, the evidence on which theories of the Sphinx are based. In essence, with Origins of the Sphinx readers have not only their analyses and conclusions, but also much of the essential data and the conceptual tools to come to their own conclusions.

For a quarter-century, Schoch’s analysis of weathering at Giza and Bauval’s archaeoastronomic discoveries have challenged the consensus on prehistory, not merely of Egypt but of the world. This book expertly summarizes their case and its triumphant vindication in the 12,000-year-old sanctuary of Göbekli Tepe. The question is no longer whether they are right but where archaeology should go from here. – Joscelyn Godwin, author of Atlantis and the Cycles of Time

Moving readers closer to an understanding of the true age and purpose of the Great Sphinx, Schoch and Bauval in Origins of the Sphinx provide evidence of an early high civilization witnessed by the Great Sphinx before the end of the last ice age. Readers will come away from this book with new insights and revelations regarding the Sphinx.

Religion & Spirituality / Buddhism

The Great Exposition of Secret Mantra in 3 volumes, by Tsongkhapa, with translation & editing by Jeffrey Hopkins, with a commentary by the Dalai Lama and explanatory material by Khaydrub Geleg Palsang (Snow Lion)

His Holiness the Dalai Lama illuminates the highly practical and compassionate use of Tantra for spiritual development in this important classic work.

His Holiness, The Fourteenth Dalai Lama is considered the foremost Buddhist leader of our time. The exiled head of the Tibetan people, he is a Nobel Peace Laureate, a Congressional Gold Medal recipient, and a remarkable teacher and scholar who has authored over one hundred books. Tsongkhapa (1357-1419), founder of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, was one of Tibet's greatest philosophers and a prolific writer. His most famous work, The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path, is a classic of Tibetan Buddhism. Jeffrey Hopkins is Founder and President of the UMA Institute for Tibetan Studies. He is Professor Emeritus of Tibetan Buddhist Studies at the University of Virginia, where he taught Tibetan Buddhist Studies and Tibetan language for thirty-two years from 1973. He served as H.H. the Dalai Lama's chief interpreter into English on lecture tours for ten years, 1979-1989, and has translated and edited fifteen books from oral teachings by H.H. the Dalai Lama. He has also published numerous translations of important Buddhist texts that represent the diversity of views found in Tibetan Buddhism.

Volume 1: Tantra in Tibet (Revised Edition)

Tantra in Tibet is the first book in a series presenting The Great Exposition of Secret Mantra. Tantra in Tibet consists of three parts published under the auspices of H.H. the Dalai Lama. "Essence of Tantra" by H.H. the Dalai Lama discusses tantra for practice, refuge, the three paths, greatness of mantra, clear light, and initiation. The Great Exposition of Secret Mantra – Part 1 by Tsongkhapa is one of the principal classic texts on tantra. It presents the main features common to all the Buddhist tantra systems as well as the differences between sutra and tantra. In Tantra in Tibet Tsongkhapa covers paths to Buddhahood, vajra vehicle, deity yoga, and method in the four tantras. A supplement by Hopkins discusses the meaning of emptiness, transformation, and the purpose of the four tantras.

Volume 2: Deity Yoga

Deity Yoga is the second volume in The Great Exposition of Secret Mantra series in which the H.H. the Dalai Lama offers illuminating commentary on Tsongkhapa’s seminal text on Buddhist tantra.
Deity Yoga is a revised work describing the profound process of meditation in Action (kriyā) and Performance (caryā) Tantras. Invaluable for anyone who is practicing or is interested in Buddhist tantra, this volume includes a lucid exposition of the meditative techniques of deity yoga from H.H. the Dalai Lama; the second and third chapters of the classic Great Exposition of Secret Mantra text; and a supplement by Hopkins outlining the structure of Action Tantra practices as well as the need for the development of special yogic powers.

Volume 3: Yoga Tantra

Yoga Tantra is the third volume in The Great Exposition of Secret Mantra series in which the Dalai Lama offers illuminating commentary on Tsongkhapa’s seminal text on Buddhist tantra.
Yoga Tantra
opens with H.H. the Dalai Lama presenting the key features of Yoga Tantra then continues with Tsongkhapa’s section of the main text focusing on this class of tantra. This is followed by an overview of the central practices of the five manifest enlightenments and the four seals written by Khaydrub Je (Khaydrub Geleg Palsang), one of Tsongkhapa’s main students and the first in the line of Panchen Lamas. Hopkins concludes Yoga Tantra with an outline of the steps of Yoga Tantra practice, which is drawn from the Dalai Lama’s, Tsongkhapa’s, and Khaydrub Je’s explanations.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity / Catholicism / Biographies & Memoirs

Joyce Rupp: Essential Writings by Joyce Rupp with an introduction by Michael Leach (Modern Spiritual Masters Series: Orbis Books)

