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The Temple Is Not My Father: A Story Set in India
The Temple Is Not My Father: A Story Set in India
Price: $1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The unusual title of this book motivated me to read it., July 25, 2014
The Temple Is Not My Father is an insightful book. Rasana Atreya introduces me to a group of people called devadasi in the Indian culture. The devadasi are servants of God. They are preteen girls who are sacrificed by their families to become prostitutes. It sounds rather strange for servants of God to become prostitutes.

The main character in this book is a woman named Godavari. I learned that the Godavari is the longest river in India. Godavari has a sister named Krishna. This is the name of the blue skinned Hindi god. I also learned that a kirana is a grocery store. Godavari is a devadasi She is also a loving mother to a young daughter named Sreeja. I learned that Sreeja means spiritually intense. All of these words are from a classical Indian language called Telugu. Part of the fun of this book is just learning the meaning of these names and words online.

The transformation of the character of Godavari is special here. In the first part of the book, she is a lonely and isolated mother. She is motivated by her sister to attend a non-government school to make something of herself. She receives an education and becomes a crusader for young girls in need. This is a short book, but the characters and themes are strongly presented and developed.


Edge of Nowhere
Edge of Nowhere
by John E. Smelcer
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.18
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5.0 out of 5 stars This is a beautifully written book., July 21, 2014
This review is from: Edge of Nowhere (Paperback)
Edge of Nowhere is set in Prince William Sound, which is located in southern Alaska. The people of Prince William Sound speak an endangered native Alaskan language called Alutiq. It is neat just to be exposed to a new language. Each of the eighteen chapters in this book are prefaced with the Alutiiq number and the corresponding English number. I learned the Alutiiq word for salmon is Igalluk.

People earn a living on Prince William Sound by salmon fishing. I like to go to salmon fishing, but I can't imagine doing for a living. John Smelcer establishes that salmon fishing is how people who live on Prince William Sound survive. It pays for the mortgage and the food. It also pays for the crew who work on the boat. I can visualize all the animals that he describes in this book. They are deer, sea otters, black bears and salmon of course.

The plot centers around a teenage boy named Seth. He gets hit by a wave, and he goes overboard while on his family fishing boat. He lands on one of the islands in Prince William Sound. I love the way he learns how to survive for months on his own. He crafts a spear with a tree branch . to catch salmon. He also survives by eating mussels and dandelions. He uses the tide currents to literally swim in the direction of his home. It is not often that I admire the traits of a fictional character, but I do admire Seth's courage and survival instincts.

The other character is Jack. He is Seth's father. He is determined to do anything to find his son. Edge of Nowhere is very much a coming of age novel. The character of Seth starts the novel as a boy, but he becomes a self reliant young man because of his experience.

The theme of a death of a family member is explored in this book. I don't want to give the plot away. I will say that Seth learns to accept that death is an natural part of life. Seth learns that sometimes that no one can be blamed for the sudden passing of the loved one. I like everything about the book Edge of Nowhere.


How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World
How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World
by Steven Johnson
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $21.78

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I learmed a lot of interesting information reading this book., July 14, 2014
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The six innovations that Steven Johnson discusses in this book are not new. Glass, sound, time light, the cold, the state of being clean and cold have been around forever. What makes this book special is how Stephen Johnson traces the development of each subject. He starts from the very beginning uses of each innovation, and then he discusses how each application is being currently used today.

I don’t like to be cold, but I enjoy reading about the history of it. There is a picture of Willis Carrier in 1939. He invented air conditioning. This picture shows him in an air conditioned igloo. I have never seen an air conditioned igloo before, so I think this picture is very neat. I need to find an easier way to keep cool in the car that does not include turning on the air conditioner and drinking water. I know that people freeze their eggs until they are ready to become pregnant. I wonder how long human organs and blood can be preserved as effectively as eggs.

I learned that glass can be made from cooling a chemical compound called silicone dioxide. I love reading about the applications of glass in this chapter. There is a picture of a fourteenth century monk wearing a pair of glasses. There is a picture of the Keck observatory on the Big Island of Hawaii. It has thirty-six mirrors. I live in Hawaii and have never seen this observatory. There is also a picture of a flea as seen through the lenses of a microscope. There is another picture of a glass pasted statue of a beetles surrounded by stones. This is a beautiful photo to look at. One of the first applications of glass happened in the art world. There is a lovely seventeenth century painting by Diego Velazquez in the book. It shows maids of honor getting ready for a wedding. This chapter is the most interesting visually because of the pictures.

