The Lantern Books Blog
December 18, 2012 6:00am
To Heal the World
One of the great spiritual mandates of Judaism is "tikkun olam," which means "to heal the world."
From God's first injunction, "Behold, I have given you every herb yielding seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed, to you it shall be for food," (Gen. 1:29) the Hebrew Bible offers countless examples of how God intends a compassionate and caring attitude toward animals, our health, and the well-being of the planet. In Judaism and Vegetarianism
, professor emeritus in New York Richard Schwartz shows how respect for animals and the environment can revitalize one's Jewish faith, while in Judaism and Global Survival
he argues that a rediscovery of basic Jewish teachings and mandates, such as to seek peace and justice, to love our neighbors as ourselves, and to act as co-workers with God in protecting and preserving the earth, can build a better world.
For more on Judaism and vegetarianism, click here
December 14, 2012 6:00am
Spoiling for a fight
Why are so many boys and men so violent? And why do we tolerate this culture of violence?
These, as well as how to raise boys in a world of masculinist violence and macho posturing, are the subjects of Boys Will Be Boys
. Philosopher and social theorist Miriam Miedzian argues that war toys, endless competition, tacitly approved bullying, violent films and music, brutal sports, and bigotry all systematically teach boys how to be aggressive. She offers strategies to break the mystique of aggression and restore young men's rightful inheritance to their true masculine dignity.
For many young people, contemporary society is alienating and full of pressures and unrealistic expectations. To be bullied, excluded or labeled as different can leave a child full of rage and fear, isolated and potentially suicidal. The results, as Brooks Brown and Rob Merritt explain in gripping and terrible detail in No Easy Answers
, can be deadly. Brooks was friends with Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine High School murderers, and an acquaintance of the other shooter, Eric Harris. Brown and journalist Rob Merritt describe the warning signs that were missed or ignored, what life was like at Columbine High School before the shootings, and the evidence that was kept hidden from the public after the murders. Shocking as well as inspirational, No Easy Answers
is an authentic wake-up call for all psychologists, authorities, parents, and anyone wanting to learn the unvarnished facts about growing up as an alienated teenager in America today.
How might we create a safe passage for boys from youth through adolescence to adulthood? This is the question that animates Brad Fern and Tom Lutz's Ashes to Gold
. Using the Grimm Brothers' story known as "The Devil's Sooty Brother" as a template, Fern and Lutz explore the processes whereby a boy becomes a man, and show how they have used these processes in their work with delinquent youth.
December 7, 2012 6:00am
In 1986, Jens Soering, a naive and arrogant undergraduate, made a terrible decision.
Under the spell of a disturbed young woman, he became implicated in the horrendous murders of her parents. Infatuated and poorly advised, Soering assumed that as a German citizen he could take the blame for the murders, be extradited, and serve a limited sentence in his home country. He was wrong. He was convicted on two counts of first-degree murder and placed in a maximum-security prison in Virginia. Twenty years later, and with little hope of parole or extradition, he continues to serve out a sentence for crimes he insists he did not commit.
Such a punishment might have destroyed him. However, a chance encounter with the work of Fr. Thomas Keating
enabled Soering to leave the cycles of despair, anger, and emotional turmoil he was going through and discover the transformative power and practice of Centering Prayer. In The Way of the Prisoner
, Soering explains just how he came to experience God's grace in the direst of circumstances and how that grace forced him to confront the past and recognize the beauty and redemptive hope possible in his current situation. A moving, true story that shocks and inspires, The Way of the Prisoner
illustrates how we can all transform our crosses and our prisons (literal or metaphorical) into hard earned wisdom.
November 30, 2012 6:00am
Monica Sweeney: Telling it like it is
If there's one person who truly knows the costs of AIDS in the United States, it is Monica Sweeney, M.D.
As a doctor working in the heart of the inner city at the Bedford-Stuyvesant Family Health Center in Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Sweeney saw how HIV/AIDS moved from being a disease of gay, white men or intravenous drug users to one that affects families, women, people of color, and the poor. In her trenchant and passionate Condom Sense: A Guide to Sexual Survival in the New Millennium
, Dr. Sweeney and co-writer Rita Kirwan Grisman make relevant to today's young and at risk how essential it is that they protect themselves from risky sexual behavior.
