november 2021 – good to read

Music is History

Questlove
Focusing on the years 1971 to the present, Questlove finds the hidden connections in the American tapestry, whether investigating how the blaxploitation era reshaped Black identity or considering the way disco took an assembly-line approach to Black genius. And these critical inquiries are complemented by his own memories as a music fan, and the way his appetite for pop culture taught him about America. A history of the last half-century and an intimate conversation with one of music’s most influential and original voices, Music Is History takes a close look at contemporary America.
Abrams & Chronicle Books | November 21

1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows. A Memoir

Ai Weiwei
Once an intimate of Mao Zedong, Ai Weiwei’s father was branded a rightist during the Cultural Revolution, and he and his family were banished to a desolate place known as “Little Siberia,” where Ai Qing was sentenced to hard labor cleaning public toilets. Ai Weiwei recounts his childhood in exile, and his difficult decision to leave his family to study art in America, where he befriended Allen Ginsberg and was inspired by Andy Warhol. With candor and wit, he details his return to China and his rise from artistic unknown to art world superstar and international human rights activist—and how his work has been shaped by living under a totalitarian regime. 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows sheds light on the forces that shaped modern China, and serves as a reminder of the need to protect freedom of expression.
Barnes and Noble | November 21

Psychedelic Cannabis. Therapeutic Methods and Unique Blends to Treat Trauma and Transform Consciousness

Daniel McQueen
Presenting a step-by-step guide, McQueen explores how to transform cannabis into a reliable and safe psychedelic medicine. Drawing on his years of experience working with clients to release traumas and emotional pain, he explains the importance of proper dose, set, setting, and intention and details how to prepare for your psychedelic cannabis sessions. He shares methods to use cannabis in a mindful way to minimize anxiety and paranoia, and direct the experience to produce vivid psychedelic states, physical relaxation, and healing. Looking at the unique qualities of different cannabis strains, the author explores the art of making a psychedelic cannabis blend, the possibilities and hidden potentials of each strain, and how to blend strains for specific experiences.
Park Street Press | November 21

The Lyrics (2 Volumes)

Paul MacCartney
With unparalleled candour, Paul McCartney recounts his life and art through the prism of 154 songs from all stages of his career – from his earliest boyhood compositions through the legendary decade of The Beatles, to Wings and his solo albums to the present. Arranged alphabetically to provide a kaleidoscopic rather than chronological account, it establishes definitive texts of the songs’ lyrics for the first time and describes the circumstances in which they were written, the people and places that inspired them, and what he thinks of them now. Presented with this is a treasure trove of material from McCartney’s personal archive – drafts, letters, photographs – never seen before, which make this also a unique visual record of one of the greatest songwriters of all time.
Penguin Books | November 21

The Dawn of Everything: A New History of Humanity

David Graeber and David Wengrow 
For generations, our remote ancestors have been cast as primitive and childlike –
either free and equal innocents, or thuggish and warlike. Civilization, we are told, could be achieved only by sacrificing those original freedoms or, alternatively, by taming our baser instincts. David Graeber and David Wengrow show how such theories first emerged in the eighteenth century as a conservative reaction to powerful critiques of European society posed by Indigenous observers and intellectuals. Revisiting this encounter has startling implications for how we make sense of human history today, including the origins of farming, property, cities, democracy, slavery, and civilization itself. Their book transforms our understanding of the human past and offers a path toward imagining new forms of freedom, new ways of organizing society.
Allen Lane | November 21

october 2021 – good to read

The Psilocybin Chef Cookbook

Virginia Haze and Dr. K. Mandrake, PhD
If you’ve mastered the art of growing mushrooms at home and have your growing method tuned in perfectly, or you’ve just got very good at foraging and have a reliable patch, you’ll have an endless stream of psilocybin-containing mushrooms. But where do you go from here? What’s the best method of extraction to minimize loss, and how can you stave off the dreaded nausea every time you dose? What’s the deal with microdosing, and how do you do it safely? And if you want to put on a three-course dosed dinner for a few of your best friends, what are the best dishes to cook? All these questions are answered, deliciously, in The Psilocybin Chef Cookbook. Fully illustrated, with mouth watering full-color photos throughout.
External catalogues | September 21

The Mind of Plants. Narratives of Vegetal Intelligence

Edited by John C. Ryan, Patricia Veira and Monica Cagliano
This book offers an accessible account of the idea of “the plant mind” by bringing together short essays and poems on plants and their interactions with humans. The texts interpret the theme broadly—from the ways that humans mind and unmind plants to the mindedness or unmindedness of plants themselves. Authors from the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences have written about their personal connections to particular plants, reflecting upon their research on plant studies in a style amenable to a broad audience. Each of the authors has selected a plant that functions as a guiding thread to their interpretation of “the mind of plants.” From the ubiquitous rose to the ugly hornwort, from the Amazonian ayahuasca to tobacco, the texts reflect the multifarious interactions between humans and flora.
Ingram Publishers Service | October 21