The first sources of light came from candles from animal fat. I also learned that candles can be made from the oil from whales. This led to the invention of the electric light by Thomas Edison. Other inventors used different elements like platinum and iridium to create the electric light bulb, but Edison is credited for bringing it to the public. The development of light is currently being continued by researchers in Livermore California. They are working on a laser source of energy with nuclear capabilities. I have experienced laser surgery while undergoing dental work. I am curious to learn about new innovations in light.

The chapter on cleanliness talks about how the city of Chicago became the first to create a sewer system to eliminate waste. Having chlorine added to water in the late 19th and early 20th century purified the water making safe to drink. This is interesting history, but I have travelled to places and countries like Taiwan and Las Vegas, where I am still concerned about the quality of water today. One innovation discussed in this book is a new kind of toilet. This toilet does not need a sewer line or electricity. It operates by using photovoltaic energy from the sun. It has an electrochemical reactor powered by the sun, which treats the contaminated water from the human waste. This can be turned into a fertilizer for crops. The toilet is disinfected with table salt.
The chapter on sound begins with the discovery that caves in France. They produce sound vibrations. The invention of vacuum tubes led to the development and radio, which led to the ability to record the spoken word. My fondest wish in regards to sound has not happened yet. I would like to live in a home where all of the appliances are activated by the sound of my voice.

The most interesting aspect on the chapter about time is the idea of an atomic clock. I know that atomic clocks are supposed to keep precise time. They are used in navigation and synchronizing computers I have never seen one or used one I want to know if I can use it. I want to learn more about the different elements that atomic clocks are made of and the difference between them.

Steven Johnson mentions the work of mathematician Ada Lovelace. She is credited as being the first computer programmer. She wrote an algorithm for number theory in the mid nineteenth century. She also predicted that the computer would have more applications than just number crunching. This book is a great read.


The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs
The History of Rock 'n' Roll in Ten Songs
by Greil Marcus
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $20.52

5.0 out of 5 stars I really enjoyed reading about these songs and listening to them on you tube., July 6, 2014
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Greiil Marcus points out what makes each song special. Not every song is book is well known, but each song is special in some way. "Shake Some Action" contains bland lyrics but outstanding drum and electric playing. I love any song from the mid seventies. I listened to this song on you tube, and I agree with Greil's assessment of this song. I like listening to singers who cover the same songs. Barrett Strong and The Rolling Stones have both recorded versions of the song "Money". The Barrett Strong version is a piano driven I like listening to singers who cover the same songs. rhythm and blues song. The Rolling Stones cover of "Money" contains a pulsating drum beat with harmonica playing. I like both versions of the song. This song is about the kind of financial freedom that most people seek. "All I Could Do Was Cry" is a song performed by Etta James. Beyonce performed the song in the film "Cadillac Records" and does an excellent covering it. Etta James is considered to be one of the first soul singers of the sixties. I revere all of her music. "To Know Him Is To Love Him" is a song performed by the Teddy Bears in the fifties, and it has also been performed by the late Amy Winehouse in the early twentieth century. I have listened to both versions. I think the original version conveys a sense of innocence and hope. The Amy Winehouse version conveys a sense of wisdom. It contains a soulful sprit that the older version does not have.

"Crying Wishing Hoping" by Buddy Holly is a song that inspired the Beatles to make music. It is unique because it conveys a sense of optimism that all young men have when looking for love. Transmission is a song about the dangers of listening to the radio. "Transmission", by a group named Joy Division, is the first punk song to come out of England in 1976. I have never heard of a song with a theme that this before. It has a good beat, even though the lyrics are quite simple. "In The Still Of The Night" is a song performed by singers from the fifties to the nineties. It is a song that communicates romance and loneliness equally well. This Magic Moment is a song from 1960, but I believe the lyrics about finding a special someone makes this song timeless.

