Book Discussions & Reviews


Book Discussions & Reviews

Members: 17
Latest Activity: Dec 6, 2016

Welcome to ASCS Book Discussions & Reviews

Welcome and thank you for your interest in books related to the mission of the Academy for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies. Please join this discussion group, in order to be notified of new postings. Here, you will be kept abreast of new books being published (scroll to the Comments section below), books being reviewed in ASCS publications, and other news of interest.

We encourage you to let your fellow ASCS members know about the books you are reading, reviewing, or writing. If you have questions or advice about book publishing, please post them here.

See the Pages section (to the right) for our Book Review Guidelines, if you are interested in reviewing titles for the Searchlight or the Journal for Spiritual and Consciousness Studies.

Discussion Forum

Advice from members about new book

Started by Tom Butler. Last reply by Tom Butler Mar 1, 2016. 4 Replies

I am coming close to finishing a book and it is time to decide if I am going to publish it with AA-EVP Publishing ( or try to find a publisher. I would like your…Continue


Started by Jane Fazzari. Last reply by Robert Landro Dec 2, 2015. 4 Replies

I am interested in new evidence of After Death Communication.  Continue

What is "New Age"?

Started by Donna Cox Baker. Last reply by Sharon Allen Aug 8, 2015. 23 Replies

In the other discussion we started today, Rick reminded me of something I've been meaning to bring up in this forum: the use of the term "New Age."My family calls me New Age because I believe in reincarnation and claim to have communicated with dead…Continue

Books Reviewed for August

Started by Donna Cox Baker. Last reply by Elene Gusch Jul 19, 2015. 5 Replies

The August issue of The Searchlight will have reviews on the following books:One Mind: How Our Individual Mind IsPart of a Greater Consciousness and Why ItMatters, by Larry Dossey, M.D., Hay House,Inc., Australia, 2013.Adventures in Psychical…Continue

Our thoughts on self-publishing

Started by Donna Cox Baker. Last reply by Donna Cox Baker Jul 19, 2015. 19 Replies

I work for a publisher, but often question whether I want to self-publish my first book, for reasons this article makes clear:…Continue

Are Our Books Measuring Up to Expectations?

Started by Donna Cox Baker. Last reply by Tom Butler Jul 11, 2015. 5 Replies

There is much talk in the scholarly press world of the demise of quality in books. Successful books on the market seem to be written rapidly, sold on the popularity of the author, barely edited, marketed for a quick return on investment, then thrown…Continue

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Comment by Donna Cox Baker on May 21, 2015 at 8:48am

Tau Publishing has recently released Ron Walter's Theory of Everything: Franciscan Faith and Reason.

Tau Publishing reports: "This book traces Ron Walter’s spiritual trek through philosophy, theology, and science after his encounter with multiple myeloma and ensuing chemotherapy treatments. It chronicles Ron’s thoughts, ideas, and sometimes unorthodox conclusions as he compares and contrasts views of noted scholars from the ancient philosophers to modern-day theologians and scientists. Integrating concepts from all three disciplines, the book explores the natures of God, humanity, and the cosmos and concludes very positively that the universe is evolving toward an ever higher state of consciousness. Ron validates conclusions by examining them in light of the Franciscan spirituality and theology that undergird his own life. In the process, he describes God as Truth, Light, Love, and Spirit. He develops views of Spirit as Love-Energy serving as a strange attractor to lure all creation toward the ultimate Good. This Love-Energy functions as a wave of information and guides the evolutionary process. The material cosmos evolves until it becomes self-conscious and realizes that it is being created by God, and humanity is at the forefront of this evolutionary process.

The book stresses importance of differentiating the human mind (or soul) from the human spirit and emphasizes the importance of recognizing the Spirit of God as indwelling all of creation – to include humankind. And it espouses a view of death for humans in an evolutionary world as merely another stage of life. Resurrection, for Ron Walter is best perceived as a transformation -- yet another stage in the evolution of human consciousness."

Comment by Donna Cox Baker on May 20, 2015 at 1:46pm

Next week, the University of Chicago Press will release Invisible Hands: Self-Organization and the Eighteenth Century, by history professors Jonathan Sheehan and Dror Wahrman. One scholar praised it as "a landmark piece of work, a brilliant excavation of eighteenth-century patterns of thought."