Psychedelic Justice. Toward a Diverse and Equitable Psychedelic Culture

Beatriz Labate and Clancy Cavnar (Eds.)
Radical, cultural transformation is the guiding force behind this socially visionary anthology. Its unifying value is social justice. The book highlights Chacruna’s ongoing work promoting diversity and inclusion by prominently featuring voices that have been long marginalized in Western psychedelic culture: women, queer people, people of color, and indigenous people. The essays examine both historical and current issues within psychedelics that many may not know about. The essays examine both historical and current issues within psychedelics that many may not know about, and orient around policy, reciprocity, diversity and inclusion, sex and power, colonialism, and indigenous concerns. We believe the book can be another tool to help Chacruna and its allies continue to push for justice and inclusion in the greater psychedelic culture.
Synergetic Press | October 21

Psychedelics & Psychotherapy. The Healing Potential of Expanded States

Tim Read & Maria Papaspyrou (Eds.)
An exploration of the latest developments from the flourishing field of modern psychedelic psychotherapy. Tim Read, M.D., is a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, with degrees in neuroscience and medicine. He is involved in clinical research at King’s College and Imperial College, London University, on the therapeutic use of psychedelics. He has completed trainings in psychoanalytic psychotherapy and transpersonal psychology with Stanislav Grof. The author of Walking Shadows and co-author of Breaking Open, he lives in London. Maria Papaspyrou, MSc, is an integrative psychotherapist, supervisor, and family constellations facilitator. The co-editor of Psychedelic Mysteries of the Feminine, she lives in Brighton, England. Together, the authors are co-directors of the Institute of Psychedelic Therapy in the UK.
Park Street Press | October 21

Animal Power. 100 Animals to Energize Your Life and Awaken Your Soul

Alyson Charles
Brimming with 100 different vibrant animal illustrations, transformative practices, and captivating stories from around the world, Animal Power is an guide to the power of the animal realm and how they bring peace, healing and empowerment to your life. In this compendium, get ready to discover rituals, meditations, and visualizations to connect with 100 remarkable animals and their specific messages to share with you. Learn how to connect with the animal power of the bear for comfort and protection, the leopard for confidence, the seal for healthy relationships, and the peacock for creative inspiration, and many others. The practices are paired with illuminating stories from spiritual teachers around the world.
Abrams & Chronicle | October 21

september 2021 – good to read

Undoing Drugs: The Untold Story of Harm Reduction and the Future of Addiction

Maia Szalavitz
Drug overdoses now kill more Americans annually than guns, cars or breast cancer. But in the name of “sending the right message,” we have criminalized drug addiction, denied those who are addicted medical care, housing and other benefits, and have deliberately allowed the spread of fatal diseases. Yet there is an alternative to our present system, one that has been proven to work, but which runs counter to the received wisdom of our criminal and medical industrial complexes. It is called harm reduction. A surprisingly simple idea with enormous power, harm reduction takes the focus off of drug use and instead works to minimize associated damage It is focused not on punishing pleasure but on minimizing harm; in essence, it is a wholesale refutation of the American way of justice.
Hachette Books | July 21

I Live A Life Like Yours. A Memoir

Jan Grue
Jan Grue was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy at the age of three. Shifting
between specific periods of his life-his youth with his parents and sister in Norway; his years of study in Berkeley, St. Petersburg, and Amsterdam; and his current life as a professor, husband, and father-he intersperses these histories with elegant, wise reflections on the world, social structures, disability, loss, relationships, and the body: in short, on what it means to be human. Along the way, Grue moves effortlessly between his own story and those of others, incorporating reflections on philosophy, film, art, and the work of writers from Joan Didion to Michael Foucault. «I am not talking about becoming human, but about how I came to realize that I had always already been human».
Farrar, Strauss & Giroux | August 21

About Time. A History of Civilization in Twelve Clocks

David Rooney
Exploring the history, lore, traditional use, psychoactive effects, For thousands of years, people of all cultures have made and used clocks, from the city sundials of ancient Rome to the medieval water clocks of imperial China, hourglasses fomenting revolution in the Middle Ages, the Stock Exchange clock of Amsterdam in 1611, Enlightenment observatories in India, and the high-precision clocks circling the Earth on a fleet of GPS satellites that have been launched since 1978. Clocks have helped us navigate the world and build empires, and have even taken us to the brink of destruction. Elites have used them to wield power, make money, govern citizens, and control lives-and sometimes the people have used them to fight back. Rooney shows, through these artifacts, how time has been imagined, politicized, and weaponized over the centuries-and how it might bring peace.
W.W. Norton | August 21

