Category: Non Fiction

“A History of Magic and Witchcraft” by Frances Timbers

“A History of Magic and Witchcraft” by Frances Timbers

Blurb:

Broomsticks and cauldrons, familiars and spells: magic and witchcraft conjure vivid pictures in our modern imaginations. The History of Magic and Witchcraft offers a window into the past, illuminating the lives of ordinary people and shining a light on the fascinating pop culture of the pre-modern world.

Blowing away folkloric cobwebs, this enlightening new history dispels many of the misconceptions rooted in superstition and myth that surround witchcraft and magic today. Historian Frances Timbers brings together elements of Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, Christianity, popular culture, and gender beliefs that evolved throughout the middle ages and early modern period and contributed to the construction and eventual persecution of the figure of the witch. While demonologists were developing the new concept of Devil worship and the witches’ sabbat, elite men were actually attempting to practice ceremonial magic. In the twentieth century, elements of ceremonial magic and practices of cunning folk were combined with the culturally constructed idea of a sect of witches to give birth first to modern Wicca in England and then to other neopagan movements in North America.

Witchcraft is a metaphor for oppression in an age in which persecution is an everyday occurrence somewhere in the world. Fanaticism, intolerance, prejudice, authoritarianism, and religious and political ideologies are never attractive. Beware the witch hunter!

My Thoughts:
What a perfect time of year for a history of witches and witchcraft. I found this book very intriguing. This book presents a different view of witches and the misconceptions about them. The author starts by going back to the ancient Greek mythology where the idea of a witch first appeared. As the book proceeds, she confronts various specific false beliefs and their origins, such as, wild rides in the night, and sexual liaisons with the devil. The material is well researched and presented in a way that makes it approachable for most any reader. If you’ve been with me a while, you know I love these deep dives into the corners of history and this book was no exception. Fascinating, informative and thought provoking all in one place.
Alinefromabook’s rating:
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“Creating Hitler’s Germany” by Tim Heath

“Creating Hitler’s Germany” by Tim Heath

Blurb:

Germany’s defeat in the First World War and the Treaty of Versailles that followed were national disasters, with far-reaching consequences not just for the country but for the world itself.

Weaving the stories of three German families from the beginning of Germany’s territorial aspirations of the First World War to the shattered dream of a thousand-year Reich in the Second World War, Tim Heath’s rich narrative explores a multitude of rare and untapped resources to explore the darkest recesses of German social and military history.

Creating Hitler’s Germany presents a nation’s journey not only through everyday life and war, but through its own conscience, pain and inevitable search for some form of absolution from its past. It is real, painful and incredibly human – an essential history to further understand the mind-set of Germany during the most tumultuous years of the nation’s history.

My Thoughts:
Given the current political climate in many countries, I was very interested in reading this book. In the back of my mind I have always wondered how Germany got to the point of being Nazis. Maybe I’m too naive, but I can’t conceive of ever getting to the point in my head where I just hate a group of people so much I want to eradicate them completely. This book focuses less on Hitler himself and more on what was going on in the German society of the time. The book begins with the story of a young, newly-married couple just after World War I and traces their history through to the end of World War II, concluding with their son who was a staunch Nazi and alienated from his mother because of it. The author then intertwines with the historical facts excerpts from interviews and writings of German citizens of the time. Some of them were appalled by the actions of the Nazi regime, while others felt they were just carrying out their patriotic duty. The author also exposes how the political pressures from the “winners” of WWI affected the lives of everyday German citizens and how Hitler’s initial actions improved those lives, lulling them into believing that he was a good guy. It wasn’t until he had solidified his political power that his true colors begin to show. I take 2 things away from this book. First, a better understanding of how a government and it’s people can become corrupted. Second, a warning that as a citizen of a democratic country I need to be very careful when evaluating my leaders because it may not take much to tip the scales towards evil. Finally, I want to acknowledge the resilience and determination that Germany has demonstrated in turning around their country after WWII.
Alinefromabook’s rating:
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“The Little Book of Energy Healing Techniques” by Karen Frazier

“The Little Book of Energy Healing Techniques” by Karen Frazier

Blurb:

Discover energy healing—find more balance and peace.