Joyce Rupp (1943- ) is an Iowa farmer's daughter, a sister to seven, a Sister to many. She is a planter, grower, and spiritual midwife. She is a writer, speaker, and retreat giver who receives invitations from five continents. Her books have been published in seven languages, including Croatian and Indonesian. She walks hundreds of miles a year and flies thousands more to answer the call of the wild and visit the sick in rich cities and small towns where Main Street often looks like an abandoned movie set. She sings both chant and golden oldies, teaches theology and practices transpersonal psychology, is a lifelong Catholic appreciated by people of all faiths and criticized by some in her own faith as ‘out there.’
According to Michael Leach, editor-at-large and publisher emeritus of Orbis Books, the purpose of Joyce Rupp: Essential Writings is to show readers where Joyce is at, where she came from and where she is going, who she is, what she is like, and what she knows for sure, all in her own words. He says that this is how Joyce described herself to the editors of U.S. Catholic magazine in an April 2000 interview:

I always ask people to introduce me as a farmer's daughter, because the older I get and the longer I write, the more I see that my writing really comes out of my roots on the farm. I am very wedded to the earth; that's where I find a lot of spiritual connectedness, with nature. This morning in my hotel room, I tried to ‘pray the city,’ and I found that difficult. I'm not a city person. I particularly find a lot of wisdom from the earth from having grown up in the Midwest with the four seasons. It's taught me a lot about the cycle of transformation, seeing that whole process of life-death-life.

I call myself a ‘spiritual midwife’ because I see myself not as the person who does the growing for someone else but as nurturing, energizing, being a catalyst, caring for, and affirming the person in the growth process. I help them to know how to nurture and care for themselves just as a midwife would do in helping a woman prepare to give birth.

The first part of Joyce Rupp, Home, is a selection of Joyce's writings that reveal love and loss were as certain as seasons of abundance and times of drought. "Mom was a wonderful gardener," she told Leach, "and taught me how to help things grow. To this day I am enthralled with seeds and the potential they hold. Dad taught me about farming, about the responsibility of caring for the land and the trust it takes to do the hard work involved in growing crops. Our life revolved around the planting and harvesting seasons, the eternal concern of whether storms would damage the plants, if there would be enough rain or too much rain, if it held off until the hay was baled, and whether or not the corn would be dry for combining before the first snow. I saw how my parents got up early in the morning and didn't stop until it was nearly sundown. The cycle of planting, weeding crops, and harvesting the grain became an inherent part of my being. I never gave much thought to it. I was in it."

It wasn't a leap for Joyce to go from tending the earth to accompanying people on their journey through suffering. "The spiritual life," she says, "is a journey toward becoming whole, a day-to-day movement of continually growing into the person we are meant to be."

The second part of Joyce Rupp, Earth, highlights some of Joyce's adventures with nature and how she has come to express com­passion for all living things, squirrels and snakes and people, the good, the bad, and the ugly. The third part of Joyce Rupp, Cosmos, reveals Joyce's emerging consciousness of our inseparable union with God and each other in an amazing universe whose Alpha and Omega is the living Christ.

Joyce Rupp has always sought answers to the question, "What's it all about?" The search led her to see the universe as through a kaleidoscope – that wonderful child's toy you hold to the light to see beauty and harmony unfold. As the kaleidoscope circles, tiny bits and pieces of colored glass twist and turn and come dashing and crashing to the center to form new and beautiful designs. Each design is new, each is different, yet somehow all are the same. The center is Christ – or God or Yahweh or Allah or the Most High, whatever you choose to name the One who draws all dappled things together, and makes all things new.

The fourth part of Joyce Rupp, God, presents a bouquet of names of the Holy One that are like the bits of colored glass in the kaleidoscope. The jewel that Joyce's eye fixes on is Sophia, or Wisdom. How fitting that at the end of this book Compassion meets Wisdom, and they are one.

Rupp’s writings reveal a wise and bouncy old soul but to paraphrase Anthony Quinn who said of Peter O'Toole as Lawrence of Arabia: "She is not perfect." Leach says that Joyce will be the first to tell readers, as she does often enough in the book, that she is an overly responsible woman who works too hard. And, like them and him, she gets tired, sad, and depressed. Joyce's greatest gift to the universe is her presence. She comes in a small package and speaks in a soft voice, but her presence can be felt a thousand miles away...

Joyce Rupp's value as a guide for the spiritual journey is without question. – Paula D'Arcy, author, Gift of the Red Bird and Stars at Night

This pitch-perfect curation of Rupp's gems reminds me that she's one of the five essential spiritual writers of the last half-century. – Jon M. Sweeney, author, The Pope Who Quit and Inventing Hell

Through prayerful poetry and prose Joyce Rupp has long illuminated our world as sacred. Joyce Rupp: Essential Writings is a glorious place to begin and to continue learning from her. This collection is a gift without ceasing. – Meredith Gould, author, Desperately Seeking Spirituality

Joyce Rupp certainly is a gift – the book is a portrait of a real person who at 74 is still working hard and making an amazing contribution.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity

Paradoxology: Why Christianity Was Never Meant to Be Simple by Krish Kandiah (IVP Books)

Many people have big questions about God that the Christian faith seems to leave unanswered, so they push them to the back of their minds for fear of destabilizing their beliefs. But leaving these questions unexamined is neither healthy nor honoring to God. Rather than shying away from the difficult questions, Krish Kandiah in Paradoxology says readers need to face them head on. He asks: What if the tension between apparently opposing doctrines is exactly where faith comes alive? What if this ancient faith has survived so long not in spite of but precisely because of these apparent contradictions? What if it is in the difficult parts of the Bible that God is most clearly revealed?

