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Newsletter Number 68 • October, 2010

Even though our physical bookstore is closed, we will continue to keep our website up and running. We will also continue our monthly newsletter.

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Len and Tony

Dear Readers,

It has been a very busy year for Dena and me. In addition to having closed the bookstore, Dena and I sold our house in Fairfield and have become permanent residents of Scottsdale, Arizona. We plan on spending a month every summer in Fairfield to see our many friends and soak up the unique and wonderful “vibes” of this remarkable town.

We moved our extensive library here to Scottsdale, and as I unpacked, organized, and then shelved the books I decided that rather than review some new books I would like to recommend to our readers—I guess I should say re-recommend to our readers—my favorite books that I have reviewed from the time we opened the store. All of the titles I mention can be accessed at www.21stbooks.com and you can read our reviews.

Fiction
My favorite work of new fiction was Shantaram. This is an incredible story, based somewhat loosely on fact. I found this book to be incredibly fascinating. A close 2nd was The Kite Runner. This too is a remarkable novel, and infinitely better than the movie. At least 2 or 3 times I have re-read Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five. For most of my life I considered the great Russian novels by Dostoyevsky and Tolstoy to be the best novels ever written, but I now think Slaughter House Five is as close to perfection as it gets. Steppenwolf is another classic I re-read which I cannot recommend highly enough.

Non-fiction—spiritual seeking in India
Paul Brunton’s A Search in Secret India is the classic among classics. No matter what your interests or beliefs may be this is an absolute must read. India, Mirror of Truth, A Seven Year Pilgrimage, by Steve Briggs, a Fairfield author, is a modern day equivalent of Brunton’s classic work. If you want to be entertained and laugh out loud, and your tastes run to irreverence, don’t miss Sarah MacDonald’s Holy Cow, An Indian Adventure. Another book I think everyone would enjoy is Beyond Gurus by Nancy Cooke de Herrera. This book has been re-published and updated with a new title: All You Need is Love: An Eyewitness account of when Spirituality Spread from East to West.

Biography and Autobiography
Einstein: His Life and Universe: by Walter Isaacson is the best biography I have ever read. Einstein was a very fascinating human being and Isaacson captures the man and his thinking. Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynman is one of my all time favorite books from any genre. I enjoy it every time I read it.

Non-Fiction: Health/Psychology
The Brain That Changes Itself tops my list as being the most fascinating and provocative book about the brain and its functioning that I have ever read. It is also a fun read. My Stroke of Insight is another absolutely “must read” book. I was impressed by and thoroughly enjoyed and recommend The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

Economics/Stock Market
Fooled by Randomness and The Black Swan both by Nassim Nicholas Taleb are mind blowers and must reads. The Big Short, by Michael Lewis is still topical and he is a delightful author and I would recommend reading everything he has ever written. Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics are very entertaining and informative, and I wish everyone would read them both. Even if you know nothing about and care nothing about economics you will like these books.

True Adventure Stories
Three Cups of Tea is a marvelous book. Into Thin Air is a book that I found incredibly informative and totally gripping.

Where science (physics and biology) meet with Spirituality
This is probably my favorite genre of books. There are many candidates that I could recommend with total conviction, but one stands out above the rest. If I had to read one book over and over again for the rest of my life would select The Holographic Universe. Among the dozen or so others I would recommend from this category I will mention just two more: The Synchronized Universe and The Biology of Belief. For those who want a more mainstream view you can’t go wrong with The Extravagant Universe.

Advaita
Having enjoyed Satsang with Ramesh Balsekar in Mumbai, I would certainly recommend any and all of his numerous books. However, I actually prefer the writings of his disciple, Wayne Liquorman. Acceptance of What Is, Never Mind, and Enlightenment Is Not What You Think, are all in my must read and must re-read category. And I couldn’t sign out without recommending one of Tony’s all time favorites, Spiritual Enlightenment, The Damnedest Thing, by Jed McKenna.

Dear friends I think that is quite a menu among which you can choose. I love these books so much I think I will begin to reread many of them again.

