Friday, 11 December 2015

THE ORGANIC GARDEN BOOK - GEOFF HAMILTON


THE ORGANIC GARDEN BOOK - GEOFF HAMILTON

RATING:B

This book was a gift from my friend Liz, who has closely followed my adventures with taking over my late father's garden when inheriting the property two years ago and my more recent acquisition of an allotment plot.

My knowledge of fruit was limited to growing strawberries and leaving raspberry canes to do whatever they do naturally - but I have a plot with rhubarb, raspberries, blackcurrants, gooseberries and strawberries now. This book provides the information required to care for these plants and hopefully bring large crops to our household.

Whilst not a big fan of plants, flowers, shrubs, bushes, hedges, and trees, I do need to know more about growing them. Once again, this book comes in handy with information about doing so, enabling me to replace next doors hedge with one my side of the fence after it was removed, tend to plants already in situ, and possibly purchase a few old favs in the future. I previously had more experience of Australian plants than local, also.

With vegetables being my favored garden use and now owning a plot, organic soil preparation and feeding methods are very important to learn. There is no point just tossing in the seeds and having fun seeing what comes up, as I would on a small patch of back yard. Now I have an allotment, I need to work on getting as much veg produced as possible. Once again, soil preparation, crop rotation, care and feeding of vegetables is an important matter covered well in this book.

Overall, the book is a useful reference source for soil preparation, care, propogation and pest control covering most garden features - inlcuding those I do not have such as lawns - written by a well known gardener. In fact, he is so well known, I actually recall him from the days I used to watch TV in my teens.

Whilst I would not personally apply some of the insect-murdering suggestions, the majority of the book is of great use to me - especially as I plan to be as close to nature as possible and use organic techniques and aim at growing 75% + of my own fruit and veg.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

CHOGYAM TRUNGPA HIS LIFE AND VISION - FABRICE MIDAL

CHOGYAM TRUNGPA HIS LIFE AND VISION - FABRICE MIDAL
RATING: A-
This book took me several months to read, primarily due to the fact that it contained a lot of material which needed consideration and contemplation. An informal descriptive narrative covering C.T.'s life and predominantly focussing on his American goals, this book covers excerpts of his teachings, descriptions from his students, and details of his multiple projects and attempts to bring Tibetan Buddhism into the Western world.



I would reccommend this book to students of C.T., practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism, those seeking an unbiased account of a controversial teacher, and those interested in the spread of Buddhism within the Western world.




Friday, 15 May 2015

THE GREAT IMAGE - YUDRA NYINGPO/ANI JINBA PALMO


THE GREAT IMAGE - YUDRA NYINGPO/ANI JINBA PALMO

RATING:A-

I would highly recommend reading the multiple introduction pieces as well as the main text, as they not only explain what lies ahead but also suggest what we should do with what we read - how to benefit from reading the biography of a learned Dzogchen master. The advice given is of value, in my experience, as it is through reading the biography of Acariya Mun in this fashion that my practice of Buddhism commenced in this current life. I aim to read another 3 biographies after this book.

The main text is an autobiography of Vairotsana recorded by his close disciples and translated by Ani Jinba Palmo. It offers both a guide to the path of practice and an historical account of Buddhism as it became established in Tibet.

I would recommend this book to those interested in learning about the onset of Buddhism in Tibet, practitioners of Vajrayana, and those enjoying Buddhist autobiographies.


Saturday, 2 May 2015

THE BIG QUESTIONS - LAMA SURYA DAS


THE BIG QUESTIONS - LAMA SURYA DAS

RATING: B-

The 14 questions covered in this book are not the questions I myself have asked, but are the questions most people in today's confusing and troubled world do ask and the questions I might have asked if I were not too busy finding the answers out for myself to ask to have ever asked such a question.

The questions are responded to from a predominantly Buddhist viewpoint, but cater to followers of many religions with references and ideas from other faiths.

I would recommend the book to those who have asked these questions, those who have no idea where to begin to answer the questions, and to those who find Lama Surya Das's books an enjoyable and intelligent read.

BTW: Lama Surya Das has a brand new book out - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4tYC6VMGus&feature=youtu.be



Friday, 24 April 2015

READING IN THE BRAIN - STANISLAUS DEHAENE


READING IN THE BRAIN - STANISLAUS DEHAENE

RATING:C

This book deals with reading - covering the basics of how we read to how we learn to read, problems with reading, how writing and reading came about, etc. It covers both science and evolutionary matters related to reading.

I found the first part of the text enjoyable and invigorating, but by the time I was a third to half way through, I began to get a bit bored finding it less personally interesting. There were also a lot of notes to keep checking - although predominantly only sources.

I would recommend this book to those who are interested in the subject of reading from a scientific or historical viewpoint, and those interested in reading that simply want to read about reading.

Friday, 20 March 2015

THE SPIRITUAL DOORWAY IN THE BRAIN - KEVIN NELSON





THE SPIRITUAL DOORWAY IN THE BRAIN - KEVIN NELSON

RATING: C+

Although the main text was both interesting and informative, and my mind was posing questions, solutions, and theories as I progressed with reading the text, the conclusion chapter was a rather weak let-down. Had that stood up to the same invigorating excitement provided by the main book, I would have rated it higher. It was an anti-climax, in that it offered no set solution to the investigations detailed throughout the main text.

I would recommend the book to those interested in NDE's, spiritual activity in relation to physicality, and those interested in reading layman-texts on neurology.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

THE MEDITATOR'S ATLAS - MATTHEW FLICKSTEIN



THE MEDITATOR'S ATLAS - MATTHEW FLICKSTEIN

RATING: B-

Although coming from a predominantly Theravadan viewpoint, this 'guide to meditation' is helpful whichever Buddhist path you follow. I would call it more of a GPS system than an atlas, however. It offers direction along the pathways more than illustrating the path itself, which is done by the sutra that the book bases itself upon. It covers the entire pathway of Buddhist meditation starting from square one right through until enlightenment and is suited to all practitioners whatever stage they are at offering explanations of clarity upon the main text.

I would recommend this book to those wanting a step-by-step guide suited to any path of Buddhist meditation. It would also be of use to those with meditation questions but no teacher.