Amazon: "Why is the world orderly, and how does this order come to be? Human beings inhabit a multitude of apparently ordered systems—natural, social, political, economic, cognitive, and others—whose origins and purposes are often obscure. In the eighteenth century, older certainties about such orders, rooted in either divine providence or the mechanical operations of nature, began to fall away. In their place arose a new appreciation for the complexity of things, a new recognition of the world’s disorder and randomness, new doubts about simple relations of cause and effect—but with them also a new ability to imagine the world’s orders, whether natural or manmade, as self-organizing. If large systems are left to their own devices, eighteenth-century Europeans increasingly came to believe, order will emerge on its own without any need for external design or direction.

In Invisible Hands, Jonathan Sheehan and Dror Wahrman trace the many appearances of the language of self-organization in the eighteenth-century West. Across an array of domains, including religion, society, philosophy, science, politics, economy, and law, they show how and why this way of thinking came into the public view, then grew in prominence and arrived at the threshold of the nineteenth century in versatile, multifarious, and often surprising forms. Offering a new synthesis of intellectual and cultural developments, Invisible Hands is a landmark contribution to the history of the Enlightenment and eighteenth-century culture."

Comment by Donna Cox Baker on May 14, 2015 at 6:34am

Boeing electrical engineer David V. Gaggin spent years applying a scientific mind to the big questions of life and existence, culminating in this book, The Endless Journey: A Unique Perspective on Mankind's Origin, Purpose and Ultimate Destiny. 

Amazon: "Are you having trouble dealing with disease or the death of someone close? • Have you ever wondered why you have irrational phobias? Do you feel that life unfairly discriminates against you? Are you often depressed? OR are you simply curious about who you are and why you are living this life? The Endless Journey helps answer these and many other common questions. The answers to life’s mysteries and the solution to all our problems are right in front of us; but we don’t see them because we are so focused on the material world. Although the true nature of the cosmos is disguised by the material world, it can be discovered by anyone through effort. This straight forward non-religious book, which is supported by many medical and scientific studies, offers a very understandable explanation of our world and the spiritual world in which we reside after death. It explains our nature and provides specific guidance on how to make the most of the rest out of our life. This book offers a positive view of mankind’s future and will change all who take it to heart. The book offers a unique worldview and can be read on multiple levels depending on the reader’s understanding. It is intended to meet the needs of many people whether they are frustrated by their irrational fears or simply seeking answers to universal truths. The scientific skeptic or religious devotee will find new perspectives to consider. The novice seeker will find key concepts that can be used as a spiritual foundation for a rational belief system. The seasoned seekers will find subtleties that will help them tie a consistent set of beliefs together. The highly sophisticated seeker will find pathways that can be followed to unlock even greater truths. No matter what the reader’s spiritual understanding, all seekers of knowledge and wisdom will gain comfort and understanding from The Endless Journey."

Comment by Donna Cox Baker on May 12, 2015 at 4:27pm

We've been contacted by Robert Schwartz about his two books drawn from his experience as a regression therapist, Your Soul's Plan: Discovering the Real Meaning of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born and Your Soul's Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born. If you have an interest in reviewing one or both of these titles, please let me know.

Comment by Donna Cox Baker on May 12, 2015 at 9:45am

May 5, St. Martin's Press released The Spiritual Child: The New Science on Parenting for Health and Lifelong Thriving, by psychology professor Lisa Miller. Early reviews are glowing.

Amazon: "In The Spiritual Child, psychologist Lisa Miller presents the next big idea in psychology: the science and the power of spirituality. She explains the clear, scientific link between spirituality and health and shows that children who have a positive, active relationship to spirituality:

* are 40% less likely to use and abuse substances
* are 60% less likely to be depressed as teenagers
* are 80% less likely to have dangerous or unprotected sex
* have significantly more positive markers for thriving including an increased sense of meaning and purpose, and high levels of academic success.

Combining cutting-edge research with broad anecdotal evidence from her work as a clinical psychologist to illustrate just how invaluable spirituality is to a child's mental and physical health, Miller translates these findings into practical advice for parents, giving them concrete ways to develop and encourage their children's--as well as their own--well-being. In this provocative, conversation-starting book, Dr. Miller presents us with a pioneering new way to think about parenting our modern youth."

Comment by Donna Cox Baker on May 8, 2015 at 1:51pm

Sam Harris's Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion (Simon & Schuster) was released last September to high praise. An Amazon editorial describes it:

"For the millions of Americans who want spirituality without religion, Sam Harris' new book is a guide to meditation as a rational spiritual practice informed by neuroscience and psychology.

