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By Myself and Then Some
By Myself and Then Some
by Lauren Bacall
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings about the BRONX GIRL, 1 April 2015
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I’ve mixed feelings about this 500 page book. It’s authentic and articulate as the voice of Lauren (Betty) Bacall (1924-2014), born in the Bronx Betty Joan Perske … Jewish from an immigrant east European background, but I didn’t feel warmth for the author. She’s a bit too preoccupied with herself, too much of a “party girl”, e.g., enjoying entertainment here, there and everywhere with a firmament of stars including Humphrey Bogart, John Huston, Sinatra, the Oliviers, Jason Robards, Katharine Hepburn, Gregory Peck. She doesn’t seem deep.

On the other hand, especially after the death of her first husband “Bogie” (Humphrey Bogart; 1899-1957) from oesophageal cancer, she wanted and needed to work either in films or theatre and she did excellent work. She also developed a lively interest in USA politics e.g., via friends such as Adlai Stevenson and Bobby Kennedy.


Ava: My Story
Ava: My Story
by Ava Gardner
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable autobiography of AVA GARDNER, 4 Jan. 2015
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I enjoyed and recommend this book greatly. It is written mainly from tape recordings made by AG (1922-1990) and has an immediacy, at times a folksy charm, that I enjoyed. AG was highly intelligent and "writes well". Her life was amazing. She had close relationships with - and writes about - Mickey Rooney, Artie Shaw (the clarinetist and bandleader), Frank Sinatra, Howard Hughes, Ernest Hemmingway, John Huston etc ... and starred in Showboat, Mugambo, The Sun also Rises, The Barefoot Contessa, The Night of the Iguana, Bhowani Junction etc. Born in Grabtown, North Carolina, later in life she lived several years in Spain before moving to Ennismore Gardens, Knightsbridge, in 1968.


THERE IS A PSYCHIC WORLD
THERE IS A PSYCHIC WORLD
by Horace intro by John Haynes Holmes Westwood
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Neglected and Wonderful Classic about NON-MATERIAL EXISTENCE AND SURVIVAL, 1 Oct. 2014
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Published 1949, this is an articulate thoughtful book - I recommend - that sets itself the apparently limited objective of discussing whether there is a psychic world, i.e., whether the psychic phenomena the author encountered were "real" or some trick e.g., of the (unconscious) mind. Briefly, it concludes there are genuine psychic phenomena ... and that they, of their nature, argue for survival of death and the possibility of non-material existence.

Dr Horace Westwood (1884-1956) was a Yorkshire man who moved to Canada in 1904 and the USA in 1905 ... and became a Unitarian minister; he must have been a bright guy. His personal psychic experiences, the first two-thirds of the book, mostly took the form of sessions with "Anna" (an 11 year old girl) and séances with "Ada" (a trance medium); he recounts astonishing events e.g., Blue Hide (an American Indian working through Anna in trance) skinning a snake.

Dr Westwood is impressively measured in his assessment of what he witnessed and, in the later chapters of the book, in discussing their implications. For example he gives an excellent discussion of why people are reluctant to believe in the psychic world, and an excellent analysis of the bases of conviction that underlie common sense (outside science) i.e., most of ordinary life.

There are a number of wonderful nuggets in the book, e.g., where he puzzles about the fact that entities suddenly ceased to come through, or (page 174) when Professor Whymant (a linguist) discussed ancient texts - in a long dead Chinese language - via a medium who was a mechanic . Finally, he advises against amateur attempts to contact "the other side" (my words), a concern echoing that from e.g., Wellesley Tudor Pole and Michael Bentine; it's to do with possession and malignant entities.


The Journey Beyond: Trance Talks by Chan, Spirit Guide of Ivy Northage
The Journey Beyond: Trance Talks by Chan, Spirit Guide of Ivy Northage
by Ivy Northage
Edition: Paperback

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific book by CHAN via IVY NORTHAGE, 20 Sept. 2014
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This is a 45 page book consisting of 3 essays by Chan, the spirit guide of Ivy Northage (British medium, 1909-2002). I most highly recommend it. For such a short book, it's a well-written and remarkably good quality description of 1) the receiving area after death (my phrase); 2) heaven and hell (and the moral behaviour that shapes ones experience of both); and 3) Many Mansions - the nature of existence after the receiving area and after (self-) judgement.

