A wide-ranging guide stuffed with wellness tips that even explores quantum theory.




Various scientific and spiritual resources come together in this basic primer on the connections between physical and mental health and spiritual well-being.

What does it mean to treat one’s health holistically? Debut author Birnbaum first became interested in various means of holistic wellness when looking for books about “hands-on healing.” What started as an interest in reiki became a journey to learn various techniques and theories about how to balance physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Divided into four sections, the author sets out to share her research and experiences in those three areas of well-being and her understanding of all the components as “The Bigger Picture.” Physical health includes information about food allergies (“A person may test negative for celiac…but be sensitive to gluten”), the benefits of exercise, and an explanation of alternative medicine. The subsequent chapter on mental health explores ideas of thriving relationships, the challenges that come with parenting, and the power of meditation. This leads to the spiritual section that begins with religion (“I consider prayer to be profound communication with our source”) and ends with examples and ideas about mediums and “channeled information.” The final part offers a deft interpretation of quantum theory in the hope that it illustrates that “we are all connected.” Birnbaum’s writing is most effective when sharing her vivid personal experiences as a learner, parent, and spiritual seeker. Each chapter incorporates a number of useful resources, from Thich Nhat Hanh to Marianne Williamson to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross (the impressive bibliography at the end is seven pages long). While the informal writing style doesn’t always invoke confidence (“I saw a documentary on television about aging”), it is accessible for those new to or well-versed in wellness. But some readers may find that it doesn’t do enough to bridge the gap between basic concepts and an appreciation of quantum theory.

A wide-ranging guide stuffed with wellness tips that even explores quantum theory.

Pub Date: June 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-5043-8171-0

Page Count: 203

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Nov. 14, 2017

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An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.


The debut memoir from the pop and fashion star.

Early on, Simpson describes the book she didn’t write: “a motivational manual telling you how to live your best life.” Though having committed to the lucrative deal years before, she “walked away,” fearing any sort of self-help advice she might give would be hypocritical. Outwardly, Simpson was at the peak of her success, with her fashion line generating “one billion dollars in annual sales.” However, anxiety was getting the better of her, and she admits she’d become a “feelings addict,” just needing “enough noise to distract me from the pain I’d been avoiding since childhood. The demons of traumatic abuse that refused to let me sleep at night—Tylenol PM at age twelve, red wine and Ambien as a grown, scared woman. Those same demons who perched on my shoulder, and when they saw a man as dark as them, leaned in to my ear to whisper, ‘Just give him your light. See if it saves him…’ ” On Halloween 2017, Simpson hit rock bottom, and, with the intervention of her devoted friends and husband, began to address her addictions and underlying fears. In this readable but overlong narrative, the author traces her childhood as a Baptist preacher’s daughter moving 18 times before she “hit fifth grade,” and follows her remarkable rise to fame as a singer. She reveals the psychological trauma resulting from years of sexual abuse by a family friend, experiences that drew her repeatedly into bad relationships with men, most publicly with ex-husband Nick Lachey. Admitting that she was attracted to the validating power of an audience, Simpson analyzes how her failings and triumphs have enabled her to take control of her life, even as she was hounded by the press and various music and movie executives about her weight. Simpson’s memoir contains plenty of personal and professional moments for fans to savor.

An eye-opening glimpse into the attempted self-unmaking of one of Hollywood’s most recognizable talents.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-289996-5

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Dey Street/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 16, 2020

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Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

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