You Got Anything Stronger? Stories

Gabrielle Union
Right, you and I left off in October 2017, when my first book came out. The weeks before were filled with dreams of loss. Pets dying. My husband leaving me. Babies not being born. My therapist told me it was my soul preparing for my true self to emerge after letting go of my grief. I had finally spoken openly about my fertility journey. I was having second thoughts—in fact, so many thoughts they were organizing to go on strike. But I knew I had to be honest because I didn’t want other women going through IVF to feel as alone as I did. I had suffered in isolation, having so many miscarriages that I could not give an exact number. Strangers shared their own journeys and heartbreak with me. I had led with the truth, and it opened the door to compassion.
Harper Collins | September 21

Being You. A New Science of Consciousness

Anil Seth
What does it mean to “be you”–that is, to have a specific, conscious experience of the world around you and yourself within it? There may be no more elusive or fascinating question. Historically, humanity has considered the nature of consciousness to be a primarily spiritual or philosophical inquiry, but scientific research is now mapping out compelling biological theories and explanations for consciousness and selfhood.  Anil Seth is both a leading expert on the neuroscience of consciousness and one of most prominent spokespeople for this relatively new field of science. His radical argument is that we do not perceive the world as it objectively is, but rather that we are prediction machines, and that we can now observe the biological mechanisms in the brain that accomplish this process of consciousness.
Faber + Faber | September 21

february 2021 – good to read

Be Not Content. A Subterranean Journal

William J. Craddock
It’s not hyperbole to say William J. Craddock’s Be Not Content is the historical and literary successor to Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Both writers gave first-hand accounts of extraordinary eras in America’s cultural history. Just as Kerouac did in capturing the 1950s Beat Generation, Craddock’s fictionalized memoir provides the most authentic narrative of the psychedelic revolution of the 1960s. Craddock was working for the San Francisco Chronicle in 1970, when he decided to record his experiences on the behest of friends and admirers: «I wanted to describe in detail the hopeful hopelessness, the paralyzing simplicity, the intricate and dazzling complexity and the agony of final-truth-pain that was part of the religiously devoted acid-head’s day-to-day existence.» This 50th anniversary edition includes additional writings and photos. A hippie bombshell!
Transreal Books | December 2020

Drug Use for Grown-UPS Chasing Liberty in the Land of Fear

Dr. Carl L. Hart
Dr. Carl L. Hart, Ziff Professor at Columbia University and former chair of the Department of Psychology, is one of the world’s preeminent experts on the effects of so-called recreational drugs on the human mind and body. Dr. Hart is open about the fact that he uses drugs himself, in a happy balance with the rest of his full and productive life as a colleague, husband, father, and friend. In Drug Use for Grown-Ups, he draws on decades of research and his own personal experience to argue definitively that the criminalization and demonization of drug use – not drugs themselves – have been a tremendous scourge on America, not least in reinforcing this country’s enduring structural racism. Drug Use for Grown-Ups is controversial, to be sure: the propaganda war, Dr. Hart argues, has been tremendously effective.
Penguin Books | January 2021

How to disappear. Notes on Invisibility in a Time of Transparency

Akiko Busch
Today, we are relentlessly encouraged, even conditioned, to reveal, share, and promote ourselves. The pressure to be public comes not just from our peers, but from vast and pervasive technology companies that want to profit from patterns in our behavior. A lifelong student and observer of the natural world, Busch sets out to explore her own uneasiness with this arrangement, and what she senses is a widespread desire for a less scrutinized way of life—for invisibility. Writing about her own life, her family, and some of the world’s most exotic and remote places, she savors the pleasures of being unseen. Discovering and dramatizing a wonderful range of ways of disappearing, from virtual reality goggles that trick the wearer into believing her body has disappeared.
Penguin Books | February 2021

Visionary Path Tarot. A 78-Card Deck

Rae Lee
Tiller is an average American college student with a good heart but minimal aspirations. Pong Lou is a larger-than-life, wildly creative Chinese American entrepreneur who sees something intriguing in Tiller beyond his bored exterior and takes him under his wing. When Pong brings him along on a boisterous trip across Asia, Tiller is catapulted from ordinary young man to talented protégé, and pulled into a series of ever more extreme and eye-opening experiences that transform his view of the world, of Pong, and of himself. Rich with commentary on Western attitudes, Eastern stereotypes, capitalism, global trade, mental health, parenthood, mentorship, and more, My Year Abroad, Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, is also an exploration of the surprising effects of cultural immersion—on a young American in Asia, on a Chinese man in America, and on an unlikely couple hiding out in the suburbs.
Penguin Books | February 2021

Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019

Ibram  X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain (Editors)
Four Hundred Souls is a one-volume “community” history of African Americans. The editors, Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, have assembled ninety brilliant writers, each of whom takes on a five-year period of that four-hundred-year span. The writers explore their periods through a variety of techniques: historical essays, short stories, personal vignettes, and fiery polemics. They approach history from various perspectives: through the eyes of towering historical icons or the untold stories of ordinary people; through places, laws, and objects. While themes of resistance and struggle, of hope and reinvention, course through the book, this collection of diverse pieces from ninety different minds, reflecting ninety different perspectives, fundamentally deconstructs the idea that Africans in America are a monolith.
Random House N.Y. | February 2021

january 2021 – good to read

The Ministry for the Future

Kim Stanley Robertson
This is a wake-up call pointing to more and immediate action on the climate front. It describes an apocalyptic tomorrow where our ecological problems have been given free rein to reach their terrible conclusions, unknown numbers of casualties in their wake. These terrifying events looming on the horizon (spoiler alert: heat, heat and more heat), the author, a steady presence in science fiction, sends us «on a trip: through the carbon-fueled chaos of the coming decades, with engineers working desperately to stop melting glaciers from sliding into the sea, avenging eco-terrorists downing so many airliners that people are afraid to fly, and bankers re-inventing the economy in real time in a desperate attempt to avert extinction.» (Rolling Stone) The solutions discussed and the idea that there is a way out, make this an optimistic book. (sgs)
Orbit Books | October 2020

The A-Z of Mindfulness. Simple Ways to be more present every day

Anna Barnes
From accepting your thoughts to zooming your focus in and out, The A to Z of Mindfulness will spark your curiosity about a wide variety of mindfulness subjects and encourage you to practice them with interactive prompts and reflective activities. Bright watercolor paintings and charming design make for a calming reading experience, while quotes and mantras provide the perfect dose of inspiration. Sometimes concrete and helpful, sometimes broad and motivational, The A to Z of Mindfulness is an unintimidating book guaranteed to fuel anyone’s mindfulness practice. Anna Barnes has a longstanding interest in mindfulness and emotional well-being. Appreciate the little things, believe in your personal power, and connect with nature is her message.
Andrews McNeel | January 2021

Unplugged

Gordon Korman
Meet Jett Baranov, Silicon Valley’s number one spoiled brat. His father created Fuego, the most successful tech company in the world. So imagine his dismay when his dad’s private plane drops him off at a wellness camp in the middle of the Arkansas wilderness. Can the prince of technology survive an entire summer eating healthy, exercising, and living life totally unplugged – no phones, no TV, no screens of any kind? As the weeks go on, Jett starts to get used to the unplugged life and even bonds with the other kids over their discovery of a baby-lizard-turned-pet, Needles. But he can’t help noticing that the adults at the Oasis are acting really strange. Could it be all those suspicious «meditation» sessions?
Barnes and Noble | January 2021

After The Rain

Nnedi Okorafor, Dave Brahm (illustrations), John Jennings (adaptation)
During a furious storm a young woman’s destiny is revealed… and her life is changed forever. After the Rain is a graphic novel adaptation of Nnedi Okorafor’s short story On the Road. The drama takes place in a small Nigerian town during a violent and unexpected storm. A Nigerian-American woman named Chioma answers a knock at her door and is horrified to see a boy with a severe head wound standing at her doorstep. He reaches for her, and his touch burns like fire. Something is very wrong. Haunted and hunted, Chioma must embrace her heritage in order to survive. John Jennings and David Brame’s graphic novel collaboration uses bold art and colors to powerfully tell this tale of identity and destiny. Nnedi Okorafor, PhD, is a Nigerian-American author of African-rooted science fiction and fantasy.
Abrams ComicArts | January 2021

The Lotus and the Bud. Cannabis, Consciousness, and Yoga Practice

Christopher S. Kilham
In India, both yoga and cannabis are considered gifts from the Hindu god Shiva. They are seen as twin currents of wisdom and enlightenment, allies for healing and consciousness expansion. As an ethnobotanist and yogi, Chris Kilham elaborates how cannabis and yoga offer profound benefits for body, mind, and spirit when wisely and thoughtfully combined. Kilham examines the history and lore of both cannabis and yoga, with a special focus on the role of cannabis in Indian and Himalayan yoga traditions where it has been used for thousands of years and explains how yoga practice offers a way to tune the human nervous system and how, through the endocannabinoid system, cannabis harmonizes a multitude of functions, from respiration to pain control, in ways that enhance yoga including the effects of both THC and CBD as well as the different methods of consuming cannabis, with advice on selecting the right method for your yoga practice.
Park Street Press | February 2021

december 2020 – good to read

American Trip: Set and Setting and the Psychedelic Experience in the Twentieth Century

