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Books for Teens and Adults
Instructional and Inspirational
Titles Beginning with A and B

Susan Helene Kramer
Susan Helene Kramer

Book Reviews
1. Aging with Grace by David Snowdon, Ph.D.
1a. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
2. Art of Pilgrimage by Phil Cousineau
3. Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
4. Bhagavad Gita translated by Antonio T. de Nicolás
5. Chakra Mantras by Thomas Ashley-Farrand
6. Collected Works of Ramana Maharshi by Arthur Osborne, Editor
7. Disappearance of the Universe, The by Gary R. Renard
8. Divine Interventions by Dan Millman and Doug Childers
9. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
10. Faith Club, The by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver and Priscilla Warner
10a. God Speaks through the Holy Spirit by Susan Helene Kramer
11. How to Know God by Deepak Chopra
12. Integral Yoga Hatha by Sri Swami Satchidananda
13. Karmapa - The Politics of Reincarnation by Lea Terhune
14. Kite Runner, The by Khaled Hosseini
15. Left Behind Series, The by Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye
16. Life After Death - The Burden of Proof by Deepak Chopra
17. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
17a. Light Behind the Angels by Lauren D'Silva
18. Love, Medicine and Miracles by Bernie S. Siegel, M.D.
19. Man's Eternal Quest by Paramahansa Yogananda
20. Meditation for Teens and Adults by Susan Kramer
21. Mudras - Yoga in your Hands by Gertrud Hirschi
22. Mystics, Masters, Saints, and Sages by Robert Ullman and Judyth Reichenberg-Ulman
22a. Our Lady of Fatima by William T. Walsh
22b. Power of Now, The by Eckhart Tolle
23. Quiet Mind - One-Minute Retreats from a Busy World by David Kundtz
24. Red Tent, The by Anita Diamant
25. Revelation of Saint John, The by Zachary F. Lansdowne
26. Second Coming of Christ, The by Paramahansa Yogananda
27. Singing Bowl Exercises for Personal Harmony by Anneke Huyser
28. Soul Aflame - A Modern Book of Hours by Phil Cousineau and Eric Lawton
29. Soul Mate Dolls by Noreen Crone-Findlay
30. String and a Prayer - How to Make and Use Prayer Beads by E. Wiley and M. O. Shannon
31. Yoga of Jesus, The by Paramahansa Yogananda
31a. Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita by Paramahansa Yogananda
32. Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, The by Sri Swami Satchidananda


33. Integral Yoga Magazine - Quarterly Journal

More Reviews
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Titles Beginning with A and B

1. Aging with Grace by David Snowdon, Ph.D.

I found his book, Aging with Grace: What the Nun Study Teaches Us About Leading Longer, Healthier, and More Meaningful Lives by David Snowdon, Ph. D. a human and compassionate study of these women who have dedicated their lives as nuns: School Sisters of Notre Dame, of the Mankato, Minnesota province.

(As a little aside, I'd like to mention that as a young girl I received my catechism lessons from the nuns of the Baltimore, Maryland province of this order.)
Aging with Grace by David Snowdon, Ph.D.
You can't help but admire the selfless service through their time spent with the researcher and their final gift to medical science of donating their brains to be examined for signs of the ravages of Alzheimers disease.

What was surprising to me was that even some nuns who showed decayed brain matter after death were still leading active lives with fully functional communication skills. I would have thought that brain deterioration would have meant that nearly all the time communication and higher functioning skills would be affected.

The nuns in the study lead lives teaching or in related services to the convent, so a wide range of women involved in various jobs were studied. I think that is important to get a well-rounded view in the study. After all, we each have our specialties in life, no one a carbon copy. And though the women were all nuns, they each had their own personality and strengths.

What tied them together as nuns would be their daily spiritual practices, prayer, meditation, reflection: those activities that help us stay inspired in service to humanity no matter what our tasks in the world.

I think you'll enjoy getting to know the individual nuns as Dr. Snowdon talks about them and seeing a close up view of mental acuity in advanced age or how the ravages of dementia affect both the brain and daily functioning.

