october 2019 – good to read

How To Be An Antiracist

Ibram X Kendi
Using his extraordinary gifts as a teacher and story-teller, Kendi helps us recognise that everyone is, at times, complicit in racism whether they realise it or not, and by describing with moving humility his own journey from racism to antiracism, he shows us how instead to be a force for good. Along the way, Kendi punctures all the myths and taboos that so often cloud our understanding, from arguments about what race is and whether racial differences exist to the complications that arise when race intersects with ethnicity, class, gender and sexuality. In the process he demolishes the myth of the post-racial society and builds from the ground up a vital new understanding of racism – what it is, where it is hidden, how to identify it and what to do about it.
Penguin, August 2019

We Are The Weather. Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast

Jonathan Safran Foer 
Climate crisis is the single biggest threat to human survival. And it is happening right now. We all understand that time is running out – but do we truly believe it? And, caught between the seemingly unimaginable and the apparently unthinkable, how can we take the first step towards action, to arrest our race to extinction? We can begin with our knife and fork. The link between farming animals and the climate crisis is barely discussed, because giving up our meat-based diets feels like an impossible task. But we don’t have to go cold turkey. Cutting out animal products for just part of the day is enough to change the world. Jonathan Safran Foer presents the essential debate of our time as no one else could, bringing it to vivid and urgent life and offering us all a much-needed way out.
Penguin, September 2019

On Fire.The Burning Case for a New Green Deal

Naomi Klein
For more than twenty years, Naomi Klein has been the foremost chronicler of the economic war waged on both people and planet—and an unapologetic champion of a sweeping environmental agenda with justice at its center. In lucid, elegant dispatches from the frontlines of contemporary natural disaster, she pens surging, indispensable essays for a wide public: prescient advisories and dire warnings of what future awaits us if we refuse to act, as well as hopeful glimpses of a far better future. On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal gathers more than a decade of her impassioned writing, and pairs it with new material on the staggeringly high stakes of our immediate political and economic choices. An expansive exploration that sees the battle for a greener world as indistinguishable from the fight for our lives.
Simon & Schuster, September 2019

The Year of the Monkey

Patti Smith
Following a run of New Year’s concerts at San Francisco’s legendary Fillmore, Patti Smith finds herself tramping the coast of Santa Cruz, about to embark on a year of solitary wandering. Unfettered by logic or time, she draws us into her private wonderland with no design, yet heeding signs–including a talking sign that looms above her, prodding and sparring like the Cheshire Cat. In February, a surreal lunar year begins, bringing with it unexpected turns, heightened mischief, and inescapable sorrow. In a stranger’s words, «Anything is possible: after all, it’s the Year of the Monkey.» For Patti the year evolves as one of reckoning with the changes in life’s gyre: with loss, aging, and a dramatic shift in the political landscape of America.
Simon & Schuster, September 2019

Face it (My Story)

Debbie Harry
Musician, actor, activist, and celebrated beauty, Debbie Harry, the front woman of Blondie, has collaborated, as a muse, with some of the boldest artists of the past four decades. The scope of her impact on our culture has been matched only by her reticence to reveal her rich inner life—until now. In an arresting mix of visceral, soulful storytelling and visuals including new photographs, bespoke illustrations and fan art installations, Face It upends the standard music memoir while delivering a prismatic portrait. With all the grit, grime, and glory recounted in intimate detail, Face It re-creates the downtown scene of 1970s New York City, where Blondie played alongside the Ramones, Television, Talking Heads, Iggy Pop and David Bowie.
Harper Collins, October 2019

september 2019 – good to read

The Peyote Effect. From the Inquisition to the War on Drugs

Alexander S, Dawson
While some have attempted to explain the cultural and religious significance peyote, Alexander S. Dawson offers a completely new way of understanding the place of ths special cactus in history, arguing that it has marked the boundary between the Indian and the West since the Spanish Inquisition outlawed it in 1620. For nearly four centuries ecclesiastical, legal, scientific, and scholarly authorities have tried (unsuccessfully) to police that boundary to ensure that, while indigenous subjects might consume peyote, others could not. The Peyote Effect explores how battles over who might enjoy a right to consume peyote have unfolded in both hemispheres, and how these conflicts have produced the systems that characterises modern drug regimes
University of California Press, September 2018

