The first Judy Nunn book I happened upon was Maralinga. Having hitchhiked across the Nullarbor in my backpacking past I was vaguely aware of something about nuclear testing at a place called Maralinga. But this gripping historical novel brought to light for me the story of Britain’s attempt to stay level in the game of bombs and destruction back in the 1950s.

I enjoyed the first Judy Nunn offering so much that I then picked up Floodtide. This novel traces the fortunes of four men and their families over four turbulent decades in the coming of age of Western Australia starting in the prosperous post-war 1950s. If anything, I enjoyed this novel even more than the first.

Judy Nunn is not only a bestselling author, she is a successful actress in her own right. The most recent of her novels which I read featured her insight into the world of acting. Pacific is an epic tale taking place in modern times in England, Australia and Vanuatu. It is also a parallel story following the exploits of a remarkable woman and her doctor/pastor husband during the Second World War in the New Hebrides. The heroine in modern times is actress Samantha Lindsay. She is one of the leads in a film featuring those turbulent war years in the South Pacific. The story gives a valued glimpse into the world of modern filmmaking while touching on some of the issues of colonialism as applied to small Pacific nations. I highly recommend this book. The parallel stories are interwoven in a near-seamless synchronistic tapestry leaving the reader thirsting for more.

As you can tell, I love Judy Nunn’s novels. What do you think?

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Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101

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Hushe School: One of the First CAI-Built Schools

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean.

But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.

Mother Teresa

I am currently reading two inspiring books, each providing palpable proof that one man, armed only with pure intention and strength of will, can make a difference in the world.

No Impact Man: Saving the Planet One Family at a Time by Colin Beavan is the first such book. Henry David Thoreau retreated from his ‘civilized’ world in the mid 1800s to undertake a life of voluntary simplicity in a hand-hewn cabin on the banks ofWalden Pond. Colin Beavan completed a similar project in modern dayNew York City, only he dragged his partner and young child into the experiment with him. Beavan’s premise: our modern lifestyles are unsustainable and are rapidly depleting the earth’s resources and fouling the environment. He could see that even the best-meaning politicians aren’t taking the steps necessary to halt this potentially cataclysmic global degradation, so why not begin with the individual, with the family? His prose is witty and honest, his choices thought-provoking. He endeavoured to live a year with a minimal carbon footprint and he succeeded. Along the way he learned many things and he has been courageous to share them with us. He has made a difference.

Greg Morenson too has made a difference and David Oliver Relin shares the story of this humble humanitarian in his beautifully written biography: Three Cups of Tea. Mortenson was a mountaineer who nearly died in 1993 after an unsuccessful attempt to scale the planet’s most formidable peak—K2—in northernPakistan. By happenstance, he lost his way on his exhausting retreat from the mountain and stumbled into a remote Balti village in that Shangri La-like corner of the world. The experience of living with these impoverished simple-living Shia Muslim villagers and being nursed back to a semblance of strength and health by them, and his discovery that the village had no school led him to begin his life’s work of providing schools for young Islamic boys and girls in villages where no schools existed before.

Mortenson grew up inTanzaniawatching his father build a 600 bed hospital and his mother a school for the people of that sweltering land. Mortenson’s exceptional linguistic skills were forged in the oven ofAfrica. His Swahili was so fluent that, on the phone, people mistook him for an African. He has used these linguistic levers to masterPakistan’s national tongue, Urdu, together with the Balti and Pashto cadences of the mountain dwellers he serves. Prior to his shift to his humanitarian calling, Mortenson had been a nurse, cultivating compassion for those injured and in pain. These qualities have helped him gain the respect and support of the Pakistani people. And his efforts have perhaps created more goodwill betweenAmericaand the Islamic world than the efforts of all well-intentioned diplomats combined.

The Central Asia Institute (CAI), with Greg Mortenson at its head, can construct a school for less than twenty thousand dollars. That’s half of what it would cost the government of Pakistanto build the same school, and one-fifth of what the World Bank would spend on the same project. Visit the www.threecupsoftea.com web site to find out more. You can also help promote education for girls through a tax deductible contribution to the nonprofit organization, Central Asia Institute, at P.O. Box 7209, Bozeman, MT 59771, phone 406-585-7841 or visit www.ikat.org. It costs CAI $1.00 per month for one child’s education inPakistan orAfghanistan, a penny to buy a pencil, and a teacher’s salary averages $1.00 per day.