Studies like this are important because depth of interaction over a period of time gives the researcher time to see the small changes along the way. And perhaps this research will help others learn how to age gracefully.

Highly recommended reading!

Details - 256 page paperback; Bantam Books (April 30, 2002); Size: 9.1 x 6.2 x 0.6 inches ISBN-10: 0553380923 ISBN-13: 978-0553380927

Available from
Aging with Grace by David Snowdon, Ph.D.

1a. A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle

The full title is A New Earth - Awakening to Your Life's Purpose. It is amazing to me that Eckhart Tolle has produced a book that even outshines his The Power of Now. I can understand why it is a selection in Oprah's Book Club.

In A New Earth Tolle takes us deeper and further into the unlimited eternal within, and talks us through how to bring out eternal insights. We find out that we are each harbingers of the new way of understanding and thinking about who we are.

Tolle uses concrete examples to promote each of his points so it is easy to follow along, or get back on track if you're distracted for a while. Though the concepts may seem esoteric the methods to understand are practical.
A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle
It seems the problem keeping us back from bringing in unlimited consciousness and creating a new us is our ego. Not the ego that keeps us concerned enough about personal care, but the ego that makes us look at others as more or less than ourselves.

All of this is explained in these ten chapters: 1. The Flowering of Human Consciousness; 2. Ego: The Current State of Humanity; 3. The Core of Ego; 4. Role Playing: The Many Faces of the Ego; 5. The Pain-Body; 6. Breaking Free; 7. Finding Who You Really Are; 8. The Discovery of Inner Space; 9. Your Inner Purpose; 10. A New Earth.

One of the insights that meant the most to me with the concept of inner spaciousness, that the products of our creativity come from that wide open inner sanctum that has no physical or mental constrictions.

I have found in my deepest meditations that a field of inner vision opens up, light, bright, with no horizon. And my vision is unlimited 360 degrees. Then I feel the peace that passeth all understanding. This book by Eckhart Tolle helps us realize we all live from within this space without separateness, without boundaries that these physical bodies trick us into believing incase and limit.

I've been on the spiritual path more than 30 years and I gained deeper insight reading this book.

Highest recommendation.

Details: 336 pages; paperback; Penguin; Reprint edition (January 30, 2008); 8 by 5.3 inches; ISBN-10: 0452289963; ISBN-13: 978-0452289963

Here is the link at
A New Earth - Awakening to Your Life's Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

2. Art of Pilgrimage by Phil Cousineau

Phil Cousineau in his book, The Art of Pilgrimage - The Seeker's Guide to Making Travel Sacred gives the reader much to think about before embarking on an adventure - here or there. Whether around the world or close to home, travel can be made into a pilgrimage for awakening the soul by observing all impressions along the way.
The Art of Pilgrimage by Phil Cousineau
What I learned from reading this book is that pilgrimage is first an attitude of seeking lasting fulfillment, keeping an open mind, and savoring what happens, and to take your time in travel, really pay attention to each new event of the moment.

The book is divided into these chapters: I. The Longing; II. The Call; III. Departure; IV. The Pilgrim's Way; V. The Labyrinth; VI. Arrival; VII. Bringing Back the Boon.

Chapter IV. The Pilgrim's Way opens with the both light and profound verse by Christina Rossetti, 1867:

"Does the road wind uphill all the way?
Yes, to the very end.
Will the journey take the whole long day?
From morn to night, my friend."

To me this is saying every bit of travel and all the experiences, no matter how unrelated they seem are the bits and pieces that make up the pilgrimage. And, the same chapter concludes with:


"Inspired by a fifth-century conversation between Zi Zhang and Confucius about the practice of wise rulers in The Analects, here are five excellent practices for travelers on sacred journeys:"

"Practice the arts of attention and listening.
Practice renewing yourself every day.
Practice meandering toward the center of every place.
Practice the ritual of reading sacred texts.
Practice gratitude and praise-singing."

I take these 5 reminders to be applied to any journey where one is seeking to be uplifted, not just in that moment but enduringly long after the physical travel is complete.

