Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba: The Illustrious and Delusional Abbess of Satire
This fictional short-story collection challenges perceptions and illusions about religious masters, spiritual teachers, gurus, charlatans and holy men and women of all persuasions, while simultaneously tickling our funny bone and exercising the muscles our faces rely on for laughter. Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba takes liberty with questionable material from the living sea, near Egypt; tofu paper, in Okinawa; a tomb, in Italy; a shaman, in Ethiopia; and a half-sister, in India. The words, quotes, koans and stories, of this soon to be classical work, include the timeless insights of Let the Worm’s Go, Dead Food, Reality Bites, Stealing the Buddha, Drip After Drip, Sound of One Eye, Catching Wind, Looking Good, My Cat’s Enlightened, Chocolate Box, and Sex, Drugs and Sushi Rolls.
Enlightenment or laughs? With Gabriel Constans' book you don't have to choose. Zen masters usually have a sense of humor, or need one. Gabriel's got it, and he gives us a world of illusions to laugh about.
This is a blessed book that can be read during the rapture or while burning in hell.
“World leaders and politicians could learn a thing or two from the teachings of Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba. She understood and transformed the inspiring, Yes. No. Maybe, into Yes, we can, long before its use in politics.”
Zen Master Tova Tarantiono Toshiba is a splendid collection of wit, women and wine. It reminds me of a night on the town with Mohammad Ali in drag.
There are no teachings that are outside of you, except the ones inside this book. Unless, of course, you've eaten this book.
— , guru, avatar, wisdumb teacher at www.duhism.com
An incredible onslaught of insight and universal truth - like Yoda on estrogen.
An endearing and soul searching work that reveals hidden treasures of this infamous master and hysterically questionable abbess. My brother loves it.
What a stitch!! It made my day!!!
Gabriel Constans’ divine book about the humble Abbess can be used as a book of prayer, inspiration or before communing with the poor or the filthy rich.
For those who are old enough to remember, the original Golden Girls sitcom was based on the real life teachings of that zany grand lady of Zen, Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba.
Zen Master Tova Tarantino Toshiba was my inspiration for Huckleberry Finn.
Quirky, novel, off-the-wall.
Therapy Doc says, “Zen Master Tova Tarantino is a mystery wrapped in an enigma, which is the books charm.”
It is deceptively simple, or it could be called simply deceptive. It is a book to wrestle with…
— , Future Fire Reviews
The Last Conception - A Novel
A successful embryologist (Savarna) must make difficult and life-changing choices. Should she continue devoting her soul to work and party with her girlfriend Magdalena or settle down with Charlemagne (Charly) and have children? If she decides to have children, how and when will they start the process and what will it take to convince her conservative East Indian mother to stop trying to marry her off to a “good man”? If that isn’t enough pressure, throw in the bomb her parents plant when they tell her she MUST have a baby because she is the last in line of a great spiritual teacher who reportedly never had children.
Capitvating and sublime, a love story with an amazing and intriguing sub-plot.
Gabriel Constans' inspiring new novel delves into the framework of our purpose in life; explores the tenuous balance between destiny and personal truth and the struggle we undergo when those forces are at odds. Constans weaves the two together seamlessly and in the end, we are certain that love surpasses tradition, destiny and our own selfish wants.
Often, when tradition and technology meet they collide without forgiveness. Gabriel Constans manages to bring these opposites together with an open heart and the result is a story of compassion, love and the gifts that a generous partnership can provide.
The Last Conception is a delightful read! It depicts a family muddling its way through a mire of personal, cultural, and generational differences, and reminds us all to slow down and remember - what else - love. Besides, what good are agendas when the dance of life is out of our control?
The Last Conception is a bhakti-fest of love and loss, hope and courage that comes in unexpected packages. Take a peek into the lives of an Indian-American family faced with an unusual demand of their medical professional unmarried daughter whose job and personal life intersect in unanticipated ways. Although happy endings are never guaranteed, it seems that one is in the offing for this savory literary masala.
The Last Conception is an engaging and unexpected tale of a young American woman whose choices about partnership and parenting have significant implications for her East Indian parents. According to them, it is Savarna's destiny to have a child, to continue the lineage of an ancient spiritual teacher. The novella is well written and fast-paced and evokes important inquires into spirituality and the true meaning of birth.
In The Last Conception, Gabriel Constans reaches into everyone's heart and mind. He explores the essence of religion, not as something prescribed, but as a suggestion of loving connectedness beyond time.
The Last Conception is a compelling read. The mystery at the heart of this tale about the complicatons of conception lures the reader to examine the deeper issues facing the characters: telling the truth about one’s needs and desires, the urge to have children, the pressures of family ancestry, and the power of love. Suspenseful and sweet, there’s always an unexpected twist, all the way to the end.