Brian Blomerth’s Bicycle Day

Brian Blomerth
Brooklyn illustrator, musician and self-described «comic stripper» Brian Blomerth has spent years combining classic underground art styles with his bitingly irreverent visual wit in zines, comics, and album covers. With Brian Blomerth’s Bicycle Day, the artist has produced his most ambitious work to date: a historical account of the events of April 19, 1943, when Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann ingested an experimental dose of a new compound known as lysergic acid diethylamide and embarked on the world’s first acid trip. Combining an extraordinary true story told in journalistic detail with the artist’s gritty, timelessly Technicolor comics style, Brian Blomerth’s Bicycle Day is a testament to mind expansion and a stunningly original visual history.
Anthology, June 2019

Novacene: The Coming Age of Hyperintelligence

James Lovelock with Bryan Appleyard
New beings will emerge from existing artificial intelligence systems. They will think 10,000 times faster than we do and they will regard us as we now regard plants – as desperately slow acting and thinking creatures. But this will not be the cruel, violent machine takeover of the planet imagined by sci-fi writers and film-makers. These hyper-intelligent beings will be as dependent on the health of the planet as we are. They will need the planetary cooling system of Gaia to defend them from the increasing heat of the sun as much as we do. And Gaia depends on organic life. We will be partners in this project. This is how James Lovelock, father of the Gaia Theory, sees our future.
The MIT Press, July 2019

The Last Ocean. A Journey Through Memory and Forgetting

Nicci Gerrard
After a diagnosis of dementia, Nicci Gerrard’s father, John, continued to live life on his own terms, alongside the disease. But when an isolating hospital stay precipitated a dramatic turn for the worse, Gerrard, an award-winning journalist and author, recognised that it was not just the disease, but misguided protocol and harmful practices that cause such pain at the end of life. Gerrard was inspired to seek a better course for all who suffer because of the disease. She examines the philosophy of what it means to have a self, as well as how we can offer dignity and peace to those who suffer with this terrible disease. Not only will it aid those walking with dementia patients, The Last Ocean will prompt all of us to think on the nature of a life well lived.
PenguinRandom House, August 2019

The Testaments

Margaret Atwood
When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her – freedom, prison or death. With The Testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead. «Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.» More acclaim for Margaret Atwood to follow.
Random House UK, September 2019

august 2019 – good to read

Consciousness Medicine: Indigenous Wisdom, Entheogens, and Expanded States of Consciousness for Healing and Growth

Krishna Hunter, Françoise Bourzat
Psychedelic medicines also known as entheogens are entering the mainstream. No wonder: despite having access to the latest wellness trends and advances in technology, we’re no healthier, happier, or more meaningfully connected. Psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, and LSD — as well as other time-tested techniques with the power to shift consciousness such as drumming, meditation, and vision quests — are now being recognised as potent catalysts for change and healing. But how do we ensure that we’re approaching them effectively? Françoise Bourzat — a counsellor and experienced guide with sanctioned training in the Mazatec and other indigenous traditions—and healer Kristina Hunter introduce a holistic model focusing on the threefold process of preparation, journey, and integration. A comprehensive guide to the safe and ethical application of expanded states of consciousness, for therapists, healing practitioners and explorers.
Copyrighted material, June 2019 

Alien Information: Psychedelic Drug Technologies and the Cosmic Game

Andrew R. Gallimore
The neurobiologist, chemist, and pharmacologist explains how DMT provides the secret to the very structure of our reality, and how our Universe can be likened to a cosmic game that we now find ourselves playing, using a fundamental code which generated our Universe — and countless others — as a digital device built from pure information with the purpose of enabling conscious intelligences, such as ourselves, to emerge. You will learn how fundamental digital information self-organises and complexities to generate the myriad complex forms and organisms that fill our world; how your brain constructs your subjective world and how psychedelic drugs alter the structure of this world; how DMT switches the reality channel by allowing the brain to access information from normally hidden orthogonal dimensions of reality.
Strange World Press, June 2019

Shapeshifters

John B. Kachuba
The myths, magic, and meaning surrounding shapeshifters are brought vividly to life in John B. Kachuba’s compelling and original cultural history. Rituals in early cultures worldwide seemingly allowed shamans, sorcerers, witches, and wizards to transform at will into animals and back again. Today, there are millions of people who believe that shapeshifters walk among us and may even be world leaders. Featuring a fantastic and ghoulish array of examples from history, literature, film, TV, and computer games, Shapeshifters explores our secret desire to become something other than human. Real or imaginary, shapeshifters lurk deep in our psyches and remain formidable cultural icons.
University of Chicago Press, June 2019

