Book of Interest—The Book of Pride

What do you remember?

I moved into an apartment on the north edge of West Greenwich Village in 1969. (I was working and going to school nights at NYU.) Suddenly I was surrounded by gay men and the culture that they were creating in New York City at the time. Two years later, I went to work as an illustrator for the merchandising office of a major department store chain. Almost all of the men who worked there were gay, but unlike the teachers, social workers, and medical personnel that lived in my apartment building, these gay men were part of the New York City fashion world, up on the most stylish of everything and rubbing shoulders with celebrities. Before feminism made it okay for a woman to be single and independent, it was an unmarried girls dream come true. A world full of handsome, creative, and successful men who would spend time with you even if you didn’t have sex with them.

I was blessed to have entree into gay life during that time—after Stonewall and before AIDS. I heard behind-the-scenes stories of gay celebrities out on the gay town. I was invited to the original Village Halloween parade, when it wound around the Village beneath balconies filled with performers. I was invited to Christopher Street after midnight to see the parade of Transvestites (the Village Queens) in full regalia. I have Rollerina’s autograph on a cocktail napkin from Gene’s Patio. There was a sense of excitement for a minute then as gay people risked more and more visibility expecting to finally be allowed to be themselves in all areas of their lives. Then AIDS hit and the celebrations came to a dead halt. In the end, AIDS was probably the biggest force for change in civil rights for gay/queer people. Overnight, everyone suddenly realized that they knew and loved gay people and that those people suffered persecution because of their sexual orientation.

What I wasn’t in touch with at the time, were the leaders who were risking everything to push for changes in the way gay/queer people were viewed and treated. They rarely received mass recognition (Harvey Milk aside) and their stories are in danger of being lost.

In 2016, Mason Funk created OUTWORDS ( to document the history of LGBTQ people in the United States. This book presents the first seventy-five people Funk interviewed and archived, in their own words. What I found most noticeable in these interviews is the creativity and joie de vivre that permeates each accounting of what was an incredible struggle for survival. Every interview I read made me wish that I had known that person.

At a time in America’s history when discrimination is rearing its head again in a seemingly powerful way, it is reassuring to read that ordinary people can stand up to abuse and together, in the end, they will prevail. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

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Book of Interest—Just Enough

Can you stop at just enough?

This is, above all, a cookbook. Specifically, a cookbook of traditional Japanese vegan recipes. The recipes come from Zen monasteries. When the author of this cookbook joined the Aichi Nisodo convent, she was seeking solutions to her emotional problems, not cooking instruction. But cooking was the solution which the Universe sent to her. With great skill and insight, Greenwood recounts how learning to cook (and to eat) taught her the simple Zen skills that helped her to reclaim her life.

Most of you have heard the slogan “Buddha is in the details”. In this case, the ultimate practice of Zen is in the subtleties. Learning to use less flavoring and learning to “listen” for the innate flavors in gently cooked food were skills Greenwood gradually developed along with a practical understanding of “just enough”, the moment when you don’t feel the need for anything more.

Greenwood is a white American woman. She deals with the issue of “cultural appropriation” She acknowledges that she has “the privilege of platform”. If a Japanese nun had written this book, it very likely would not have made it into print in the United States. It is fortunate that Greenwood had the means to get this book published, and also took her responsibility to accurately present the skills and philosophy she learned in Japan so seriously. Perhaps most important, she recounts in detail how she put these skills into practice when she returned to the United States.

Buy it for the recipes. Read it for the life lessons. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

Posted in Anna's Books of Interest, New World Library | Comments Off

Book of Interest—Alphabreaths

Can mindfulness be taught through play?

Clinical psychologist Christopher Willard and family therapist Daniel Rechtschaffen join forces with London artist HollyClifton-Brown to add yet another standout book to SoundsTrue’s already stellar lineup of children’s books. Starting with the basic A, B, C’s format, they add mindfulness practice and imaginative play exercises to each page. Clifton-Brown’s illustrations set a new standard with a modern, endearing cast of characters, and the simple, yet powerful, written guidance encourages young children to explore their creative, sensory-based faculties in order to find a serene center that they can access on demand.

Teachers, parents, and all caring adults will recognize the special gift that this book offers in a stressful world. Those with serious psychic development training will also recognize the basics of intuitive skills training contained within these pages. It’s a joy to look at and a blessing share. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

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Book of Interest—Dig Your Heels In

Should you stay or go?