Kandiah, formerly president of London School of Theology and also on faculty at Oxford University, is the founder and director of Home for Good, a charity finding homes for foster children and young refugees. An international speaker, he teaches regularly at Regent College and George Fox Seminary.

In his new book, Paradoxology, Kandiah makes the bold claim that the paradoxes that seem like they ought to undermine belief are actually the heart of vibrant faith, and it is only by continually wrestling with them – rather than trying to pin them down or push them away – that people can really move forward, individually and together.

Writing to young adults seeking authentic answers and thinking Christians wanting to reengage with the Bible's toughest portions, Kandiah does not downplay or quickly dismiss any question.

Paradoxology includes the following chapters:

  1. The Abraham Paradox: The God who needs nothing but asks for everything
  2. The Moses Paradox: The God who is far away, so close
  3. The Joshua Paradox: The God who is terribly compassionate
  4. The Job Paradox: The God who is actively inactive
  5. The Hosea Paradox: The God who is faithful to the unfaithful
  6. The Habakkuk Paradox: The God who is consistently unpredictable
  7. The Jonah Paradox: The God who is indiscriminately selective
  8. The Esther Paradox: The God who speaks silently
  9. The Jesus Paradox: The God who is divinely human
  10. The Judas Paradox: The God who determines our free will
  11. The Cross Paradox: The God who wins as he loses
  12. The Roman Paradox: The God who is effectively ineffective
  13. The Corinthian Paradox: The God who fails to disappoint

Epilogue: Living with Paradox

Kandiah says that one of the paradoxes of faith is that years of living the Christian life and studying the Bible do not give people immunity from the troubling questions of faith. In fact, sometimes the longer they have been Christians, the more questions, doubts and struggles they have. As readers will see in Paradoxology, the Bible itself gives them many examples of their heroes in the faith who dare to direct their questions straight at God himself. Knowing that it is okay to raise and struggle with the mysteries about God can be liberating. Far from challenging faith, it can be exactly what faith needs. If their faith is true – the truth – then God must be big enough to face questions.

Whether readers are exploring the Christian faith for the first time, or have been leading a church for years, the premise of Paradoxology is based on the liberating fact that the Bible has more room for doubt, uncertainty and struggle than they have ever allowed themselves to believe.

Let's be honest: we all have questions about life, God, and the Scriptures. If you're looking for a book that provides answers in a perfectly packaged and simplistic manner, it's probably best that you pass on this book. But if you're looking for a resource that gives permission, space, and grace to engage many of those deeper questions, this book is truly a gift. Krish Kandiah's Paradoxology is honest, sincere, theologically robust, and biblically engaging. A Christian spirituality that leaves no room for doubts, questions, and messiness will inevitably lead to challenging consequences. A false illusion of faith and discipleship sets people up for epic failures, bouts with disillusionment, and, at times, a slow but sinking spiral into cynicism. Read this book. Engage your questions. Grow in your faith. – Eugene Cho, pastor and humanitarian, author of Overrated
Read this book, and you'll be concerned and comforted. You'll question and doubt – and believe more deeply than ever. You'll despair at times ... and hope like never before. In short, you'll be doing the best Christian theology, which takes you to places dark and mysterious and to vistas bursting with light and beauty, often both at the same time. That's what it means to live by paradox, where the deepest truths lie
. – Mark Galli, editor, Christianity Today
Apologetics in a postmodern world is looking less for historical proof, scientific demonstration, and systematic omniscience. Rather, it is looking for honest, open, and genuine probings that have less certitude while holding firm to belief in a good God who loves us but who has not created a world where everything ends up with happy emojis. Krish Kandiah explores here the genuine paradoxes of the Bible in an open and honest manner.
Paradoxology will bless a new generation with a new kind of apologetics. – Scot McKnight, Julius R. Mantey Professor of New Testament, Northern Seminary
Being able to live within the tensions created by paradox is one of the most essential capacities for true spiritual deepening and growth. So to have an entire book devoted to reflecting on the reality that the life of faith is full of paradox, to acknowledge some of the most confounding ones, and then learn how to be with God in the midst of them – wow! What a gift! I am most grateful for this offering that clearly emerges from Krish Kandiah's honest wrestling with the great paradoxes of life. – Ruth Haley Barton, founder and CEO, Transforming Center, author of Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership and Life Together in Christ
As I read this book I thought, I wish I had this book when I was in college – when I was studying theology and wrestling with life's challenges. As I continued to read I realized that a book like this is always timely because the more difficult biblical narratives are still there, and our life and faith will always present us with challenges. Krish Kandiah has given us a valuable treasure in his new book. Rich in theology, warmth, and honesty,
Paradoxology offers a safe place to explore and engage tough questions. – Jo Saxton, chair of the board, 3D Movements
This is a book that dares to ask the questions we seldom voice, even to ourselves. We believe in a loving God yet see suffering on a global scale. We believe in a powerful God yet see unfettered injustice everywhere. Krish dares to bring all we see and all we believe together. It's a powerful work of unshakable faith.
– Sheila Walsh, author, cohost of LIFE Today
With theological wisdom, a storyteller's craft, and, most importantly, a pastoral hand, Krish Kandiah shows the reader that Christianity's paradoxes do not refute faith. Rather, when cherished and contemplated, they lead us into the ever-deepening mystery of God's love.
– Mark Sayers, senior pastor, Red Church, Melbourne, Australia, author of Disappearing Church
We have always believed that all our greatest truths (the Trinity, the Incarnation, predestination and free will, good and evil) are in the end paradoxical and invite us into mystery and propel us to worship. Here is highly readable book from a very credible voice in British Christianity about engaging paradox. What's not to like?
– Alan Hirsch, author, founder of Forge Mission Training Network
In Paradoxology, Krish Kandiah explores some of the most fascinating characters in the Scriptures, specifically highlighting some of the paradoxes in their lives. He treats difficult issues with grace and humility, handling the texts well and explaining theological truths clearly. – Ed Stetzer, Billy Graham Distinguished Chair, Wheaton College

