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Musings of a Book Addict

I'm married to a scavenger of sorts and he often totes home rescued boxes of books that I paw through with shiny, hungry eyes. I pull out the odd and interesting and add them to my teetering stack.

Currently reading

The Hound of the Baskervilles
Arthur Conan Doyle
E.B. White: A Biography
Scott Elledge
Murder on the Orient Express
Agatha Christie
There Is Nothing Wrong with You: Going Beyond Self-Hate
Cheri Huber, June Shiver
Living Buddha, Living Christ
Thích Nhất Hạnh
No. 44, The Mysterious Stranger
Mark Twain
The Snare of the Hunter
Helen MacInnes
Paintings of Henry Miller
Henry Miller, Lawrence Durrell
Dreamways of the Iroquois: Honoring the Secret Wishes of the Soul
Robert Moss
Pentimento (Back Bay Books)
Lillian Hellman

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1)

A Game of Thrones  - George R.R. Martin I'm a total late-comer to this series and only picked it up because of enjoying the television series, but now I'm hooked! I was also very pleased and surprised to realize that there are even more powerful female characters than are shown in the television series - there are quite a few female "knights" and various other "warrior women." There is also far less sex than HBO would have you believe. I can't wait to dive into the next book in this saga!


Bossypants - Everyone told me to listen to the audio book and I'm glad I did. It was truly hilarious. And while I don't agree with everything that's said in the book, Tina is doing her thing and being authentic and real with us all and appreciate that. I always knew she shifted things at Saturday Night Live to get more women performing and writing but I didn't really put together how her hard work has truly revolutionized a lot of aspects of television. It also confirmed my feelings about why I never pursued a life of sketch comedy - it's brutal! I highly recommend the audio book and commuting with it. You'll head into work with a smile on your face and a new perspective on how ridiculous everything really is.

Tantric Quest: An Encounter with Absolute Love

Tantric Quest: An Encounter with Absolute Love - Daniel Odier Definitely more narrative and actual authentic, personal experience than you see in most books about Eastern mysticism, but still very full of the dense intellectualism that feels like a shield to me. Why aren't there more stories of the dirty, messy part of spiritual practice? Why is it always platitude after platitude? Everyone's spiritual journey is messy, yet rarely is that truth shared "after the enlightenment". I find this ESPECIALLY true with books about Eastern mysticism - perhaps because the "goal" is to "transcend ego". But there is no juice in a book full of spiritual doctrine with no personal connection. Can we not have both? And as I said, this book has more personal expression than I've seen in this genre, so I really appreciate that. Also, reading about a female guru was fascinating and I love learning more about the feminine aspect of Shivaic Tantrism. This book was lent to me by a wonderfully smart friend and I look forward to talking more about it with her!

The Walking Dead Volume 5: The Best Defense: Best Defense v. 5

The Walking Dead, Vol. 5: The Best Defense - Cliff Rathburn, Charlie Adlard, Robert Kirkman I'm getting really tired with the male apologist reasoning that you can show a woman getting violently, brutally raped as long as you let her "get her revenge" at the end. You are still depicting violence as entertainment. And yes, zombie comics are full of violence but the rape depicted in this book is at a whole other level.

Midnight Mavericks: Reports from the Underground: 1

Midnight Mavericks: Reports from the Underground - Gene Gregorits, Chris D., Lydia Lunch, David Peace Gene Gregorits is a really great writer, which is the only reason I made it through this compilation of interviews with "underground artists of the No Wave." Gene has a passion for the dark, disturbing, creepy underground and his interviewees reflect that. He also skates a thin line between blatant misogyny and being dazzled by his favorite female artists (and Lydia Lunch co-interviews with him in the John Waters interview). There were many artists featured in this book that were just too dark for me, and in fact, I think several are certifiable psychopaths. And I was a little disheartened that the photos included of the (very few) women interviewed featured them in various stages of undress. My favorite interviews were with Andrew W.K., Johnette Napolitano, Carla Bozulich, Rockets Redglare, Patton Oswald, and Lydia Lunch. And a *really* creepy footnote - there is a photo of the author at the end of the book, taken 1997, in which he's wearing a t-shirt with a swastika on it. Couple that fact with the fact that there are next to no people of color interviewed in this book and things get even more creepier. Read at your own risk.

Ender's Game (Ender Wiggin Series #1)

Ender's Game (Ender Wiggin Series #1) - My husband really got into this, but I couldn't get there. I did really like the character Ender, so it was really sad to watch him become a cold, military man. I know people are passionate about this book, but I can't connect with it.

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry

The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry - Jon Ronson This is a page-turner! And not for the faint-hearted. Be prepared to start identifying pscyhopaths in your every day life, then feel really bad about it. I really love Jon Ronson's writing style, even if I don't always agree with his conclusions. He has a very transparent approach to sharing his own inner journey through writing about others that I find extremely refreshing in our current paradigm of always trying to seem perfect in every way. In truth, we are all struggling in different ways and Jon celebrates that truth. A fascinating read!