Energy healing is the practice of manipulating the subtle energy flow in your body to improve the way you think and feel. The Little Book of Energy Healing Techniques is your introduction to the basics of energy healing, featuring a series of simple exercises you can do anytime.

Heal your mind, body, and spirit, with clear and balanced energy that empowers you to live with greater peace and comfort.

The Little Book of Energy Healing Techniques allows you to:

  • Start from scratch—Practice the exercises in this book right away—no prior knowledge required.
  • Try it on for size—From sound healing to crystals, you can test out multiple types of energy healing and find what resonates with you.
  • Learn active healing—Learn 5- to 15-minute daily routines for centering yourself to alleviate pain and inner turmoil.

See for yourself what the power of energy healing can do for you.

My Thoughts:

Another dive into the world of alternative healing on my part. This little book presents several different alternative techniques. I found the information about crystals to be the most interesting to me. It’s fascinating to think that a little piece of rock can somehow influence the functioning of the human body. I haven’t tried any of these yet but I’m thinking about it. The author presented these techniques in an orderly fashion and the writing made the information easily understandable. If you are interested in alternative healing than I think this book could be a good place to start.

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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Find it on Amazon!


 

“Essential Chakra Meditation” by April Pfender

“Essential Chakra Meditation” by April Pfender

Blurb:

Unlock your healing power with chakra meditation.

Your chakras are your body’s vital energy centers, and their health can impact your physical and mental wellbeing. Drawing on rich traditions and hundreds of years of knowledge, Essential Chakra Meditation shows you that practicing intention and purpose can transform your mind, body, and spirit.

Discover how to unblock your energy through a series of guided meditations―each tailored to treat a specific chakra. Whether you’re new to meditation or have some experience, this book offers you everything you need to create internal balance and start healing today.

Essential Chakra Meditation includes:

  • Awaken your healing power―Learn how guided meditations can keep your energy flowing―reducing stress, easing fatigue, and bringing balance back to your busy life.
  • Understanding your chakras―Detailed descriptions of the Root, Sacral, Solar Plexus, Heart, Throat, Third Eye, and Crown chakras provide you with the information needed to diagnose and treat blockages.
  • Essential mantra and mudras―Enhance your meditation and mind-body healing with mantras (short chants) and mudras (hand postures) for each chakra.

Master the art of chakra healing and help free yourself from worry and exhaustion.

My Thoughts:

I find meditation very helpful personally, though I most often use it for relaxation. Nevertheless, I’ve been intrigued by all the different “types” of meditation and so this little book seemed like it might be interesting. Chakras I have heard of, mostly in the context of yoga but they are a concept that I don’t really understand very well. I found this book to be very informative on the subject. It’s organized in sections by the chakras. The author starts with a presentation of the chakra and what it does and how it relates to the other chakras. There is also discussion of how blockages in a chakra can affect the individual physically. Each section concludes with meditation exercises that relate to the chakra. The meditations are of various lengths so you can pick the ones that best suit the time you have available. I found that the meditations were presented in a very straightforward way that I think would be easy for beginners or more experienced meditators to practice. Ultimately, I’m not sure if I believe in the chakras but I really enjoyed how the concepts and meditations were presented.

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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Find it on Amazon!


 

“On Pluto” by Greg O’Brien

“On Pluto” by Greg O’Brien

Blurb:

This is a book about living with Alzheimer’s, not dying with it. It is a book about hope, faith, and humor—a prescription far more powerful than the conventional medication available today to fight this disease.

Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the US—and the only one of these diseases on the rise.
More than 5 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or a related dementia; about 35 million people worldwide.

Greg O’Brien, an award-winning investigative reporter, has been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s and is one of those faceless numbers. Acting on long-term memory and skill coupled with well-developed journalistic grit, O’Brien decided to tackle the disease and his imminent decline by writing frankly about the journey. O’Brien is a master storyteller. His story is naked, wrenching, and soul searching for a generation and their loved ones about to cross the threshold of this death in slow motion. On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s is a trail-blazing roadmap for a generation—both a “how to” for fighting a disease, and a “how not” to give up!

