5, Mostly Random, Books from the Shelf

Today’s Blogathon theme is:  My 5 Favorite Books on writing. Since I have technically only read two, I have grabbed 5 books from my book shelf. Some are favorites, some are must reads.
In random order:
#1: The Power of Now
by Eckart Tolle c1999
“To make the journey into The Power of Now we will need to leave your analytical mind and it’s false created self, the ego, behind. From the beginning of the first chapter we move rapidly into a significantly higher altitude where one breathes a lighter air, the air of the spiritual. Although the journey is challenging. ” – Inner Book Sleeve: The Power of Now
Being a fairly eclectic woman, I have explored many ways of interacting with the world. I am cautious about self-help books and “new age” type gurus. However, Eckhart Tolle is fairly brilliant in my opinion. The Power of Now cuts through all the layers of bull… uhm crud we pick up throughout our lives and whittles it down to this just moment. If you have ever felt burdened by your past or spent way too much time hoping for a better future this is the book for you. Pondering life’s past lessons and setting goals are very important. But, if we learn to live for the present moment, we get out of our own way and just live fully in the Now.
Eckhart Tolle has some Free Content at his site, but charges to watch his online TV show. If you search on Youtube there are plenty of his talks to enjoy.
#2: Shakspeare(sic): v. III  Much Ado. Twelfth Night. Love’s Labours
Handy Volume Edition: Published by George Routledge and Sons, New York c1850s
Ah, the illustrious Senior Shakespeare. How do I love thee. Well, I will share with you my love. When I was in college I took an honors colloquial on Mr. S. I had not yet read King Lear, although I has long since been a “fan” since my early teens. We read the entire work out loud in class, student by student, passage by passage, then watched  a filmed version of the play. One passage I got to read was so packed with wisdom that I expressed my belief that when look at as purely literary books of wisdom, this play is on par with the highest(non-dogmatic) lessons extolled in the Bible.
This tiny little version of Mr. S’ works was found in a junk store over 10 yrs. ago. I have 10 of the multi-book set of 13. On Abe Books this set sells anywhere from $40 to $380. The last book in the volume has a chapter on the life of Shakespeare (I don’t have that one). George Routledge and Sons was founded under another name in London is the mid 1800s. This volume was most likely printed in the 1860s since it was printed in New York after they established shop there and before the leather-bound version. I will not be selling my copies. There are plenty out there if you must have them.
#3: Thunderhead
by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child c1999
Before we start, please don’t fault these guys because of the horrible movie that was made of their book The Relic. This book is an engaging read and well written in my opinion. The heroine of the story is a female archeologist, Nora,  whose father is also an archeologist. He has been missing for several years after going off on a dig in the desert Southwest of the United States.  The story is complex and full of indigenous legend, intrigue, murder, mayhem and even sexual tension. Highly recommended beach or back porch reading. Douglas Preston also wrote a historically informed article, Cannibals of the Canyon,  about the book’s subject matter. Read the book first if you like being surprised.
#4: Unequal Sisters: A Multi-Cultural Reader in U.S. Women’s History
Edited by: Ellen Carol Dubois and Vicki L. Ruiz c1990
If you believe that our daughters are taught the real history of women of all races and creeds in high school and most colleges, this book may not be for you. But, it is for your daughters. OK. I was tugging at you on that one, but seriously this book is on the “must read” list for all young women ( and young men).  There are several others out there. This just happens to be the one I pulled from the shelf in my living room.
$5 A People’s History of the United States: 1492 to the Present
By Howard Zinn, Revised and Updated v.1995
If you or your kids never read another book on the history of the United States and only read this one, you will be much more well-informed than many university professors. I am not just being a smart ass when I say that. If your kid asks their college history professor if they have read this book and they say ‘no’, advise your child of two things a) quickly enroll in another history class b) mail the teacher a copy anonymously.
I have always been an avid history buff. I got A’s in history classes all through school even when I skipped 40 days of 11th grade(long story). I eat it up. I am blessed to have grown up with parents who are politically aware and talked to me about the real history that does not make most text books.
A quick story about how I came across this book. When I first moved to Los Angeles I enrolled at Springfield Colleges’ School of Human Services (satellite campus) to finish my BA. It was a class of working adults, mostly organizational leaders from LA, Riverside and Ventura Counties. When this book was assigned I got excited. During a discussion on Chapter I: Columbus, the Indians, and Human Progress , The Director of the Culver City YMCA burst into tears. She said that all she knew of Columbus was what she learned going to the parade every year as a kid. He was revered and held on high as a learned explorer and redeemer of a lost people. When she read what actually happened her heart broke and she felt betrayed by every teacher she ever had. But, afterward she felt enlightened and inspired to see the world with different eyes.
Whether you have read A people’s History of the United States yet or not, I hope it does the same for you. Read anything and everything Zinn!  He crossed over in 2010. He is sadly missed and his works carry on his legacy. Speaking of which, he gave permission for a group of folks to publish his seminal work online in it’s entirety. You can pop over and give it a quick read. *smirk* FYI: the publisher sent them a nasty DCMA in May 2010. He would be pissed! He was quite the radical.
Thus ends this epic post.

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