The Way of the Psychonaut. Encyclopedia for Inner Journeys. Volumes I and II

Stanislav Grof, M.D., PhD.
Written in his late eighties, at the height of his career, The Way of the Psychonaut is possibly Stanislav Grof’s greatest contribution. The astounding breadth and depth of his knowledge, the easy and accessible tone of his writing, and his narratives brightened with amusing anecdotes, intriguing personal accounts, and brilliant case studies makes it a page-turner. Grof reviews the history of depth psychotherapy, the important revisions needed to make it more effective, and why the inner quest is such an essential pursuit. As one of the fathers of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, its most experienced practitioner, and deeply deserving of a Nobel Prize in medicine, in these two volumes Grof has successfully unveiled a new and sweeping paradigm in self-exploration and healing. The vast and practical knowledge in this book is sure to be an invaluable and treasured resource for all serious seekers.
MAPS, July 2019

Gods of Jade and Shadow

Silvia-Moreno-Garcia
The Jazz Age is in full swing but Cassiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Instead, she spends her time dreaming of a life of her own far from her small town in Southern Mexico. This new life seems as distant the start until she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. By opening it, she accidentally releases the spirit of the Mayan god of death who requests her help in recovering his throne from his brother. This is a mission she cannot refuse or fail but success could make her dreams come true. In the company of the strangely alluring gods, Cassiopea begins a cross-country odyssey that takes her from the jungles of Yucatan to the bright lights of Mexico City as well as deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld.
Barnes and Noble, August 2019

july 2019 – good to read

Hello World. How to be Human in the Age of the Machine

Hannah Fry
You are accused of a crime. Who would you rather determined your fate – a human or an algorithm?
An algorithm is more consistent and less prone to error of judgment. Yet a human can look you in the eye before passing sentence.  Welcome to the age of the algorithm, the story of a not-too-distant future where machines rule supreme, making important decisions – in healthcare, transport, finance, security, what we watch, where we go even who we send to prison. So how much should we rely on them? What kind of future do we want?
Hannah Fry takes us on a tour of the good, the bad and the downright ugly of the algorithms that surround us, she lifts the lid on their inner workings, demonstrates their power, exposes their limitations, and examines whether they really are an improvement on the humans they are replacing.
Transpub Publishing,  March 2019

Atlas of Poetic Zoology

Emmanuelle Pouydebat
This Atlas of Poetic Zoology leads readers into a world of wonders where turtles fly under the sea, lizards walk on water, insects impersonate flowers, birds don’t fly, frogs come back from the dead, and virgin sharks give birth. Animals, writes Emmanuelle Pouydebat, are lyric poets; they discover and shape the world when they sing, dance, explore, and reproduce. The animal kingdom has been evolving for 700,000 million years, weathering many crises of extinction; this book allows us to draw inspiration from animals’ enduring vitality. Emmanuelle Pouydebat is a permanent researcher employed by the CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research), working at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris.
The MIT Press, March 2019

Mescaline: A Global History of the First Psychedelic

Mike Jay
Mescaline was isolated in 1897 from the peyote cactus, first encountered by Europeans during the Spanish conquest of Mexico. During the twentieth century it was used by psychologists investigating the secrets of consciousness, spiritual seekers from Aleister Crowley to the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, artists exploring the creative process, and psychiatrists looking to cure schizophrenia. Meanwhile peyote played a vital role in preserving and shaping Native American identity. Drawing on botany, pharmacology, ethnography, and the mind sciences and examining the mescaline experiences of figures from William James to Walter Benjamin to Hunter S. Thompson, this is an enthralling narrative of mescaline’s many lives.
Yale University Press, June 2019

High Weirdnes. Esoterica, and Visionary Experience in the Seventies

An exploration of the emergence of a new psychedelic spirituality in the work of Philip K. Dick, Terence McKenna, and Robert Anton Wilson.
Erik Davis 
America’s leading scholar on things extraordinary examines the writings of three iconoclastic thinkers and their life-changing mystical experiences. After a sound theoretical and scholarly introduction to various strange states, their meaning and possible origins (the author writes we can skip if we want), we get to the core experiences of our three proponents: Terence and Dennis McKenna and their – psychotic or shamanic  – adventures in La Chorrera, Columbia; Robert Anton Wilson and the synchronicities and altered states he experienced while writing CosmicTrigger and last but not least, Philip K. Dick and an occurrence that goes by the name of 2-3-74. As beyond the norm these experiences may be, Davis’ finds a fascinating context for them, as well as presenting them seriously, which elevates them beyond mere lore and lends them respectability. This is not an easy book but it is highly worthwhile, a true Bible of Weirdness shedding light on the mystical thinking of an entire generation. (sgs)