I love discovering new music, even though if it is before my time. Greil Marcus introduces me to the music of Robert Johnson who performed in the thirties Greil mentions a song entitled "Dead Shrimp Blues" by Robert Johnson. This is a song about male impotence. This is an unusual theme for a blues songs to me. I love the twang in Robert Johnson's guitar and the frustration in his voice. "Terraplane Blues" is another Johnson tune is a about frustrating encounter with a woman. I have never heard of blues music with lyrics so relevant to me. Greil Marcus makes me a fan of blues music and a fan of different genres and time periods of music overall. I love reading about these songs and listening to them on you tube.


Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self
Big Little Man: In Search of My Asian Self
by Alex Tizon
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $17.08
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Little Man is an insightful book., June 19, 2014
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Big Little Man is an enjoyable book that is part biography and part observation. Alex Tizon teaches journalism at the University of Oregon. He is of Filipino ancestry. I am of Japanese and Chinese ancestry, but I feel connected to a larger community of people that includes Filipino and Chinese people. Tizon writes about being mistaken for a Japanese person while being confronted at gun point as a teenager in New York He also writes about his fascination with white women in his youth.

Tizon writes about his perceptions about the dearth of Asian leading men in the movies. Edge of Tomorrow is a film starring Tom Cruise. It is based on a Japanese film, but Tom Cruise is in it I found this to be interesting. I am sure that are Japanese actors out there, but I guess there is no one famous enough to play this role for American audiences. John Cho is one of my favorite actors. Tizon mentions him as an actor who is successful in comedic and dramatic parts. He has starred in the Harold and Kumar comedy movies and the recent Star Trek reboots.

One of Tizon's perceptions is that the trend of white men to date Asian women. He notes that is more difficult for an Asian man to date a white woman. I found this to be true in my experiences of trying to date white women. I learned the Filipino phrases mahal kita and bahala na. Mahal Kita means I love you. Bahala na means whatever will be will be. There are many Filipino people in Hawaii where I live. I can use these phrases to make new friends. He provides examples of successful Filipino men from Hawaii. He mentions Byron Acohido. He is a journalist who won the Pulitzer prize for his investigation of the airline industry. He also mentions Ben Cayetano. He served as governor of Hawaii for many years. His political influence is still strong in Hawaii. I have met both of these men and have favorable impressions of them. He devotes another chapter to the concept of Wen Wu. Wen Wu is defined as an ideal man. The ideal man is someone who can be intellectual and thoughtful. Wen Wu is also a man who can be instinctual and aggressive. Wen Wu sounds like another way of saying yin yang. This is not a new concept, but these are certainly character traits that I hope to develop more in my personality.

Tizon spends another chapter writing about his late father. He struggled to find an identity and a steady career in America,. This is in stark contrast to his mother who became a physician Tizon learned the value of hard work and forgiveness from both his parents. He has been happily married to the same woman for twenty years and is the father to two daughters. He attributes his successful marriage to the fact that his wife is part Filipino. Tizon is five foot seven inches tall. I don't think that this is short, but he considers himself to be short. I am five foot tall and not as skinny as Alex Tizon. I am becoming comfortable with my physical stature. I am also learning to appreciate the opportunities I have been given to work in theater.


The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams
The Gifted: How to Live the Life of Your Dreams
by Daphne Michaels
Edition: Paperback
Price: $13.46
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I believe that I can live the life of my dreams using the information in this book., June 11, 2014
I believe that I possess gifts to live the life of my dreams. This book provides reminders of the inherent gifts that every human being has. I want to make decisions about my career, relationship and my health with ease. This can only happen when I am fully aware of my present situation. This awareness can lead to a stillness in my mind and heart.I am not living up to my full potential, but hopefully stillness will lead to a sense of clarity. I really like how Daphne Michaels connects all these things together. Michaels is a psychotherapist. The job of a psychotherapist is to make unconscious things conscious to a person. Psychotherapists really help people through their problems. I admire the work they do.

