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Blog Tag: Books

[Photo: book, small aperture by chadmill]

I was tagged on the following blog tag meme from Mike at the Unknowing Mind.

One book that changed your life?
I would have to say The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav. I found this book very enlightening during a time when I was questioning the Catholic ideologies and doctrine I was taught while growing up. The book asserts that true happiness comes when one masters "authentic power" -- aligning your personality with your soul -- instead of seeking "external power" by valuing the physical world.

One book that you have read more than once?
I have read The Seat of the Soul numerous times. Unfortunately I don't usually revist an entire book once I've passed through it, but one that I believe I probably will re-read in the future is the Nurture Assumption by Judith Rich Harris. Harris makes a very rivoting case that parents play a very minor role in the mental and emotional development of children. Instead, she claims that genetics and peer groups are the dominant contributing factors in a child's development.

One book that you would want on a desert island?
Any book by Jodi Picoult or Chuck Palahniuk. The characters in Picoult's novels are always superbly devloped. Her plot lines always make you re-consider moral and ethical opinions you believed you would question. Additionally, her stories often revolve around synchronicity and the principles that there are no coincidences and everything happens for a reason. Try The Pact or My Sister's Keeper. I really can't describe Palahniuk's novels and creative sense without failing to do him justice. You'll just have to pick up one of his novels, such as Fight Club, and find out for yourself how crazy and wonderful his work is.

One book that made you laugh?
Survivor by Chuck Palahniuk. This is an excellent satire about the American way of life, and clearly demonstrates the validity of the adage that you should be careful what you wish for. Quite possibly once of the best books I have ever read.

One book that made you cry?
Original Wisdom by Robert Wolff. Wolff's book really makes you wonder if we can ever truly be happy by living the fast-paced, materialistic, external and anti-planet way of life that is America.

One book that you wish you had written?
Second Glance by Jodi Picoult. This book is beautiful. It demonstrates that there are no coincidences, the power and influence of prejudice, and that love is strong enough to defy time and space.

I'd also like to mention, Ghosts of Vesuvius by Charles Pellegrino. This is an amazing read, making you contemplate how the human race is a fleeting blip in the history of the planet.

One book that you wish had never been written?
Citizen Girl by McLaughlin and Kraus. This book is an incomprehensible, boring mess. It is quite possibly the worst book I have ever read.

One book that you are currently reading?
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins.

One book that you've been meaning to read?
The End of Faith by Sam Harris.

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It's always nice to get a first hand recommendation of a great read!

What book(s) would you recommend as a must read? Why?



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Sam Harris is a little nuts. FYI, when you eventually get to his book.

(FYI, this is from descriptions of, and reactions to, his interviews, articles, and books. I've never personally read his work)

I'm curious..."nuts" can mean many things. :) In what sense?

Angela...added your blog to my blogroll. I like what you have to say. By the way, Seat of the Soul is an alltime favorite of mine as well. I learned a lot from Gary Zukav.

Ya'll read too much. : )

I'm much more of a Science Fiction reader then I am of anything else. I've got a hankerin for some more Hunter S Thompson just cause he is "nuts".

I've recently reread a series of books by David Weber, a recent Science Fiction author. I've never had a high opinion of SciFi writers that are not dead or very close to being dead. Most have been brought up through a high school science background and don't know their arse from black hole.

I almost want to say that the book Starship Troopers(Robert A Heinlein) has changed my life, but not really. It didn't make me go into the military, but it did give me a good appretiation for the rigors of military life and camaraderie. It also gave me a healthy dose of, "I want power armor!"

I'm sure that there is a book that I've read that shouldn't have been written, but I can't remember what it was, considering that I probably wanted to block it out in teh first place, I guess that's not all that bad.

Don: thanks for visiting! Glad you enjoyed what you saw. I am a new reader of your site as well, and as far as I have gleaned, we share similar points of view on a number of subjects. I am going to link to your site as well!

ctb: Thanks for the suggestions and for a couple chuckles! :)

I just so happen to have to my left a copy of the Selfish Gene and next in line is the End of Faith....

If I was on an island I would want to have
ON THE HUMAN BODY AND THE HUMAN BRAIN as well as BEGINNINGS by Isaac Aimov
THE CULTIRE OF NARCISSISM by Christopher Lasch
THE NAKED APE by Desmond Morris
LIFE ON EARTH by David Attenborough
THE STORY OF ENGLISH by McMrum,Cran and MacNeil

For the record it would take me about 600 years to read them again now that my attention span can be measured in nanoseconds...DOH!

Thanks for visiting, homo escapeons! I guess we are on the same page as far as reading material right now! ;)

Mike indicated that Sam Harris might be a little out there -- or "nuts" as he put it -- have you heard any such talk?

Hey Angela,

I have End of Faith on my table waiting for me, as well... funny, so many of us are about to read that one!