Chan emphasises he is fallible - and that readers should trust their intuitions where they disagree with him - but goes on to give analysis of a high order e.g., explaining he doesn't believe in spheres of reality (doesn't believe in upward movement through zones), giving a clear description of how confronting the imperfections of a life-just-lived can be a harrowing process (and why), and talking about group souls (my phrase) in Many Mansions. I was impressed by Chan's argument that, in interacting with people, one should not only avoid having negative intentions/actions ... but forgive whatever harm might be done to you and really mean it; don't pretend.

Reality is so multi-faceted (Chan likens each life [in a series of reincarnations] to polishing another facet of a diamond) that any one observer will neglect to discuss some important issues, but be aware that Chan doesn't discuss e.g., evil (on earth), fate, sex, religion (though he quotes the bible several times) or science.


Living on: A Study of Altering Consciousness After Death
Living on: A Study of Altering Consciousness After Death
by Paul Beard
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars By Paul Beard about CONSCIOUSNESS and the AFTERLIFE, 14 Sept. 2014
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This is an excellent book (first published 1980 - one of a trilogy) I recommend to students of consciousness and the afterlife. It's by Paul Beard (1904-2002) ... past President of the College of Psychic Studies, a London chartered surveyor/estate agent who made a lifetime study of psychic matters.

It's very thoughtful ... at times beautifully written, see e.g., the terrific pages 142-143 (1987 printing) about realms of consciousness as distinct from planes or regions of existence. At 194 pages, it's in 3 parts: four chapters of preamble about the character of psychic research, eight chapters about the afterlife, and two chapters of final thoughts e.g., about reincarnation. I found the final pages a touch disappointing, more uncertain than I'd hoped ... but then I'm being unreasonable in hoping to be spoonfed and the subjects discussed are - in being "out of this world" - difficult to pin down and describe.

The mix of sources in the references and index surprised me. The usual suspects are there e.g., Geraldine Cummins, Reverend Vale Owen, Wellesley Tudor Pole, Jane Sherwood ... but others I'm unfamiliar with figure prominently e.g., Albert Pauchard, Baron Erik Palmstierna, Trance Talks by Chan. I'm going to check them out.


Nurslings of Immortality
Nurslings of Immortality
by Raynor C. Johnson
Edition: Hardcover

3.0 out of 5 stars Slightly old-fashioned book about FAWCETT'S IMAGINISM, 5 Sept. 2014
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This book, published 1957, is by Raynor Johnson (1901-1987) the British physicist who was also an expert in man's spiritual nature; he spent his later years at the University of Melbourne. The book's about Douglas Fawcett's philosophy of Imaginism which argues that reality, said to be inherently psychical, is sustained in existence by God's developing imagination, and by the imagination of innumerable other sub-intelligences.

Fawcett's books are complicated, difficult to read, and Johnson doesn't always escape obscurity, but he is an acute observer ... this book dealing with e.g., how Imaginism works, how it contrasts with the scientific world view, the nature of psychical research, the religious point of view, the birth of systems within a cosmic context, the adventure of being man (and reincarnation), evil, causation, and group souls.

For my money the central theme (Imaginism) is too laboured ... but then I'm a convert to the idea that reality is mind-stuff. I found Johnson's surrounding discussions, evidently the fruits of very wide reading, too much like a grey textbook and rarely breaking new ground. Be aware that Johnson said - and I believe him - that he was encouraged by entities beyond death (including Frederic W H Myers) to re-state Fawcett's Imaginism which they felt had been overlooked; they praised Johnson when they "saw" the book he wrote.


Harvest of Light
Harvest of Light
by Neville Armstrong
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Good short articles about the PSYCHIC SIDE OF LIFE (published 1976), 5 July 2014
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This review is from: Harvest of Light (Hardcover)
I enjoyed this book. At 258 pages and published in 1976 it's a selection of about 40 essays, by various authors, from the preceding 15 years of Light - the journal of The College of Psychic Studies. Many of the essays are terrific, e.g., Paul Beard sums up in 2 pages a lifetime of thought about whether suicide is best avoided, Wellesley Tudor Pole (WTP) talks about elementals (including their role in WW2 at Dunkirk), and Cynthia Leigh writes about finding Jack the Ripper.

Unfortunately the book says nothing about the authors, so the reader might not realise that they e.g., Rosamond Lehmann, WTP, and Raynor Johnson are about as good as there are.

I doubt the book will appeal to those unfamiliar with thinking about psychic phenomena, but to others I recommend it ... as light reading, a diversion from really heavy stuff, and a reminder of the depth and breadth of psychic research (pre-1976).