I wish you all well and would certainly enjoy hearing from you as to whether or not you agree with my choices and what you might recommend to me.

All the best, Len

Maharishi Patañjali Yoga Sutra [Hardcover]
Thomas Egenes (Author), 1st World Publishing (Creator), 1st World Library (Editor)

The Yoga Sutra is the great text on Yoga, cognized in ancient India by Maharishi Patanjali. Yoga means "union," and the Yoga Sutra describes the experience of unity, the complete settling of the activity of the mind. In 195 short sutras, this text illuminates the teaching of yoga and meditation, and gives a profound understanding of life in transcendence.

With Devanagari, transliteration and English translation... based upon the principles of Maharishi Vedic Science.

Thomas Egenes received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. He is Associate Professor of Sanskrit at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, U.S.A.

For actual or armchair travelers to India... a different kind of travel book

Enjoying India is the ultimate how-and-why guide for foreigners that fills the gaps left by traditional guidebooks-practical and cultural information no visitor or expat can afford to be without.

About the Author
J.D. Viharini is a single woman who has lived and traveled alone extensively in India. With the help of fellow travelers that she has met over the years, she has learned that it's essential to travel smart and to function in harmony with the local culture. For her, living and traveling in India is a great delight. She was born in California, but has spent more than two-thirds of her life in other states and other countries. Having earned an MS in Vedic Studies in Europe, she came to India in 1980 and loved it immediately, though she had to wait a few years for her next visit. She has been living in India for several years, and has traveled extensively throughout the country. Although she has an apartment in the foothills of the Himalayas that's her home base, she tends to move around India with the seasons. At one time or another, she's spent time in nearly every part of India except the Northeast. Over the years, she has traveled around India first class, sardine class, and everything in between. From the Ritz to the pits, so to speak, she has stayed and dined in some of the most exclusive places in India and some of the least. She has stayed with families and attended their celebrations. She has rented apartments and learned how to contend with all that living here entails. She has experienced the intense, seething crowds of the Kumbha Mela and the serenity of the sparsely populated, high Himalayas. She has gone on pilgrimages and done business. She has been sick and learned how to stay well. She has made many friends (and perhaps a few enemies).

Best travel book on India” Tom Egenes (Sanskrit professor Maharishi University of Management)

The Sage and the Housewife [Illustrated] [Paperback]
Shanta Kelker (Author)

The book is a diary kept by housewife Shanta Kelker of her personal time spent with UG Krishnamurti with her personal insights., we see UG Krishnamurti as not a Guru alone but as a down to earth person with a personality that seems almost Don Rickle's like., he turns your questions and actions into an ego shattering mirror

Tough love guru ship to the nth degree where love and comfort are exchanged for hard hits to the ego that shatter the psychology.

Filled with a personal human look at a highly acclaimed spiritual teacher

The retorts UG gives to questions asked of him are worth the price of the book alone.

UG does make some shocking statements, which may take one aback... but he may do this to show that all experiences (so called positive or negative) all stream from the same source of consciousness.
Black, white and gray all combine to make a golden silence.

We get to see a very personal side of this enigmatic teacher.

How he likes to rearrange furniture at his home, his love of finding the right new piece to decorate his home. His stories of his childhood.

The last chapter was fascinating... as it delves into Krishnamurti's philosophy and the author's attempt to explain the draw that he had on people.

If you enjoy personal stories of Indian saints then this book should be on your shelf

Written in a very homey personal style.

 

First love is a powerful intoxicant,

But what did my first lover give to me
to create this feeling?

What intoxicating herb did I ingest to produce such euphoria?

God is a clever trickster

He leads me away from my true self...
to cities, and power
to lovers , careers,
To Priests and Gurus.

Until utter sheer frustration and resignation leads me back to myself... ..back to the eternal witness waiting patiently to be remembered... never holding a grievance for having long been forgotten.

I discover that first passionate kiss is from no one but myself to myself and no other. By turning back to the origin the soul mate circle is fully understood...The circle is One riding on to itself to infinity... There is only one soul and no mates and my true love is discovered to be what my eyes could never see nor my fingers ever touch.

Tony

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