My Thoughts:

This was a very difficult for me to read because the subject matter hits very close to home. I found myself having to read it in small chunks so I didn’t get overwhelmed. That being said, this book is chock full of good information about Alzheimer’s. Mr. O’Brien relates his daily struggles with the disease in a way that is very approachable for the reader and also gives the reader an immense amount of insight into what this disease looks like as it progresses and the kind of challenges that loved ones and caregivers will face as time goes on. This book is also full of hope. The author talks a lot about what is happening in the medical community in regards to treating Alzheimer’s: the various avenues of research that scientists are pursuing, the treatments that are currently available, and the kind of lifestyle changes that can help the patient and caregivers cope with the symptoms. If you know someone with Alzheimer’s or have it yourself, I think this book is a must-read for the insight and hope that it will give you.

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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The Beauty Geek’s Guide to Skin Care by Deborah Burnes

The Beauty Geek’s Guide to Skin Care by Deborah Burnes

Blurb:

When it comes to finding the perfect formula for dewy and healthy skin, knowledge is power. That’s why skin care guru Deborah Burnes shares everything you need to know about essential ingredients in this book—so that you can give your skin exactly what it needs to glow.

Whether you’re making products for your own use or trying to figure out which brands work best for you, The Beauty Geek’s Guide to Skin Care has all the latest insider info on 1,000 of the beauty industry’s most commonly used ingredients. Plus, you’ll learn the best practices and lifestyle habits to make healthy skin an everyday reality.

The Beauty Geek’s Guide to Skin Care features:

1,000 Ingredient Profiles—Learn the origin, uses, and benefits of the most popular natural and chemical ingredients.Skin Care 101—Get the lowdown on basic beauty practices and lifestyle hacks for best skin.DIY Beauty Recipes—Make your own cleansers, toners, masks, scrubs, and more with these easy-to-follow recipes for your very own signature products.

Knowledge is powerful and beautiful—especially when it comes to your skin. Get in the know with The Beauty Geek’s Guide to Skin Care.

My Thoughts:

If you are at all concerned about the ingredients in your skin care products, then this book will be a great resource for you. The definitions section of the book is packed with potential ingredients and explains what they are, what they do, and whether or not they are harmful and helpful. It’s a dictionary of skin care. In addition, the author goes through the steps of a good skin care routine and an explanation of why skin care is so important not just for surface appearances but for your overall health. While I haven’t tried the recipes they look like they would be straightforward and easy to replicate with the right ingredients. I think this is a book I will keep going back to whenever I come across and ingredient I’m not familiar with.

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

 

“A History of Women in Medicine” by Sinead Spearing

“A History of Women in Medicine” by Sinead Spearing

Amazon blurb: Witch’ is a powerful word with humble origins. Once used to describe an ancient British tribe known for its unique class of female physicians and priestesses, it grew into something grotesque, diabolical and dangerous. A History of Women in Medicine: Cunning Women, Physicians, Witches reveals the untold story of forgotten female physicians, their lives, practices and subsequent demonisation as witches. Originally held in high esteem in their communities, these women used herbs and ancient psychological processes to relieve the suffering of their patients. Often travelling long distances, moving from village to village, their medical and spiritual knowledge blended the boundaries between physician and priest. These ancient healers were the antithesis of the witch figure of today; instead they were knowledgeable therapists commanding respect, gratitude and high social status. In this pioneering work, Sinéad Spearing draws on current archeological evidence, literature, folklore, case studies and original religious documentation to bring to life these forgotten healers. By doing so she exposes the elaborate conspiracy conceived by the Church to corrupt them in the eyes of the world. Turning these women from benevolent therapists into the embodiment of evil required a fabricated theology to ensure those who collected medicinal herbs or practiced healing, would be viewed by society as dealing with the devil. From this diabolical association, female healers could then be labeled witches and be justly tortured and tried in the ensuing hysteria known today as the European witch craze.
My Thoughts: I found this book fascinating. The history of women and their role in their culture is much more complicated than we are led to believe. In this book the author takes us back to the tribal times in ‘Britain and details the very important role the cunning-women, later to be called witches, played in the society of the times. She then goes on to trace the changes in the perception of women that came about as a result of the growth of the Catholic Church in Europe and Britain. I have to say that at times in this history I became very angry with the actions of the church’s leadership in regard to women. If denigrating 1/2 the population gave them more power and control, then denigrate they would. To think that for hundreds of years women were not allowed to contribute to society just because some church leader had a beef with his mother. The acts of brutality that resulted are quite frankly, disgusting. I found this book to be very well researched, well organized and easy to read.
Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-5-star-rating 4.5 stars!!
Happy Reading!
Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website
“The Energy Codes” by Sue Morter