Woman Between the Wind

Woman Between the Wind: Power of Resistance - Heather Hughes-Calero This is a book in the "woman's spiritual path through work with a tribal elder" genre and frankly, it's not the best, but still an entertaining read. Everything is here - from the resistance to the teacher as she shows up, to falling for traps laid by the Trickster, to finding peace with her path. If you love reading authentic stories about women on their spiritual journeys, this is worth picking up, but as I said, there are many other authors who share far more exciting and interesting stories.

The Pleasure Prescription: To Love, to Work, to Play - Life in the Balance

The Pleasure Prescription: To Love, to Work, to Play - Life in the Balance - Paul Pearsall There were parts of this book that I LOVED and other sections I could barely get through. In the end, Paul Pearsall's message is one of delight and joy and pleasure and I love that. It's also really wonderful to find a very "Health at Every Size (HAES)" approach in a book that does not label itself officially as "fat-friendly." I did feel a bit oppressed by his many "questionnaires" that were designed to show us, the readers, how woefully empty of pleasure our lives are. The on-going message in the book is that if you are not of Polynesian-descent, you never really will "get it" but you can try harder by using the techniques shared in the book. This felt a little dated and a bit too much of the "Holy Native" paradigm. Polynesian people are just as complex and complicated as any other group of people. Can we learn from the spiritual tenets of their culture? Yes, absolutely. So this book is a bit of a mixed bag but worth a read if just for the reminder of how joyful our lives can be if we just get out of our own way and reach out and connect with our fellow human beings.

Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer, and Visionary

The Four-Fold Way: Walking the Paths of the Warrior, Teacher, Healer, and Visionary - Angeles Arrien I really enjoyed this. She focuses in on the four paths with wonderful rituals and meditations and reading this really helped me understand those four parts of myself more deeply. I also realized that we do not have to choose JUST one path, but can walk them all at various times. I also really loved the cave paintings and drawings included in the book. They are really powerful and went straight into my dreams.

Dead inside Do not enter

Dead Inside: Do Not Enter: Notes from the Zombie Apocalypse - Lost Zombies, Adrian Chappell It's a cute idea but in the end, it falls flat. So many of the "notes" seem forced. I could never lose myself in the story, because it didn't really take us anywhere. We just circled around and around in different views of watching zombies take over the world.

Ego and Archetype: Individuation and the Religious Function of the Psyche

Ego and Archetype: Individuation and the Religious Function of the Psyche - Edward F. Edinger This is definitely a classic in Jungian Studies, but in re-reading it, I am struck by what a completely patriarchal and masculine view Edward Edinger takes. This is of course, due in large part to the time it was written, but it's also due to the fact that when he discusses "religion" he almost completely means Christianity with a dash of Greek Mythology. It's a good primer (if a bit dense), but definitely explore other more feminist authors to get a wider perspective.

The Secret Garden (Children's Classics)

The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett This is one of my most favorite books from childhood. I recently just listened to the audio book, read by Finola Hughes and while I really didn't care much for her voices, it was fun to listen to the story instead of read it.

Life Under the Jolly Roger

Life Under the Jolly Roger: Reflections on Golden Age Piracy - Gabriel Kuhn This is a really in-depth exploration of the history of pirates. Gabriel Kuhn examines all sides of the mythology around pirates (from "they were enlightened anarchists!" to "they were misogynistic murders!"). He breaks open all the stereotypical ideas about pirates and examines each idea piece by piece through a range of philosophical references, all the way from Michel Foucault to George Fox, the Quakerism's most prominent early figure. I don't think I'm quite passionate enough about pirates to really dig into this book, but the writing is really accessible and fun.

Werewolves: A Field Guide to Shapeshifters, Lycanthropes, and Man-Beasts

Werewolves: A Field Guide to Shapeshifters, Lycanthropes, and Man-Beasts - Bob Curran The description and title of this book makes one think it's going to be a fantasy adventure, discovering the various werewolf mythologies and what creates them, when in reality, this is a dense, academic, very well-researched dissertation about historical people and events that could have lead to the mythological archetype of "the werewolf." Hat's off to the incredible research involved in the writing of this book, but it would have been nice to have a few fantasy stories thrown in, just get a break from the download of information.

Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge a Radical History of Plants, Drugs, and Human Evolution

Food of the Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge - Terence McKenna I find Terence McKenna's writing style extremely heavy-handed. Just as no one religion is good for everyone, so too, no one drug is "good" for everyone. The idea that taking hallucinogens is going to "lead us back to Eden" is simplistic and fundamentalist. It may for some, yes, but not for all. I agree that these kinds of drugs should be legal and used in a sacred, ritualized way, but they are not good for all people. He also has really interesting (but again, very heavy-handed) theories about other drugs, like the French Revolution being traced back to the culture's embracing of coffee and cafes. This book is a mixed bag of overbearing proclamations about all kinds of "drugs" mixed with some very interesting theories.