Radio host, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and the recently released Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See http://www.JohnHainesBooks.com

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit: http://www.circlesoflight.com/blog/in-search-of-simplicity/

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

CLICK BELOW TO:

Subscribe to In Search of Simplicity by Email

I recently connected with a woman on LinkedIn, Martha Jette. She is a former newspaper editor and five-time published author. Out of the blue she asked if she could review my book in exchange for reviewing one of hers. She indicated she would post the review of my book on her blog and promptly sent me one one her books, Glimpses 2. I couldn’t turn down a possibility like this so I had BookSurge send a copy of In Search of Simplicity to her address in Ontario.

A few weeks later Martha got back me to say she’d finished the book and I could see her review on her blog. It was then I discovered she provides reviews for a fee of $25 to authors who wish to have her services. I felt privileged to have received the benefit of her experienced perspective for free.

And you can imagine my delight when I read the review she penned and posted. I’ve pasted it below. This is just one of many surprisingly pleasant experiences I’ve had on this journey of self-publishing. For more on Martha and to see the reviews she’s written visit http://mjbookreviews.blogspot.com/

 

 

I just finished reading In Search of Simplicity by John P. Haines and feel like I’ve been given a great gift. That gift is a rare glimpse into the most remote reaches of our planet where people live the simple life – happy, long-lived lives with little more than their families and the clothes on their backs. It’s an almost forgotten existence that those of us in supposedly more progressive countries find hard to even imagine.
John began his mystical journey and search for truth after being sent on a two-year contract with Bell Canada International to Saudi Arabia. Already a manager with Bell, John always figured he’d pursue a corporate career. However, this was not to be. He found himself with new friends swimming amongst the beautiful coral reefs and abundance of life beneath the Red Sea, and his eyes were opened to a new and to him – as yet undiscovered world.

 

The itch to travel got hold of him and soon he found himself in such remote locations as Yogyakarta, Java, Papua New Guinea, Guilin in southern China, the Hunzas in northern Pakistan, Pahar Ganj, New Delhi, Nepal, Kathmandu, McLeod Ganj, Tibet, Dharmsala, India, Malawi, Africa and a sprinkling of tropical islands such as Kiriwina and Telofomin. He also traveled to such countries as The Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Iran and Germany. Along the way, John learned about meditation, yoga, Buddhism, Chinese medicine, breathing exercises, the value of herbs and natural foods. As well he read books about renowned spiritual teachers, various philosophies and more. He also intermingled with the natives and learned their natural way of living long and contented lives. He learned that material wealth doesn’t come anywhere near as close to bringing happiness, as spiritual peace and good health.

“ I loved this wandering life where every day was an unknown adventure,” he said.
 
But traveling often on foot to less than sanitary places lead to some serious problems along the way. He suffered almost constant diarriah, severe headaches, fevers, a bout of appendicitis and even rabies. Even so, John came away from his traveling experiences a much more enlightened and happy man. He also fell in love. He met a beautiful Dutch woman named Lucia in McLeod Ganj who eventually became his wife.
I loved reading along as John traveled from one destination to another and I learned as he learned too. A couple of things really stood out to me. The first was an experience he had in Tibet. While meditating, he traveled out of body and understood the true essence of time, space and his place as a divine presence in the Now. He discovered his true Self. Anyone adept at meditation can achieve this and it’s truly a wonderfully enlightening experience.
As John traveled, many synchronicities occurred that put him at the right place at the right time, brought the exact information he needed or friends he’d met thousands of miles away suddenly appeared in some remote village. I also felt synchronicities while reading this book. John has been around the world but was born in Niagara Falls, Ontario. So was I! We shared an almost identical meditation experience and to my surprise, on Page 362 he recounted the time he heard the angels sing.
“The voices were, quite literally, out of this world,” he wrote. “I have never in my life, before or since, heard anything at all close to as beautiful as this. The sound was so profound and so melodious that it seemed to stir some deep musical memory in me.”
When I first told my daughters of a similar experience a number of years ago, they looked at me like I was from Mars. Now, with John’s written words, they know I’m not crazy! I have heard this heavenly choir on three separate occasions – all while I was praying in a meditative state.
The greatest lesson John learned through his myriad of experiences was that having just enough – was enough. Today, he, Lucia and their children live a simple, self-sufficient yet full life together in New Zealand.
I would highly recommend this book not only for it’s colorful descriptions of remote places and peoples, but also for the many insights that will have you re-evaluating your own life and how you live it. To get a copy of In Search of Simplicity go Here.

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