From multiple New York Times best-selling author, neuroscientist, and "new atheist" Sam Harris, Waking Up is for the 30 percent of Americans who follow no religion, but who suspect that Jesus, Buddha, Lao Tzu, Rumi, and the other saints and sages of history could not have all been epileptics, schizophrenics, or frauds. Throughout the book, Harris argues that there are important truths to be found in the experiences of such contemplatives - and, therefore, that there is more to understanding reality than science and secular culture generally allow.

Waking Up is part seeker's memoir and part exploration of the scientific underpinnings of spirituality. No other book marries contemplative wisdom and modern science in this way, and no author other than Sam Harris - a scientist, philosopher, and famous skeptic - could write it."

Comment by Donna Cox Baker on May 5, 2015 at 6:02am

Today, North Atlantic Books is releasing a new edition of The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga: The Path to Self-Realizati​on and Philosophic Insight, Volume 1, by Paul Brunton.

Amazon: "

Inspired by his time spent with wise sages in Asia in the 1930s, Paul Brunton (1898-1981) wrote The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga (and its companion volume The Wisdom of the Overself) at the request of these remarkable teachers, who recognized that he had a significant role to play in the transmission of Hindu Vedanta and Buddhism to the West. Brunton's books are a profound re-creation of the teachings of those two philosophical schools of thought, informed by the insights of deep meditation. Clearly written without the specialized vocabulary found in those traditions, the books speak directly to the contemporary spiritual seeker.

The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga is a step-by-step guide to actually experiencing the spiritual truth that reality is formed within our consciousness rather than outside us in the world of material things. Brunton's expert analysis of perception, grounded in science, is designed to awaken us to our sacred foundation and to transform our personality into a mirror of that reality. Brunton prepares us for this journey by describing the attitudes, mental disciplines, and character traits that are beneficial for success in this quest.

This new edition has been updated to incorporate the author's final revisions and includes an introduction by the Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation."

Comment by Donna Cox Baker on May 1, 2015 at 8:15am

I've claimed this one for review myself, probably in the October Searchlight. It looks intriguing. By Paddy Fievet, The Making of a Mystic: Writing as a Form of Spiritual Emergence was released last October by Cloverhurst Publications.

According to the PR company, Warwick: "A 'modern mystic,' public speaker and teacher, author Paddy Fievet reveals her dramatic spiritual transformation in her new book, The Making of a Mystic: Writing as a Form of Spiritual Emergence.

Delving into Fievet’s riveting memoir, readers discover the modern mystic within themselves as they learn how to use writing to connect with Spirit and realize their own sacred life stories.
A gifted intuitive with a Ph.D. in Metaphysics, and a member of Spiritual Directors International, the author illuminates a path to divinity and self-empowerment in The Making of a Mystic."


Comment by Donna Cox Baker on April 28, 2015 at 1:34pm

John Hunt Publishing notified us today of the upcoming Celebrating Planet Earth, a Pagan/Christian Conversation: First Steps in Interfaith Dialogue, by Denise Cush. This fascinating-sounding title will be available May 29. 

Amazon: "Celebrating Planet Earth, a Pagan/Christian Conversation will appeal to Pagans and Christians interested in making connections; academics and students in Religious Studies taking courses on inter-faith dialogue, Paganism or Christianity; and anyone with an interest in inter-faith activities. Contributors include leading figures in the British Pagan, especially Druid, world, in the Christian Forest Church movement and earth-centred Christianity and academics in the field of religious studies. As well as academic discussion, there is a practical emphasis on personal spirituality and ritual practice, and the possibility of these being shared across the Pagan and Christian traditions."

Comment by Donna Cox Baker on April 28, 2015 at 9:41am

Kevin Cain, author of five previous books on hauntings, has released his sixth title, My Haunted Collection.

Amazon: "Can items be haunted? Throughout history, dolls and other items have been believed to be used by spirits of the dead to connect to our world. Author Kevin Cain began his own collection of haunted items in his own home, starting with a porcelain baby doll believed to be haunted by a little girl named Patty. From there, he collected over seventy haunted items from around the world, including a haunted one-hundred year old antique doll from New York, a doll carriage from Arizona with which the spirit of a little girl still lingers, a painting from California with the image of a woman that changes position, a cobbler's stand that once belonged to a German immigrant whose spirit remains with it, and a haunted antique baby doll straight from the Island of the Dolls in Mexico. In this book, Kevin shares the stories behind some of these items and the paranormal activity he has experienced from them. If you don't believe in haunted items, this book just might change your mind!"


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