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Book Reviews
by Rachel Marks • Huntington, NY

Your Essential Shopping Guide for a Better, Kinder, Healthier World

by Leslie Garrett
New World Library, 2007
224 pgs.

There’s no such thing as a quick grocery run for the socially and environmentally conscious shopper. With retailers jumping on the green bandwagon, a plethora of labels claiming green or natural ingredients seduce us through the aisles making us so confused and stressed we need a green tea.

In entertaining style, Garrett makes sense of what can be a bewildering, exhausting endeavor for the average citizen wishing to live a conscious lifestyle. By teasing out ethical product choices and clarifying label jargon for everything from clothing to cosmetics to hot tubs to toys, she provides effective tools for “virtuous” consumption—buying motivated by a combination of green, social justice and health concerns.

Part reference guide, part call to action, the handbook not only brims with wonderful resources, product information, quick tips and odd trivia, but addresses the issues themselves. Each chapter outlines how a different consumer sector impacts the planet and its people and how to use power of the purse to effect change. Using lightheartedness and wit, Garrett avoids a doom and gloom tone and instead leaves the reader with a sense of optimism and empowerment -- and definitely a few chuckles.

Wisdom Tales for Modern Yogis

by Zo Newell
Himalayan Institute Press, 2007
109 pgs.

While popular culture has caught on to the health and psychological benefits of yoga, the contemplative spirit that is at the heart of this ancient spiritual practice is often overlooked. By relating Indian mythical images to asana, long-time yoga student and Harvard Divinity School graduate Zo Newell offers a creative way to add integrity and depth to physical practice.

Down-to-earth and insightful, Newell reveals how depictions and stories of Indian Gods and Goddesses can be a powerful tool for reflection, self-examination and healing. Following the stories are mind/body awareness exercises to help facilitate self-exploration, including tips to get the most out of the related posture. This book is an invaluable guide for any level yogi and a useful tool for the instructor.

WISDOM WALK: Nine Practices for Creating Peace and Balance from the World’s Spiritual Traditions
by Sage Bennet
New World Library, 2007
292 pgs.

If you’re like myself and treat sampling as an art form, your adventurous spirit will delight in this banquet table of wisdom practices from the world’s great spiritual traditions. Ordained minister and teacher Sage Bennet explores spiritually nourishing practices from nine different religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Christianity, Native American, Taoism, and New Thought, and outlines the essential beliefs of each tradition. From home altars to meditation, to observing Sabbath to visioning, Bennet illustrates the power such sacred rituals hold and suggests action steps for integrating these practices into our daily lives.

Wisdom Walk is an excellent introduction to whet one’s appetite for further spiritual study with a clear, easy to follow guide for structuring practice. Honest, inspiring autobiographical and personal stories illustrate the practical benefits of using these powerful rituals to connect to and derive sustenance from the sacred within.

Rachel Marks has worked as an editor of community newspapers, trade magazines and in public television, and is active in social justice and environmental campaigns.