Thursday, October 21, 2010

Google Bomb

Sue Scheff and John W. Dozier Jr. have taken up a very important, as well as interesting, topic in this book, i.e. defamation via the Internet. The wonder of computer technology, aka the Internet, especially the most popular search engine Google, never seems to stop amazing its admirers but it also has emerged as one of the most dangerous weapons used for character assassination. In a matter of minutes, it can be used to present you to the world as a villain and, no matter how innocent you are, the dark shadow of a tarnished image haunts you to death. And, if you are in a business, you can certainly expect being ruined financially, at the least.

All these things happened to Google Bomb’s author Sue Scheff as she tells her story with the purpose to create awareness about the issue of cyber-slamming and what one can do about it. Defamation specialist attorney John W. Dozier Jr., the book’s co-author, tells about the legal aspects to online defamation, also referring to Sue’s case as an example. Sue’s story evokes the need for caution and action in the reader’s mind against the malice of cyber-stalkers. It inspires us to stand up against bullying inflicted by using web postings and emails, usually under the cover of anonymity. John’s advice on legal action that victims of cyber defamation can take in defense sounds very helpful and important for everyone to remember. John also guides on other sources that can be used for barricading against online defamation.

The book has been written in chapters and topics alternating between Sue’s story and John’s discussion of the subject. At first, readers may feel bit of confusion about who is talking now, or next, but later, the pattern becomes familiar and easy to follow. The ending is particularly impressive with a compassionate human message written in form of two emails (one by each author) that complement the book’s theme. Google Bomb is an important book for everyone to read and to keep with them in their “first aid” box.

ISBN: 0757314155

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Saturday, October 02, 2010

Returning to My Mother’s House

House to Lighthouse; that is what Virginia Woolf would idealize for the feminine ideal; Gail Straub takes the same path, but only back home as she returns to her mother’s house to enliven and liberate the spirit of the feminine in its natural, creative, sustainable, and vibrant state. In her heart-winning memoir Returning to My Mother’s House (High Point Books, 2008), the pioneering empowerment expert takes her readers on a personal, spiritual journey around the world, coming full circle back to her childhood house to embrace the feminine spirit of her artist mother, thus continuing the sacred tradition of balancing the undying life forces up to the most wholesome level.

The metaphor of house is not a new one. It has been extensively used in fiction, poetry, and non-fiction, usually to symbolize the human sense and need of belongingness. E.M. Forster’s classic Howards End is perhaps the best-known work on extending the metaphor of house to imply ‘legacy’. Gail Straub’s concept of ‘house’ is closely similar to the popular use of ‘house’ as ‘belongingness’, though she customizes its boundaries to include the entire concept of feminine wisdom. Gail’s story starts like any other life story: a girl moving into a new house with her family and gradually coming to enjoying the innocent joys in artistic activity and play. Her mother, intrinsically an artist, taught her painting and creating puppets. Growing up in the joy of creativity and tomboy adventures, Gail gradually brook loose from the feminine and delved deeper into the masculine ideal of overachieving and mastering. Things changed however when she came to learn that her mother had not got long in this world. It was then that she would realize the vitality of the feminine, returning gradually to her feminine roots, and hence, her mother’s house. As her inner self evolves, her story becomes more distinct and so does her narrative tone.

Empowerment, inner empowerment of the creative and free spirit, is the motif in Gail’s story. Her travel around the world for organizing feminine spiritual awareness events, personal decision not to have children, and exchange of learning with other women of spiritual radiance, all culminate in the steady, self-conscious return to values of hope, wisdom, and balance in a life that is always clouded by the unpredictable shadow of death. In the last chapter, Completing the Circle, Gail would leave her readers emotionally transfixed as she narrates the scene of receiving the news of her brother’s sudden death while she has been going through a series of death experiences among her friends. How a woman who empowers others responds to this moment of trial shows the true healing potential of her work. Beyond doubt, Returning to My Mother’s House is an empowering book that will be loved by its readers.

ISBN: 978-0963032751

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