MindApps. Multistate Theory and Tools for Mind Desig

Thomas B. Roberts (Introduction: James Fadiman) 
Using psychedelics as the prime example, Thomas B. Roberts explores the many different kinds of mindapps, including meditation, other psychoactive plants and chemicals, sensory overload and deprivation, biofeedback and neurofeedback, hypnosis and suggestion, sleep and lucid dreaming, creative imagery, transcranial brain stimulation and optical brain stimulation, rites of passage, martial arts and exercise routines, yoga, breathing techniques, and contemplative prayer. He also looks at the future of mindapps, the potential for new mindapps yet to be invented, and how installing multiple mindapps can produce new, yet to be explored mind states. Drawing on decades of research, he shows how psychedelics in particular are «ideagens»–powerful tools for generating new ideas and new ways of thinking. Reformulating how we think about the human mind, MindApps unveils the new multistate landscape of the mind and how we can each enter the world of mind design.

june 2019 – good to read

Everything in Its Place: First Loves and Last Tales

Oliver Sacks
Dr. Oliver Sacks spent more than fifty years working as a neurologist and writing books about the neurological predicaments and conditions of his patients, including The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a HatMusicophilia, and Hallucinations. The New York Times referred to him as «the poet laureate of medicine,» and over the years he received many awards, including honours from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and the Royal College of Physicians. His memoir On the Move was published shortly before his death in August 2015. Everything in Its Place is a celebration of Sacks’s myriad interests, told with his characteristic compassion and erudition, and in his luminous prose.
Random House, April 2019

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A therapist, her therapist, and our lives revealed

Lori Gottlieb
Therapy used to be a taboo subject, but thankfully seeing a professional to help us is no longer looked down on. In Maybe You Should to Talk to Someone, therapist Lori Gottlieb helps patients in her Los Angeles practice, including a self-absorbed Hollywood producer, a young newlywed diagnosed with a terminal illness and a 20-something who can’t stop getting together with the wrong men. And then, one day, disaster strikes and Gottlieb finds that she is the one in need of a therapist. Enter Wendall, a quirky but seasoned practitioner who helps Gottlieb with the questions she’s been struggling with. Candid and deeply personal, this is a book about being both patient and clinician, and one that offers hope to us al.
Scribe, May 2019

The Age of Living Machines

Susan Hockfield 
Today, the world’s population is projected to rise to well over 9.5 billion by 2050, and we are currently faced with the consequences of producing the energy that fuels, heats, and cools us. With temperatures and sea levels rising, and large portions of the globe plagued with drought, famine, and drug-resistant diseases, we need new technologies to tackle these problems. But we are on the cusp of a new convergence, argues world-renowned neuroscientist Susan Hockfield, with discoveries in biology coming together with engineering to produce another array of almost inconceivable technologies—next-generation products that have the potential to be every bit as paradigm shifting as the twentieth century’s digital wonders.
Norton, May 2019

Into the Forest: How Trees can Help You Find Health and Happiness

Dr Qing Li
Humans are increasingly becoming an indoor species. We spend 90 per cent of our life indoors. And, on average, we dedicate eight hours a day looking at screens. Our increasingly domestic lives are having huge consequences to our health. In Into the Forest, Immunologist and Forest Medicine expert, Dr Qing Li, examines the unprecedented benefits of the world’s largest natural health resource: the great outdoors. Applying cutting-edge research and emerging science, Dr Li explores the inherent connection between nature and improved wellbeing. This practical guide will help you overcome some of life’s most problematic health issues. From mindful strolls in your local park to listening to the wind, from watching the sunset to walking barefoot in the grass, Dr Li reveals the life-improving advantages of spending time around trees, for a healthier and happier you.
Penguin, June 2019