Frank, practical, and straightforward, Condom Sense
is an essential guide for public health advocates, parents, and any individual negotiating the world of intimdate relationships in the twenty-first century.
For more on World AIDS Day, click here
November 20, 2012 6:00am
All kinds of hardships strike and stretch family bonds, whether it's the family as a whole or parents, siblings, relatives, or adopted family members. But despite harsh tribulations, families have time again shown that they possess a bond nigh on close to unbreakable. Lantern has published a number of books on coping with those family stresses:
Ashes to Gold
talks about how we've lost the ancient rites of passage that enabled boys to become men. Brad Fern and Tom Lutz provide a practical and mythic outline for the journey from adolescence to maturity for young men.
Songs of My Families
is about the a life story of Kelly Fern, who was both an adopted child and surrendered her own daughter to adoption. Told with refreshing honesty, Songs
is the moving story of two generations of women forced to make agonizing choices as they coped with harsh economic realities and personal crises.
As children grow they're faced not with just physical problems but mental ones as well. Two books by John A. McKinnon (An Unchanged Mind
and To Change a Mind
) examine the problem with maturation in adolescents and how parents can help their children by setting boundaries and preventing the problem from happening in the first place.
Parents may need to work on themselves as well. This is the premise of The Parallel Process
, by Krissy Pozatek, who shows how parents with troubled pre-teens, adolescents, and young adults can attune to their emotions, set limits, not rush to their rescue, and allow them to take responsibility for their actions.
October 23, 2012 2:43pm
The title of the anthology is undecided.
Call for Submissions!
Lantern is putting together an anthology of international contributors who are Latina and vegan, and wonder if you're interested in writing for the project.
Two years ago we published SISTAH VEGAN
, which includes writing from a very diverse group of African-American women about veganism. The volume is interesting because it's not just stories of why or how individuals went vegan, but it is heavily cultured, discussing hair, music, health, body types, tradition(s), religion(s), black politics, and more.
We are hoping to create a similar (and yet completely different!) book by vegan women from Mexican, Brazilian, Peruvian, Guatemalan, Argentinian, Puerto Rican (and more) backgrounds.
Topics written about should be based in personal experience, and avoid references and footnotes if at all possible.
If you are able to write in English and
Spanish or Portuguese, we'd love to have your piece in multiple languages. The non-English pieces will not be in the printed book, but we hope to make them available digitally. However, they will not be able to be proofed and corrected by Lantern.
We cannot provide payment, but we are planning to donate proceeds to the Food Empowerment Project
. The word count is 2,500-5,000 words. The deadline is December 15th, 2012.
Spread the word!
Email submissions to wendy (at) lanternbooks (dot) com and kara (at) lanternbooks (dot) com.
October 1, 2012 1:51pm
Ginny Jordan: Tough and tender
Ginny Jordan's inspiring and powerful memoir, Clear Cut
, is one of those books that grows and settles in the mind after you've read it, embedding its startling images and honest toughness in one's memory. The challenges that Ginny has faced in her life are unrelenting—wave after wave of operations and loss. And yet, she's reminded through her work, her family, and her friends that sorrow, like strength, is not ours alone to bear, and that it's possible to experience a kind of grace and dignity amid suffering and difficulty. Ginny's gimlet eye misses none of the humor, absurdity, transcendence, and even poetry of living within our ever-changing and fragile-tenacious bodies. Clear Cut
is a beautiful work, one that I'm very proud to have worked on, and I commend it to your attention.
September 27, 2012 10:37am
The ability to protest peacefully and to voice unpopular opinions without being arrested and imprisoned arbitrarily are cornerstones of the U.S. Constitution, and are the reasons why, in spite of the many limitations imposed upon sectors of its society over the centuries, the dominant order has been forced to change to allow people of color, women, and others to take their place in society.
Animals raised for their flesh or body products, however, remain without even the most basic natural
rights: to move around, to associate with their conspecifics, to breathe clean air, and to nest or wallow or graze. They rely, as do all non-human animals, on human beings to speak up for them and articulate those basic rights, as well as to challenge those who are either indifferent to, or actively complicit in harming, their welfare.
Since the passage of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA)
in 2006, however, the ability to document abuses, draw attention to the horrors, and raise public awareness about the suffering of animals in factory farms or scientific laboratories has been substantially curtailed. Further laws
have either been passed or proposed that would make it a crime to videotape animal abuse without the facility's permission!