Paradoxology should be a form of doxology, an expression of praise to God. As readers tackle head on the tough questions about a God who allows suffering, instigates genocide, demands the impossible, promises to speak yet remains deafeningly silent, readers discover that, paradoxically, it is in the parts of the Bible they find most difficult that they find the most treasured and valuable truths about God. Kandiah provides convincing answers through thoughtful and clearly worded chapters on paradoxes found throughout the Bible.

Religion & Spirituality / Christianity

Scripture as Real Presence: Sacramental Exegesis in the Early Church by Hans Boersma (Baker Academic)

Scripture as Real Presence argues that the heart of patristic exegesis is the attempt to find the sacramental reality (real presence) of Christ in the Old Testament Scriptures. Leading theologian Hans Boersma discusses numerous sermons and commentaries of the church fathers to show how they regarded Christ as the treasure hidden in the field of the Old Testament and explains that the church today can and should retrieve the sacramental reading of the early church.

Boersma, a highly regarded theologian and an experienced preacher, is J. I. Packer Professor of Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia.

To be sure, the Christian faith is rooted in history, and historical exegesis is indispensable for a proper understanding of the Scriptures. However, historical reading is never purely historical, as if there were a purely natural or factual substructure on which one would subsequently build a separate or distinct theological reading. As Boersma makes clear throughout Scripture as Real Presence (particularly in chapter 2), the church fathers understood even a literal reading of the text theologically. That is to say, historiography is always theologically shaped – the writing of history is itself undergirded by Jesus Christ, whom we have come to know in faith through the proclamation of the Word.

Scripture as Real Presence is a contribution to a discussion on the nature of biblical interpretation. It presents Boersma’s approach and does so through interaction with patristic sources. Apart from the first chapter, the book simply follows the canonical sequencing of the biblical books as most Christian readers will be familiar with it. In each chapter, he takes a portion or portions of Scripture and look at how various church fathers approached the Scriptures in their reading of a certain passage or biblical book. Each of the chapters makes a distinct argument and can, in principle, be read and understood on its own terms. At the same time, it is the cumulative effect of the chapters together that lends credence to the overall argument of Scripture as Real Presence, namely, that the church fathers were deeply invested in reading the Old Testament Scriptures as a sacrament, whose historical basis or surface level participates in the mystery of the New Testament reality of the Christ event. The underlying message is that this sacramental approach to reading the Scriptures is of timeless import and that it is worthy of retrieval today. The chapter titles are more or less playful references to various ‘kinds’ of reading (e.g., ‘Hospitable Reading,’ ‘Harmonious Reading’). In each case, Boersma shows that the kind of reading discussed in that chapter is sacramental in nature.

Few scholars have contributed as much to the vigorous debate in our generation about the theological interpretation of Scripture as Hans Boersma. His latest offering for our edification, Scripture as Real Presence, presents nine examples of patristic interpretations of important (and challenging) passages from Scripture. They illustrate, for Boersma, an ecclesial hermeneutic that treats Scripture as a sacrament containing a treasure of great value, Christ, hidden and waiting for the church's discovery. Boersma's examples of the rich, polyphonic readings given by the fathers provide models of how pastors and all students of Scripture might unearth the treasure that will give depth to preaching and teaching. Boersma and the fathers transform modern exegesis from reconstructing the past to participating in the life-giving Word. – J. Warren Smith, Duke Divinity School
… Hans Boersma helps us think carefully about how we read the Bible by reintroducing us to patristic exegesis. Alerting us to the exegetical practice of Origen, Gregory, and many others, he reminds us that 'they saw the Scriptures as a sacrament and read them accordingly.' For sensitive readings of varied early church fathers and a host of their reading approaches, all rooted in common commitments to the relations of God and the world and of theology and spirituality, take up and read Boersma's book. – Michael Allen, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando

I highly recommend this marvelous exploration of the sacramental reading of Scripture. Hans Boersma expertly and comprehensively opens up many different dimensions of the theological interpretation of Scripture – a category increasingly invoked today – as exemplified by the great practitioners of early Christianity. By bringing the insights gained into constructive dialogue with contemporary concerns, Boersma shows how Christ's real presence in Scripture can still be encountered today. A must-read both for those concerned with the hermeneutics of scriptural engagement and for those seeking to enrich their own reading of Scripture, this book is an indispensable resource. – Fr. John Behr, St. Vladimir's Seminary, New York
This volume makes an outstanding contribution to the retrieval of the ancient Christian biblical hermeneutic. Through a careful analysis of individual texts, Boersma demonstrates that patristic exegesis is not based on naive allegorizing but on a theology of history in which Christ is recognized as truly present in the words and deeds of the old covenant. This book will reinforce the growing consensus that patristic exegesis remains valid and indispensable for the church today. – Mary Healy, Sacred Heart Major Seminary
A splendid and scholarly study! Here is required reading for any who are rightly intrigued by the renewed concern for the theological interpretation of Scripture. With astute awareness of contemporary prejudices, Boersma disarms both the Protestant rigorist who may be scandalized by the patristic emphasis on human virtue, and the historicist who dismisses ancient spiritual interpretation as arbitrary. All the while, he carefully and lovingly retrieves winsome writings of various church fathers, who taught that Scripture itself participates in the life of Christ and vitally changes the interpreter and the church when received according to that conviction. – Edith M. Humphrey, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

Combining detailed scholarly insight with clear, compelling prose, Scripture as Real Presence makes a unique contribution to contemporary interest in theological interpretation.

Religion & Spirituality / Ecumenical / Communities

The Fruits of Grace: The Ecumenical Experience of the Community of Grandchamp by Minke de Vries, translated with an introduction by Nancy S. Gower, with a foreword by Thomas F. Best (Pickwick Publications)

Before Taize, there was Grandchamp. The lesser-known Protestant women's community, initiated in 1936, grew out of generations of women's groups in French-speaking Switzerland. It was heavily influenced by Wilfred Monod, the Student Christian movement, Swiss Reformed efforts at liturgical renewal, and Bonhoeffer's Life Together. It was deeply affected by the angst generated by World War II and the search by European Christians for new ways to be Christian.

The Fruits of Grace by the third prioress of the Community of Grandchamp in Switzerland, Sr. Minke de Vries, reflects on the origins of the community, the sources and development of its spirituality, and on its ministries. Foci include the involvement of the community in the ecumenical movement and in mission around the world. There is also important new information about its interaction with Taize, Catholic religious communities, and the women themselves, as individuals and as a community.

Sr. Minke de Vries became the third prioress of the Community of Grandchamp in 1970. Nancy S. Gower is a historian of Protestant religious communities in Europe and an Oblate at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California.

Sr. Minke also provides readers an intimate view into the inner workings of a women's community and the structures of the spiritual practices of the Community of Grandchamp.

The Fruits of Grace is a gift offered by the Community of Grandchamp to other monastic communities, to churches of all traditions, and not least to the ecumenical movement. Gower in the introduction says that for those familiar with monastic communities, The Fruits of Grace will deepen their understanding of the unique rewards, challenges and opportunities for service in this distinctive form of the Christian life. For those unfamiliar with monastic communities, this book is an introduction to their life and to their importance for the whole Church. And for many in both groups, the book will open a new world: that of monastic communities within Protestant churches – within the Reformed churches (as is Grandchamp), but also within Anglican and Lutheran churches. Such communities have recovered, for the Protestant world, a form of Christian life and service which has been integral to the Church from its earliest days.

Reflecting on her own experience with the Community of Grandchamp, she mentions two aspects of its life in particular: its worship and its ecumenical commitment. The Community's understanding of the Christian faith, and of its own experience, means that its life is inherently ecumenical. Over the years the Community has included Sisters from many Christian traditions and from many different countries. Small communities of Sisters have extended Grandchamp's presence, notably in Jerusalem and Algeria, but in several other places as well – and, crucially, always in contact with local churches. There are extensive contacts with other monastic communities, Roman Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant, with Sisters sometimes shar­ing in their lives for periods of time. In addition to extensive ecumenical contacts, there are links also to inter-religious dialogue and to movements for reconciliation in the human family and with the natural world. And the fact that Grandchamp, in French-speaking Switzerland, has its spiritual retreat house, the Sonnenhof, in German-speaking Switzerland is itself an ecumenical statement – as those with some familiarity with the country will understand.

All this diversity is no accident. In forming its own distinctive pattern of life, Grandchamp has drawn from the experience of other monastic communities whether Protestant, Roman Catholic or Orthodox. The Community's earlier years coincided with a time of great ecumenical ferment and hope – the First and Second World Conferences on Faith and Order in 1927 and 1937, the emergence of the Life and Work movement in the 19305, the formation of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in 1948, the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s....

Worship and ecumenical commitment are, of course, but two central aspects of the Community of Grandchamp. The Fruits of Grace carries readers into the history and life of the Community in all its dimensions, revealing the astonishing range of contacts, relationships, and commitments which have marked its life over the years.