Despite an increasing focus on gender discrimination, women continue to be frustrated when seeking achievement in the corporate world. Millennial women, in particular, are fleeing corporations to go their own way. It’s something Joan Kuhl has been thinking about for a long time. She’s built a reputation as a major figure in the world of women’s empowerment. Now she’s written this book to encourage women (unless they are in toxic work situations) to stay in their company and work from the inside to make it more inclusion and supportive.

While she provides lots of examples of women who have managed to make changes in their work places, this is primarily a book about taking action. She offers readers specific advice, explicit examples, scripted responses, and scenario-based strategies. Her action plan includes a close look at self-limiting behaviors that help hold women back and the need to create networks that tackle systemic barriers to women’s advancement with group action.

We’ve seen Lean In, #metoo, and Melinda Gates encouraging women’s initiatives around the world. Now it’s time for a serious movement to start unlocking company doors at all levels of employment. This book provides the game plan for those who are ready. SHOP FOR THE BOOK.

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

Posted in Anna's Books of Interest, Berrett-Koehler | Comments Off

Book of Interest—Panic Free

How do you face FEAR?

When I hung out my shingle as a spiritual intuitive (psychic) in 1991, I was stunned by the number of clients who had been sexually molested as children who chose to share their stories with me — many of them telling me that they had never told anyone before. My first reaction was to feel that that I wasn’t competent to help them, but I relied on my “go to” solution for everything, which is to do research. I quickly discovered that the consensus among the leading trauma therapists at the time was that one-third of abuse victims who sought help via licensed therapists were sexually molested by those therapists. I had read and understood enough Carol Rogers to know that just listening authentically, without judgement, could be a transformative interaction for people. I set out to learn how to better hear what these people were saying without feeling that I had to “fix them”.

A lot has changed since 1991. More people are listening now and more information exists about how victims can become survivors. Neuroscience is merging with spiritual and metaphysical practice and more and more techniques are available to help people with stress-related dysfunctions. Tom Bunn first ventured into these waters as an Air-Force-trained pilot with Pan Am. He volunteered to help the company develop a fear-of-flying course. He has since become a licensed therapist. He is the creator of the highly successful SOAR treatment for in-flight panic sufferers and, subsequently, the creator of the 10-day Program for dealing with panic issues which is explained in detail in this book.

What I found most outstanding about the book was Bunn’s common language description of the highly-complex neuroscience behind panic and anxiety. He is able to clearly explain to readers, scientifically, why they become incapacitated in certain situations without attaching any shame or sense of failure to that experience. If 90% of the solution is defining the problem, Bunn does a thorough job of that. He also begins including insight about how his technique helps to relieve the symptoms very early on, making sure that readers know he is going to offer them real help by the end of the book. I wish I had had this book to offer to my clients forty years ago. It is, however, a journey we have all made together over these past decades, offering whatever we had to offer and hoping that someone would be able to make some use of it. I am grateful to Tom Bunn for having so much to offer. SHOP FOR THE BOOK.

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

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Book of Interest—Crossroads of Conjure

Do you HooDoo or VooDoo?

Many of us are aware of the Asian roots of much of the alternative spiritual practice that has caught our attention. Now many of us are beginning to explore nature-based spiritual and magical practices that are less well understood. Thus it would seem that the time is right for a book that takes us through the American practices that, to date, are unknown or glossed over superficially. Katrina Rasbold has risen to that challenge with this amazing book.

Using her own magical experience as a starting point, she takes readers on a tour through the history and practices of African-American HooDoo (and the Creole variations of VooDoo), Scotch-Irish-Appalachian Granny (Mountain) Magic, and (the least publicized) Hispanic-American Brujería and Curanderismo.

Reader-friendly and engaging, the book contains an incredible amount of information. I came away with a much better understanding of how these traditions vary both in practice and philosophy. She does remind us throughout that in their pure forms they all intend to be of service for the highest possible good. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

Posted in Anna's Books of Interest, Llewellyn | Comments Off

Book of Interest—The Hidden History of Elves & Dwarfts

Are there magical dwarfs in your world?

The remnants of dwarfs and elves of long ago are poor representations of the powerful creatures of the ancient natural world of spirits. Santa’s elves and garden gnomes with their pointed hats are an affront to the long standing history of these special, magical beings. Lecouteux takes us on a scholarly adventure, searching through extant literary and mythological texts in search of the creatures that survive in bits and pieces from the oral traditions that existed before the demise of agricultural societies.