Taking Up Space – The Black Girl’s Manifesto for Change

Chelsea Kwakye / Ore Ugunbiyi
As a minority in a predominantly white institution, taking up space is an act of resistance. And in higher education, feeling like you constantly have to justify your existence within institutions that weren’t made for you is an ongoing struggle for many people. Chelsea Kwakye and Ore Ogunbiyi, two recent Cambridge graduates, wrote Taking Up Space as a guide and a manifesto for change: tackling issues of access, unrepresentative curricula, discrimination in the classroom, the problems of activism, and life before and after university. Featuring honest conversations with students past and present, Taking Up Space goes beyond the buzzwords of diversity and inclusion and explores what those words truly mean for young black girls today.
Penguin, June 2019

mai 2019 – good to read

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present

David Treuer 
The received idea of Native American history has been that American Indian history essentially ended with the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee. Not only did one hundred fifty Sioux die at the hands of the U. S. Cavalry, the sense was, but Native civilization did as well. Growing up Ojibwa on a reservation in Minnesota, training as an anthropologist, and researching Native life past and present for his nonfiction and novels, David Treuer has uncovered a different narrative. Because they did not disappear–and not despite but rather because of their intense struggles to preserve their language, their traditions, their families, and their very existence–the story of American Indians since the end of the nineteenth century to the present is one of unprecedented resourcefulness and reinvention.
Riverhead Books, January 2019

Higher Etiquette: A Guide to the World of Cannabis, from Dispensaries to Dinner Parties

Lizzie Post
Although the stigma surrounding marijuana use is disappearing, many Americans still don’t know how to be responsible, respectful users in the modern era. Enter Lizzie Post, great-great granddaughter of Emily Post, co-president of the world’s most respected etiquette brand, and an experienced cannabis user. In Higher Etiquette, Post answers every question you have about pot today: how to bring it to a dinner party, how to respectfully use it as a houseguest, and how to present it as a gift, plus a primer on the wide world of cannabis products that are available today. With charming illustrations and a handsome, jacketless hardcover format, this is a book you will read, use, gift, and proudly display on your coffee table.
Futuros Genios, March 2019

Blossoms in Autumn

Zidrou and Aimée de Jongh
This graphic novel, a collaboration between the Dutch artist Aimée de Jongh and the Belgian writer Zidrou, tells the sometimes a little corny story of two older people falling in love. The lonely Ulysses, who used to work in removal but was laid off, and the former beauty queen turned owner of a cheese shop, chance upon each other at Ulysses doctor son’s cabinet though Ulysses has been trying to force «chance» to the best of his abilities. Of course he never thought of this possibility. Ms Solenza believes she is no longer desirable, and though she is beautiful, all she sees when she looks in the mirror at herself are wrinkles, rolls and creases. Love fixes all of that and gives the two lonely hearts a new lease on life. (sgs)
Self Made Hero, April 2019

Psychedelic Mysteries of the Feminine

Maria Papaspyrou, Chiara Baldini & David Luke 
Women have been shamans since time immemorial. Whether female or male, the altered states produced by psychedelics and ecstatic trance expand our minds to tap into and enhance our feminine states of consciousness as well as reconnect us to the web of life. Here, we discover the transformative powers of feminine consciousness and altered states as revealed by contributors both female and male, including revered scholars, visionary artists, anthropologists, modern shamans, witches, psychotherapists, and policy makers. They study the archetypal dimensions of the feminine principle and how entheogens give us open access to these ancient archetypes, including goddess consciousness and the dark feminine as well as exploring the feminine in the creative process and discuss feminist psychedelic activism.
Park Street Press, May 2019

No Walls and the Recurring Dream. A Memoir

Ani di Franco
Ani’s coming of age story is defined by her ethos of fierce independence –  from being an emancipated minor sleeping in a Buffalo bus station to unwaveringly building a career through appearances at small clubs and festivals, to releasing her first album at the age of 18, to consciously rejecting the mainstream recording industry and creating her own label, Righteous Babe Records. In these pages, as in life, she never hesitates to question established rules and expectations, maintaining a level of artistic integrity that has inspired and challenged more than a few. Ani continues to be a major touring and recording artist as well as a celebrated activist and feminist.
Penguin/Random House, May 2019

april 2019 – good to read

Art, Theory and the Anthropocene

Markus Zusak
This is the breathtaking story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. At the center of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge – for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins, for a miracle. The question is, how far is Clay willing to go? And how much can he overcome? “But if The Book Thief is his most famous book, Bridge of Clay is his magnum opus. Zusak, now 43, was just 20 years old when he first came up with the concept. All these years later, he still speaks of the moment dreamily: ‘I thought of a boy building a bridge, and he wanted to make this one beautiful, great, perfect thing.’” (The Guardian)
Random House, October 2018

The Science of Microdosing Psychedelics

Torsten Passie, M.D.
Dr Torsten Passie reveals a rich and largely ignored history of research with microdose, minidose and low-dose LSD, putting claims about microdosing’s extraordinary effects under the microscope. Included is a foreword by Dr David Nichols. He reveals a rich and largely ignored history of research with  microdose, minidose and low-dose LSD, and other psychedelics, and original translations from German to English. At a time when microdosing is being lauded across the media as a potential panacea, this carefully researched and scientifically presented work provides an objective and clear perspective, covering key areas such as tolerance, toxicity, and placebo. A book no discerning researcher, practitioner or psychedelic aficionado should be without.
Psychedelic Press, February 2019

Bad Yogi

Alice Williams
No matter how much I’d like to be a yoga glamazon, they are not my tribe. My tribe are aqua crew-cut goddesses who smell like samosas. My tribe are neurotic corporate banshees with white knuckles on Goldman Sachs water bottles. My tribe are seven different lineages that all lead to the same destination.’ When Alice Williams gets «phased out» of her dream job, all the demons she usually silences with food start to get too loud to ignore. Unemployed and depressed, she makes the ultimate middle-class, white-girl life change: she signs up to become a yoga teacher. Bad Yogi is the «healing» memoir for people who hate healing memoirs, a delightful peek at the life-changing truth that lies behind all the gurus and jargon.
Affirm Press, March 2019

A Line in the River: Khartoum, City of Memory

Jamal Mahjoub 
In 1956, Sudan gained independence from Britain and stood on the brink of a promising future. Instead, it descended into civil war and imploded. The continuing conflict in the western region of Darfur has driven millions from their homes and killed thousands more. Jamal Mahjoub was among those who fled following the coup of 1989. Twenty years later, he returned. Hoping to pull together the fragments of his British and Sudanese identity into a cohesive whole, he explores his own memories of Khartoum, which leads him into an examination of Sudan’s rich past and present. Mahjoub brings colonialism, religion, politics, and memoir together to create a layered and revelatory portrait of a complex country, with his own story at the heart.
Bloomsbury, March 2019

Queenie

Candice Carty-Willliams
Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth. As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, «What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?» — all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her. Funny and insightful.
Orion publishing, April 2019

march 2019 – good to read

Journey to Everywhere

Michael Kawitzky (aka as Schwann)
The reprint of Journey to Everywhere chronicles the true adventures of the South African writer, indie-film maker, cyberpunk, psychonaut and family man Schwann Cybershaman while collecting material for the films Cognition Factor (2009) and The Terence McKenna Omnibus (2012). Schwann depicts the early days of the South African internet, Mweb, and how he and his friends pieced it together, drives thousands of clicks during his wild trips around South Africa, meets Annie Sprinkle, Rupert Sheldrake, Ralph Abrahams and Terence McKenna, invites Dennis McKenna to Ibiza, visits Gibraltar and Edinburgh, travels to Basel for Albert Hofmann’s 100th anniversary – always Gonzo style. A former «suit» during the Apartheid era, the freewheeling columnist coins the expressions «cybershamanism» and «webtrance», while regaling us with tales as seen from his unique perspective, having represented South African counterculture internationally since the early nineties. His writing is fast, hilarious, pensive, tender or just plain mad, and he usually has some illegal substance or other in his pockets that keep him going. (See also good to see)
Headspace Press, December 2018

Ways to Go Beyond and Why They Work – Seven Spiritual Practices in a Scientific World

Rupert Sheldrake
In this sequel to Science and Spiritual Practices, Rupert looks at seven spiritual practices that are personally transformative and have scientifically measurable effects. The spiritual side of sports; learning form animals; fasting; cannabis, psychedelic and spiritual openings; powers of prayer; holy days and festivals; cultivating good habits, avoiding bad habits and being kind give us a greater sense of connectedness and make us happier and healthier. Sheldrake combines the latest scientific research with his knowledge of mystical traditions around the world and explains why these seven practices work. He looks at their effects inside our brains, throughout our bodies, and on our relationships and asks whether spiritual experiences are essentially illusory, or if they give us direct connections with realms of consciousness greater than our own.
Coronet, January 2019