My goal is to become a stage actor and a writer. I have had a degree of success with both endeavors, but I haven't achieved the level of success that would enable me to do either as a career. There have been obstacles that have prevented me from getting jobs either in writing or acting. I have taken jobs as a teacher assistant to make a living. I am grateful for the opportunity to work as a teacher assistant for the past fifteen years, but I know that I have the potential to make a living doing work that is creative. My other goal is to find a woman to spend the rest of my life with. I can use the gift of clarity to assess all of the things I can bring to a relationship. I am intelligent and romantic. The gift of clarity will hopefully help me find a suitable partner. This information in this book will definitely help me to create the life of my dreams.


Fearless in Tibet: The Life of the Mystic Terton Sogyal
Fearless in Tibet: The Life of the Mystic Terton Sogyal
by Matteo Pistono
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.64
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed reading this biography and learning about Buddhism., June 4, 2014
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Fearless In Tibet is a biography of Terton Sogyal. Terton Sogyal seemed like an unusual name to me, but I found out that it is more of a title than a name. I learned that a terton is a treasure revealer and a sogyal is a king of merit. I believe that people of all religions seek inner peace and some sort of reward. Once I learned what this title meant, I wanted to learn more about this man. Terton Sogyal began life as a son of a yak herder in 1856. He became the spiritual teacher to the thirteenth Dalai Lama by following his spiritual prophecy and path that started in his childhood. He advised the Dalai Lama in a time when Russia and China threatened to invade Tibet. This man lived to be nearly seventy years. This is remarkable to me because of the lack of medical care at the time. This Buddhist terton also became friends with a Muslim war lord and taught him how to liberate his mind from attachments. I think that another tenet of Buddhism is the ability to accept and value people from different religions.

This book is filled with photographs taken by Matteo Pistono himself. He practices Tibetan Buddhism. It took him fifteen years to research this book, because he spends time living between the United States and Asia There is a picture of a phurba. A phurba is a dagger used in mediation that can used to increase compassion and destroy a person's ego. There is a photo of a scroll that shows the depiction of yogi's hands and feet. This is also a reference to life force stones that can used to prolong a person's life. Just the mere description of stones with the potential to do this fills me with hope.

I don't even practice Buddhism, but I agree with the four main principles of Tibetan Buddhism. I believe that everyone has the ability to ease conflict and sickness. I believe that everyone has the capacity to control the hostile forces in their mind and in life. I believe that every person has the ability to create favorable conditions in their lives. Everyone is born with the drive to live a long life and to succeed. Another principle of Buddhism is to approach positive and negative conditions with the same calm state of mind. These practices are hard for me because of my attachment to material things like money. I will strive to develop a detachment to material things. I can eventually achieve these Buddhist ideals if I can do this. I enjoyed reading this biography and learning some things about Buddhism in the process.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 5, 2014 5:54 PM PDT


Xscape
Xscape
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Xscape" adds to the musical legacy of Michael Jackson., May 21, 2014
This review is from: Xscape (Audio CD)
I love all versions of the eight songs on this album. "Slave To The Rhythm" and "Love Never Felt So Good" are my two favorites. They are great dance songs. I love the remix of "Love Never Felt So Good" with Justin Timberlake. It sounds like a groovy jam. "Slave To The Rhythm" is a gritty groovy jam. I feel like a slave to the every day grind of life even though I am a man. I also love the song A Place With No Name". The acoustic guitar chords are similar to the song "A Horse With No Name" This song is much more uplifting than A Horse With No Name. It is about finding a place of absolute peace. Loving You is a breezy sounding song that makes me feel good. "Blue Gangsta" is a cool song about a woman can turn a man crazy and into a gangster of sorts. I wonder what a blue gangster would look like. "Do You Know Where Your Children Are" is a socially conscious song that reminds me to look out for the children I care about. I have young nieces and nephews. This song made me think of them. "Xscape" is a great song. I just want to escape from my problems every once in a while. I had an emotional reaction to these songs, because I am a huge Michael Jackson fan "Xscape" is an excellent album. It adds to the musical legacy that Michael Jackson has left behind.


Webcam
Webcam
by Jolynna Sinanan
Edition: Paperback
Price: $21.02
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Webcam is a fascinating book about something I hope to use more in the future., May 19, 2014
This review is from: Webcam (Paperback)
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Daniel Miller and Jolynna Sinanan are two anthropologists from London. They spent ten months exploring how people in a small rural town in Trinidad use the webcam. The social scientists in this book introduce a new theory called the theory of attainment. A theory of attainment means full potential of a product has not been fully reached yet, but that it has the capacity to be reached in society.