Beauty: Not the Beast - An Autobiography
Beauty: Not the Beast - An Autobiography
by Lady Muriel Dowding
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Lady, 22 Jun. 2014
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I enjoyed this book. Written by Muriel, The Lady Dowding (LD, 1908-1993), second wife of Hugh Dowding (commander of the RAF in the Battle of Britain), it is the autobiography of an unusual woman. For example, she was interested in theosophy, in astrology, was a moving force in the anti-vivisection and anti-fur movements, was at least somewhat psychic and certainly believed in reincarnation, was vegetarian ... and a loving soul mate of a man (Lord Dowding) who arguably should be held as high in national esteem as Drake and Nelson.

The book's not mainly about Lord Dowding, but I was interested to learn that his interest in the afterlife intensified after the war ... as he tried to give comfort e.g., to widows.

Lady Dowding talks about many interesting subjects e.g., the beliefs that underlay her vegetarianism and the "Beauty without Cruelty" movement (about cosmetics that don't harm animals), about who wrote the works credited to Shakespeare, and about Laetrile ... a substance (derived from apricots) said to combat cancer. One brief chapter provides a detailed astrological analysis of LD. On page 126-7 there is a wonderful poem, sent to LD by Wellesley Tudor Pole (WTP), that talks about how Satan may/does test people (to their benefit) ... and certainly WTP believed one might be tested up to the hilt.


Out of My Life and Thought: An Autobiography
Out of My Life and Thought: An Autobiography
by Jimmy Carter
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.00

3.0 out of 5 stars The autobiography of ALBERT SCHWEITZER, 14 Jun. 2014
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This is the autobiography of Albert Schweitzer (AS - 1875-1965), the philosopher, organist, theologian, doctor, and Nobel Prize winner (for Peace - 1952). It's an intellectual biography talking of e.g., AS's research on Jesus, trends in civilisation, organs and organ music, Johann Sebastian Bach and Lambarene (the hospital in Gabon).

I didn't enjoy it. Of course it's wonderful that it's "from the horse's mouth" ... but AS has a sober writing style not much enlivened by humour or minor details of life (e.g., he rarely mentions the landscape, the weather, or his wife). And I didn't enjoy the heavyweight bits e.g., what he wrote about "the historical Jesus" and sections dealing with "reverence for life" and/or western civilisation. Perhaps those sections were too brief to do themselves justice; perhaps AS doesn't explain things clearly. And yes I realise he may have been writing under difficult conditions (in Africa).

AS said "my life is my argument" ... and what a life, encompassing philosophy, theology, music, medicine. For those to whom AS is new, he gave up a life (or at least he initially thought he was giving up a life) at the highest levels of intellectual pursuit and music to do missionary work (initially only medical work as a doctor) in Gabon, Africa. He did this for ethical reasons. As things worked out to some extent he was able to continue his music and research in later years.


The Silent Road
The Silent Road
by Wellesley Tudor Pole
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great books about PSYCHIC EXPERIENCE, 5 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: The Silent Road (Hardcover)
For those unfamiliar with Wellesley Tudor Pole (WTP; 1884-1968) he was an English businessman who was psychic, a mystic, maybe an adept or master (as Rosamond Lehmann said in the book of letters "My Dear Alexias"), and this book presents briefly some of his thought and experiences. I highly recommend it, ... though I came to it after reading various of his other books. He had extraordinary experiences which (sketched e.g., in "The Two Worlds of WTP" by Gerry Fenge) bestrode the ordinary and spirit worlds. For example, though not described in this book, WTP said he often worked out-of-body in the borderlands (areas both sides of death) helping people/spirits with that transition.

This book's in 2 parts, containing many wonderful sections, but I found the 1st more enjoyable (covering e.g., accounts of supernatural experiences, healing miracles, his little Genie, memory) whereas the 2nd seemed more speculative, maybe far out (e.g., his speculations about Lucifer [who he suspects plays a positive role], his experiences of WW1 "Voices" of the dead, his difficult to follow discussion of seven facets of the mind, and his impressions when at the Pyramids in Egypt).

WTP had courage and humility. He was brave enough to speak openly about his "far out" experiences. In case you're tempted to dismiss his ideas out of hand, be aware he writes well ... at times beautifully, is well-informed, frank about the mysteries that surround us (time, memory, destiny, prevision, healing miracles), and he was highly regarded by his contemporaries e.g., Winston Churchill during WW2.

Finally, an important theme of WTP's thought (understated in this book) was that the intellect has distinct limitations so, importantly through using silence, each of us needs to improve our intuitive insight (to broaden awareness).


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