Reviews

Book Reviews 6 Part 6

Feng Shui Book Reviews

 

Ella

by Uri Geller
1998, Headline,
Troubled teenager Ella Wallis has more problems than the average 14 year old. In addition to a bullying father, alcoholic mother and the cruelties of playground politics, Ella also has to contend with the frightening psychic powers she possesses. But levitation and psychokinesis are only the tip of the iceberg – when the media pick up on her story, life really gets difficult. To begin with, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this is Stephen King’s Carrie set in Bristol, but Geller develops the plot to explore much wider issues. When she appears on TV, Ella’s powers grow. The collective energy of her television audience causes viewers to begin levitating. Then Ella’s brother Frank develops an inoperable brain tumour and when she and her audience ‘pray’ for him, he makes a miraculous recovery – along with thousands of other terminally ill people around the world. Geller explores Ella’s rise from psychic phenomenon to ‘angel of God’, bearing the enormous burden of hope from those who believe in her as well as the constant pressure of the cynics and the relentless media circus which surrounds her. Her teenage anxieties are also well-handled, from the eating disorder that gives her some semblance of control, to her overwhelming need for approval from her friend, mentor and manipulator Peter Guntarson. An interesting view of the way in which 20th-century society would cope with the arrival of a ‘saviour’. All in all a thought-provoking psychic thriller with the obligatory twist in the tale.  Uri Geller is the world’s most famous paranormalist and the author of eight best-sellers.

The Complete Illustrated Guide To Feng Shui For Gardens

by Lillian Too
1998, Element, UK, £18.99
After selling over half a million copies of her Complete Illustrated Guide to Feng Shui, Lillian Too has turned her attentions to the garden and produced this much-awaited companion volume. Landscape feng shui forms the essential backdrop for the book, though Too develops this to give practical guidelines on how to plan and landscape a garden according to feng shui principles. Too follows her now well-established format, producing a richly illustrated reference guide which contains everything from water features to window boxes. Catering for all shapes and sizes of garden, this is an essential guide for the green-fingered, whether you have a modest plot or are blessed with acres of land. Bound to join the best-seller list.
Lillian Too is the world’s biggest selling author on feng shui. You can also buy her Personalised Feng Shui Tips through Feng Shui for Modern Living. See page 74 for details.

The Feng Shui Workbook

by Wu Xing
1998, Piatkus,
Wu Xing is Chinese for Five Elements, though this particular feng shui consultancy group has four members, Martin Palmer, Eva Wong, Zhao Xiaomin and Joanne O’Brien. Together they have produced a workbook for the student of feng shui which is relatively accessible, with easy-to-understand diagrams and simple, concise language explaining the basic principles. The room-by-room guide to creating good feng shui in the home is particularly clear and the authors manage to cram a lot of helpful hints, tips and diagrams into a small space. The two-tone illustrations don’t make for a visually inspiring read but this is clearly more a functional than an aspirational book. For anyone needing a methodical approach to the subject, The Feng Shui Workbook provides a comprehensive study text.

Wu Xing have worked extensively in the fields of feng shui and astrology. Previous titles by group members include Chinese Astrology and The Feng Shui Kit.

House As A Mirror of Self

by Clare Cooper Marcus
1998, Conari Press, USA, £13.99
Self-help books come in various forms and in this particular instance Clare Cooper Marcus has focused on identifying the deep-seated feelings which we all hold about our childhood homes. Through one-to-one interviews with a number of householders over many years, Marcus investigates the links between childhood experiences of the home and the way in which these affect the choices we make about our subsequent dwellings. Some people are constantly leaving one home to move to another, some will stay put all their lives. Others will fill their homes with a lifetime’s worth of clutter, whilst for many the bare minimum of possessions is more than enough. Although drawing from the works of Freud and Jung, Marcus doesn’t bombard the reader with psychoanalytic theory, preferring to illustrate her points with real case studies. Some of the self-help exercises are a little over the top – role plays where you take on the part of your home and tell yourself how you see the householder, may not be to everyone’s taste. Nevertheless, if you have strong feelings about your home and want to see where they might stem from, this is quite an eye-opener.
Clare Cooper Marcus is a retired Professor of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. She lives in Berkeley, California.

Feng Shui Revealed

by RD Chin
1998, Clarkson N. Potter, USA, US$30
In his introduction, RD Chin laments the rejection of magic by the modern world and suggests that we pay more attention to our inner voice and intuition, even though this may conflict with the logical, scientific nature of society. His approach comes from the Black Hat Sect school of feng shui and his arguments for a more intuitive approach are fairly persuasive. He points out that, by attempting to validate feng shui, more and more emphasis has been placed on its scientific basis at the expense of the original intuitive, observational methods employed in landscape feng shui. Once Chin establishes his point of view, we are then in for a visual treat. Thirteen different case studies form the next section of the book, each one featuring a household with its own feng shui story. New York loft apartments, hillside houses overlooking the Hudson river, turn-of-the-century frame gardens in Virginia and Frank Lloyd Wright’s ‘toymaker’ house are all showcased, with Chin pointing out the feng shui changes which have been made and the positive results which have occurred. Lovely photographs and plenty of practical cures make this a worthwhile purchase.
RD Chin is a Chinese-American architect and feng shui master. In 1993 he founded Space Alignment, a feng shui/architectural design practice in New York City.

An Introduction To Feng Shui (Video)

1998, IMC Limited
This basic and informative video guide provides an interesting overview of feng shui and explains how certain colour schemes, shapes and positioning can be beneficial to you and your luck. Real people let the cameras into their homes and discuss their thoughts on feng shui, while the commentary covers all the basic principles in a clear, easy-to-follow fashion. Seeing feng shui in action makes it simpler to understand, so this is ideal for the beginner who wants a gentle introduction.
We have 20 copies of the video to give away free to readers who send their name and address on a postcard to: Video Giveaway, c/o Katherine McClure, Centennial Publishing, 2nd Floor
1-5 Clerkenwell Rd, London EC1M 5PA. Closing date: 31st October 1998

Sensual Living

by Claire Lloyd
1998, Conran Octopus, UK, £20
Not quite as racy as the title suggests, Sensual Living examines the interplay of the five senses and how they influence our feelings about our surroundings. Brimming with gorgeous photographs, this is a highly personal interpretation of what touch, taste, sight, smell and sound mean to Lloyd. The focus is very much on indulging the senses, creating pleasurable, simplistic, tasteful surroundings, and all the homes featured aspire to this central theme. Feng shui is briefly mentioned but Lloyd is concerned primarily with an intuitive approach to creating a sensual environment. The closing chapter of Sensual Living is devoted to the sixth sense, a combination of the five physical senses with a sprinkling of intuition, imagination and individuality. Stylishly put together, the images Lloyd has selected conjure up a highly atmospheric picture of what can be achieved if we respond to our senses. Visually rich and well worth a browse.
Claire Lloyd is an art director, designer and stylist. She has worked for a number of leading magazines, including Tatler, Elle Decoration and World of Interiors.

 

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