Ido Hartogsohn
The author examines how the psychedelic experience in America was shaped by historical, social, and cultural forces—by set (the mindset of the user) and setting (the environments in which the experience takes place). He explores uses of psychedelics that range from CIA and military experimentation to psychedelic-inspired styles in music, fashion, design, architecture, and film, while introducing us to a cast of characters including Betty Eisner, a psychologist who drew on her own experience to argue for the therapeutic potential of LSD, and Timothy Leary, who founded the Harvard Psilocybin Project and went on to become psychedelics’ most famous advocate.Hartogsohn chronicles these developments in the context of the era’s cultural trends, including the cold war, the counterculture, the anti-psychiatric movement, and the rise of cybernetics.
MIT Press, July 2020

Bent Coppers: The Story of The Man Who Arrested John Lennon, George Harrison and Brian Jones

Norman Pilcher
In London, in the late Sixties, the police to arrested as many “big names” as possible in order to deter England’s youth from taking drugs. This is the story of the man nicknamed “Groupie Pilcher” for being seen in pics with his high-profile arrests. He was later arrested himself for fabricating entries in his police records, a common practice then, it seems. Pilcher was convicted of perjury and spent four years in jail. His memoir paints a grim picture of a partially corrupt police force, hellbent on making the most of its power by leaking photos of busts to the press for pay, but rarely planting drugs on suspects, he claims. A sobered Pilcher advocates the legalization of all drugs. Lennon’s “I Am the Walrus” is supposed to be about him. John later sent him a postcard from Japan: “You can’t get me now!” Coo-cook-a-choo. (sgs)
Clink Street, September 2020

Hero’s Dose: The Case for Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy

Derek Beres
Psychedelic rituals have given societies meaning for thousands of years. The plants and fungi known as psychedelics were showing tremendous mental health benefits in the 1950s and 60s. Suddenly, they were outlawed. A half-century later, a renaissance has begun. In Hero’s Dose, journalist Derek Beres explores his quarter-century journey with psychedelics and reviews the latest science on their role in mental health treatments. He investigates the reasons psychedelics were demonized, questioning why psychiatry turned its back on this promising field of research. Beres also considers the protocols psychedelics could replace by looking at antidepressants with a critical eye. He makes a convincing case that ritual and therapy are synonymous with optimal mental health, and that psychedelics are uniquely qualified to address some of the greatest social problems of our age.
Outside the Box, October 2020

Visionary Path Tarot. A 78-Card Deck

Lucy Delics
This is a new, “psychedelic inspired, oracle-deck featuring magical esoteric symbols, shamanic plant medicines, Tarot archetypes and high-vibration patterns,” yet there is more to Lucy’s art than mushrooms and patterns. The symbolism of these beautiful cards takes its inspiration from traditional interpretations of the tarot and its archetypes, reflecting them in strong images. The accompanying booklet tells the story of the artist’s shamanic initiation into various cultures, and describes each card, giving them their meaning. Lucy Delics, originally from the UK, lives in the Andes with her family these days and reflects the spiritual world around her in her delicate psychedelic work. I wish these cards were printed on a kind of cardboard one could easily color though. (sgs)
Bear Company, November 2020

Listening to Ecstasy. The Transformative Power of MDMA

Charles Winniger, LP, LMHC
In this memoir, the author, a licensed psychoanalyst and mental health counselor, details the ways that Ecstasy has helped him become a better therapist and husband. He writes about his coming of age in the 1960s counterculture, his fifty years of experimentation with mind-altering substances, and his immersion in the psychedelic renaissance. He explains how he and his wife found Ecstasy to be the key to renewing and enriching their lives as they entered their senior years. Countering the fearful propaganda that surrounds this drug, Wininger describes what the experience actually feels like and explores the value of Ecstasy and similar substances for helping psychologically healthy individuals live a more “optimal” life. He provides protocols for the responsible, recreational, and celebrational use of MDMA, including how to perfect the experience, maximize the benefits and minimize the risks, and how it may not be for everyone.
Bear Company, November 2020 

november 2020 – good to read

The Revolution We Expected. Cultivating a New Politics of Consciousness

Claudio Naranjo
In his last book, psychotherapist Claudio Naranjo makes a final call to humanity to awaken to our collective potential and work to transcend our patriarchal past and present in order to build a new world. He argues not only for a collective individual awakening, but a concerted effort to transform our institutions so that they are in service to a better world. Naranjo targets our traditional education and global economic systems that increasingly neglect human development and must transform to meet the needs of future social evolution. Ultimately, he says, we need to embark on a collective process of rehumanizing our systems and establishing self-awareness as individuals to create the necessary global consciousness to realize a new path forward; stressing the need for education to teach wisdom over knowledge, and utilizing meditation and contemplative practices to form new ways to educate, and be educated.
Synergetic Press, September 2020