Sister Minke's book, the fruit of her long years at Grandchamp, is a moving testimony to the wonderful spirit of forgiveness, reconciliation, and striving for unity that animates this wonderful community of Protestant monastic women. It touched me deeply. – Thomas P. Rausch, SJ, Loyola Marymount University

The communities of Taize and Grandchamp have much in common. Born from the same milieu, their leaders drew upon one another as they formed and matured as thoroughly ecumenical communities. This translation of Sr. Minke's account of the growth and development of Grandchamp, offered here by Dr. Nancy Gower, an expert on the formation and growth of Taize, brings new insight into their relationship. – Cecil M. Robeck, Jr., Fuller Theological Seminary

The account of Sister Minke de Vries provides an important insight into the recovery of monasticism within the churches of the Reformation. Her personal perspective as the third prioress of the Community of Grandchamp gives us an insight into the evolution of the community during a period of intensive renewal and ecumenical encounter. Nancy Gower's well-documented introduction provides a window into the origins of the community in the confluence of movements that also gave rise to the communities of Taize and Pomeyrol. This work is a welcome contribution to the history of monasticism and of ecumenical spirituality. – Catherine E. Clifford, Saint Paul University, Ottawa

The Fruits of Grace is a powerful analysis of a European Protestant women's monastic community. Sr. Minke and the Community have given readers a work combining recollection, reflection, meditation, church and ecumenical history, all offered in a highly personal and engaging style. The book brings readers in a unique way into the Community of Grandchamp, exploring the faith from which the Community lives and how it puts that faith into practice: in life together, in worship, and in service to the world.

Social Sciences / Popular Culture / Psychology & Counseling / History

The Sex Effect: Baring Our Complicated Relationship with Sex by Ross Benes, with a foreword by A.J. Jacobs (Sourcebooks)

Why do political leaders become entangled in so many sex scandals? How did the U.S. military inadvertently help make San Francisco a mecca of gay culture? And what was the original purpose of vibrators? Find out the answers to all these questions and more as journalist Ross Benes in The Sex Effect delves into the complicated relationship between everyday human life – including religion, politics, and technology – and sexuality.

Benes is a reporter at Digiday who previously worked for Esquire and Deadspin, whose work has also appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York magazine, Rolling Stone, Adweek, Quartz, Mental Floss, Business Insider, Salon, and Slate.

Drawing on history, psychology, sociology, economics, anthropology, neuroscience, epidemiology, theology, and political science, Benes combines innovative research and analysis with anecdotes to reveal just how much sex shapes our lives.

Each chapter is devoted to a particular topic, including:

  • How political leaders conditioned Westerners to accept monogamy as the norm.
  • Breaking down the predictable phenomena of politicians' sex scandals.
  • A look at how erotica shapes our technology and everyday lives.
  • The influence of accidental inventions on sex and commerce.
  • How the Catholic Church incentivizes the priesthood for devout gay men.
  • An investigation into the economic prowess of LGBT neighborhoods.
  • Examining the hidden relationships between governments, markets, and birthrates.

As readers see in The Sex Effect, many of the ideas society holds to be self-evident about monogamy, affairs, divorce, rape, porn, abstinence, STDs, contraception, fertility rates, and reproductive technologies are often far from the empirical truth. Many of these misconceptions about human sexuality occur because sex inevitably incites emotion. And emotion lends itself to politicizing, where statistics are interpreted according to the ethics of whatever group a person identifies with. From celebrities selling gossip to pastors warning of the ‘homosexual agenda’ to sex tips in glossy magazines, there is an unending amount of conflicting information that makes it difficult to spot accurate and reliable facts.

While the irrational aspect of sex gets a lot of attention, what's actually most fascinating about sex is what has been left out of the conversation – the hidden (but powerful) influences sex imposes on our everyday lives – and, conversely, the ways our sexual behavior shape the world around us.

Sex's largest impact in society doesn't come from things the average person would recognize as overtly sexual: sex workers turning tricks, contraceptives, or instant porn access. Rather, sex's greatest effects can be seen in innocuous, seemingly nonsexual aspects of our everyday lives. The power of sex can also provide political, religious, and business leaders social capital that allows them to gain power. In The Sex Effect, readers see how sex indirectly influences society through inadvertently affecting things such as how easily people purchase products online, crime rates, and how people eat breakfast. Readers also see the other side of the coin – how nonsexual aspects of society indirectly influence how people have sex, because past political edicts have conditioned people to stick to one spouse, pro-natalist policies subtly nudge people to have more children, and the marketing of biomedical products has led people to engage in riskier sex. The hidden relationships between sex and political, economic, and religious institutions can shape behaviors ranging from how much income families save to how people rely on others from different religious faiths.

The Sex Effect is about the impact of those relationships, as investigated by an everyday observer rather than a researcher-consultant, politician, moral reformer, or corporate entity already invested in the business of sex. Because human behavior is incredibly complex, and has millions of co-occurring variables, it's difficult to draw hard-and-fast conclusions about how and why sex works. In reality, the investigation of human sexuality's role in society is a multi-disciplinary study full of uncertainty and surprise.

Part of the dialogue revolves around examining the miscalculations of ideologues. Conservative or liberal, Democrat or Republican, Puritan or free lover, devout or agnostic – it doesn't matter. At some point every group displays improbable logical fallacies when differentiating between its perception of sex and the realities of the world. Each group has, in some ways, blinded itself with its respective ideologies, resulting in unintended sexual and societal consequences.

The point of The Sex Effect isn't to talk about how good or bad sex is, or how, when, and why people should be having it. The point is to get everyday people thinking about what factors really drive sexual decisions and how human behavior is shaped by their consequences, as viewed through political, economic, and cultural lenses. The book also looks at the opposite angle – how society influences our sex lives – to inspire discussions about how political, economic, and religious policies affect human sexuality.