Future Sacred – The Connected Creativity of Nature

Julie J. Morley
The author offers a new perspective on the human link to the cosmos by unveiling the connected creativity and sacred intelligence of nature. She rejects the narrative of the «survival of the fittest» – the idea that survival requires strife –, advances symbiosis and cooperation as nature’s path of moving forward and shows how an increasingly complex world demands increasingly complex consciousness. Our survival depends upon embracing this consciousness, understanding ourselves as part of nature, as well as relating to nature as sacred. Indigenous cultures lived in relative harmony with nature because they perceived themselves as part of the «ordered whole» of all life – until modernity introduced dualistic thinking, thus separating mind from matter, and humans from nature.
Park Street Press, February 2019

The Way We Eat Now: Strategies for Eating in a World of Change

Bee Wilson
This is a book about the good, the terrible and the avocado toast. The Way We Eat Now explains how modern food, in all its complexity, has transformed our lives and our world. To re-establish eating as something that gives us both joy and health, we need to find out where we are right now, how we got here and what it is that we share. Award-winning food writer Bee Wilson explores everything from meal replacements, the disappearing lunch hour, the rise of veganism, the lack of time to cook and prepare food and the rapid increase in food delivery services. And Bee provides her own doable strategies for how we might navigate the many options available to us to have a balanced, happier relationship with the food we eat.
Harper/Collins, March 2019

The Source of Self-Regard – Selected Essays, Speeches and Meditations

Toni Morrison
The Source of Self-Regard is divided into three parts: the first is introduced by a prayer for the dead of 9/11; the second by a meditation on Martin Luther King Jr. and the last by a eulogy for James Baldwin. In the writings and speeches included here, Morrison takes on contested social issues: the foreigner, female empowerment, the press, money, «black matters» and human rights. She looks at enduring questions of culture: the role of the artist in society, the literary imagination, the Afro-American presence in American literature and in her Nobel lecture, the power of language itself. Here too she offers piercing commentaries on her own work (including The Bluest Eye, Sula, Tar Baby, Jazz, Beloved, and Paradise).
Penguin/Random House, February 2019

february 2019 – good to read

Searching for the Philosophers’ Stone. Encounters with Mystics, Scientists and Healers

Ralph Metzner, PhD.
A moving speaker and a great raconteur who knows the psychedelic research community like other, Ralph Metzner is our beloved elder, and it is a great pleasure to find him sharing the memories of thirty years of his long life with us. We read about his encounters with Albert Hofmann, Alexander Shulgin, Terence McKenna or Leo Zeff, we learn more about Ho’oponopono, the healing Hawaiian bodywork, and how it came to the West, and witness how the author was introduced to iboga, ayahuasca and the teachings of G.I. Gurdjieff, aka as the Fourth Way.  Ralph Metzner has had an amazing life, and his life-long quest is a testimony to his belief that we should actively undertake the One Quest (Claudio Naranjo) leading to the understanding of self and others, and of life. (sgs)
Park Street Press, December 2018

How to Be Human The Manual

Ruby Wax
«We can’t stop the future from arriving, no matter what drugs we’re on. But even if nearly every part of us becomes robotic, we’ll still, fingers crossed, have our minds, which, hopefully, we’ll be able use for things like compassion, rather than chasing what’s ‘better,’ and if we can do that we’re on the yellow brick road to happiness. I wrote this book with a little help from a monk, who explains how the mind works, and also gives some mindfulness exercises, and a neuroscientist who explains what makes us ‘us’ in the brain. We answer every question you’ve ever had about: evolution, thoughts, emotions, the body, addictions, relationships, kids, the future and compassion. How to be Human is extremely funny, true and the only manual you’ll need to help you upgrade your mind as much as you’ve upgraded your iPhone.» (Ruby Wax)
Penguin, January 2019

Our Universe

Jo Dunkley
A world-renowned astrophysicist takes us through the huge, unfolding history of the universe: The night sky is an endless source of wonder and mystery. For thousands of years it has been at the heart of scientific and philosophical inquiry, from the first star catalogues etched into ancient Mesopotamian clay tablets to the meters-wide telescopes constructed in Chile’s Atacama Desert today. On a clear night it is hard not to look up and pick out familiar constellations, and to think of the visionary minds that pioneered our understanding of what lies beyond. In this thrilling new guide to our Universe and how it works, Professor of Astrophysics Jo Dunkley reveals how it only becomes more beautiful and exciting the more we discover about it.
Penguin, January 2019

