On My Book Shelf Today


I’ve joined goodreads and have listed what I’ve read and enjoyed on the site. You might like to check it out…

Find my current book reviews on my website.


Cookbooks are a passion of mine and I have to be very careful not to over-indulge. My kitchen shelves only have so much space. This cookbook is a real treat. It’s actually ‘readable’ and not just for reference when I want to make a meal. David has a TV series and that’s where I was first introduced to his take on Italian cooking.

I like this book because it presents his attitude towards cooking. On the first page, he talks about what the old Nonas in Italy told him when he asked how much of an ingredient should go into a dish. Their common reply was ‘Quanto basta’. He says:

“… I’ve come to see that Quanto Basta, or QB, is more than a recipe instruction. It’s a bit of folk wisdom that can guide you in life. What it says is to take as much as you need and no more. Moderation and balance.”

He advocates using the freshest ingredients you can find and  leaving the flavours to stand for themselves. It makes for simple cooking with heart – and lots of wonderful pictures of Italy. La dolce vita! Enjoy.

Dolce Vita by David Rocco, HarperCollins Publishers Ltd., Toronto, 2008.

Photography by Francesco Lastrucci



Sitting in the Fire: Large Group Transformation Using Conflict and Diversity by Arnold Mindell, Lao Tse Press, Portland, Oregon, 1995.

I’m rereading this book that I first read when it was published in 1995. I participated in a workshop that Arnie ran in 1993 and which he used as part of the material for this book. At the time, I found the perspective and techniques very useful. I would say that in the intervening 15 years, I have explored more within myself and bring a different perspective to what he says.
As I reread the book, I am noticing my different reactions, here in 2009 – something I had not expected. For anyone interested in working with conflict, I still recommend the book. I would hazard a guess that the author has learned more since he wrote it and might have more to add now. In the meantime, the book is an interesting discussion of conflict as it relates to large groups and working creatively with group energy, no matter where you find it.


The Druid Craft Tarot- Use the magic of Wicca and Druidry to guide your life by Philip and Stephanie Carr-Gomm, Illustrated by Will Worthington, St. Martin’s Press, NY, 2004

Druid Craft Tarot cards and book

The Druid Craft Tarot draws from the ancient traditions of Druidry and Wicca. The tarot deck has always felt quite familiar to me and I first began experimenting with it when I was still in university. A dear friend gave me a deck at the time, when neither of us knew that there were many different decks. In fact I know someone who had almost a hundred different variations at last count!

The particular deck that my friend gave me didn’t feel right to me and hence I didn’t use it very much. A few years ago, a client of mine suggested the Druid Craft deck and its attendant book and it clicked. This one felt right. The more I use it, the more I learn.

I’m still enjoying it and thought I would suggest it here this week, in keeping with my theme of the Dark of the Year! Here’s the web site where you can read excerpts and see some sample cards.


I have just joined an on-line site where I can list the books I have read. So far I have hardly managed to make a dent it all I have read over the years but I have recorded a number of the books I get asked about most frequently.


You might be interested in joining yourselves. If so, check out the link in my links!



Lafcadio – the Lion Who Shot Back by Shel Silverstein, Harper & Row, New York, 1963

This is one of my favourite books. It was given to me by a friend who is a school teacher, when I left Toronto to move to Vancouver. She is a person who has not lost her ability to find the delightful things of childhood and this book is one of them. In fact, she gave me her copy, as she couldn’t find one to give to me in time. I have read it to countless children but it is a really a story for all ages. The author, Shel Silverstein, died just a few years ago, after a long and illustrious career. Among other things, he was a cartoonist for Playboy Magazine and wrote the song “Puff the Magic Dragon”.

Lafcadio is a lion who questions the pride’s assumption that hunters shoot lions. He ate a hunter, took his gun and started shooting back. From there he goes to the city to star in a circus as a sharp-shooter and become famous.


The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Random House, Toronto, 2003

I’ve finished the book now and I can say unreservedly that I really enjoyed it. Although it’s a love story, it isn’t sappy or melodramatic. The setting is in-between time which requires that the author think out the mechanics very carefully. Once you have accepted the premise that the characters can be in more than one time, at a time, she takes care of the details so that this aspect of the story is believable and interesting.
The story makes a great spring-board for discussions about the nature of time and how it affects our lives. Enjoy!


Here’s a bit of lighter summer fare – this will be of particular interest to those of you who are parents. Not Guilty: My guide to Working Hard, Raising Kids and Laughing Through the Chaos by Debbie Travis, Random House Canada, 2008… She’s not a heavyweight writer, and doesn’t claim to be, but the book is full of funny observations about raising her two boys to almost adulthood while running her own business, and how she managed it. She’s not above poking fun at herself and she’s definitely a live wire with a great North of England sense of humour. In amongst the light-hearted humour, there are some pithy observations as well.


I’m reading several new books at the moment but I haven’t finished either of them yet. I don’t want to review them until I have. In the meantime, you can check them out for yourself … 1) Agenda for a New Economy: Why Wall Street Can’t Be Fixed and How to Replace It by David Korten, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., San Francisco, 2009 and 2) Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Realationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin, Penguin Books, Toronto, 1999.

Link to my web site for my latest book reviews.


The Psoas Book by Liz Koch, Guinea Pig Publications, 126 P.O. Box Felton, CA, 1997

Liz Koch has self-published this little book about the humble psoas muscle. It is packed full of information about where it is and what it does. Liz explains how the psoas constricts as part of the fight, flee or freeze reaction to danger, suggesting that it can become permanently constricted, causing the muscles around it to compensate. What I read in this book has helped me to understand what was putting my back out and what I can do to ease the discomfort. By working on relaxing the psoas, I have managed to relieve the back pain that previously I had to see a chiropractor about. There are several ramifications from having my psoas muscle locked up, including restricting movement of energy in my body, disrupting sleep, and hampering digestion.

I highly recommend it for anyone who works with the body or has ‘mysterious’ chronic back problems.



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