Friday, 5 September 2014

Which are the best books to read first?

Which of Etienne de L'Amour and H.M Forester's novels are best read first?

• Etienne de L'Amour

The best book to begin reading is Escape From the Shadowlands or the next book, In Search of Destiny. Although they are preceded by two prequels, they stand on their own and are pretty much self-contained.

Escape From the Shadowlands book cover
(a) Escape From the Shadowlands by Etienne de L'Amour is a soft scifi / mystical adventure ebook available for the Kindle at just $2.99 (or the nearest permitted equivalent outside the US).

☆☆☆☆☆ "Astounding, dizzying journey! Entertaining, enlightening."

If you like Doris Lessing's Shikasta; James Hilton's Lost Horizon; the writer, thinker and Sufi teacher Idries Shah, or the legendary Sarmoun Brotherhood, then give this book a try.

Amazon US Amazon UKGoodreadsBlog post

If you haven't got a Kindle, check out free Kindle reading apps.

In Search of Destiny book cover
(b) In Search of Destiny is set in the disparate realms of the Outlands; Sher Point, the metropolis of the so-called Freelands, and the mystical kingdom of Narayana in the East.

It tells the story of Conrad Harper, who sets out one day to search for his destiny and heart's true desire; of the help offered him by a mysterious organization known simply as the Network; his journeys with the Master of the Tradition, Tenzing Jangbu Rinchen, and of his finding romance and ancient knowledge.

And it shows how ordinary and everyday experiences, which we tend to take for granted and often do not value, can be brought into service and woven together into a rich tapestry with an altogether higher purpose.

☆☆☆☆☆ "The story rocks along as any good adventure story should, but with an added bonus of the sprinkling throughout of bits of wisdom, guidance offered to readers ... I highly recommend you read this most interesting and enjoyable book!" (Amazon US)

☆☆☆☆☆ "If you have ever wanted more in life than programmed work, entertainment, economy-worship, and political sideshows, you'll love this book ... I got my copy free as a review copy, but I would have paid for it easily knowing what I know now!" (Amazon US)

Although In Search of Destiny is book 4 in the Shadowlands series, feel free to read this first.

Amazon USAmazon UKGoodreadsBlog post

If you haven't got a Kindle, check out free Kindle reading apps.

• H.M. Forester

Saturday, 16 August 2014

21st century Sufism meets Self-realization?

In a promotional review of Irving Karchmar's Master of the Jinn, which I recently read, the reviewer writes: 'There is an added social component in the novel: the modernization of Sufism. At the beginning of the 20th century, Muhammad Iqbal wrote Asrar-e-Khudi (The Secrets of Self), a Sufi love poem which argued that negation (fana'), the longstanding obsession of the mystic, had to be replaced with affirmation (khudi). Without it, Sufism would become irrelevant in the modern world.'

Delving a little deeper into Muhammad Iqbal's biography yields a little more about his thinking:

'In the development of this dynamic philosophy, which is expressed in Bergsonian vitalistic terms (although unlike Bergson, Iqbal regards God as being outside the process of history), the key role is played by the twin terms khudi ('self') and 'ishq ('absorbing love' or elan vital). The goal of this ethical dynamism is to expand and fortify the self (which is the only way to individual survival after death), since only when an enlarged and fortified self is realized can a meaningful community of the faithful be launched on earth as the prophet Muhammad was able ...'

~ The Hole Pitcher.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Free review copies of Etienne de L'Amour and H.M. Forester's ebooks

Review copies of all the current ebooks by Etienne de L'Amour and H.M. Forester, published by Sher Point Publications, UK, are now no longer available except on an individual basis. Sorry.

King's Fellows Garden, Cambridge, England

However, you can still buy the books at just $2.99 each from Amazon (or the nearest permitted equivalent outside the US).

For more details see the blog post: "Which are the best books to read first?" I'd particularly recommend In Search of Destiny (mystical adventure) and Game of Aeons (soft scifi / virtual reality).

Above all else, enjoy!

• By Etienne de L'Amour ~ Google+

Image: Sculpture by Barbara Hepworth in Cambridge/U.K. (King's Fellows Garden).
Photographic credit: Attila Malarik from Cambridge, United Kingdom.
Image source: Wikimedia Commons:

Saturday, 8 March 2014

What do you make of Katie Hopkins?