“The Energy Codes” by Sue Morter

The 7-Step System to Awaken Your Spirit, Heal Your Body, and Live Your Best Life

Blurb: Eighteen years ago, health pioneer and practitioner Dr. Sue Morter had a remarkable and profound awakening. While meditating, she spontaneously accessed an energy field—a level of consciousness—beyond anything she had ever imagined. This dramatic experience changed her life, freeing her from years of struggle and pain.

It also set Dr. Morter on a mission to discover how to create such radical transformation for her patients. Through years of advanced study and research in energy healing and medicine, she developed the Energy Codes, a life-changing program that has now enabled thousands of people all over the world to overcome pain, disease, fatigue, anxiety, and depression, and to awaken their innate creativity, intuition, and inner power.

Bridging ancient healing practices with cutting-edge science, The Energy Codes offers a detailed road map to help you experience deep healing in your life. Grounded in practical, accessible exercises, including yoga, breathwork, meditations, and Dr. Morter’s proprietary B.E.S.T. protocol, The Energy Codes will help you activate untapped energy and neurocircuitry in your body, empower your hidden potential, and become one with your true, essential self.

My thoughts: I’m not quite sure how to start with this one. This book doesn’t fit neatly into a category. It’s not exactly a spiritual book, but I think it requires a certain level of belief in the premise if you plan to use the steps outlined within. I did find this book fascinating though. Though most Christians would probably label this book “New Age” there are, in my opinion, some similarities between the Christian concept of the Holy Spirit and this author’s description of an energy outside of ourselves that we can tap into to improve our lives. One of the things I liked about this book is that it’s written and presented in a very orderly yest easy to read manner. Her descriptions of the steps have enough detail to be replicated while also being concise. There are many stories of people who have used this methodology and seen great improvements in their lives. Will I be trying the methods for myself. Not sure but reading this book has definitely given me food for thought.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-star-rating 4 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

 

“The Suffering of Women Who Didn’t Fit” by David J. Vaughan

“The Suffering of Women Who Didn’t Fit” by David J. Vaughan

‘Madness’ in Britain 1450-1950

A rare synchronised study of the colourful, often horrific, account of women and madness over half a millennia. From scold to witch, virgin to whore, this book exposes how an unchanging perception of women has altered responses to gender and madness.

This book is packed full of the history of madness and how women were affected by it. The author exposes the numerous theories, put forward by men, to explain the behaviors of women that weren’t considered acceptable, and the treatment or mis-treatment that ensued from those theories. It is not uncommon to see a diagnosis of madness used as a means of controlling women in society. This book is extensively researched and documented. While the information here is fascinating it’s not written for the casual reader. This book is more suitable for a college text. That being said, it is well written, informative and an excellent study of the topic.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  3 star rating 3 stars!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads

“The Science of Yoga” by Ann Swanson

“The Science of Yoga” by Ann Swanson

Have you ever wondered if your engaging the right muscles in your yoga poses? Well, the answer may well be in this book. Ann Swanson breaks down the anatomy of the human body in relationship to yoga poses so that you can get the most out of each one. Thirty different poses and graphically illustrated and the anatomy and physiology carefully explained in easy to understand language. The illustrations are perhaps the best part of this book. Big two page drawings of the skeletal and muscular structures while in a pose, such as downward facing dog. The muscles are colored differently depending on whether they are engaged or relaxed in a particular pose. There is an introductory section at the front which explains the colors and basic concepts of anatomy and physiology. The pages also give you the poses from different angle so you have the opportunity to see alignments for arms and legs and where in your body you should be feeling stretch. I found this book to be easy-to-understand, gorgeously illustrated, and packed with helpful information that will broaden your understanding of what your body is actually doing when you are “doing yoga”. An excellent resource!

Alinefromabook’s rating: 4-5-star-rating 4.5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon