Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Book Review: Thousand Pieces of Gold

This is a biographical novel of Lalu Nathoy, who lived in northern China in the late 1800's. She was sold by her father to bandits so he could feed the rest of his family during a famine. Just a teenager, Lalu is shipped to America, landing first in San Francisco, and then being sent to Idaho to work in a brothel in a mining town.

Lalu is called Polly, and against all odds she wins her freedom and ends up marrying a local saloon keeper. They settle along the Salmon River in Idaho, and live in a cabin in the wild west, in a land that would have been similar to the homeland she left in China. Her ranch is a National Historic site, located in a protected wilderness area.

The book has photos of Lalu, which you can also see here.

A fascinating read of a pioneer woman, who not only survives against all odds, but comes to love her new home and country.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Book Review: Life After Death


Whew, May was a busy month. Not much time to blog, but I'm back for the summer.

I've been reading up a storm. I just finished reading Life After Death: The Burden of Proof, recommended by a coworker. We work in a high school together, and the death of a student had drawn this book to her, and then to me.

I used to read Deepak Chopra's books when I was exploring spirituality in my 20's, but have since moved on from him and his works. He gets a bit repetitive. And when a friend living in San Diego, where he's based, told me his nickname is "Deep Pockets" to the locals, it became hard to take him seriously.

Anyway, this book was surprisingly comforting at a time when I needed it. There is nothing shockingly new here, but there are lots of interesting anecdotes and summaries of different beliefs on what happens after we die. The retelling of an Indian parable on death is weaved throughout the book, which gets draining. It's the real-life stories, and information on the Akasha, the soul, consciousness, and what science can tell us that make this book a good read.