Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Speed Reader

By Abi Fisher and Steven Ausherman

MARCH 15, 1999: 

Feng Shui for Love and Romance by Richard Webster (Llewellyn, paper, $9.95)

With the holidays behind us and Valentine's Day just past, no thought bumps around like a bouncing ball in our empty craniums than the thought of love. Ah, love--the sweet obsession of man and woman, young and old alike. We are all searching for it, yet we feel helpless to do anything to attract it to us.

Feng shui, the ancient Chinese practice of arranging the objects and layout of your home to help achieve success, love, money and happiness, may be the answer. A brief history at the beginning of Feng Shui for Love and Romance explains that the origin of object placement came from the very first Chinese emperor with the purpose of attracting chi, good energy, and repelling shars, bad energy.

Overall, this how-to book was a quick, basic and enjoyable read. I must confess that the most interesting section came when author Richard Webster delves into the lives and homes of a forty-year-old bachelor and a young widow, both in search of a long-lasting relationship. On one hand, they brought the typical skepticism that most (including myself) would bring to the idea of the practice. But, on the other hand, the two also lent an "if-they-can-do-it-anyone-can" feeling to the text. In the end, Webster hung the strategic crystals and mirrors (objects that help the chi channel through your home) and informed us that the pair had found love, though not with each other.

The one concept that I admit hit a little too close to home was the ongoing diatribe against clutter. According to Feng Shui, clutter in your room--the love and marriage sector of your house--reduces the chances for relationships and dims the fire in any existing ones. With my awful habit of throwing my clothing on the floor, along with the dusty discarded keyboard I have stashed in my "love corner," I fear I am destroying my chances of finding the man of my dreams.

In the end, Feng Shui proves a light-hearted and simple guide to the Chinese practice, spurring its readers to take their fate into their own hands. Skepticism aside, I'm hanging crystals, moving the keyboard and picking up my clothes. Mr. Right, I'm waiting. (AF)

The Nunavut Handbook, 1999 Commemorative Edition edited by Marion Soubliére (Nortext Multimedia Inc., paper, $21.50)

New Mexico became a state nearly 87 years ago, yet it seems many of us are still wistful of the days when this land was a mere territory. Part of this yearning grows out of the idea that the entire continent is long settled, and we've run out of new places to explore--unless someone sees fit to redraw the maps. Unfortunately, that just doesn't happen much on this part of the globe. Sure, Texas may secede; but even so, we still wouldn't want to go there.

That leaves us with one last option: Nunavut, a largely untouched area the size of France that's due to become Canada's newest territory on April 1. And if you wish to travel in this Arctic land, you'll need The Nunavut Handbook. The editors claim "It's the world's only travel guide to Nunavut." And they're probably right because, technically speaking, it's a guidebook to a territory that doesn't yet exist.

Having never visited Canada's Arctic, I can't vouch for the accuracy of the information in this book, but the advice seems sound enough. On Arctic diving, we're warned to avoid walruses. On driving, we're told, "Nunavut is no place to tour by car." And on dining etiquette, guests are reminded to be "careful not to eat up every part of the seal."

More reassuring is the fact that more than 50 Nunavut-based writers contributed their knowledge and talents to this project. That is to say, the editors didn't solicit a bunch of freelance hacks who happened to breeze through the region for spring break. The writers (most of them, anyway) actually live there.

A guidebook written by locals is a rare find. Initially, it raises suspicions about whether they know what would interest us. After all, natives can make the worst tour guides, often more knowledgeable about the new shopping mall than the sacred burial ground beneath its parking lot. However, every one of these 413 pages proves that these native writers know what makes their land and culture so fascinating. The details they include--on history, memories, landscapes, wildlife--indicate that nothing is taken for granted. I have a dozen or so travel handbooks for various parts of the world. None offers quite as much insight into its respective land as this one. See their website at: www.arctic-travel.com. (SA)

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