Phil Cousineau has traveled all his life, well suited to authoring this sacred travel book. Just a few of his previous works include: Soul Moment - Marvelous Stories of Synchronicity; Design Outlaws - On the Ecological Frontier; Soul - An Archaeology; and The Soul of the World. Plus he has many screenwriting credits in documentary films, winning more than 25 international awards.

In this current book he brings a wealth of insight on making travel a sacred journey and does remind the reader to take time to meditate and absorb new impressions on a regular basis while traveling.

I think you'll enjoy the text and the many black and white photographs enriching the book. I did.

Highly recommended!

Details - 288 pages soft cover; Conari Press (April 2000); 8 by 5.8 inches; ISBN: 1573245097

To order from go to
The Art of Pilgrimage by Phil Cousineau

3. Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda

Talk about life-changing books - Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda was the one that awakened my yearning for self realization!
Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
A friend handed me the book and suggested it was a good read. Well, I put it off for 5 months, but took it with me on a trip. As I read chapter after chapter of the amazing mind-boggling, nay, mind-opening experiences of this early 20th century sage I knew these were the kinds of spiritual experiences I wanted for myself and as soon as possible!

So, I began meditating using a mantra that came to me in a dream from Sri Yogananda - which I will share with you, because it had such a profound effect on my life. The mantra is "Om Reveal" with the emphasis on the "m" of the word Om and the 2nd syllable of Reveal. Breathing in on "Om" and out on "Reveal."

This all happened more than 20 years ago, and still today, Autobiography of a Yogi sits at the top of my stack of bedside books - no matter where my travels around the world take me.

This may seem like an unusual book review, but all 49 chapters of Yogananda's travels and visits with saints of his day are inspiring - including Rabindranath Tagore, Luther Burbank and Therese Neumann, the Catholic Stigmatist, amongst many others.

What more can I say to convince you this is my all-time top rated spiritual read!

Details: 592 page paperback; published by Self-Realization Fellowship (June 1, 1979); ISBN: 0876120796

To order from go to

"Autobiography of a Yogi" by Paramahansa Yogananda

4. Bhagavad Gita translated by Antonio T. de Nicolás

Subtitled "The Ethics of Decision-Making" this is a clear and inspiring translation of the classic spiritual text The Bhagavad Gita.
The Bhagavad Gita translated by Antonio T. de Nicolas
The book is divided into 18 chapters plus a chapter titled Pronunciation of Sanskrit Words, and a very useful Glossary.

The Gita is seven hundred stanzas of the epic Mahabharata, which is two hundred thousand lines making up chapters 23 to 40 of the Bhisma-Parvam.

The author of this translation is well-credentialed. Antonio T. de Nicolás is Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, SUNY at Stony Brook, and The Bio-Cultural Research Institute, St. Augustine, Florida.

To give you an ideas about the relevance of The Bhagavad Gita in today's world I'd like to quote from the Preface: "The text of The Bhagavad Gita has always been ahead of its time. It understands philosophy as a practice in moments of crisis - which is every moment of our life - and demonstrates how to overcome it. "

Though the story running through the verses takes the form of the master and student, it is to show us the relationship between our own body-mind-soul. And what a drama is portrayed - with all the challenges we face in the ultimate quest in life - mastering our own selfishness and realizing our true nature of bliss and harmony. Yes, indeed, for each it can sometimes feel like a battle during our personal struggles before self-realization.

There is so much to say that this short review cannot possibly tell much about the scope of this important work for personal evolution, but I will relate a portion to apply to your time in meditation from a quote in Chapter 12. The Yoga of Devotion:

"4. Who restrain all their senses, are even-minded,
Who take delight in the welfare of every being,
They also obtain me."

And, dear readers, my opinion about devotion in meditation is to keep caring and kind thoughts near and dear to your heart; that upon rising from sitting and stillness, you use those qualities in practical daily living.

Highest recommendation!

Details - 160 page paperback; Publisher - Nicolas-Hays (March 2004); English; 9 by 6 inches; ISBN: 0892540907

To order from go to
The Bhagavad Gita translated by Antonio T. de Nicolas

Books for teaching toddlers to teens by Susan Kramer

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page created June 23, 2009