I wanted to read the book because I saw a taped presentation Sam Harris made to an interfaith synagogue in California just after his book was released in my philosophy of religion class last term. The main idea that struck me from his presentation is the idea that religious relativism - you know, the idea that all religions have some truth, we should be tolerant and stuff like that - is really a complete myth because the teachings are so opposite in terms of what will get you to heaven. Interesting idea, and interesting guy. He was funny. I think he's more "jsut" a radical than anything - I don't think he's nuts per se, but so many radicals are called such.

thanks for popping by my site earlier!

Richard Dawkins? He lives in Oxford, UK like myself.
About two months ago I attended a lecture where Dawkins introduced Harry Koto (a Nobel prize winner). Dawkins was witty. Both he and Koto are very concerned that science is being held back by the upsurge in religious fundamentalism e.g. children being taught Creationism.
I hope you enjoy the book.

Hi Rob, thanks for stopping by! I was excited to see you are from the UK -- it is on the top of the list of places I would love to visit!

I am enjoying the book! Thanks for the great info! It seems that Dawkins and Koto have a valid concern. There have been a number of cases in the media recently here in the States dealing with just that issue.

Hi thinking girl! Thanks for stopping by! I am very anxious to start reading the book, especially in light of all the renewed media regarding terrorism. I'll have to reserve my judgement about Harris until I read it, but as you said, so many times radicals/visionaries are initially misunderstood and misclassified as "nuts"!

I am desperately trying to get my head around a method to safely deflate and disarm the dangerous power of desperate men acting on behalf of their particular manufactured GOD!

I am exasperated by the notion that ancient myths somehow act as a moral governor on the general population. Puhleeze! We seem to be able to discuss almost anything but someone's religion and then they go postal..why is it still off limits? Why have we done such a poor job of teaching history.
Why can't we, in the year 4billion-2006, have a bonfire of the "mygodzbiggerthanyourgod" and get back on track...
the clock seems to be ticking a bit louder now..
I suppose that I am getting a tad anxious in my middle years..
either that or I just need some more coffee?.

I spoke too hastily and too vaguely when I referred to Sam Harris as "a little nuts." :) His basic philosophy is scientism, which is defined at wikipedia as: "an ideology of science which holds that science has primacy over other interpretations of life (e.g., religious, mythical, spiritual, or humanistic explanations)." In some ways, I agree with this, but in others, I don't. I do, for the most part, think science reigns supreme (i.e. if we have evidence for an old earth using carbon-dating, genetic mutation rates, etc., then to think the earth is really only 4,000 years old and all the fossils we find were put there, with all the evidence of extreme age innate, by the Creator, that's just ignorance and/or denial.) However, the myths, the stories, of religion still play a key role—and I don't mean as absolute truth, but rather as descriptions of our psyche, that help us to proceed through life, and comfort us in times of need, especially around death. That's not to say, of course, that a purely atheistic scientism isn't comforting to some. To them, the stories of science fill the same role as myths to others.

This gets to the next point of Harris—he sees the value in spiritual experiences, but thinks they should be devoid of all "mythological trappings" inherent in religion. I think he has a definite good point in that he espouses the danger that underlies fundamentalism. But I think he goes overboard in degrading all mythical experiences and stories. To see their value to our psyche, see anything by Joseph Campbell.

Hopefully, this is a little better explanation of what I've read on him (again, it's read ON him; I have not read HIM directly.) And for more reading pleasure, here are a few links to stuff written about his works:

Integral Options Cafe #1
Integral Options Cafe #2

I should add that another author to group with Joseph Campbell that explains the importance of myth to our psyche is Stephen Larsen. And Original Wisdom, which you cite Angela, is another book that speaks in a similar vein.

homo escapeons: I totally agree that many are blinded by religion, and that religion has been the motivation behind many ghastly occurrences throught the history of civilization. This frame of mind is so entrenched in the history of humanity, do you think it is possible to change it? Any ideas on how to start the revolution?

Mike: thanks for the clarification! Who knew that so many would be looking to read End of Faith and that your comment would spark such interest! :) We'll have to report back after we have read the book!

Well worth reading:
"Games people play" by Eric Berne.
This looks at relationships from a transactional analysis perspective. The book is short. It was a best-seller.

Thanks for the suggestion, Rob. I checked it out on Amazon and it looks quite intersting. Will have to add it to my must-read list!

Hi Angela,
Reached your blog from thinking girl's book meme. I saw that you are currently reading The Selfish Gene; I would appreciate a review on the book, if you can Thanks. :)

The Visitor: Thanks for visiting! My reading has been slow lately, but you have given me motivation to pick up the pace! I am trying to get a friend to do a guest review in the meantime, as he has completed the book already! I am working on your request. Thanks for the post!

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