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Book Reviews • July 2010

How Alternation Can
Change Your Life

Finding the Rhythms of Health and Happiness

By: Andrew Oser; River Sanctuary Publishing; 2010;
172 pages; $16.95 (pbk); ISBN 978-0-9841140-3-0;

The rhythms of life: on-off, up-down, in-out, on-off, up-down, in-out—back and forth—everything natural seems to exist in some sort of alternating current. Nature knows no such thing as a straight line: streams meander left and right, and the very pulse of human life comes as a hard beat followed by a soft.

“The most fundamental, consistent alternation we experience is between inhalation and exhalation,” Andrew tells us. Indeed, focusing on this particular alternation is how many of us learned to meditate, to relax deeply.

In How Alternation Can Change Your Life, Andrew Oser (formerly an Encinitas resident) shares the many ways we can make use of the principle of alternation to improve our relaxation, our relationships, our athletic performance, our professional lives, and our emotional well being.

This simple, practical approach to peaceful living offers a treasure chest of effective tools to bring healing and balance to every aspect of our lives. You will learn about the balance that comes with alternating doing and non-doing, the importance of creating longer gaps for self-renewal, the natural rhythms of spending time together and apart, about the challenge of balancing talking with real listening, for working through self-judgment, for improving your physical health, and more. And Andrew offers simple exercises to allow you to internalize your learning and make it a part of your (continually alternating) life.

I am really excited about this book. As a student of NLP and other approaches to emotional wholeness, I see great promise in Andrew’s approach. In fact, I find that some of my most successful attempts to help myself and others have naturally taken advantage of the principle of alternation, so I know it works.

This is a tremendous offering, truly evolutionary. I say that because I see how it builds upon the knowledge and wisdom of previous approaches to self-betterment, and because it offers simple and clear explanations as to how we can evolve ourselves into the whole beings we came here to be.

If you want a happier healthier, life, I recommend this book to you.




The Boy with a Torn Hat

By: Thornton Sully; A Word With You Press; 2009;
301 pages; $20.00 (pbk); ISBN 978-0-9843064-04;

Arthur McBride turns up in a pawn shop, just as Renate had predicted. But on the Atlantic shore of the good old U.S.A.? Still intact, his “remarkable sunburst pattern, deep mahogany color and deeper, richer sound” a dead giveaway to Morgan, alias Rene. What’s in a name, after all? Some sort of soul retrieval, this chance find – after all, wasn’t he the one responsible for Arthur’s disappearance in the first place?

The Boy with a Torn Hat is something I don’t see much of these days: a novel that actually merits the label “literature.” No murders, not a lot of action, and no great enduring love story – none of the easy tickets to capturing and holding a reader’s attention. Just damn good writing. Not to say I didn’t see room for improvement – I’ll come to that in a moment – but Thorn Sully has an ability to take an expression and turn it just the right number of degrees to seduce a reader with his wry and insightful take on life.

(To give you a taste: one of his many enjoyable word plays had to do with a relationship ending because of “irreconcilable similarities.” Ah, yes, I’ve been there.)

A loosely knit group of musicians and painters, poets and prostitutes, mimes and students from here and there show up in the old Jewish quarter of Heidelberg for the duration, most of them displaying their art on street corners more for the joy of giving than for the coin they receive for their effort, though the coin pays the rent and keeps the beer flowing, and brings with it the freedom to reflect on the inevitable contradictions of coming of age.

This is a mellow read, reminiscent of a time when we lived at a slower pace. I fear a reader in a hurry to get to the drama might put the book down too soon. I was halfway through it, lured on by the magic of the idiom in the able hands of a master of phrasing, before I got hooked on the story and began to care what might happen to the characters – which caused me to wonder what earlier climax the author might have built in to endear them to me a bit sooner.

My only real complaint, though, is grammatical. When I asked Thorn why he insisted on mixing present and past tenses in the same sentence, over and over again, for no apparent benefit, he told me it was his way of heightening the sense of immediacy of the narrative. Deliberate or not, to me it felt clumsy, and got in the way of the telling.

That detail aside, the book shines as a rare example of literary mastery in an era when so many novels are nothing more than compelling stories dashed off with cheap literary devices and little appreciation for the gorgeous subtleties of the language.

— Chiwah



Knock and the Door Will Open:
6 Keys to Mastering
the Art of Living

By Jeffery A. Wands, Atria Books; 2010; 213 pages;
$18 (pbk); ISBM 978-1-4165-9108-5;

Renowned psychic medium, popular radio host and author Jeffrey A. Wands combines over 30 years of wisdom and intuitive insight he has successfully shared with his clients in a simple yet profound manual for mastering life, Knock and the Door Will Open. Based on years of spiritual counseling, Wands offers readers real life strategies for creating harmony, happiness, purpose and peace in every aspect of their life.

Filled with invaluable advice, tips and exercises that Wands offers to his exclusive clients, who wait up to a year to see him, and the hundreds of people who attend his sold-out shows, readers will have at their fingertips a practical, user-friendly and timeless life guide to help them unleash the power and true potential that we each hold within us.

This comprehensive guide offers solutions for everyday situations from protecting your home from negative energy, recognizing a soul mates, tricks to improving mental focus, finding spiritual strength in adversity, to strategies for diffusing anger and reducing stress.

The book offers 6 keys that the author explores in depth:

Key #1: Evaluate Yourself

Key #2: Gather Your Soulmates

Key #3: Make Sure Your Home is Your Castle

Key #4: Bring More Prosperity

Into Your Life

Key #5: Seek More Spiritual Strength

Key #6: Maintain Your Emotional and Physical Health

In Knock and the Door Will Open, Jeffrey A. Wands has put forth a resource and handbook for anyone looking to make real and lasting change in their lives. The book is designed to help readers reconnect with their own psychic energy so they can make the most of the gifts they are given and attract the many treasures out there for the taking.

Available at, and booksellers nationwide.