Sunday, April 29, 2007

Title: Keeper of the Arts
Author: Jackie Grant Miller
Publisher: Trafford Publishing
ISBN: 141207784-2
Genre: Fiction/Martial Arts

Any one who watched Bruce Lee's "Enter the Dragon" (if not other movies) will be certainly intrigued by the apparently effortless way the Master defends him/herself from many attackers. And watching that movie and some of Jackie Chan certainly whetted my curiosity and so when an opportunity came along to review this book, I said yes. I also read / heard of other styles like Aikido, Jujutsu etc. and thus wanted to read about the different styles that the author was mentioning.

The book is a bridge between a fictitious account and a thesis. So, you need to persevere with it. The book is certainly informative but unless you are familiar with the movements of the different martial arts, it may be difficult to relate to them. The historical accuracy of the book is out of my purview since I am not an expert on the history of the different cultures.

The book evolved from a stage play titlled Dream Maker. Thus, what is obviously a very visual exression of the different martial arts had to be converted into prose and that is not easy, esp. in the absence of any photos or illustrative diagrams.

Try to browse through the book (either online or in a bookshop) before deciding whether it is for you.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Title: Sex Secrets of an American Geisha
Subtitle: How to Attract, Satisfy and Keep Your Man
Author: Py Kim Conant
Publisher: Hunter House Publishers
ISBN: 0-89793-490-3
Genre: Non-Fiction/Sexuality/Sensuality/Relationships
Presentation: Paperback
No. of Pages: 240

I got an ARC (Advance Reading Copy) of the book, "Sex Secrets of an American Geisha" from the author for my review. Though I left the sexuality part of my life behind for some time now and am on the spiritual path, I agreed to review the book, because I was always intrigued by the Geisha system and here is an American Geisha (in a spiritual sense of that word), willing to share her sex secrets with all of us! The job of reviewer is to read, review and present to the potential reader, the strengths and weaknesses of a book, so that the reader may make a better decision about investing further time and money on the book. Whether it is a Good Book or not is to be decided before continuing to spend one's money and more importantly one's precious time!

Py Kim Conant is not Japanese but is from Korea. She came to USA many years ago when she was young and like any young woman, was in search of a Good Man who can give her a good relationship. She failed and she failed miserably! But instead of giving up, blaming her fate, her destiny etc. (which is the typical Oriental reaction to failure), she set about finding out what a woman can do to attract men to her and
having attracted them, keep one of them as her Good Man. Through out the book, Py stresses on finding a Good Man so that you can have a good relationship. You, the woman, of course, also need to be a Good Woman, and she defines the Core Characteristics of a Good Man and a Good Woman.

In 13 Chapters (obviously she is not superstitious about that number), she shares many valuable tips and tricks (used in the positive sense of the word, not to cheat or manipulate) on how to make yourself attractive, hot, sexy and so feminine that men get attracted to you. In 4 explicit chapters, she tells you many sex secrets so that you learn to love your body, your lover's body and be an expert lover. I read
such explicit sex manuals like the famous Kama Sutra, Ananga Ranga, The Perfumed Garden etc., many years earlier and could not but help compare this book with them mentally. I can certainly say without any hesitation that Py's book is certainly on par with them. Her description of the female G-spot and the female ejaculate is an eye opener to many men and women.

Having attracted the right man, who is a Good Man (Py keeps stressing about the Good Man and your being a Good Woman), how to take the relationship to the logical conclusion of a marriage or a long term relationship? Py shows you the way and leads you by your hand as your Elder Sister. And concludes with an excellent recommendation of how to keep the relationship healthy. All through the book, she
confesses her own mistakes without any fear and comes through as a sincere and genuine person, a good guide.

I noticed a few typographic errors but since it is an ARC, it is quite likely that the errors would have been fixed before the release. In any case, they are very minor and don't detract from the message of the book.

A good Bibliography, References, Index etc. add value to the book. A good read indeed.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Title: Great Saints of South India
Author: R.Sreeramulu (Original telugu)
Translated by: Smt. Sonthi Anasuyamma garu
Publisher: Richa Prakashan (
ISBN: 81-87062-75-4
Genre: Biography/Religion and Spirituality

Sai Ram. "Great Saints of South India" is a very good collection of short biographies of many great saints of South India (Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamilnadu). This is the second of 5 books given to me for review by Sri KVR Rao of, Devi Bhagavatam being the 1st.

The book under review was originally written in telugu by Sri Ravinuthala Sreeramulu and received a lot of acclaim. It has been translated into good english by Smt. Sonthi Anasuyamma garu, who has to her credit many other religious and spiritual translations including "Arunachala Mahatyam" written by Bhagawan Ramana Maharshi, of whom both the original author and the translator of the present book are disicples. Bhagawan's grace enabled them to do a good job of bringing out the biographies of great saints including Sri Tyagaraja, Sri Ramadasu, Sri Kanakadasa, Sri Purandaradasa, Sri Eknath, Sant Jnanadev, Namadev, Samartha Ramadas etc. Many Saivite and Vaishnava Saints are also covered. Thus it gives a good heritage of the southern india over many centuries. It is worth noting that God is beyond caste and creed, and you can read about the great saints of all castes in this slim volume. Biographies of a few women are also given, indicating that devotion and jnana are not the exclusive preserve of men.

The book is generally well produced but could have been better edited. A few stories are somewhat disjointed. One example is that of Karaikal Amma where the beginning of her life story is apparently in Kailasa but later it is portrayed again as if she went to Kailas in that birth and thus it is not clear who related this story to whom. A few other stories also left me a little confused. And notable absence in this book are biographies of Sri Ramana Maharshi, Sri Raghavendra Swami of Mantralayam, Sri Shirdi Sai Baba, Sri Akkalkot Maharaj, Sri Sripada Vallabha and Sri Nrusimha Saraswati etc. And many modern saints are also not covered.

Except for such minor omissions and a few typographic errors, the book is well written and will be a good addition to the spiritual library of every sadhaka. Sai Ram.

India has produced many more saints and the book may hopefully be expanded in future editions to include some more great saints. I am thankful to for this opportunity.