Nonfiction Book Reviews

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Puffy, Xena, Quentin, Uma and 10,000 Other Names for Your New Millennium Baby by Joal Ryan

Plume, June 1999.
Trade Paperback, 391 pages.
ISBN: 0452280915.
Ordering information:

Puffy, Xena, Quentin, Uma and 10,000 Other Names for Your New Millennium Baby
by Joal Ryan How do you pick an appropriate name for your new child that will 1) not be the same name as ever other child, 2) will not be sound absurd or cause your child to get beaten up on the playground, and 3) still be a name that will work for the next millennium? Relax. There is a reference available. Puffy, Xena, Quentin, Uma provides listings of over 10,000 names complete with interesting and unusual facts, 90s references and helpful suggestions. The introductory article explains how names are chosen and what impact they might have on your child, including a list of the most popular names so you can avoid them or choose them, depending on your taste. The 10,000 names in the book are separated into names for boys and girls and listed from A to Z. Each entry includes the name's origin and meaning. The authors also provide comments and tidbits next to many of the name entries including their opinion of the name, names that might be better and references to popular culture. For example, under the name Chandler the comment reads, "Like Rachel, Chandler is another name getting a boost thanks to TV's Friends." The book also includes a list of what GenX celebrities are naming their children, hippie names, names from different eras and television show names. Puffy, Xena, Quentina, Uma is an unusual but appealing baby naming reference that's fun to read, even if you're not picking out a name for a new arrival to the family.

The Way of Aikido: Life Lessons from an American Sensei by George Leonard

Dutton, June 1999.
Hardcover, 206 pages.
ISBN: 0525944133.
Ordering information:

The Way of Aikido: Life Lessons from an American Sensei
by George LeonardThis reference by fifth-degree blackbelt and acclaimed martial art Aikido teacher George Leonard provides readers with a new way to view life and solve life's problems. The main focus of the book is to learn how to refocus your energy to turn painful and stressful situations into pleasant and uplifting ones. Leonard provides advice and suggestions on how this can be done, including experiences from his own life and teachings. George Leonard writes that with Aikido's philosophy, "contexts change, life's unanticipated blows become gifts, attacks lead to reconciliation, discord is transformed into harmony, anxiety and pain are reborn as vital energy." In addition to teaching the philosophy of Aikido, Leonard also explains mind-body exercises from his own body of work called Leonard Energy Training. These exercises are inspired by Aikido, but designed for those who are not trained in the martial art. The Way of Aikido is a great introduction to Aikido and its philosophy (without having to actually physically train in martial arts) from a highly respected Aikido instructor. Those with high stress levels in their daily lives should definitely take a look at this book.

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