Non-fiction One-of-a-Kinds

Great creative non-fiction…

The Latest from Carolina Book Beat

The Esoteric Tarot

The Esoteric Tarot: Ancient Sources Rediscovered in Hermeticism and Cabala by Ronald Decker (broadcast 7-29-2013) Tarot cards in their many forms have evoked a sense of mystery, fascination, fear, curiosity and any number of other reactions based mostly on very little information of what they are, where they came from and what people do with them.  In The Esoteric Tarot Ronald Decker, art historian and retired curator of antique cards at U.S. Playing card Company provides us with the evolution of the Tarot, its symbols, their connotations and their sources.

Although it is clear that the Tarot was not invented by the Egyptians, the love of things Egyptian by those who designed the cards is just as clear.  From astrologers in Asia Minor before AD1000 creating the four suit deck of cards with esoteric symbols as suit-signs, to Italian humanists before 1440 supplementing the suits with trump cards that blended Egyptian, Classical and Christian motifs in the game of tarocchi (still played today), to French savants by the 1750s beginning to interpret the allegories of the trumps along Egyptian lines, Decker takes us through the philosophy and mysticism of a number of cultures as expressed by these cards.  He brings us, also, up to the present day’s increased interest in the Tarot as a tool for better understanding our own psychology and/or a tool for discovering hints about what may happen tomorrow.

Well illustrated this is a fine resource for anyone who is curious to begin to learn something about this deck of cards that has intrigued so many for so long as well as for those already students of the cards and their history to learn still more.  Find out more at Quest Books.

Wellness and Writing Connections  edited by John Frank Evans, EdD (broadcast 3-19-2012)  An informative and intriguing collection of essays, this book offers an engaging introduction to a field of study that includes the disciplines of writing, psychology, medicine, counseling and education.  Beginning with two essays that review some of the research underpinnings for writing to heal, the collection goes on to include discussions of how writing poetry can aid in resolving painful issues, the values to be found in distance writing or in writing  memoirs and more.  Included also is an essay that offers tools and exercises for keeping a personal Healing Notebook.  This is a book with something to offer for most everyone even if they have never written anything more than a grocery list.  Find out more at Wellness and Writing.

The Mary-El Tarot  Landscapes of the Abyss by Marie White (broadcast 3-12-2012)  In this special almost two hour broadcast we take pleasure in talking with Marie White about the beginnings of this exquisitely rendered set of Tarot cards, the text that accompanies them, the symbols illustrated, meanings suggested and the process of the artist in bringing this to life.  See the publisher’s description below and find out more at Marie White. 

Book Description from Publisher Schiffer Books:  Exquisite and powerful, if there is a theme in The Mary-el Tarot, it is one of the alchemy of the soul; of finding balance, symmetry, mastery of the self, and becoming your own genius. This long-awaited 78-card deck is stunningly illustrated with traditional oil paints and a depth of symbolism found in the old classics. The accompanying guide, Landscapes of the Abyss, takes the reader through the meanings of each card via the landscape of the Moon and the High Priestess, through the geometry of the temple and the Tree of Life, the Merkabah, and the caduceus! Enter a doorway between heaven and earth, between microcosm and macrocosm, between the world of eternity and infinity. A rare gem suitable for all levels of tarot experience.

Navigating These Challenging Times  by Josiane d’Hoop (broadcast 3-5-12) What does the year 2012 mean to you?  To many it signals a major impending transformation in the way we live our lives.  In this book the author presents a variety of lenses through which the significance of this time might demonstrate itself.  Going beyond that d’Hoop suggests methods and practices designed to help the reader not only withstand the stressors of change but to grow through the process.  More information is available at

Would It Kill You to Stop Doing That?  A Modern Guide to Manners by Henry  Alford (broadcast 2-27-2012)  Did you know you may exhibit a breach of protocol by the way you buy bananas in Japan?  Have you ever practiced “reverse etiquette”?  How about the proper way to behave at a dinner party where one of the guests is attending via Skype and a laptop camera?  Alford clues the reader into 21st century manners in a zany presentation of situations enticingly offered.  You feel as if you are sitting on a comfortable couch in a friend’s living room talking with someone who laughs easily and looks at life as something slightly bizarre.  A most enjoyable visit…find out more at Henry Alford.   

Rethinking Aging Growing Old and Living Well in an Overtreated Society by Nortin M. Hadler, M.D. (broadcast 1-16-2012)  Dr. Hadler uses his more than 35 years in the medical profession as an honored physician, investigator and educator to bring us an alternative view of aging in our society in the 21st century.  Swimming against the current of medicalizing every step of the aging process, he works to make his readers able to make informed medical decisions “unfettered by worrisome notions of health promotion and unnecessary or harmful forms of disease management.”  He does this with style, documentation and finally…poetry.  For anyone planning on living to a ripe old age this book may steer you clear of a lot of the whirlpools along the way.  For more information go to Dr. Nortin Hadler. 

