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Newsletter Number 37 • November 6, 2007

Books

John Mauldin is an economist/investment advisor who writes a weekly (free) email newsletter which I think is absolutely terrific. It is fun and informative. I highly recommend you Google Mauldin and sign up for his newsletter. When he recommended Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets: Surviving the Public Spectacle in Finance and Politics I immediately bought a copy and read it.

To my surprise, the two-page forward was written by Marc Faber, who publishes the very expensive Gloom, Doom, and Boom Report, which I also read with relish. While I did not find myself laughing out loud, as did Faber, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and agree wholeheartedly with the paragraph written by Faber, which I quote below:

Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets by Bill Bonner and Lila Rajiva will never earn a Nobel Prize in economics. Why? Because this book is highly readable, makes sense, and does not contain the usual incomprehensible mumbo jumbo one finds in other financial and economic books. Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets makes very complex economic, social, and geopolitical issues understandable to normal people like you and me.”

This book is a classic “de-bunking” effort, very entertaining, quite cynical, often tongue-in-cheek, usually funny, quite eye-opening and a joy to read. I love the stream of consciousness style and the tremendous eclecticism of the subject matter. From Afghanistan, Africa, and Alexander the Great, to Witches and Women, the two authors cover the gamut of just about anything and everything that is interesting in history, psychology, politics, economics, and all human behavior and enterprise.

If, like me, you are very skeptical about conventional wisdom and like to see the opposite side of all issues and widely-held beliefs, this is a book you cannot miss. The authors do an absolutely superb job of destroying the myths about “do-gooders” and “world-improvers”. The stories about Che Gueverra alone made this book worth reading.

Needless to say I very highly recommend this book!

Recently I spent some time in Chicago with a good friend and very avid reader. Naturally we talked about books, especially ones we had recommended to each other. I told him the best book he ever recommended to me (and he has recommended some fantastic books) was Barney’s Version, by Mordecai Richler (author of Duddy Kravitz, a movie I never saw, and a book I did not care for). My wife, Dena, and I have very different tastes in books. We hardly ever like the same book. When we do, chances are good that almost everyone will like it. She too loves Barney’s Version. Just click on the title and read the review. This is one of the funniest and most intriguing works of fiction that I have ever read, and it is not widely known or read. “Try it, you’ll like it.”

After matriculating in college I entered a PhD program in English Literature at Columbia University. It only took me a few weeks to realize I was not cut out to be in academia. It seemed to me the professors were Zombies—they looked like human beings, seemed to have mental capacity, but seemed to me to lack “soul”. They carve up literature like it is a cadaver and make it lifeless, so I quit before I decided I would never want to read great authors and great fiction again. The reason I bring this up is that I would like to know if I should read Proust or not, and if I should, which novel should I select. I have received great feedback and suggestions from many of you in the past. For the record, I could not read Joyce, found Faulkner less than compelling and my favorite classic novels all come from Russia: The Brothers Karamazov, Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment, and War and Peace are all favorites that I have read more than once. Given that I have offbeat tastes, maybe it won’t comes as too great a surprise that I think Slaughterhouse Five, by Kurt Vonnegut is the most perfect (not necessarily the greatest) novel ever written. I would strongly urge those, who like me have not read it for 30 years or so, to pick it up again and read it with fresh eyes. The two best works of fiction I have read in the last few years were Shantaram and The Kite Runner.

So, given that bit of personal history, I call upon you, my intelligent reading audience, to clue me in as to whether or not I should read Proust.

About a year and a half ago another friend highly recommended Aghora: At the Left Hand of God, by Robert E. Svoboda. This is clearly not a book for everyone. However, if you are interested in the Vedic tradition and are not afraid to see the dark side of the Tantric approach, then this is a must read. I enjoyed this book and it opened my eyes to many new concepts and unique approaches to classic Vedic philosophy, rituals, and wisdom.

This is a story about Vimalananda, an Aghori, a follower of the path of Aghora, the path of the absence of darkness. There is a heavy focus on death, dying, cremations, sex, drugs, and many other aspects of life that the traditional Vedic paths of Sattva eschew.

Tony said that this book is one of the all time best-sellers at 21st Century Books. I can understand why, as it is very unique in its approach and extremely readable. While Vimalananda passed on in 1983, his experiences and teachings remain timeless.

There is much in this book about which I am very skeptical. I think that Vimalanda takes lots of liberties with the truth; nevertheless, I gained a tremendous amount of understanding from this book and very highly recommend it to those who have never been exposed to this dark side of the Vedic teachings. I don’t rank this up there with any of my all time favorite, or must read books, but I do think that serious students of the Vedic paths will find this book interesting, illuminating, enjoyable, and very thought-provoking.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!!