Along with witnessing the blossoming relationship of Savarna and Charlemagne, the author explores assimilation-related challenges that beset a first generation East Indian family, an exploration of infertility, the technological advances of in vitro fertilization and a tantalizing spiritual twist regarding the Keepers of the Seed. The seamless juxtaposition of the novel’s topics makes for an inspired mix. Constans, a multi-talented writer, has penned an engaging and joyous read.
An intriguing book. I loved all the characters, especially Savarna and her mysterious grandmother. The discovery of the ancient robe and the golden ring is a wonderful touch. An insightful book that I could not put down.
This is a fascinating look at what a family is and why people need to belong and feel accepted by caring social groups (Maslow’s Hierarchy’s third tier)… Savarna drives the intriguing storyline as she tries to please her extended family (including the cult members), her mate and ultimately herself.
This is an intriguing and compelling story… wondrously adorable. There are so many captivating concepts, cultural components from India, and a sublime love story, too. Enchanting!
Let’s just say that ultra right-wing conservatives would hate this book, especially the conclusion. (All the more reason to read it!) One of our favorite words here at Onely is amatonormative, which means the normalizing of a few specific kinds of love relationships while marginalizing all others. The Last Conception kicks amatonormativity in the ass. Which is why it gets one thumb up from our blog. The other thumb is busy turning the pages for a second read-through.
A taut narrative that is extremely simple and yet keeps the reader engaged with its fast pace and myriad topics, conjuring doubts, dogmas and apprehensions in minds of young people all over the globe. A story which deserves to be read and preserved, not just as a treasure-trove of information, but also juxtaposing human emotions. It is in raising forth pertinent questions pertaining to modern society that Gabriel Constans has succeeded commendably in this contemporary and important work of fiction, ‘The Last Conception’.
…a love story mixed with a mystery worthy of The Da Vinci Code.
Blending spirituality, sexuality, physical limitations, and medical decisions in a unique way, The Last Conception is a story like no other I’ve read. Constans weaves these over-arching themes into a journey that will surprise and delight readers.
Buddha's Wife - A Novel
Buddha’s Wife is a novel about compassion, inspiration and forgiveness. Thousands of books, texts and stories have followed Siddhartha’s teachings and his path to becoming The Buddha, but little has been written about his wife Yasodhara, their child Rahula or their relatives, until now.
Yasodhara was the first woman in Siddhartha’s life, but not the last to follow in his footsteps. Why did he call his son “a hindrance” and believe women were a trap of desire and attachment “not fit to follow or understand my teachings”? How did Yasodhara and the nuns fight for equal treatment and rights? How could The Buddha have such compassion for others, yet be so scared of intimacy, emotion and love? What happened to sixteen-year-old Yasodhara and her two-day old son, Rahula, after her husband (Siddhartha) left her sleeping in the middle of the night to seek enlightenment?
tells a fascinating story, little known in the west, about the woman whom Buddha left behind. Gabriel Constans focuses the reader’s attention on the strong and complicated women who surrounded Buddha and makes us re-think the nature of spiritual life.
This book is an awesome read, insightful, woman loving - a challenge to all spiritual seekers to rethink, re-vise, and dream anew.
A remarkable recreation of Yasodhara’s life. It is very readable and engages readers in the complexity of issues many women have raised about Gotama the Buddha’s life and practice.
One of the best books I’ve read this year.
Every so often, a book comes into your hands that touches you—I mean really touches you—deep in your heart. Buddha’s Wife by Gabriel Constans does just that.
Buddha’s Wife is a brilliant contribution to the genre of literary fiction. Gabriel Constans combines traditional stories of the heroism of Siddhartha (Buddha) with an imaginary fictional account of the story of Yasodhara and her son Rahula.
Constan's novel raises the questions that thoughtful students of Buddhism have been wrestling with since the beginning and provides a perspective that becomes a deep teaching in it own right.
One of the most thought provoking books and authors I came across this year (2010) was Dr. Gabriel Constans, who wrote the book, Buddha’s Wife.
I highly recommend this novel, especially as a group reading selection. I think that it will stimulate very interesting conversations and provide a great deal of ideas for journaling.
Those ready for an easy, quick read that leaves a feeling of forgiveness and inspiration should pick up Buddha’s Wife.
A remarkable recreation of Yasodhara’s life. It is very readable and engages readers in the complexity of issues many women have raised about Gotama the Buddha’s life and practice.
Luscious Chocolate Smoothies
Luscious Chocolate Smoothies is a delicious collection of recipes that combines the rich, intoxicating taste and benefits of dark chocolate, with a tantalizing balance of fruits, nuts, tofu, liquor, juices and other unique combinations to create cool, refreshing, mouth watering drinks for all ages.
The book is interspersed with chocolate anecdotes, humor and history, as well as tips for blending and information on its vivacious ingredients.