My Psychedelic Explorations – The Healing Power and Transformational Potential of Psychoactive Substances

Claudio Naranjo
Claudio Naranjo was the first to study the psychotherapeutic applications of ayahuasca, the first to publish on the effects of ibogaine, and a long-time collaborator with Sasha Shulgin in the research behind Shulgin’s famous books. A Fulbright scholar and Guggenheim fellow, Dr. Naranjo gathered more clinical experience in individual and group psychedelic treatment than any other psychotherapist to date. In his final work, Dr. Naranjo shares his psychedelic autobiography along with previously unpublished interviews, session accounts, and research papers on the therapeutic effects of psychedelics, including MDMA, ayahuasca, cannabis, iboga, and psilocybin. Naranjo’s work shows that psychedelics have the strongest potential for transforming and healing people over all therapeutic methods currently in use.
Park Street Press, September 2020

The Immortality Keys. The Secret History of the Religion with No Name

Brian C. Muraresku
This is book you really want to read. It is not only well-written and full of humour, it also provides the keys to the central mysteries of antiquity and beyond. Finally, we have actual proof that the ancients spiked their holy potions with all kinds of drugs, from ergot to poppy, henbane, datura and more. Whereas from Neolithic times to around the birth of Jesus, beer was the root of sacred drinks, it was later substituted by wines so strong that they could kill you. The author visited with experts, made countless calls, studied for years and came up with groundbreaking results that vindicate what Albert Hofmann, Gordon Wasson and especially Carl Ruck, who lost his career of his theories, promoted in their famous book The Road to Eleusis – our ancestors used psychedelics to find the way to an eternal afterlife. Absolutely captivating. (sgs)
St. Martin’s Press, September 2020

Red Pill

Hari Kunzru
A writer has left his family in Brooklyn for a three month residency at the Deuter Centre in Berlin, hoping for undisturbed days devoted to artistic absorption.
One night at a party he meets Anton, the charismatic creator of the show, and strikes up a conversation. It is a conversation that leads him on a journey into the heart of moral darkness. A conversation that threatens to destroy everything he holds most dear, including his own mind. Red Pill is a novel about the alt-right, online culture, creativity, sanity and history. It tells the story of the 21st century through the prism of the centuries that preceded it, showing how the darkest chapters of our past haunt our present. More than anything, though, this is a novel about love and how it can endure in a world where everything else seems to have lost all meaning.
Scribner, September 2020

The Magic Fish

Trung Le Nguyen
Tiến has a secret he’s been keeping from his family. Is there a way to tell them he’s gay? Real life isn’t a fairytale but Tiến still enjoys reading his favorite stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the local library. It’s hard enough trying to communicate with your parents as a kid, but for Tiến, he doesn’t even have the right words because his parents are struggling with their English. Is there a Vietnamese word for what he’s going through? This graphic novel follows a young boy as he tries to navigate life through fairytales, an instant classic that shows us how we are all connected. The Magic Fish tackles tough subjects in a way that accessible with readers of all ages, and teaches us that no matter what—we can all have our own happy endings.
Random House Graphic, October 2020

october 2020 – good to read

Will

Will Self
Unflinching, intoxicating, heartfelt, and propelled by an exceptional energy, Will is the long-awaited memoir by Will Self, whose works have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize and translated into over twenty languages. A portrait of the artist as a young addict, Will is one of the most eloquent and unusual depictions of the allure of hard drugs ever written. Will spins the reader from Self’s childhood in a quiet North London suburb to his mind-expanding education at Oxford, to a Burroughsian trip to Morocco, an outback vision in Australia, and, finally, a surreal turn in rehab. Echoing the great Modernist writers of the early twentieth century in its psychedelic stream of consciousness, Will is vividly imagistic and mordantly witty and tells a tale of excess and degradation.
Penguin, January 2020

House of Glass

Hadley Freeman
Hadley Freeman knew her grandmother Sara lived in France just as Hitler started to gain power, but rarely did anyone in her family talk about it. Long after her grandmother’s death, she found a shoe box tucked in the closet containing photographs of her grandmother with a mysterious stranger, a cryptic telegram from the Red Cross and a drawing signed by Picasso. This discovery sent Freeman on a decade-long quest to uncover the significance of these keepsakes and piece together the puzzle of her family’s past, discovering more about the lives of her grandmother and her three brothers. This thrilling family saga is filled with extraordinary twists, vivid characters and famous cameos, illuminating the Jewish and immigrant experience in the World War II era.
Simon & Schuster, May 2020