Katie Hopkins is a British tabloid newspaper columnist and television personality who has become notorious for her controversial opinions on the woes of modern society. She is especially active on the social media network Twitter, where she appears to be waging a crusade or a psychological and ideological warfare campaign, under the Twitter handle @KTHopkins.

For her part, Katie Hopkins maintains that she is 'telling it like it is'; giving voice to opinions that she believes society really thinks but is afraid to or too politically correct (PC) to openly talk about; and that it's 'all panto'. I'll let you decide.

Katie Hopkins' twitter profile

Like Marmite (a popular brand of yeast extract), some love her for bravely stating and standing by her beliefs, and for what they see as her brutal honesty and for her wit; while others hate her for what they in turn see as attention-seeking, narcissistic, monochromatic and inflammatory right wing views. She is nothing if not provocative and divisive.

Monday, 11 November 2013

The Caravanserai, Facebook discussion group

The Caravanserai

A caravanserai is an inn in some eastern countries with a large courtyard that provides accommodation for caravans, and hospitality for travellers.

The Caravanserai Facebook discussion group

The Caravanserai is a new open and informal group at Facebook for people interested in a broad range of fields such as spirituality, mysticism and similar traditions; psychology; cultural research; education; learning; human rights and humanitarian concerns; the environment, and creativity ... or whatever material, news or internet links you feel would interest other members here.

Feel free to take part in formal discussion; to share your experience, or to simply engage in relaxed chat.

You can find The Caravansarai discussion group at Facebook.

The frame story behind the name "caravansarai" can be found in the writer, thinker and Sufi mystical teacher Idries Shah's works:

Saturday, 2 November 2013

The Institute For Cultural Research and The Idries Shah Foundation

Many of you will know that the London-based The Institute For Cultural Research (ICR), founded by the writer, thinker and Sufi mystical teacher Idries Shah, has now suspended its activities.

A new organization, The Idries Shah Foundation, has now taken its place.

ICR, New Year 2012/2013:

Here is a copy of a statement set out to members and friends of the ICR around New Year 2012/2013:

Dear Members and Friends of ICR,

As most of you know, ICR is working towards changing into The Idries Shah Foundation in the near future.

Since it transpires that charities law grinds exceedingly slowly, we will continue to operate as usual until the new Foundation is set up.

Three lectures are being planned for the spring of 2013, and will be held at King's College between the end of February to the middle of May.

The ICR AGM will take place a little later than usual next year, in order to maximise the chances of the new foundation being operational by the time we meet.

At the last AGM, Saira Shah set out the reasons for the change:

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Casablanca Blues by Tahir Shah: Book review

Casablanca Blues book cover
☆☆☆☆☆ Casablanca Blues is another exciting, gripping, fast-paced, well crafted and atmospheric read from travel writer turned fiction author Tahir Shah. Personally, I found this to be Shah's best fictional work thus far.

The central character of the book, Blaine Williams, is obsessed by the classic film Casablanca and its own stars, Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, and is going through a mid-life crisis. This doesn't last very long, however, for early in the book, Shah pulls the rug from under him, again and again. Although written in different genres, this reminded me of Catherine Cookson's trademark, in which time and again, she'd shock the reader or wake them from complacency by deliberately thwarting a character or throwing them in the deep end.

As the story and Blaine Williams' character develops, however, we see that what seems like cruel fate or bad luck is perhaps a blessing in disguise. What impedes Williams and pushes him into crisis actually drags him out of a hole. Rising to the occasion – however challenging – he is propelled forward into a whole new life, and liberation, that until then he could only have obsessed and fantasized about.

All the while the author, who lives in Morocco with his family, paints an entertaining and perceptive picture of life in the land, enticing the reader to go there and share the wonderful experience. As for the eventual outcome, I don't want to give away the storyline, except to say that it greatly pleased me.

In summary, Casablanca Blues is a great read and I heartily recommend it.

Disclaimer: I first began reading Idries Shah's work (Tahir Shah's father) in the mid-1980s and later came across Tahir Shah's own writing. I was asked if I would read through a pre-publication draft of the work in PDF format, but I was not asked to write a review. This is a voluntary and honest review.

Casablanca Blues was launched in London on 20 October 2013 and will be published in November 2013. You can find it at:
You can find the author Tahir Shah at: 

• By Etienne de L'Amour ~ Google+