The Library Book

Susan Orlean
After moving to Los Angeles, Susan Orlean became fascinated by a mysterious local crime that has gone unsolved since it was carried out on the morning of 29 April 1986: who set fire to the Los Angeles Public Library, ultimately destroying more than 400,000 books, and perhaps even more perplexing, why? With her characteristic humour, insight and compassion, Orlean uses this terrible event as a lens through which to tell the story of all libraries – their history, their meaning and their uncertain future as they adapt and redefine themselves in a digital world. Filled with heart, passion and extraordinary characters, The Library Book discusses the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives.
Simon & Schuster, January 2018

Traveling High & Tripping Hard

Joseph Davida 
Traveling High and Tripping Hard is the story of a young man’s quest to find the meaning of life through a series of altered states and high adventures…
After accidentally ingesting a large dose of PCP when eight years old, Joseph Davida had an apocalyptic vision that would change the course of his life forever. Charged with the monumental task of saving the world, he set out on a mission that led him through the jungles of Central America, the pyramids of Egypt, the temples of Kathmandu—and into the deepest recesses of his mind. For anyone who has ever wanted a glimpse into those strange places that lie somewhere between the darkness and light, hope and despair, and spirituality and madness, Traveling High and Tripping Hard is guaranteed to deliver.
Dark Planet Press, January 2018

january 2019 – good to read

Bridge of Clay

Markus Zusak
This is the breathtaking story of five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. At the center of the Dunbar family is Clay, a boy who will build a bridge – for his family, for his past, for greatness, for his sins, for a miracle. The question is, how far is Clay willing to go? And how much can he overcome? “But if The Book Thief is his most famous book, Bridge of Clay is his magnum opus. Zusak, now 43, was just 20 years old when he first came up with the concept. All these years later, he still speaks of the moment dreamily: ‘I thought of a boy building a bridge, and he wanted to make this one beautiful, great, perfect thing.’” (The Guardian)
Random House, October 2018

Hesse – The Wanderer and His Shadow

Gunnar Decker
Against the horrors of Nazi dictatorship and widespread disillusionment with the forces of mass culture and consumerism, Hermann Hesse’s stories inspired nonconformity and a yearning for universal values. Gunnar Decker weaves together previously unavailable sources to offer a unique interpretation of the life and work of the author of Siddhartha, Steppenwolf, and Demian. Drawing on recently discovered correspondence between Hesse and his psychoanalyst Josef Lang, Decker shows how Hesse reversed the traditional roles of therapist and client, and rethinks the relationship between Hesse’s novels and Jungian psychoanalysis. He also explores Hesse’s correspondence with Stefan Zweig – recently unearthed – to find the source of Hesse’s profound sense of alienation from his contemporaries.
Harvard University Press, November 2018

Did You Just Eat That?

Paul Dawson and Brian Sheldon
In Did You Just Eat That? food scientists Paul Dawson and Brian Sheldon take readers into the lab to show, for example, how they determine the amount of bacteria that gets transferred by sharing utensils or how many microbes live on restaurant menus. The authors list their materials and methods (in case you want to replicate the experiments), guide us through their results, and offer in-depth explanations of good hygiene and microbiology. Written with candid humour and richly illustrated, this fascinating book will reveal surprising answers to the most frequently debated – and also the weirdest – questions about food and germs, sure to satisfy anyone who has ever wondered: should I really eat that?
Norton, December 2018

Andy: The Life and Times of Andy Warhol

Typex
In Andy comics artist Typex captures the remarkable life of the king of Pop Art, from his  working-class upbringing in Pittsburgh to the dizzying heights of his celebrity. Spanning a period that began with the “talkies” and ended with the advent of house music, it is also a memorable portrait of 20th-century pop culture and the stars defining it. Spanning Warhol’s early career as a commercial illustrator, his relationship with the Velvet Underground, and the development of his own instantly recognisable style, Andy deftly portrays the artist and a master self-promoter. Intensively researched, this 568-page graphic biography is the first to tell the complete life story of the iconic pop artist.
Art Masters, December 2018

Kosmos A Theory of Psychedelic Experience

Peter Webster
The author presents arguments, examples, personal experience, and published research to develop the theory that the principal, and maybe only effect of LSD and similar psychedelics is the amplification of meaning. Webster attempts to assemble a comprehensive Theory of Psychedelic Experience, an overview from several perspectives of how a psychedelic experience feels to the voyager, how and why it may affect his views and beliefs, how psychedelic perception happens on a psychological and neurological basis and why it appears to be similar or identical to states of consciousness sometimes attained spontaneously or through meditation and other age-old techniques.
© Chantal Webster, 2018

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