Many of you won’t be surprised to learn that the rise of Christianity coincided with the degradation of nature spirits. But there is something in human nature that clings to the natural cycles and the energies that attend to them. Perhaps the most powerful premise Lecouteux puts forth is the connection between dwarfs and the spirits of deceased ancestors. Were they long ago one and the same?

This is not a light read, but everyone who invokes nature spirits for ceremonies or invites faeries to live in their gardens needs to read about the original sources that modern interpretations have derived from. I came away with an entirely new respect for the beings I have, up to now, only been superficially acquainted with. SHOP FOR THE BOOK.

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

Posted in Anna's Books of Interest, Inner Traditions | Comments Off

Book of Interest—Witchcraft Activism

What will you find at Hekate’s crossroads?

Over the past few decades, I’ve been fascinated to watch the worlds of psychics and metaphysics move closer to each other. Then neuroscience began to come to the forefront and reinforce some of the most treasured foundations of the intuitive arts. It, therefore, came as no surprise when David Salisbury documented the meeting of Craft practices with activist practices. What makes this book unique is Salisbury’s credible experience in both worlds (he calls that lifestyles that require the entirety of who we are) and his ability to communicate the connections between the two.

For readers who are looking for power in either or both worlds, he lets you know that the work is messy, frustrating, and often met with failure. The necessary skill to do this work is resilience.

The book begins with a thorough manual for activism (including self-protection in the physical world). He continues with a spell and ritual overview to help readers incorporate other worldly techniques into their social activism. The book concludes with a history of modern magical activism, citing the likes of Dion Fortune’s magical visualizations, distributed to members of her Fraternity of the Inner Light, to repel Hitler and the Nazis during World War II. This is a timely addition to the science of social change by an author who practices what he preaches. SHOP FOR THE BOOK.

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

Posted in Anna's Books of Interest, Red Wheel/Weiser | Comments Off

Book of Interest—ONIBI

Would you go Yokai hunting?

This amazing graphic novel, created by Atelier Sento (otherwise known as Cécile Brun and Olivier Pichard), is dynamic, magical, and engaging. It takes us on a tour of old, almost forgotten Japan, through old villages, mountains, forests, and shrines to meet eccentric local villagers and the spirits that they live with.

The illustrations are mostly accomplished using watercolors and colored pencils. The words are sparse but convey an incredible amount of information to round out the evocative images. Readers truly feel that they have come to know all the people represented in this journey. Cécile and Olivier become our friends as we watch them hunt for ghosts to photograph with the mysterious camera they have acquired.

It’s a simple tale made special by the details included in the telling. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

Posted in Anna's Books of Interest, Tuttle Publishing | Comments Off

Book of Interest—Compassionate Counter Terrorism

Do we really want world peace?

This is a cautionary tale, written softly in an amazingly well-crafted and scholarly tome, in a world where it is an act of courage for a Muslim woman to step forward and discuss terrorism. Maintaining a sense of calm and even-handedness, she wields her words as if her life (or ours) depended on it. She differentiates between Islam (her religion) and Islamist (the political use of Islam “by astute politicians tapping into deep-seated populist frustrations”).

She writes compellingly, but her currency is facts and figures. And the facts and figures add up to the failure of violence as a means to contain radical fundamentalism. She doesn’t mince words in speaking of the “origins of moral outrage which violent radical Islam exploits”. Nor does she demonize the likes of Donald Trump (“…the deadliest toll has been exacted on the innocent people of Arab, Muslim and Middle Eastern nations…This region should not be a place which refugees flee, but to which newcomers flock…”) and George W. Bush (“…when governments fail to meet the most basic needs of their people, these failed states can become havens for terror…Development provides the resources to build hope and prosperity, and security”). If radical Islam is working to “Eliminate the Grayzone” (where diversity, inclusion, mutual respect and coexistence between muslims and non-Muslims are safeguarded without coerced conformity), then this book is about how to preserve the Grayzone and make the world a safer place.

In the beginning of the book she tells us about working to help feed rescue workers at Ground Zero after 9/11, afraid to tell anyone that she was Muslim. When she finally “confessed” her secret to a coworker, the woman reached out and hugged her. This is the vision she holds out to all of us for the future. SHOP FOR THE BOOK

© 2019 Anna Jedrziewski and InannaWorks

Posted in Anna's Books of Interest, Berrett-Koehler | Comments Off