Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Title: DragonSpeaker
Author: Laura J. Chipman
Genre: Fiction/Magic/
Reading level: All Ages
Paperback: 76 pages
Publisher: PublishAmerica
ISBN: 1424101360

DragonSpeaker (it is written together though the book cover shows the two words separately) is a book for the child in each of us. It is a story of magic, of fire-breathing dragons and how a small girl of 10 is called to save them fromextinction. The dragons use the fire not only to punish evil people, but also to roast apples! Jamie Mathews is a DragonSpeaker, one who can speak with dragons. She is consistently called through dreams to her true purpose of life and is helped by her grandma. She goes out on the adventure accompanied by a bully Billy, who ends up becoming her friend.

When Jamie unites the tear drop pendant with the original stone of Magic from which it has come out, she discovers her oneness with the mountain and thus the whole world. She is also united with her parents who went to save the dragons and were trapped in the mountain. The book conveys a deep spiritual message to each of us, that we all need to discover our true mission in life and fulfill the same to achieve happiness. It also conveys the idea that the magic in each of us will be restored when we become whole and complete.

The book is well written and appeals to children of all ages. I liked this book for its different take about saving of dragons as opposed to the others dealing with slaying of dragons.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Title: The Hurried Woman Syndrome - A Seven Step Program to Conquer Fatigue, Control Weight and Restore Passion to Your Relationship
Author: Brent W. Bost, M.D., FACOG
Publisher: McGraw-Hill
ISBN: 0-07-144577-3
Presentation: Hardcover with dustjacket
No. of Pages: 340
Genre: Non-Fiction/Health/Women/Self-Help

I was intrigued about the title and set out to find out what the good doctor meant by that. And I am really happy that I read this book, courtsey McGraw-Hill. Though I am a man, I could relate to many points explained by Dr. Bost in the book since my own wife was and is going through some of the symptoms so vividly described. And, as Dr.Bost explains, there are many symptoms common to both sexes, caused by too much hurry and worry. My spiritual mentor who is also an Ayurvedic Healer always refers to the three ingredients of several health problems: hurry, worry and curry, the last referring to the spicy food which is consumed for stimulation and for satisfaction of the taste buds.

The book deals with the group of symptoms (that is why the Syndrome comes into use) commonly affecting a large number of women in USA (and probably many other developed and developing countries too). The Hurried Woman Syndrome deals with the adverse effects of chronic stress produced by trying to do too many things at a time, typical of a successful life.

The book is divided into two parts. The first part, titled, "UNDERSTANDING HURRIED WOMAN SYNDROME" has 5 chapters:
1) Life as a Hurried Woman
2) Stress and How it Affects Your Brain and Your Life
3) Are You a Hurried Woman?
4) Using Cognitive-Behavioral Coping Skills and
5) The Role of Antidepressants.

I learnt a lot and also got confirmation of some ideas which were building up in my own mind over the course of the last few years.

The Second Part is "YOUR SEVEN-STEP PLAN FOR BETTER LIFE BALANCE" and consists of 8 chapters (yes, not seven as is obviously expected!). They are:

6) Step 1 - Create Balance in your Body
7) Step 2 - Find the Right Caloric Balance
8) Step 3 - Exercise, No Matter What!
9) Get Started on the Program (I thought that by that time, the reader is already on the program)
10) Step 4 - Rekindling the Fire
11) Step 5 - Identify your Priorities and set Reasonable Limits
12) Step 6 - Get the Best of Stress and finally
13) Step 7 - Organise Your world.

Two Appendices and a Index follow. A fairly comprehensive coverage and a good road map for a workable program.

The book is VERY WELL WRITTEN and is highly readable. And as is to be rightly expected from McGraw-Hill, very well edited. However, as a Quality Assurance Professional and as an Editor, I was delighted that I could catch a few slips! But let me hasten to assure you that the book is of real quality and you will get the message clearly. The printing is good and the readability is good. The conversational style adopted is quite effective.

The author sticks to mainstream medical knowledge and suggests cognitive-behavioral therapy and herbs as adjunct or alternative for treatment of depression. He doesn't advocate the several alternative / complementary treatment options for stress and depression. In a way, that is to be expected since he has been trained in the mainstream medicine and also since he got good results with a number of his clients with the program suggested.

The book is very informative and will help not only the Hurried Woman but also her harried family members (yes, every one suffers when the lady of the family suffers, husband, children, even parents, friends etc.), recognise the hurried woman amongst them and help her. Just check out the first and the third chapter. If you recognise yourself or your wife/mom/sister etc., in that description, I would recommend that you go ahead and buy/gift the book. It may just be right thing that the doctor has prescribed. However, like all books of self-help, you need to practise what is written. Reading and understanding is the preliminary step.

About the reviewer: I am a physicist and a metallurgist, not a medical man. Thus I am a lay reader as far as health books are concerned. However, I have been deeply interested in health (partly because of my own health challenges) for long. I have studied Homeopathy, Biochemic
(Schussler's) Tissue Remedies, Bach Flower Remedies, Reiki (I am a certified Usui Reiki Master Healer), Crystal Healing etc. I would strongly advise you to seek the advice of a health professional before trying out the program outlined in the book.