Len Oppenheim

We have just received the perfect gift (isn’t that what all retailers say) for someone special.

If you are acquainted with the works of Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist, 11 Minutes) then you are familiar with his spiritual insights that accurately portray our day to day life… Quotes from many of his books have now been assembled into one hardcover volume entitled Life: Selected Quotations. The book has an extremely beautiful art format and is filled with much spiritual inspiration. I highly recommend this book... When your read the many passages your heart will be uplifted… I promise you that.

Speaking of great holiday gifts.. 2 local authors’ books are inspiring and motivational.
Life Lessons for Loving the Way You Live by Jennifer Read Hawthorne & The Passion Test by Janet Bray Attwood & Chris Attwood are just right for anyone on your list. Please click on the titles for further information.
Not only will you be purchasing a wonderful and thoughtful gift... but you will also be helping support local gifted Fairfield authors.

Are you an American Idol fan or know someone who is? The just recently published Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul is authored by former Fairfield resident Debra Halperin Poneman. The book is a collection of personal stories by the top American Idol contestants from every season.. What a combination: one of America’s most inspiring TV shows combined with Debra, one of America’s most inspiring motivational speakers to bring a delightful collection of life affirming stories.

If you are a fan of Jed McKenna (Spiritual Enlightenment the Damnedest Thing, Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment) then you will be very excited to hear that his last book of the trilogy Spiritual Warfare has just been released. Jed’s books are not for everyone... but for those who enjoy his unmystical look at mysticism as well as his irreverent look at enlightenment.. Then you will enjoy this his final? book. Jed’s words can stir up quite a bit of mud in one’s psyche so be forewarned. The latest book deals with several characters... one searching in an honest unflinching way for the truth and others who though may feel they own “IT” really are under the delusion of Maya. Jed feels that most of what modern day seekers are seeking is not true enlightenment, but instead a ride in a dream world amusement park. Read his latest and decide for yourself. On a personal note, I felt the last third of Jed’s new book was priceless.

The latest book in the Anastasia Ringing Cedars of Russia series has just been translated.

The Energy of Life by Vladimir Megre.. This seventh book in the series deals with human thought and its influence on our lives and the destiny of the entire planet… other subjects include roots of inter-racial and inter-religious conflict, ideal nutrition and living in harmony with all of nature.

The Ringing Cedars series are some of the hottest books in Fairfield at this time

My latest novel read is Suite Francaise by Russian writer Irene Nemirovsky. This is a story of the German occupation of France during World War ll. The author herself was living in France during the occupation. It is more than a war story.. it contains elements of social satire, tenderness and is both funny, uplifting and poignant. Historical fiction at its best. The reality of how people live and cope with the unfathomable is portrayed with all honesty and seen through rare nonjudgmental eyes. The book leads me to introspect how I myself would have reacted under similar harsh circumstances. The author died in a concentration camp not long after writing this novel. Her manuscript was smuggled out of France by her young daughter. With her death the world lost a great writer much too soon.

25 years... Yes our store begins its 25th year in November.

Many things have changed in those years. Fairfield has changed in many ways:

From Old World to Fairfield Market to Everybody’s; from MIU to MUM; from Mayn’s Super Market to Thai Delhi; from Gobbles, Coast to Coast Hardware, Seifferts, Melissa’s Closet to India Café, Mohan’s, Guptas, Revelations, Small Planet and Central Park Futon; from Off Broadway Café to Petit Paris; from Crest Jewel on Hwy 1 to Crest Jewel on Main street; from Mayor Rasmussen to Mayor Malloy; from Tony at 21st Century Books to Tony at 21st Century Books & Gifts….. Well just add a little Grecian Plus® to my shampoo and I have not changed all that much.

When I first moved here in 1982. Fairfield could at times seem like a ghost town… now there are so many activities bilocation would come in handy.

Over the last 25 years I have observed many souls calling this place home, we have grown in so many ways ... We are more relaxed with who we are: having progressed from a tightness to a looseness (casual Fridays 7 days a week). For a growing number the stress of reaching for that certain something has been replaced by a spiritual acceptance of the play we are living out.

25 years in infinity… what is that??. .. A blink of the eye… a quick loving smile.

Thank you all for making it all happen.

Love
Tony

PS As we begin to celebrate 25 years.. We would like to hear of any personal memories of our store that you would like to share. We will include some in up coming newsletters. Also, along with your personal memories, if you would like to bring in or e mail a photo of yourself taken 25 or so years ago… that would be wonderful.

Please email us at
info@21stbooks.com

Tony & SharonTony & Sharon Len, Sam & MichaelLen, Sam & Michael Dena, Sam & MichaelDena, Sam & Michael

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