I am surprised to learn how many people in Trinidad communicate with people from other countries. There is one story about a salon owner in Trinidad who communicates with her home sick female friend in the United States. There is another story about one sister who lives in Trinidad and another who lives in Jamaica. The use of a webcam keeps these relationships strong.

I have used Skype to communicate with my sister who lives in a different state from me. I have only used the visual and audio features of Skype. Skype also gives me that capability to text message someone. I have never done this, but I would try it if I had the chance to. I hope to use Skype more to make new friends in other countries.

I really like reading the stories about the video and text features of Skype can keep the spark alive in an intimate relationship. The text feature of Skype force people to become better communicators. The video feature of Skype makes a relationship more fun and creative. I don't think that I would leave my webcam on all day, but this is something that people in romantic relationships do. I learned that about the concept of polymedia. Polymedia is the practice using different forms of media to accomplish different things.
I have webcam capability on my cell phone, tablet computer and my lap top computer. I could use all three to accomplish different tasks. I could use my polymedia to chat, work and plan my vacations once I learn how to use it.

The use of a webcam can be used to instruct students. Research in this book has found that students are more open to ask questions over webcam than in an actual class room. I never thought that a webcam could have the possibility to facilitate learning. This is something I would be open to trying if I ever went back to school or taught a class again People in Trinidad use the webcam to sell furniture and shoes. I have never bought anything from anyone by using a webcam. The research in this book has found that commerce interactions over webcam is secure and effective. The use of a webcam can also bring people together. People who can not be present for a wedding or a funeral can still share that experience with other via webcam. I am excited about all the things I can do with a webcam because of this book.


The Neurotic's Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment: How the Left-Brain Plays Unending Games of Self-Improvement
The Neurotic's Guide to Avoiding Enlightenment: How the Left-Brain Plays Unending Games of Self-Improvement
by Chris Niebauer Ph.D.
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.41
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5.0 out of 5 stars The information in this book will hopefully make me a happier and healthier person., May 11, 2014
Chris Niebauer is a professor of neuropsychology at Slippery Rock University in Pennsylvania. His research about the left side of the brain works is fascinating. The left side of the brain makes explanations for everything that happens in my life. It makes interpretations of everything I come across. The left brain takes the thought of self improvement and divides into categories of opposition. There is the person that I am versus the ideal person that I want to be. Niebauer believes that perfection is an elusive illusion. The interpretative left brain always finds flaws in every situation. I believe that the more I try to relax the more anxious I become. I experience this every time I visit my doctor.

I have been struggling in controlling my blood pressure. My average blood pressure is 150 over 110. I have become fixated about everything I eat and the amount of physical activity that I do. My goal is to get my blood pressure to a perfect 120/80. I have not achieved this yet. I believe that I have been overly consciousness about my habits because of it. I can change the interpretation of my left brain's perception of the ideal blood pressure. I can set a blood pressure goal that is more realistic for me. Perhaps a good blood pressure goal would be 130 over 90. I will strive to observe my behaviors and try to understand the steps in the process that will hopefully lower my blood pressure. Niebauer provides an exercise that increases my awareness of my health. He suggests making a list of things I do with my own free will and to make another list of things that happen to me that are beyond my control. This will help me to focus on the things I can control everyday and not dwell on things I can't control.

Niebauer also includes a chapter about how to deal with drama in everyday life. He advises to view drama from a distance. This is very hard for me to do when I am working with a difficult coworker. It is easier to see drama from a distance when I don't have to work with another person. I often have reports and data that I have complete every other week. I can prevent paper work from building up by completing a little of it every day. The quality of my paper work is a reflection of who I am as a worker. If I am mindful of completing every part of my work case the best I can, I will not feel the anxiety of having to be perfect. I will strive to have a brain that is not interpretive. A non interpretative brain is hopeful in all situations. It is the kind of brain that does over think things and embraces truth in all things.

The information in this book will hopefully make me a healthier person and a more productive employee. I will try to change my interpretations from my left brain about stressful subjects like my health and work. It is very difficult to deal with all of the negative things like my blood pressure and work load.


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