Recommended Books March 2018

Scum

by Isaac Singer

An authentic literary great, Singer was an author whose extraordinary talents won him a worldwide audience. And with this impressive novel, he proved that he was at the height of his creative power until his recent death at age 86. Scum evokes the teeming life of 1906 Warsaw’s backstreets. Max Barabander, distraught over the recent death of his son, flees the life of wealth and respectability he has attained in Buenos Aires, to return to the poverty and shadows of his youth spent in Warsaw. He fears impotence which leads him to the pursuit of mindless sex with five different women who view him only as an escape from their drab lives. The author recalls the teeming life of 1906 Jewish Warsaw in this impressive novel of changing mores and values. 

The Stormy Search for the Self: A Guide to Personal Growth through Transformational Crisis

by Christina and Stanislav Grof

Many people are undergoing a profound personal transformation associated with spiritual opening. Under favorable circumstances, this process results in emotional healing, a radical shift in values, and a profound awareness of the mystical dimension of existence. For some, these changes are gradual and relatively smooth, but for others they can be so rapid and dramatic that they interfere with effective everyday functioning, creating tremendous inner turmoil. Unfortunately, many traditional health-care professionals do not recognize the positive potential of these crises; they often see them as manifestations of mental disease and repsond with stigmatizing labels, suppressive drugs, and even institutionalization.

In The Stormy Search for the Self, Christina and Stanislav Grof, the world’s foremost authorities on the subject of spiritual emergence, draw on years of dramatic personal and professional experience with transformative states to explore these “spiritual emergencies,” altered states so powerful they threaten to overwhelm the individual’s oridinary reality. This book will provide insights, assurances, and practical suggestions for those who are experiencing or have experienced such a crisis, for their families and friends, and for mental-health professionals. It is also a valuable guide for anyone involved in personal transformation whose experiences, though generally untraumatic, may still at times be bewildering or disorienting.

Choices in Healing: Integrating the Best of Conventional and Complementary Approaches

by Michael Lerner

Written by one of the country’s leading authorities on alternative and complementary cancer treatments, Choices in Healing is designed for the cancer patient or health professional who seeks a comprehensive overview of the available choices, both in treatments and in living with cancer.

Choices in Healing offers valuable information and guidance for the whole life cycle of cancer — from the initial shock of diagnosis to decisions about choosing a physician and conventional therapies, selecting complementary therapies, coping with treatment, and the art of living fully with the possibility of recurrence.

There are detailed explanations and evaluations of a wide range of complementary therapy programs, including spiritual and psychological approaches, nutritional therapies, physical therapies, pharmacological therapies, and traditional medicines from around the world. There are sections on prayer and other forms of spiritual healing; psychotherapy, support groups, visual imagery and hypnosis; massage, therapeutic touch, yoga, and Qi Gong; macrobiotic diet and other cancer diets; acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicines; and numerous other unconventional therapies used by American cancer patients.

With an unusual combination of compassion and objectivity, Michael Lerner describes his conclusions following more than a decade of study of unconventional cancer treatments in North America, Europe, India, and Japan. He also draws extensively on his work with hundreds of cancer patients who have participated in the Commonweal Cancer Help Programs, the residential support program depicted by Bill Moyers in his 1993 PBS documentary Healing and the Mind.