The Sex Effect is an entertaining and well-researched exploration of the unintended consequences of our sexual misapprehensions and mythologies. Benes reminds us at every turn how persistent and pervasive is the parallax between what's true about human sexuality, and what we insist on believing about it. – Rachel Maines, author of The Technology of Orgasm
Ross Benes' smart and enjoyable book takes us on a fascinating odyssey through the hidden ways that humanity's endless struggle with sex influences the entirely unsexual aspects of our daily lives. The secret history of Graham crackers, the rise of pelvic massages by sheepish doctors, the story of military-sanctioned brothels, all are narrated with wit and unexpected insight. – Ogi Ogas, co-author of A Billion Wicked Thoughts: What the World's Largest Experiment Reveals About Human Desire
Benes winnows out many surprising motivations behind familiar products, and also shows how, for everyone from cereal makers to pharmaceutical companies, sometimes the best-laid plans lead to marvelous tangential results. Conversational, approachable, and credible, Benes delivers story after story that will surprise you and challenge your assumptions: Once you have read this book, I doubt you will ever eat a weasel again
. – Patchen Barss, author of The Erotic Engine
Benes has combined history, epidemiology, anthropology, neuroscience and whatever it takes to produce a well-written, engaging, clever, highly informative book.
The Sex Effect is a welcome respite from the usual partisan bickering and moralizing that this subject usually evokes. – Edward C. Green, former Director of the Harvard AIDS Prevention Project
The topic of sex elicits intense moral and political sentiments, so it's especially important to approach it in a clear-headed way. This book does an excellent job with that – the only preaching you'll find here is in favor of a more rational understanding of sex. Far more wide-ranging than most books about sex, it surveys the diverse and counterintuitive ways in which sex impacts society. Engaging and honest, you'll be surprised by how much you learn. – Michael Price, Brunel University psychology professor and Psychology Today contributor
This is a no-nonsense, honest, factual and clearly exposed dialogue about human sexuality. The social constructs and interesting historical developments that shape attitudes toward masturbation, homosexuality, religious influences and scandals all come under intelligent consideration. The text is infused with sociological and psychological wisdom without ever being dogmatic and certainly never boring. – Richard Sipe, author of A Secret World: Sexuality and the Search for Celibacy and Sex, Priests, and Power: Anatomy of a Crisis
A witty discussion of the indirect role sex plays across political, economic, religious, and cultural landscapes... a probing, multifaceted commentary on the social science of sex and society... a book marinated in provocative assertions that are certain to instigate debate and productive discussion. – Kirkus

A gripping exploration of the relationship between sex and society, The Sex Effect will get people talking about what makes humans do what they do. With captivating anecdotes, readers may think of it not so much as a guidebook written by a ‘sexpert,’ but as a conversation starter to inspire dialogue and uncover the hidden relationships between sexuality and the world around us.

Travel / Architecture / Design / India / History

The Vanishing Stepwells of India by Victoria Lautman, with a foreword by Divay Gupta (Merrell Publishers)

Some of the most stunning architectural structures in India are to be found below ground: these are its stepwells, ancient water stores. Stepwells are unique to India and from around the 3rd century CE were built throughout the country, particularly in the arid western regions. Excavated several stories underground in order to reach the water table, these cavernous spaces not only provided water all year long but also fulfilled other functions; they offered pilgrims and other travelers a respite from the heat, and became places in which villagers could socialize. Stepwell construction evolved so that, by the 11th century, the wells were amazingly complex feats of architecture and engineering.
As she describes in The Vanishing Stepwells of India, Victoria Lautman first encountered stepwells three decades ago and now, a seasoned traveler to India, she has devoted several years to documenting these fascinating but largely unknown edifices before they disappear.

Lautman is a journalist and lecturer specializing in architecture, art and design, with a current focus on India. She has hosted and produced several long-running radio programs in Chicago, and contributed to dozens of international publications. The writer of the foreword, Divay Gupta, is Principal Director, Architectural Heritage Division, Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH).

According to Lautman, of the thousands of stepwells that proliferated across India, most were abandoned as a result of modernization and the depletion of water tables. Often commissioned by royal or wealthy patrons, the wells vary greatly in scale, layout, materials and shape. Those in what is now Gujarat state also served as subterranean Hindu temples that featured columned pavilions and elaborate stone carvings of deities. Islamic wells were generally less flamboyant, but incorporated arched side niches. Today, few stepwells are in use. The majority have been left to silt up, fill with rubbish and crumble into disrepair. Gradually, however, the Indian government and heritage organizations have come to recognize the need to preserve these architectural wonders.
In her introduction to The Vanishing Stepwells of India, Lautman discusses why and where the stepwells were built. She reflects on the reasons they became derelict and considers how the appreciation of stepwells is changing with the work of organizations and individuals who aim to protect and restore them. The main part of the book is arranged in a broadly chronological order, with up to six pages devoted to each of around 80 stepwells, every one unique in design and engineering. The name, location (including GPS coordinates) and approximate date of each well accompany color photographs and a concise commentary by Lautman on the history and architecture of the well and her experience of visiting it. While many of the stepwells are rather decrepit, their magnificent engineering and great beauty cannot fail to impress.