We at Lantern not only believe that cruelty toward animals is wrong but that the freedom to disseminate information (no matter how upsetting) is the cornerstone (indeed, very definition) of a free society. And we've made a commitment to publishing in this very area. In Muzzling the Movement
an in-depth and tightly argued analysis of the case of the SHAC-7
, the organization whose supposed activities ultimately led to the passage of the AETA, lawyer Dara Lovitz reveals the history behind the AETA, examines the tendentious and speculative government case against the SHAC activists, and in so doing shows how the U.S. government has deeply compromised the freedom of speech and protest enshrined in the Constitution.
The AETA was passed as a means for industry and government to respond to some industrial sabotage and animal rescue undertaken by animal activists. The books listed below ask tough questions not only about how far is too far for animal activists to go in prosecuting their cause (note: no animal activist has killed or maimed anyone in the United States), and whether destroying machinery and targeting the homes of individuals either directly or tangentially involved in industries that harm animals is a good idea.
Doing undercover investigative work and being the subject of a criminal prosecution as a terrorist is no joke. (Ask Daniel McGowan
, the subject of the sad and moving documentary If a Tree Falls
.) pattrice jones's Aftershock
examines the traumatic effects on activists who have been arrested or abused by government agents, as part of a deeper analysis of trauma within the animal rights community. It's essential reading for anyone who exposes themselves to the full force of the law, and anyone who wants to understand the depth of embedded trauma within society as a whole.
September 21, 2012 6:00am
Kate Lawrence: Practical Peacemaker
How do we make peace? Sometimes making peace means not
doing violent things; sometimes it means actively resisting violence; sometimes it means creating a life that prevents violence from happening in the first place; sometimes it means all three of these.
David Kidd decided to make peace proactive—as a response to environmental disaster. In Growing America
, he recounts how when he learned about global warming in the years of the administration of G. H. W. Bush he decided to organize his local community to plant trees. And that's what he did. Twelve million of them. But Growing America
is much more than about planting trees. It's also about David's commitment to peaceful resolution of conflict, his vegetarianism and his meditative practices, and his vision for a vibrant civil society, fully engaged in striving toward a more perfect union both at home and throughout the world.
, pattrice jones makes peace by advising people on how to resist violence—while ensuring that they themselves retain some degree of peace of mind in the face of shocking violence. In Making Their Own Peace
, Ann Madsen reflects on Muslim, Christian, and Jewish women in Jerusalem who have struggled to live peaceful lives in a spirit of tolerance and interreligious dialogue in that war-torn city.
Judy Carman expresses her peace through a meditation on the meaning of ahimsa
, or non-violence, in Peace to All Beings
; while Kate Lawrence provides in The Practical Peacemaker
insights and tips on how to be a peacemaker in your everyday life.
Finally, of course, Lantern publishes a woman who received an award for peace—and a pretty big one at that: Wangari Maathai
, recipient of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize. She made peace her mission through doing what David Kidd does: plant trees. She also fought to stop the systemic violence to communities and ecosystems from governmental malfeasance and greed.
For more on the International Day of Peace, click here
September 7, 2012 6:00am
Edward Tabbitas: Can you hear him now?
For centuries, priests and initiates have claimed to be able to communicate with the world beyond death. The following two books explore this mysterious dimension.
is the memoir of how an ordinary man from Brooklyn, New York, came to terms with his psychic gifts. Rev. Edward Tabbitas's ability to detect the presence of those who have died emerged after the death of his beloved grandmother, when he was only seven years old. His gifts grew stronger as he matured, bringing him to accept the ever-present love that connects us all, no matter which side of the great divide we're on.
Although there's been a considerable amount of research conducted in the last twenty-five years on near-death experiences, comparatively little has been written on those that did not provide moments of peace or joyful revelation, but instead were terrifying or painful. The Uttermost Deep
is a wide-ranging survey and analysis of background material and case studies of those who have experienced painful near-death experiences. Religion scholar Gracia Fay Ellwood studies some of the constant themes that run through both good and bad near-death experiences, reveals their roots in their respective religious traditions, and attempts to shed light on their meaning through neurological, pharmacological, and psychological lenses.