Discover the connection between love and chocolate; delve into The Hurricane, Coyote's Howl or The Nutty Professor; and blissfully empty every cup to the last drop.
Saint Catherine's Baby - Stories
An eclectic collection of short stories that include Ruthie and her obstinate elderly student from Germany (The English Lesson); Stephanie, who waits for the unorthodox return of her deceased father (Dressed In Black); Walter O'Brien, who discovers a young couple and their child in an abandoned monastery on the West Coast of Ireland (St. Catherine's Baby); Shannon, on the run at a shoe store in Chicago (Sizing Up Shannon); Jacque, meeting Rosalita's shocked parents in New Mexico (Framed); and Joshua Johnson, a school custodian whose mother may have interfered in his love life for the last time (The Sweetest Man).
Paging Dr. Leff
- - Pride, Patriotism and Protest
How did a young patriotic kid from Brooklyn, end up as a captain in the air force on an air base in Thailand, only to discover that the military he respected was illegally bombing villagers in Laos, discriminating against black soldiers and stacking the deck against corpsmen coming clean with the truth of their experience? This is the biography of an idealistic boy from New York who joined the civil air patrol for God and country and never looked back. Dr. Arnie Leff has fought many wars, overseas and at home. He stood up to his superiors during Viet Nam; worked for the White House to evaluate and create drug treatment programs; and has pulled no punches with his often-controversial opinions about drugs, euthanasia, health care, and medical marijuana.
Solar Girl and Lunar Boy
Solar Girl and Lunar Boy is a delightful collection of children stories that includes siblings tapping into their inner light to vanquish fear of the unknown (Solar Girl); humorously transforms a common experience from sadness to joy (No Smiling On Wednesdays); breaks stereotypes and teaches earthquake safety in Quake, Shake and Roll; and explores the world of ants and the environment, in As Precious As Gold.
The Skin of Lions
This is a picture book collection from Rwanda. At one time all of the children in this book lived on the streets. The stories are from their personal experiences, traditional folk tales or creative imaginations. They continue a thousand-year-old oral tradition and speak for all of those that have been silenced. Author royalties go to the Rwanda Orphan's Project at www.rwandanorphansproject.org.
101 Ways to Strengthen Your Marriage
Nothing strengthens a relationship like communication and intimacy. Whether you have been together days, months, years or decades, sharing your love and your time with your partner is the glue that binds. Everyone wants to be adored and appreciated. You don't need a lot of time and money or a doctorate in relationships to keep your marriage alive and growing.
Good Grief: Love, Loss and Laughter
If you or someone you know, has, is or will be confronting the reality of loss (and who isn’t), you've come to the right place. You’ve come to the right place for clarity, understanding, love and laughter. The time to start healing is now. The time to begin a new life and choose to look at your past experience with fresh eyes is now.
The prescription for what is gnawing at your guts, weighing heavily on your mind and breaking your heart, is already written. I know you will find some of the ingredients you seek within these pages.-- Leti Parnell, BA
Educator and Grief Counselor
Reviews for Good Grief: Love, Loss & Laughter
“I’ve worked in public health as an advisor to presidents and locally as a county health officer and hospice physician for over thirty years. This is one of the most practical, useful and inspiring books about loss and mourning that I have ever read. Anyone who works with grieving individuals would be well advised to have this down-to-earth personal collection available for their clients.”
-- Arnie Leff, MD, Medical Director, Mission Hospice
“Gabriel Constans has dedicated his professional life to being present to people walking the tender journey of grief. In the past twenty-five years he has been a messenger of comfort, peace and safety for thousands of people. Gabriel’s writings are a reflection of the knowledge and wisdom he has acquired along the way.”
-- Charmiel Teresi, Coordinator, Center for Grief and Loss
“This is a book for every day people. It isn’t flashy or complicated. Real situations, honest reactions and effective support. It doesn’t matter whether you are a parent, student, doctor, construction worker, counselor, secretary or homemaker. These stories and solutions will surely bring you love, laughter and hope.”
-- Wendy Johnson, Teacher
The Penis Dialogues, Handle With Care
After seeing the Vagina Monologues, Gabriel realized the value of a similar investigation into men's feelings about their penis and its influence on them and others. Men of various ages, occupations, sexual orientations and cultures talk about love, sex, relationships and painful, humorous and joyful moments with themselves and others. This book investigates and lays bare the facts, myths, experiences, misperceptions and stories of that part of men's bodies by which they are so often defined. It goes beyond the cliches, jokes and comparisons of male virility and power as men speak from the heart with honesty, curiosity, shock, bemusement and surprise.
What people have been saying about The Penis Dialogues:
“I was struck by this book’s humor, probing curiosity and genuine compassion.”