The Wild Kindness. A Psilocybin Odyssey

Bett Williams
When word gets out about her mushroom farm, Bett’s solitary ceremonies by the fire over. Not long after the police read her her Miranda Rights. On a quest to find help through the psychedelic community, Bett is led to meet an African American leader within a high-dose psilocybin community, and to Huautla de Jiménez, where the legendary curandera María Sabina spent her life. Back home, Bett begins a solid ritual practice with the help of her partner and friends, bearing in mind the medicine’s indigenous roots and power to transform one’s life. By turns hilarious and moving, The Wild Kindness: A Psilocybin Odyssey is the tale of one woman’s hypnotic, psilocybin-fueled journey toward understanding the world around her and, in turn, herself.
Dottir Press, September 2020

Magdalena: River of Dreams

Joseph Henri
We in the west are largely WEIRD: highly individualistic, self-obsessed, control-oriented, nonconformist, and analytical whereas other and older societies concentrate on their relationships with others. How did WEIRD populations become so psychologically distinct? Henri draws on cutting-edge research in anthropology, psychology, economics, and evolutionary biology to explore these questions and more. He illuminates the origins and evolution of family structures, marriage, and religion, and the profound impact these cultural transformations had on human psychology. The most fundamental institutions of kinship and marriage changed dramatically under pressure from the Roman Catholic Church – laying the foundation for the modern world.
Straus and Giroux, September 2020

EveryBody Looking

Franjo Grotenthermen, M.D.
This book explores the use of a range of cannabis products in terms of treatment of a wide range of physical and emotional conditions. Dr. Grothenthermen first explains the history of marijuana as medicine, including its important role in medical practice during the 19th century. He explains the biochemistry of cannabinoids and shows how they interact with the human body, including a look at cannabinoids and how they occur naturally in the body. The author then draws on his experience legally treating patients in Germany as well as numerous research studies and tests to provide an in-depth guide to the many healing applications for cannabis and its derivatives. Written by a practicing physician, this guide provides all you need to know to use cannabinoids safely and effectively for health and healing.
Inner Traditions, October 2020

september 2020 – good to read

Psychedelic Shamanic Magick – A Guide to the Ritual Application of Sacred Visionary Plant

Kenny Berman
The plants studied here are ayahuasca and iboga as well as the psilocybin mushroom. They find their application in a ritual context, using elementary shamanic tools, enhanced by the application of conscious willpower to effect transformation of self and circumstances or to receive messages from the otherworld. Berman’s account inspires regret for a more innocent time when Amazonian curanderos were not for sale and western seekers were but few. The author finds his teacher in a Peruvian mestizo by the name of Alberto Reategui Sangama to whom he keeps returning to compare and find meaning in other shamanic work in Mexico and Ecuador. This encompassing book provides a helpful guide for all who wish to engage in ritual, be it by themselves or as part of a group, illuminating the powerful use of the elements. (sgs)
Self-published, 2020

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art

James Nestor
Modern research is showing us that making even slight adjustments to the way we inhale and exhale can jump-start athletic performance; rejuvenate internal organs; halt snoring, asthma, and autoimmune disease; and even straighten scoliotic spines. None of this should be possible, and yet it is. Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry, and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head. You will never breathe the same again. No matter what you eat, how much you exercise, how skinny or young or wise you are, none of it matters if you’re not breathing properly.
Riverhead Books, May 2020

Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, from Soul to Psychedelics

Julie Holland, M.D.
The key to understanding the science of connection is oxytocin—a neurotransmitter and hormone produced in our bodies that allows us to trust and bond. It fosters attachment between mothers and infants, romantic partners, friends, and even with our pets. There are many ways to reach this state of mental and physical wellbeing that modern medicine has overlooked. The implications for our happiness and health are profound. We can find oneness in meditation, in community, or in awe at the beauty around us. Another option: psychedelic medicines that can catalyze a connection with the self, with nature, or the cosmos. Good Chemistry points us on the right path to forging true and deeper attachments with our own souls, to one another, and even to our planet, helping us heal ourselves and our world.
Harper Wave, June 2020

Magdalena: River of Dreams

Wade Davis
The highly regarded Canadian ethnobotanist, anthropologist, author and photographer has given us a new book about a country he knows and loves so well and has done so much for that, in 2019, he was made an honorary Colombian. With him we travel near one thousand kilometers up the Rio Magdalena, the country’s main artery, and learn about its past, present and future by way of its history, music, literature, poetry and longing – while meeting the people who live on its banks. Only when navigating the commercial and cultural corridor that is the Magdalena can a traveler “wash ashore in a coastal desert, follow waterways through wetlands as wide as the sky, ascend narrow tracks through dense tropical forests, and reach verdant Andean valley rising to the soaring ice-clad summits.” (sgs)
Vintage Publishing, August 2020