September 1, 2012 6:00am
Ruth Heidrich: Ready for a run
After being diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of forty-seven and not getting satisfactory answers from her physicians, Ruth Heidrich began her journey to fitness. She has now lived three decades without a recurrence of symptoms—a story she writes about in her extraordinary and inspirational A Race for Life
"[I learned] I was responsible for my own health care," she reports. Heidrich went on to receive her Ph.D. in Health Management. Affectionately known as "the other Dr. Ruth
," (whom we also publish, by the way
) Heidrich is sharing what she has learned and changing the way people view their senior years. In Senior Fitness
, Ruth shows us how to maintain and even increase physical and sexual fitness at any age, as well as how to reduce the risks of prostate cancer, varicose veins, osteoporosis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, Alzheimer's, and a host of other ailments associated with aging. Since her diagnoses of cancer, Ruth Heidrich has gone on to win more than nine hundred athletic trophies and metals. She has been cancer-free for more than twenty years.
Donna Beaudoin was, like Fannie Lou Hamer, sick and tired of being sick and tired. She'd put on weight, experienced aching joints and chronic stomach pains, and generally felt blah. She'd tried a vegetarian diet before, but the drama of dealing with family, friends, co-workers, and others not supportive of her lifestyle, had always gotten in the way. In Sister Vegetarian's 31 Days of Drama-Free Living
, Donna shows you how to leave the drama behind, get off your butt, and have fun moving and eating great-tasting and health-giving food. It sure worked for her: she lost weight, gained energy, and her ailments left her. This is the
book for anyone who needs motivation to change their lives for the healthier!
And we have more! In The Joy of Weight Loss
and The Love-Powered Diet
, Norris Chumley and Victoria Moran (both of whom were critically overweight) respectively encourage you to lose weight by feeling good about yourself rather than forcing yourself onto a restrictive diet and demanding that you suffer for your sins. In the former, Norris Chumley lost over 180 pounds, and kept it off, by learning to love himself and enjoy movement, and this is his secret to shedding the pounds. In the latter, Victoria learned that her dieting was only leading her to binge, and that a crucial step to a healthy body was to nurture a healthy attitude toward food.
Of course, a healthful diet wouldn't be much use if you didn't know one end of a vegetable from the other. Never fear, Lantern is here to help. How to Eat Like a Vegetarian Even If You Never Want to Be One
provides steps, strategies, and simple recipes to start a healthy meat-free lifestyle without you even having to call yourself the "v" word.
August 25, 2012 6:00am
Vegan by choice, grumpy by necessity
In a world that values sunshine over the saturnine and hope over harrumphing, it's hard to be a professional curmudgeon. In the animal rights community (where the competition for Chief Grouch is fierce), that vital role was ably handled by the late Cleveland Amory
, whose dyspepsia was a key component of the barbs he so effectively aimed at hunters and other animal exploiters. The banner of bile is now waved by Kim Stallwood, a.k.a. the grumpy vegan
, who first refined discontent and dysphoria into an art form in his editing of The Animals' Agenda
magazine, and then in two books he edited for Lantern: Speaking Out for Animals
and The Primer on Animal Rights
Actually, I'm kidding. Those two books are inspiring and thoughtful examinations of how one can help animals in distress and through policy changes rather than belly-aching about how awful everything is. Plus, Kim is distressingly sweet-tempered when you get to know him (which, of course, you are thoroughly discouraged from doing), and now that he is back in his native England after doing time in the U.S. for many years, he's distressed to find unwelcome shafts of sunlight brightening the winter of his discontent.
Fortunately, this being the world we live in and our exploitation of other animals showing no sign of stopping any time soon, Kim retains a measure of grouchy glory. He's currently working on a couple of books: Animal Dharma
and The Animal Rights Challenge
, which I'm sure will be glorious ill-tempered and full of pique. Whatever he turns his hand to, Lantern wishes him luck, and hope that we don't see him around.
August 16, 2012 6:00am
Students are getting on with living and learning at VA Tech
Lantern has published one books that does well when things in the world go badly: No Easy Answers
, a well-told, thoughtful, and insightful discussion of the Columbine High School killings of 1999.
Every time there's a school shooting
, people turn to No Easy Answers
. In the office we talk about this response, and cringe a little. But the reality is that people need this book. They need to understand what can turn angst into murder. When unfathomable events happen, it's natural to want to dissect them, to study them, and to take steps to avoid the disaster happening again. The book doesn't let anyone off easy, instead calling for people to examine their own behavior, and the behavior that they endorse or excuse.
One Political Science professor at Virginia Tech took preventative measures, and 300 students read No Easy Answers
in their introductory course. When this sort of non-violence education
is made formal (especially in wounded atmospheres like VA Tech
), we feel quite good about it. No cringing this time.
The American Mental Health Foundation Press
has made part of its mission to examine the issue of violence through publishing the work of Dr. Raymond B. Flannery
. Dr. Flannery has spent his career examining the issue of violence, among youth and others, and attempting to explore why it occurs and how it might be prevented.
One question that needs to be answered is why the school shooters are invariably male. In recent years, Lantern has found itself turning to this question of the adolescent male and the problems that affect them. Boys Will Be Boys
is a book about what factors influence aggression and violence in American males. It also provides descriptions and proposals for interventions, social action, and solutions to stop the violence. Working at the intersection of the men's movement and adolescent detention centers, Brad Fern and Tom Lutz explore in Ashes to Gold
the rites of passage (or lack thereof) that troubled male teens must pass through in order to understand themselves. Filled with extraordinarily moving stories of boys who have experienced enormous trauma, Ashes to Gold
is essential reading for those who would understand the great pressure that boys are under in today's society, and how vulnerable they are.
Finally, another book that's a kind of antidote. Violence can take other forms—the kind that's meted out upon you when you resist violence and the kind you see every day on television and on dinner plates. That's why Aftershock
is an excellent, even necessary, book for those contemplating direct action to stop violence.
August 10, 2012 6:05am
William Skudlarek: Engaged in the Discussion
Swami Abhishiktananda (1910–1973) was one of the pioneers of interreligious dialogue. A Benedictine monk named Henri Le Saux, Abhishiktananda was drawn to India and for twenty years lived the life of a Hindu renunciate (sanyasin
). He delved into the sacred scriptures of India with passion and conviction, all the while maintaining his Christian faith.
Lantern has published two books about his life and ideas—both collections of essays from people who knew him well and/or were inspired by him. God's Harp String
and Witness to the Fullness of Light
both explore his legacy and his wisdom.
Swami Abhishiktananda is also a major point of discussion in the first volume of Dilatato Corde
, the new journal from DIMMID, which formalizes the academic study of interreligious dialogue and also details the actual practice of dialogue from all over the world. Dilatato Corde and the two Abhishiktananda volumes are edited by Fr. William Skudlarek
, a monk Saint John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota, who has been particularly active in promoting the work of interreligious dialogue.
August 9, 2012 6:00am
Just a little pin prick
Illnesses in childhood can be particularly devastating because they are both incomprehensible to the child and seem so unfair. Yet children can also be incredibly resilient and hopeful.
A particular example of this is found in How I Feel
, the true story of a little boy called Steven who became ill with diabetes and how he managed to cope with it. Written and illustrated by his older brother Michael, the book is filled with fun and very immediate, kid's-eye view cartoons of Steven's adventures through his illness and healing, and provides an invaluable resource for children, parents, family members, teachers, and caregivers.
Another much misunderstood and previously undiagnosed disease is childhood obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). A Thought Is Just a Thought
is the first storybook of its kind: the compelling and sympathetic story of Jenny, who suffers from OCD. The kind Dr. Mike helps Jenny overcome her fears by showing her how to rethink the bad thoughts, and eventually she stops dwelling on the thought and its irrational consequences, realizing that, after all, a thought is just a thought. This unique work, with a foreword by the medical director of the OCD Institute in Belmont, MA, will enable parents and doctors to understand how best to help children deal with suffering from this debilitating psychological illness.
As children grow they are always faced not with just physically problems but also mentally. Two of our books, An Unchanged Mind,
and To Change a Mind
(both by Dr. John McKinnon), look at why some young people find it so hard to transition from childhood to adulthood. An Unchanged Mind
examines what Dr. McKinnon calls disrupted maturation, and explains that the cure to the problem is not in pills. To Change a Mind
is a companion book for parents on how adolescent development can be derailed in today's complex culture and how to prevent the problem from happening in the first place.
The work and self-knowledge required to transition successfully from adolescence to maturity are not only the child's responsibility. They're the parents, too. Krissy Pozatek's The Parallel Process
urges parents to undergo the same process of self-examination and honest self-assessment as their children do as the latter go through treatment.