-- Eve Ensler (Author of The Vagina Monologues)
“Constans has created a heads up, hands on exploration of the male member. It is both amusing and informative.”
-- James McElheron (Building Consultant and Supervisor)
“The book is an excellent starting point for men who have previously wondered about aspects of their sexuality, genitalia or whether or not they were “normal”. Whilst much of the book is made up of men telling of their own experiences, the book also covers a range of penis health issues and a number of entertaining tales related from the penis’ point of view.”
“The Penis Dialogues is an informative and funny book about the life of our penis and its affect on love, sex, relationships and our health. The book explores myths, clichés, and misconceptions in a funny and curious way.”
-- Gary Johnson (Publisher of Black Men in America)
“If you live in any city, you have probably seen THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES. Well, along comes THE PENIS DIALOGUE by Constans, published by Aslan publishing. Not only is it hugely funny, it provides so much information about this part of a guy's anatomy. Because there so many myths and misconceptions about what is good and what is bad, this book is reassuring and comforting, and you can even laugh at your penis and its idiosyncrasies. Ladies, do your partner a favour and give him this book.”
-- W Network, (Television network for Canadian women).
“Eve Ensler watch out! This is a funny yet interesting insight into the world of the penis. This book is mainly collections of short stories from men and their experiences with their penises. It is interesting for both men and women to see how the penis affects men’s lives and outlook on life. Look out for sections such as “women’s eye view”, “if your penis could talk”, “penis facts” and “sing along with dick”. A great read.”
-- Andrew Kelly, Library Technician, Healthy, Sexy & Wise, E-Newsletter, Volume 3, Issue 1, 2005 - Family Planning Association of Western Australia Inc. (FPWA).
Don't Just Sit there, Do Something!
-- Grief's Wake up Call
Events that can and often do, devastate us emotionally, can also be used for personal transformation and growth. Some individuals find hope and opportunity in the midst of adversity. They reach out to help others find comfort and healing. Some succeed to change laws, institutions, policies and assumptions.
Meet Leah Rabin, Le Ly Hayslip, Maggie and Reg Green, Jeanne White, Hazel Johnson, Lee Mun Wah, Nane Alejandrez, Candace Lightner and others, to discover how they have found strength, courage and sheer tenacity to overcome the worst that can happen and use it as a catalyst to rediscover them selves and help others in the process.
What People have been saying about Don't Just Sit There, Do Something!:
In Don't Just Sit There, we have the privilege of listening to these inspiring people as they tell us what they have endured and how. These are lessons on living that come direct from experience, lessons we all need. I hope this book reaches many, touching hearts and infusing us all with its wisdom.
-- Ellen Bass, co-author of The Courage to Heal
A deeply moving work ... highly recommended for hospice workers, grief counselors, and ministers and as a powerful affirmation for life.
-- NAPRA ReView
Gabriel Constans searches out the key to living after a loss by interviewing survivors who use a variety of activities to cope with a death ... this book is an inspiration to both the bereaved and those who support them.
-- Lynne Ann DeSpelder, author of The Last Dance: Encountering Death and Dying
Goddess of Cancer and Other Plays
A collection of one act plays about: cancer incarnated in human form as the Goddess of Cancer; a twelve-step meeting for disposed or deceased dictators, entitled "Dictators Annoymous"; "Good Intentions", which portrays four famous proponents of communism discussing their intentions at an American greasy spoon diner; and a short screen play about violence and its aftermath, entitled "A Murderous Rage".
Forum Players take on cancer in season-opening play. The Goddess of Cancer by Gabriel Constans. Batavia Daily News. October 10, 2013.
Picking up the Pieces
Gunfire is the second leading cause of death among Americans ages 10-19. This program includes a story about a boy who witnesses his brother's murder. It deals with the effect it has on him and his family and what they did to deal with their pain. Also included are suggestions for facilitators working with students and families experiencing loss of this kind, questions for discussion, and supplementary activities. For use with individuals, small groups, or classrooms.
Just a Heartbeat Away
"The next day Grandy and Grandpa came. Mom told them she had AIDS. The door to her room was open. We could hear Grandy crying, and Grandpa saying, 'I can't believe this. My own daughter!'"
The only book for children that realistically talks about a heterosexual parent dying from AIDS. Based on a true story about children who learn to cope with their mother's illness and death.
Great American Smoothies
This fun filled book contains a large collection of healthful, tasty drinks from fresh fruits and vegetables that were originally created for his young daughter and later for his growing clan of picky eaters! He was delighted at how easily and happily they consumed them. The book presents a wide variety of recipes for healthful smoothies (including some for adults only which are probably not that healthful!), shakes, and slushes, plus advice on blenders and ingredients. Delightful, whimsical line drawings by illustrator John Wincek enhance each recipe. See a page from the book to wet your appetite!