EveryBody Looking

Candice Iloh
Candice Iloh is a first-generation Nigerian-American writer, teaching artist and youth educator. She has performed her work around the United States, most notably at Nuyorican Poets Café in New York City, the Women Poets & HipHop celebration at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore, and as a part of the Africa in Motion performing arts series at the National Museum of African Art in Washington, D.C. Her first novel takes us through the life of Ada – the daughter of a Nigerian immigrant father and an African American mother who struggles to craft her identity in the world and within her own family. Candice Iloh weaves the key moments of Ada’s young life into a luminous narrative about family, belonging, sexuality, and confronting our deepest truths in order to feel whole.
Penguin-Random House, September 2020

august 2020 – good to read

Memoirs and Misinformation. A Novel.

Jim Carrey
The author is an insanely successful movie star – but he’s also lonely. He’s tried diets, gurus, and cuddling with his military-grade Israeli guard dogs, but nothing seems to lift the cloud of emptiness and ennui. But then Jim meets Georgie: ruthless ingénue, love of his life. And with the help of auteur screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, he has a role to play in a boundary-pushing new picture that may help him uncover a whole new side to himself–finally, his Oscar vehicle! Things are looking up! Memoirs and Misinformation is a semi-autobiographical satirical novel. In it, Jim Carrey and Dana Vachon have fashioned a story about acting, Hollywood, agents, celebrity, privilege, friendship, romance, addiction to relevance, fear of personal erasure, our “one big soul,” Canada, and a cataclysmic ending of the world – apocalypses within and without.
Knopf, May 2020

The Future Earth. A Radical Vision for What’s Possible in the Age of Warming

Eric Holthaus
The first hopeful book about climate change, The Future Earth shows readers how to reverse the short- and long-term effects of climate change over the next three decades. The basics of climate science are easy. We know it is entirely human-caused. Which means its solutions will be similarly human-led. In The Future Earth, leading climate change advocate and weather-related journalist Eric Holthaus (“the Rebel Nerd of Meteorology”—Rolling Stone) offers a radical vision of our future, specifically how to reverse the short- and long-term effects of climate change over the next three decades. Anchored by world-class reporting, interviews with futurists, climatologists, biologists, economists, and climate change activists, it shows what the world could look like if we implemented radical solutions on the scale of the crises we face.
HarperOne, June 2020

Desert Notebooks. Journals for the End of Time

Ben Ehrenreich
The author, a columnist for The Nation, describes the natural landscape of Joshua Tree National Park and the artificial desert of Las Vegas, where he spends time writing. First, he keeps a journal while living in a cabin in Joshua Tree, only to move to a lonely apartment in Vegas on a six-months scholarship. In Joshua Tree, he is riveted by the vastness of the land and the sky and nurtures his love of owls – real and imagined. Nature writing, mythology, environmental science and his own inner and outer adventures fill his days and pages. Another dimension awaits him when he moves to the city of neon lights where he also finds beauty and plenty of occasions to pursue his thoughts about the Anthropocene and the changing fate of the earth and its inhabitants, including the unstable political climate. (sgs)
Counterpoint, July 2020

Utopia Avenue

David Mitchell
This rock novel plays in the psychedelic sixties, where we witness a British band rising, peaking and sinking. They resemble the British folk rock band Fairport Convention and their unforgettable lead singer, Sandy Deny, and are managed by a strange beatnik called Levon Frankland. Band members Elf Holloway (vocals), Jasper de Zoet (guitar), Dean Moss (base) and Griff (drums) move from provincial venues to big cities, including the Apple. Their trials and tribulations are a rollercoaster ride of elation and sorrow but there is one constant: their music. We also gain deep insights into the proponents’ characters, introspection being what you practiced when you were on heroic doses of drugs in those days. This is the author’s eighth novel, and it is a smash hit already because this man knows how to tell a story. (sgs)
Hodder and Stoughton, July 2020

Remain in Love. Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, Tina

Chris Frantz
Chris Frantz met David Byrne at the Rhode Island School of Art & Design in the early 1970s. Together – and soon with Frantz’s future wife, Tina Weymouth – they formed Talking Heads and took up residence in the grimy environs of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where their neighbours were Patti Smith, William Burroughs and a host of proto-punk artists who now have legendary status. Building an early audience and reputation with many performances at CBGB alongside the Ramones, Television and Blondie, Talking Heads found themselves feted by Warhol (who famously referred to them as ‘Talking Horses’) and Lou Reed. A band whose sensibility was both a part of, and apart from, punk, their early albums quickly became classics; until the Brian Eno produced masterpiece Remain in Light, saw them explode…
Orion, July 2020

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