Paul reviews  (broadcast 9-12-2011) Paul discusses the family resemblances between the ancient esoteric poem by Parmenides, a pre-Socratic philosopher as discussed by Vishwa Adluri in his recently released Parmenides, Plato and Mortal Philosophy (Continuum) (click on title for more information) and some of the ideas developed by  Indian Tantric philosopher Abhinavagupta in his famous work the Paramarthasara [The Essence of Highest Reality] as revealed by  the great Indian Pandit, Swami Lakshmanjoo.  Click on Abhinavagupta’s Paramarthasara (The Essence of the Highest Reality) for more information.

Free Lance Writer  Emily Matchar (broadcast 8-22-2011)  If you have ever wondered what it takes to write for a living listen in to this conversation with food and travel writer Emily Matchar.  We learn about catching dengue fever in Nicaraqua, overdoing Memphis barbecue and hot-wiring trucks in the pursuit of information for an article.  Included are thoughts about teaching writing and a new book about “New Domesticity”.  To find out more about this engaging writer click on

Tarot Books  reviews by Paul Nagy (broadcast 8-15-2011)  Paul introduces us to some new and some not so new top of the line books about Tarot by authors Rachel Pollack, Marcus Katz, Alejandro Jodorowsky andJane Rades.  To find out more about the individual authors and their work click on their names.

I Laid an Egg on Aunt Ruth’s Head by Joel Schnoor (broadcast 3-7-2011)  In this engaging book Schnoor demonstrates that, contrary to the experience of many, grammar can be fun.  In the process of humorous and brief tales about encounters with his formidable Aunt Ruth, who may show up as anything from a Kung Fu master on a mountain top to a spinning, leaping lead rock guitarist, he guides the reader through the intricacies of lie versus lay, dropped infinitives, dangling participles and 40 more of the traps that our language can set for us.  This is a book that offers a painless assist to anyone with the desire to write well and/or the desire to help others learn and it does it while making the reader chuckle instead of groan.  Find out more at

Valleys of Death: A Memoir of the Korean War by Col. Bill Richardson, U.S. Army (Ret.) with Kevin Maurer (broadcast 1-17-2011)  An intimate, chilling and, in the end, inspiring true story of a what it is to be a soldier.  Col. Richardson’s clear and unvarnished telling of his beginnings in the military, the challenges of battle and life as a prisoner of war draws us into his experience with a compellingly human touch.  This is a well told tale and well worth reading whether you are a military buff or not.  Find out more by clicking here.

After the Angel by Marcus Katz (broadcast 7-11-2011) This intriguing journal by Katz is an account of his experience of a six month magical retreat to encounter the Holy Guardian Angel.  The process of the retreat is  based upon Abramelin instructions as recorded by Abraham of Worms in a mysterious 15th century manuscript.   The manuscript assures the magician that if followed without mishap one will encounter the knowledge and conversation of their personal Holy Guardian Angel.  Marcus gives us some highlights of this working and the practical consequences of his work.  Find out more by clicking here. 

How Shakespeare Changed Everything by Stephen Marche (broadcast 6-27-2011)  If you think  Shakespeare has nothing to do with you, read this book to find out how his writing has influenced almost every part of your life.  From sex to race, from assassinations to the environment and more, Marche traces the Bard’s influence on the 21st century.  Find out more about this “wickedly, clever little book”  by clicking here.

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Neverisms by Dr. Mardy Grothe (broadcast 6-20-2011) Here is a book to keep around the house for one and all to pick up from time to time for a chuckle or perhaps an encouragement to change your perspective on something in your life.  The book contains nearly 2000 quotes that start with “never”.  Whimsical and witty, serious and profound, the sources range from Aes0p and Cicero to Mae West and Alan King.  There are also some fascinating back stories for some of the “dehortations”.  Find out more at Dr. Mardy Grothe.

Stone Upon Stone written and illustrated by Brian Barnette (broadcast 6-13-2011)  Stone Upon Stone is a small, very moving story with a big message.  Colorfully and simply illustrated it almost looks like a book for the very young but it is, instead, a fable for adults about relationships and the paths they may take.  It is a gift that might speak volumes for you if you feel a connection you care about is beginning to weaken.  Worth find out more about at Peak City Publishing.

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Carrboro: Images of America by David Otto and Richard Ellington (broadcast 2-14-2011)  This is a wonderful book for lovers of not just Carrboro but of small town America in all its variety.  Through the extraordinary richness of well annotated photographs, the authors walk us down streets, into backyards, through cemeteries and factories and onto front porches that span the years from the mid 1700s to the present.  Unlike most histories they don’t stop there but describe some of the projects planned for Carrboro’s future.  An engaging  addition to any bookshelf.  Find out more at david-otto-richard-ellington-

After the Stork by Dr. Sara Rosenquist (broadcast 12-13-2010) Did you know that American men get postpartum depression nearly as often as women do? Far from a biological given, the inevitable consequence of hormonal changes, depression can happen to anyone facing the massive emotional and social changes of bringing home baby—birth parents, adoptive parents, gay and lesbian parents as well as straight parents.  Dr Rosenquist offers a rich and well written guide to preventing this depression.  Find out more at

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