Divay Gupta explains in the foreword to The Vanishing Stepwells of India that in India, the connection between architecture and water is generally regarded as a connection between the secular and the sacred, between earth and heaven. Among the finest examples of such architecture are stepwells. Baolis, vays or bawadis, as they are called in various parts of the country, are a building typology unique to the Indian subcontinent. They are testimony to the traditional water-harvesting systems developed in ancient times, and to the engineering and construction skills and the craftsmanship of those who built them.

Stepwells were no less magnificent in their conception, architecture and ornamentation than the temples and palaces of their times. They were sacred sites and places of worship, but secular in their function; they also fulfilled various civic and socio-economic needs of local communities. While temples may soar high in the sky to declare their glory and grandeur, stepwells were dug deep into the ground. At ground level, they may be almost invisible. They can be fully appreciated only by descending into their depths.

Stepwells come in a variety of sizes and styles, and the level of ornamentation varies from well to well. The first engineered stepwells, built in about 600 CE in Gujarat, were of Hindu origin. Hindu stepwells reached their zenith between the 11th and 13th centuries, but the construction of wells continued under Islamic patronage between the 15th and 18th centuries. The tradition persisted until the 20th century, but today, with technological advances and modern plumbing, stepwells have lost their original significance as both sources of water and social spaces. Now, with rapidly receding water tables, the wells are drying up, which makes them prey to land grabs and encroachment. Their disappearance is being hastened by a general disregard for their plight.

Although they were built primarily in northern, western and central India, stepwells also existed in the southern Indian states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka. Rani ki Vav in Patan, Gujarat, is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but there are many more stepwells across the country that lie abandoned, awaiting designation as sites of historical significance. Many such stepwells are featured in The Vanishing Stepwells of India.

The Vanishing Stepwells of India is a unique exploration of the fascinating but largely unknown ancient stepwells of India. These extraordinary subterranean structures are vital components of India's architectural, cultural and social history. Along with other recent efforts to document and restore these structures, this book is a vital, timely step in the right direction, helping to raise awareness of stepwells. The book will hopefully stimulate interest in these architectural gems and lead to increased protection and conservation.




Contents this Issue:

lue Water White Sand by Joy Hewett (Silk Hope Press)

The Curse of the Pharaohs' Tombs: Tales of the unexpected since the days of Tutankhamun by Paul Harrison (Pen and Sword)

In the Black: My Life by B. Denham Jolly (ECW Press)

The Ragged Edge: A US Marine’s Account of Leading the Iraqi Army Fifth Battalion by Michael Zacchea & Ted Kemp, with a foreword by Major General Paul D. Eaton (US Army-ret.) (Chicago Review Press)

The Business of Broadway: An Insider’s Guide to Working, Producing, and Investing in the World’s Greatest Theatre Community by Mitch Weiss & Perri Gaffney (Allworth Press)

Another Economy is Possible: Culture and Economy in a Time of Crisis, 1st edition by Manuel Castells et al. (Polity)

Flipping Houses by Tim W. Lenihan & Patricia Burkhart Smith (Idiot's Guides: Alpha Books)

Beach Cocktails: Favorite Surfside Sips and Bar Snacks by Coastal Living (Oxmoor House)

The Maker's Atelier: The Essential Collection by Frances Tobin, with photography by Amelia Shepherd (Quadrille Publishing)

What's Worth Teaching? Rethinking Curriculum in the Age of Technology (by Allan Collins, with a foreword by John Seely Brown (Technology, Education-Connections (TEC) Series: Teachers College Press)

Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America by Mary Otto (The New Press)

And Then There Was Me: A Novel of Friendship, Secrets and Lies by Sadeqa Johnson (Thomas Dunne Books)

Origins of the Sphinx: Celestial Guardian of Pre-Pharaonic Civilization by Robert M. Schoch Ph.D. & Robert Bauval (Inner Traditions)

The Great Exposition of Secret Mantra in 3 volumes, by Tsongkhapa, with translation & editing by Jeffrey Hopkins, with a commentary by the Dalai Lama and explanatory material by Khaydrub Geleg Palsang (Snow Lion) His Holiness the Dalai Lama illuminates the highly practical and compassionate use of Tantra for spiritual development in this important classic work.

Volume 1: Tantra in Tibet (Revised Edition)  Volume 2: Deity Yoga   Volume 3: Yoga Tantra

Joyce Rupp: Essential Writings by Joyce Rupp with an introduction by Michael Leach (Modern Spiritual Masters Series: Orbis Books)

Paradoxology: Why Christianity Was Never Meant to Be Simple by Krish Kandiah (IVP Books)

Scripture as Real Presence: Sacramental Exegesis in the Early Church by Hans Boersma (Baker Academic)

The Fruits of Grace: The Ecumenical Experience of the Community of Grandchamp by Minke de Vries, translated with an introduction by Nancy S. Gower, with a foreword by Thomas F. Best (Pickwick Publications)

The Sex Effect: Baring Our Complicated Relationship with Sex by Ross Benes, with a foreword by A.J. Jacobs (Sourcebooks)

The Vanishing Stepwells of India by Victoria Lautman, with a foreword by Divay Gupta (Merrell Publishers)