Reviews of today’s New Media

Everyone deserves to be heard

The Chitta Niyama Opportunity

chitta-niyamaThe Chitta Niyama Opportunity

By A.R. Haslam

Copyright © 2008

$20.59 Paperback

293 Pages

ISBN: 978-0-9559833-0-6


Reviewed by Dan Marvin


Once in awhile, I like to take a step back from police thrillers and horror novels and read something that challenges me to learn and grow as a person.  The Chitta Niyama Opportunity by A.R. Haslam definitely fits that description.  The author does a good job of summing it up in the book’s description on the lulu site:


This book will take a special type of willingness to fully appreciate its riches. Readers should be prepared to open their minds to new possibilities


Haslam is an English author who has spent a lifetime pursuing studies in Engineering, Philosophy, and Religion.  He is also a student, follower, and teacher of Buddhism.  All of these interests are delightfully blended into this book as we follow the paths of 7 primary characters poised to intersect at the end. 


In Haslam’s work, the characters are all searching for meaning.  Some of them are searching for the meaning of life, others for the meaning of their lives.  We discover as we go that the two searches are really not so different.  He uses the dialogue between his characters to explore the complex ideas and philosophies with which he is intimately familiar.  His writing has the English charm I thoroughly enjoy which is obvious in this description of this second date:


Toby glances over to see if Penny has managed to secure the corner table.

She’s tidying up the remnants of crisp packets, dirty glasses and empty bottles that

have been left scattered around the table by its last occupants. He catches himself

eyeing her up as if he’s seeing her for the first time. She is quite a find – good looking,

beautiful hair, great figure. Smart too, though not threateningly so.


Richard Easton is a central thread.  A recently out gay artist, Richard has forsaken religion and grapples with his own search for meaning through his sensuous art.  Now in his 40’s, we meet Richard as he is wheeled into the hospital with the possibility of cancer looming over his life.  Of significant impact to the story is Richard’s ex-wife Sophie, the Buddhist bus driver who opens up the Buddhist faith to us as she goes through the rituals and then brings them with her when she visits the hospital.  It is through Sophie that Richard is given his Chitta Niyama Opportunity.


It is the intermingling of the ‘normal’ and the ‘cerebral’ that make Haslam’s book such a delightful read.  You can tell that he is truly a master of the information his characters discuss and reflect.  Through their eyes, we are given a working understanding of many current religious, philosophical, artistic and scientific explanations for why we are here and what it all means.  I personally enjoyed Haslam’s ability to make these sometimes contradictory answers peacefully coexist.


The Chitta Niyama Opportunity is a highly polished and finished book.  The writing is literate, intelligent, and A.R. Haslam is a good story teller in addition to being well educated.  You’ll quickly get absorbed in the characters and find that the information he is including adds to your enjoyment of them instead of detracting.  I recommend it the next time you’re looking to challenge yourself to grow and learn.

Read the full review at


January 21, 2009 Posted by | Reviews | Leave a comment

Reviews of today’s New Media

new-media-logoLet’s face it, the way we communicate has changed considerably.  30 years ago, there were no personal computers.  20 years ago, there was no internet.  10 years ago, there were no blogs.  All of these things have forever changed how we communicate with one another.  Books no longer have to be published by monolithic companies, they can be published by individuals with a computer and an idea.  Words no longer have to lay flat, they can expand, shimmer, and dance.  It’s more likely that you’re reading this on an iphone while waiting for a bus than on a printed page.  This is the New Media. 

The problem with the New Media is that reviews haven’t kept up.  It’s difficult to get an objective opinion of your new way of communicating.  I ran into this with my book “Briefs for the Reading Room” which is a flash fiction collection.  No one quite knows what to do with it, they just know they like it.  So, to give back to the New Media pioneers that have helped me over the years, and mentor those just emerging, I have started the New Media Review.  Check back often for reviews of POD books, Audio books, Blogs, and whatever else catches my eye.   Feel free to add your New Media creation to our ‘Over here!’ page.

January 21, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment