july 2020 – good to read

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas Illustrated

Alice B. Toklas (author); Maria Kalmas (illustrator)
Alice B. Toklas was Gertrude Stein’s lover, and Gertrude wrote her irreverent autobiography under her lover’s name since Alice was not going to write it herself. Instead, Alice saw “many things to tell of what was happening then”… Arguably the only woman with a moustache as famous as Frida Kahlo’s, Alice is known for baking hash cookies in the 1930’s, when the two formidable ladies were living in Paris, befriending Gurdjieff, Hemmingway, Pound, T.S. Eliot, Picasso and many other celebrities. In this edition, artist Maria Kalman paints a lively portrait of  Paris between the two wars, and celebrates Stein and Toklas in bright colors. Her illustrations of Gertrud Stein’s classic complement this witty and intelligent must read. It is also a lesbian love story in an age when these things were not easily talked about. (sgs)
Penguin, March 2020

The Life & Times of Malcolm McLaren

Nigel Pennick
There are still many places left in England, or anywhere in the western world, where we are able experience the land as it used to be before it was parceled up and commercially exploited. When it is was lived off and interacted with by our ancestors. Its features were imbued with magic and meaning, and much of it was sacred because the land had a soul that spoke to ours. Nigel Pennick tells us about these days long gone and how it came to pass that our communion with the land was lost. He also shows us how we may retrieve some of the magic inherent in our landscapes, in our own backyards or when exploring the countryside around us. Traces of the sacred arts of geomancy, feng shui and magic still abound, our spiritual connection with nature is not lost but waiting for us to be rediscovered. (sgs)
Destiny Books, May 2020

The Power of Ritual. Turning Everyday Activities into Soulful Practice

Kasper ter Kuile
We are in crisis today. Our modern technological society has left too many of us  feeling isolated and bereft of purpose. Yet ter Kuile reveals a hopeful new message: we might not be religious, but that doesn’t mean we are any less spiritual. Instead, we are in the midst of a paradigm shift in which we seek belonging and meaning in secular practices. In The Power of Ritual, ter Kuile invites us to deepen these ordinary practices as intentional rituals that nurture connection and  wellbeing. With wisdom and endearing wit, ter Kuile’s call for ritual is ultimately a call to heal our loss of connection to ourselves, to others, and to our spiritual identities. Our daily habits matter and have the potential to become a powerful experience of reflection, sanctuary, and meaning.
Harper One, June 2020

The Lying Life of Adults

Elena Ferrante
Giovanna’s father says that she is changing and looking more like her Aunt Vittoria every day. But can it be true? Is she really changing? Will she turn out like her despised aunt, a woman she hardly knows but whom her mother and father have spent their whole lives avoiding and deriding? There must be a mirror somewhere in which she can see herself as she truly is. Giovanna searches for her true self in two kindred cities that fear and detest one another: the Naples of the heights, which assumes a mask of refinement, and the Naples of the depths, a place of excess and vulgarity. She moves between these two cities, disoriented by the fact that, whether high or low, neither city seems to offer answers or escape.
Thorndike Press, July 2020

Divine Rascal: On the Trail of LSD’s Cosmic Courier, Michael Hollingshead

Andy Roberts
Psychedelic trickster guru, or conman and charlatan? Exactly who Hollingshead was and what his motives were remains unclear. Some believed he was working for the secret services, others that he was just a Leary wannabe, his aspirations destroyed by his deviant personality and addiction to alcohol and opiates. Divine Rascal is the first reliable biography of one of psychedelia’s key figures, without whom the trajectory of LSD in the world would have been radically different. Appearing as if from nowhere, mysterious Michael Hollingshead turned Timothy Leary on to LSD in 1962, and was influential in Leary’s years at Harvard, Millbrook, and beyond. Author Andy Robert is widely regarded as an authority on contemporary folklore and psychedelic history.
Strange Attractor Press, August 2020

june 2020 – good to read

Love in the Time of Trump: A jagged memoir of the psychedelic ‘60s, today’s politics and religion

Mike Millard
Love in the Time of Trump is a veteran journalist’s account that recalls the Vietnam War era, the psychedelic ’60s and the progressive human values generated during that freewheeling and transformative period. Even so, it sounds an alarm amid the repressive politics of our present day, when an emerging, corporate-driven fascism threatens to dismantle our democracy and yoke the lives of working people to the enrichment of the few while destroying the natural life of the planet. This contrast evoked via memoir recounts the formation of a personal perspective that warns directly of a historic disaster that approaches, while hoping that it can still be avoided. Mike Millard, a veteran journalist with roots in the Pacific Northwest, has written and edited for newspapers, magazines, wire agencies and websites.
BookBaby, February 2020

Magic in the Landscape. Earth Mysteries & Geomancy

Nigel Pennick
There are still many places left in England, or anywhere in the western world, where we are able experience the land as it used to be before it was parceled up and commercially exploited. When it is was lived off and interacted with by our ancestors. Its features were imbued with magic and meaning, and much of it was sacred because the land had a soul that spoke to ours. Nigel Pennick tells us about these days long gone and how it came to pass that our communion with the land was lost. He also shows us how we may retrieve some of the magic inherent in our landscapes, in our own backyards or when exploring the countryside around us. Traces of the sacred arts of geomancy, feng shui and magic still abound, our spiritual connection with nature is not lost but waiting for us to be rediscovered. (sgs)
Destiny Books, May 2020

Humankind. A Hopeful History

Rutger Bregman
From the real-life Lord of the Flies to the solidarity in the aftermath of the Blitz, the hidden flaws in the Stanford prison experiment to the true story of twin brothers on opposite sides who helped Mandela end apartheid, Bregman shows us that believing in human generosity and collaboration isn’t merely optimistic—it’s realistic. Moreover, it has huge implications for how society functions. When we think the worst of people, it brings out the worst in our politics and economics. But if we believe in the reality of humanity’s kindness and altruism, it will form the foundation for achieving true change in society, a case that Bregman makes. Rutger Bregman provides new perspective on the past 200,000 years of human history, setting out to prove that we are hardwired for kindness, geared toward cooperation rather than competition, and more inclined to trust rather than distrust one another.
Bloomsbury, June 2020

Death in Her Hands

Otessa Moshfegh
While on her daily walk with her dog in a secluded wood, a woman comes across a note, handwritten and carefully pinned to the ground by stones. “Her name was Magda. Nobody will ever know who killed her. It wasn’t me. Here is her dead body.” But there is no dead body. Our narrator is deeply shaken; she has no idea what to make of this. She is new to this area, alone after the death of her husband, and she knows no one. A triumphant blend of horror, suspense, and pitch-black comedy, Death in Her Hands asks us to consider how the stories we tell ourselves both reflect the truth and keep us blind to it. Once again, we are in the hands of a narrator whose unreliability is well earned, and the stakes have never been higher. One of the most anticipated books to be published this year.
Penguin/Random House, June 2020

The Sacred Art of Brujeria. A Path of Healing and Magic

Katrina Rasbold
This practical book covers everything from the history and divine figures of Brujería to the healing, protection, and money magic that you can use in daily life. Explore power words and breath work, treat spiritual maladies, perform different types of limpias (cleansings and clearings), and learn about Brujería as a business. Katrina Rasbold gives you an insider’s look at this sacred practice and how it helps others as well as yourself. Featuring hands-on exercises, simple techniques, and how-to instruction from a professional bruja, this beginner-friendly guide is the best choice for understanding and practicing Brujería—the healing witchcraft of Mexico and the American Southwest. Adapted from a twelve-month series of classes this book presents a wide variety of topics, including magical tools, the body’s energetic systems, and effective spellcasting.
Llewellyn.June 2020

may 2020 – good to read

Abide as That. Ramana Maharshi & the Song of Ribhu

Jason Brett Serle
Sri Ramana Maharshi (Venkataraman Iyer) was a Hindu sage and enlightened teacher, born in 1867 in Tamil Nadu, India, where he died in 1950. He left a large body of teachings, often in the form of answers to questions by his students or commentaries on Advaita Vedanta. The Ribhu Gita or Song of Ribhu, was his favorite passage of the Shivarahasya Purana, a mainstay of Shiva and Shaivite worship. “In the same tradition as the Bhagavad Gita or the Ashtavakra Gita, the Ribhu Gita, literally the Song of Ribhu represents the highest declaration of Advaita Vedanta, spoken by the enlightened sage Ribhu to his disciple Nidagha on the slopes of Mount Kedara in the Himalayas.” Jason Brett Serle is an English writer, musician, filmmaker and NLP Master whose love of Ramana Maharshi and his supreme clarity has led him to annotate this classical text. (sgs)
Mantra Books, October 2019

The Buddha’s Wizards. Magic, Protection and Healing in Burmese Buddhism

Thomas Nathan Patton
In Myanmar or Burma, the belief in traditional healing, in wizards, their powers, in cures and curses, is still widespread though the art went underground when strongman Ne Winran ruled the country (from 1962-1988). Witchcraft is rare in Buddhism, The Buddha’s Wizards is a “historically informed ethnographic study that explores the supernatural landscape of Buddhism in Myanmar to explain the persistence of wizardry as a form of lived religion in the modern era.” The author is assistant professor of Buddhist and Southeast Asian studies at the City University of Hong Kong. He does not only discuss the everyday aspects of religious belief but also analyzes the political situation in a country that has remained largely hidden from western view. (sgs)
University Press, April 2020

Notes from an Apocalypse. A Personal Journey to the End of the World and Back

Mark O’Donnell
As a father of two young children, Mark O’Connell finds himself worrying whether the times we live in justifies having kids when so many are talking – and expecting – the apocalypse. He decided to visit some of the groups who bank their lives on this gloomy view, following up on people who think about TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) – but only all of the time. O’Donnell didn’t know what was about to happen when he reported on preppers, white supremacists, the death zone of Chernobyl or billionaires who move to New Zealand to avoid the worse. We follow him as he tracks down a diverging posse of people with alternative to extreme worldviews, and he make us laugh, about their conspiracies, their clumsy acronyms, their arsenals of survival and their literal way of coping with life every step of the way to hell. (sgs)
Penguin Random House, April 2020

Entangled Life. How fungi mark our worlds, change our minds and shape our futures

Merlin Sheldrake
“In Entangled Life, the brilliant young biologist Merlin Sheldrake shows us the world from a fungal point of view, providing an exhilarating change of perspective. Sheldrake’s vivid exploration takes us from yeast to psychedelics, to the fungi that range for miles underground and are the largest organisms on the planet, to those that link plants together in complex networks known as the ‘Wood Wide Web,’ to those that infiltrate and manipulate insect bodies with devastating precision. Fungi throw our concepts of individuality and even intelligence into question. They are metabolic masters, earth makers, and key players in most of life’s processes. They can change our minds, heal our bodies, and even help us remediate environmental disaster. By examining fungi on their own terms, Sheldrake reveals how these extraordinary organisms—and our relationships with them—are changing our understanding of how life works.“
Penguin/Random House, May 2020

Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day

Jay Shetty
Shetty writes, “I grew up in a family where you could become one of three things: a doctor, a lawyer, or a failure. My family was convinced I had chosen option three. Instead of attending my college graduation ceremony, I headed to India to become a monk, to meditate every day for 4–8 hours and devote my life to helping others.” After three years, one of his teachers told him that he would have more impact on the world if he left the monk’s path to share his experience and wisdom with others. Heavily in debt, and with no recognizable skills on his resume, he moved back home to north London with his parents. Shetty reconnected with old school friends—many working for some of the world’s largest corporations—who were experiencing tremendous stress, pressure, and unhappiness, and they invited Shetty to coach them on wellbeing, purpose, and mindfulness.
Simon & Schuster, April 2020

april 2020 – good to read

Lost in Ghost Town. A Memoir of Addiction, Redemption, and Hope in Unlikely Places

Carder Stout, PhD
Raised in a mansion and educated at exclusive institutions, Hollywood psychologist Carder Stout ran with a crowd of movers, shakers, and future Oscar-winners in New York City. But words like “promise” and “potential” are meaningless in the face of addiction. Lost years and a stint in rehab later, Carder was a dirty, broke, soon-to-be-homeless crackhead wandering the streets of Venice, California. His lucky break came thanks to his old Ford Taurus: he lands a job of driving for a philosophical drug czar with whom he finds friendship and self-worth as he helps deliver quality product to LA’s drug enthusiasts. But even his loyalty and protection can’t save Carder from the peril of the streets – or a contract on his life.
HCI Books, March 2020 

This Is Chance! The Shaking of an All-American City, A Voice That Held It Together

Jon Mooallem
In 1964, on Good Friday, an earthquake of a magnitude of 9.2 hit Anchorage, Alaska. After four-and-a-half minutes what had been a modern and budding town was a shamble. Then night fell. As people gradually turned on their radios, they heard the voice of the woman who was to lead them through this crisis: Genie Chance, a part-time reporter and working mom with a fated name. The three days of her nonstop broadcasts would make her famous far beyond her home state as well as giving her hero status where she lived. “Drawing on unpublished documents, interviews with survivors, and original broadcast recordings, This Is Chance! is the hopeful story of a single catastrophic weekend and proof of our collective strength in a turbulent world.” Genie Chance remains a role model for our turbulent times. (sgs)
Penguin/Random House, March 2020

Scripting the Life You Want. Manifest Your Dreams with Just Pen and Paper

Royce Christyn
To get the life you want, you first need to know what it is that you want. That’s not so easy, and it cannot be accomplished all at once. You need the big picture in order to be able to choose which corner of your humble reality you wish to augment. Then you need a plan. That’s how things work in life – though they do not always work out, you can’t always get what you want, and it doesn’t always help to tell yourself in retrospect that that was precisely what you needed. So how can you kickstart your life? There is plenty of time to think about it right now, to form an intension and exert your will. Some call it magick, others the law of cause and effect, and some say the two may be the same thing. Will this really work? “Inspired by New Thought and Positive Thinking classics, Christyn explains how he developed his scripting method through four years of trial and error… (T)his book gives you the tools to put your thoughts into action…”  (sgs)
Inner Traditions, March 2020

The Discomfort of Evening

Marieke Lucas Rijneveld
Ten-year-old Jas (Dutch for “jacket”), a peasant girl living in yesteryear’s rural Netherlands, wishes her younger brother were dead and suffers terrible guilt when he drowns in the local pond. His name is never to be mentioned again around the farm. While their grieving parents prove unable to care for their remaining children after the tragic event, the siblings gradually lose themselves in a web of magical thinking, dark rituals and spells. The stern practices of their fundamentally Protestant elders often let them go hungry and demand penance even for minor infractions. Sex, religion and death dominate this astonishing debut novel. Rijneveld (who identifies as they/them) have already published a book of much-acclaimed poetry. The Discomfort of Evening is set out for international fame. (sgs)
Faber, March 2020

Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose Every Day

Jay Shetty
Shetty writes, “I grew up in a family where you could become one of three things: a doctor, a lawyer, or a failure. My family was convinced I had chosen option three. Instead of attending my college graduation ceremony, I headed to India to become a monk, to meditate every day for 4–8 hours and devote my life to helping others.” After three years, one of his teachers told him that he would have more impact on the world if he left the monk’s path to share his experience and wisdom with others. Heavily in debt, and with no recognizable skills on his resume, he moved back home to north London with his parents. Shetty reconnected with old school friends—many working for some of the world’s largest corporations—who were experiencing tremendous stress, pressure, and unhappiness, and they invited Shetty to coach them on wellbeing, purpose, and mindfulness.
Simon & Schuster, April 2020

march 2020 – good to read

A World Without Work. Technology, Automation, and How We Should Respond

Daniel Susskind
Each time an important new technology is developed, fears arise that they will Replace workers by machines. Be it the invention of the printing press, the weaving loom, the railway, electricity, the automobile or computers and robots, protesters were quick to condemn new technologies as dangerous and adverse to human wellbeing. While traditional jobs were lost, new work was created although it did not always benefit everyone equally. The same is valid today, the author argues, as more and more tedious, dirty or repetitious work disappears, to be replaced by either highly skilled engineering, technical or managerial tasks on the one hand or mostly unskilled operators the other. This time around, the middle class is left behind if it does not succeed in replacing administrative work by more service-oriented and independent endeavors. As long as we don’t allow computers to develop true intelligence, all is well, and we may enjoy unprecedented prosperity. (sgs)
Metropolitan Books, February 2020

The Seed of Compassion

His Holiness the Dalai Lama & Bao Luu (Illustrations)
With this simple, powerful text, the Dalai Lama shares the universalist teachings of treating one another with compassion, which Bao Luu illustrates beautifully in vibrant color. In an increasingly confusing world, The Seed of Compassion offers guidance and encouragement on how we all might bring more kindness to it. One of today’s most inspiring world leaders was once an ordinary child named Lhamo Thondup. In a small village in Tibet, his mother was his first great teacher of compassion. In everyday moments from his childhood, young readers begin to see that important lessons are all around us, and that they, too, can grow to truly understand them. For the first time the Dalai Lama addresses children directly, sharing lessons of peace and compassion, told through stories of his own childhood.
Kiyak, March 2020

Earth Spirit Dreaming. Shamanic Ecotherapy Practices

Elizabeth E. Meacham, Ph.D.
Many people wish for a closer relationship with the natural and spiritual worlds but don’t know how to achieve it. We know that nature signals to us but how do we attain a better understanding of what she is saying to us, both on a collective and an individual level? And may we be as presumptuous as to think that we can heal her (rather than giving her the space to heal herself)? Elizabeth Meacham takes a shamanic approach, “translating transformative ideas from visionary environmental thinkers into engaging shamanic rituals for profound spiritual growth, Meacham offers dozens of practices to connect to Earth, to Spirit, and to the Dream world… Calling us back to a living nature spirituality, this handbook offers much needed guidance on the essential journey back to an intimate love of Earth.”
Findhorn Press, March 2020

Quantum Science of Psychedelics. The Pineal Gland, Multidimensional Reality, and Mayan Cosmology

Carl Johan Calleman, Ph.D.
This multidimensional perspective explains why altered states of consciousness exist and how they work. It describes the role of the pineal gland for the human mind, how it controls our state of consciousness and how it can connect us to the cosmic Tree of Life. Carl Johan Calleman reveals the quantum science of the Maya, a science lost to the modern world that explains the phenomenology of psychedelics and altered states of consciousness. The ancient Maya had a sophisticated understanding of the multidimensional nature of reality and the forces that drive the evolution of consciousness: Quantum waves, illustrated by the Mayan Calendar, emanate from the center of the universe and activate new phases in the evolution of consciousness through holographic resonance, which alters the dualities of the human mind.
Bear & Company, March 2020

The Night Watchman

Louise Edrich
In The Night Watchman multi-award winning author Louise Erdrich weaves together a story of past and future generations, of preservation and progress. She grapples with the worst and best impulses of human nature, illuminating the loves and lives, desires and ambitions of her characters with compassion, wit and intelligence. It is 1953. Thomas Wazhushk is the night watchman at the first factory to open near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a prominent Chippewa Council member, trying to understand a new bill that is soon to be put before Congress. The US Government calls it an ’emancipation’ bill; but it isn’t about freedom – it threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land, their very identity.
Harper/Collins. March 2020

february 2020 – good to read

Agency

William Gibson
San Francisco, 2017. Clinton’s in the White House, Brexit never happened – and Verity Jane’s got herself a new job. They call Verity ‘the app-whisperer,’ and she’s just been hired by a shadowy start-up to evaluate a pair-of-glasses-cum-digital-assistant called Eunice. Only Eunice has other ideas. Pretty soon, Verity knows that Eunice is smarter than anyone she’s ever met, conceals some serious capabilities and is profoundly paranoid – which is just as well since suddenly some bad people are after Verity. Meanwhile, in a post-apocalyptic London a century from now, PR fixer Wilf Netherton is tasked by all-seeing policewoman Ainsley Lowbeer with interfering in the alternative past in which Verity and Eunice exist
Penguin, January 2020

The Shadow King

Maaze Mengiste
With the threat of Mussolini’s army looming, recently orphaned Hirut struggles to adapt to her new life as a maid in Kidane and his wife Aster’s household. Kidane, an officer in Emperor Haile Selassie’s army, rushes to mobilise his strongest men before the Italians invade. Meanwhile, Mussolini’s technologically advanced army prepares for an easy victory. Hundreds of thousands of Italians – Jewish photographer Ettore among them – march on Ethiopia seeking adventure. What follows is a gorgeously crafted and unputdownable exploration of female power, with Hirut as the fierce, original, and brilliant voice at its heart. In incandescent, lyrical prose, Maaza Mengiste breathes life into complicated characters on both sides of the battle line, shaping a heartrending, indelible exploration of what it means to be a woman at war.
W.W. Norton, January 2020

Sex and Lies

Leila Slimani
In Morocco, adultery, abortion, homosexuality, prostitution, and sex outside of marriage are all punishable by law. Sexuality is both an obsession and a taboo, provoking violence, frustration, secrecy, and shame, and women have only two choices: They can be wives or virgins. Leila Slimani was in her native Morocco promoting her first novel, Adèle, about a woman addicted to sex, when she began meeting women who confided the dark secrets of their sexual lives, from assault to their closeted homosexuality to the perils of leading a sexually liberated lifestyle. Their vivid, often harrowing testimonies, combined with Slimani’s passionate and intelligent commentary, make a galvanising case for a sexual revolution in the Arab world.
Faber & Faber, February 2020

Warhol. A Life As Art

Blake Gopnik
Based on years of archival research and on interviews with hundreds of Warhol’s surviving friends, lovers and enemies, Warhol traces the artist’s path from his origins as the impoverished son of Eastern European immigrants in 1930s Pittsburgh, through his early success as a commercial illustrator and his groundbreaking pivot into fine art, to the society portraiture and popular celebrity of the ’70s and ’80s, as he reflected and responded to the changing dynamics of commerce and culture. Behind the public glitter of the artist’s Factory, with its superstars, drag queens and socialites, there was a man who lived with his mother for much of his life. He overcame the vicious homophobia of his youth to become a symbol of gay achievement.
Allen Lane, February 2020

Going Dark. The Secret Social Lives of Extremists

Julia Ebner
By day, Julia Ebner works at a counter-extremism think tank, monitoring radical groups from the outside. But two years ago, she began to feel she was only seeing half the picture; she needed to get inside the groups to truly understand them. She decided to go undercover in her spare hours – late nights, holidays, weekends – adopting five different identities, and joining a dozen extremist groups from across the ideological spectrum. Ebner takes the reader on a deeply compulsive journey into the darkest recesses of extremist thinking, exposing how closely we are surrounded by their fanatical ideology every day, the changing nature and practice of these groups, and what is being done to counter them.
Bloomsbury, February 2020

january 2020 – good to read

The New Annotated H.P. Lovecraft

H.P.Lovecraft (Author), Leslie S. Klinger (Editor)
In this follow-up to the 2014 book by the same name, twenty-five more Lovecraft stories are re-presented as well as a number of never-before-seen revisions and collaborations with other authors. Included are “Rats in the Wall”, a post–First World War story about the terrors of the past and the newly contextualised “The Horror at Red Hook,” which has been adapted recently by Victor LaValle. Klinger reanimates Lovecraft with clarity and historical insight, offering a revelatory volume in which the author’s story-writing method is uncovered, his vivid dreams are recorded and first drafts of stories are seen in immaturity. In addition to his ground-breaking writing, we glimpse a personal side of Lovecraft: his favourite stories are highlighted and his vulnerability as a young writer is obvious.
W.W. Norton, October 2019

Spellwork for Self-Care – 40 Spells to Soothe the Spirit

Potter Gift
For those who want to infuse their self-care routine with a little magic, this guidebook provides readers with simple spells to enhance their daily lives. Topics range from relationships and emotional health to self-love, work, school, and more. This book of 40 spells combines witchy spiritual practices with our culture’s hunger for self-care, creating a compact resource for those seeking alternate paths to better mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical health. Self-care is about a lot more than bubble baths. Even when the action is as minor as taking half a day off for mental health, caring for yourself is a small, one-person, rebellion.
Penguin Random House, December 2019

The Banished Immortal – A Life of Li Bai (Li Po)

Ha Jin
In his own time (701–762), Li Bai’s poems – shaped by Daoist thought and characterised by their passion, romance, and lust for life – were never given their proper due by the official literary gatekeepers. Nonetheless, his lines rang out on the lips of court entertainers, tavern singers, soldiers, and writers throughout the Tang dynasty. Today, Bai’s verses are still taught to China’s schoolchildren and recited at parties and toasts; they remain an inextricable part of the Chinese language. Ha Jin draws on a wide range of historical and literary sources to weave the great poet’s life story. He follows Bai from his origins on the western frontier to his ramblings travels as a young man to the poet’s later years—in which he became swept up in a military rebellion that altered the course of China’s history—and the mysterious circumstances of his death, which are surrounded by legend.
Knopf Doubleday, December 2019

A Long Petal of the Sea: A Novel

Isabel Allende
In the late 1930s, civil war grips Spain. When General Franco and his Fascists succeed in overthrowing the government, hundreds of thousands are forced to flee in a treacherous journey over the mountains to the French border. Among them we find Roser, a pregnant young widow, who finds her life intertwined with that of Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and the brother of her deceased love. In order to survive, the two must unite in a marriage neither of them desires. Along with two thousand other refugees, they embark on the SS Winnipeg, a ship chartered by the poet Pablo Neruda, to Chile. Destined to witness the battle between freedom and repression as it plays out across the world, Roser and Victor will find that home might have been closer than they thought all along.
Bloomsbury Publishing, January 2019

Intentional Tarot

Denise Hesselroth
This book shows you how to become an active participant in your tarot readings. It encourages you to engage with your life’s purpose and strengthen your sense of self. With this new approach, you’ll learn to get “off book” and add a proactive element to your practice. Divination is only the first step—once you have the information from your reading, what will you do with it? The author presents effective techniques and spreads from both traditional and intentional reading methods, making it easy to discover which ones work best for you. Designed with different learning styles in mind, Intentional Tarot provides everything you need to understand the cards, develop your personal style, and take action for a successful future.
Llewellyn, January 2020

dezember 2019 – good to read

Confessions of an English DMT-Eater

Guy Omar
In playful homage to Thomas De Quincey’s most infamous work, Confessions of an English DMT-Eater is the author’s personal experience of the many Heavens and Hells of DMT intoxication. A Twenty-First century memoir of his private engagement with nature’s most fascinating, mystifying, and sometimes terrifying psychedelic compound. Confessions of an English DMT-Eater by Guy Omar takes many of the broader structural elements of De Quincey’s classic, with chapters on the «pain» and «pleasure» of, but deals with the phenomenally tricky business of N,N-Dimethyltryptamine (DMT). There are also a couple of sections on a cannabis experience and 5-MEO-DMT, which is «unimaginably intense, you are instantly blasted into a realm in which your thought patterns are somehow dissolving into a far larger ocean» The DMT universe, however, is visually ripe for a confessional.
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, February 2019

Blowout. Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest and Most Destructive Industry on Earth

Rachel Maddow 
With her trademark black humour, Maddow takes us on a switchback journey around the globe, revealing the greed and incompetence of Big Oil and Gas along the way, and drawing a surprising conclusion about why the Russian government hacked the 2016 US election. She demonstrates how Russia’s rich reserves of crude have, paradoxically, stunted its growth, forcing Putin to maintain his power by spreading Russia’s rot into its rivals, its neighbours, the West’s most important alliances, and the United States. Chevron, BP, and a host of other industry players get their star turn, most notably ExxonMobil and the deceptively well-behaved Rex Tillerson. Blowout is a call to stop subsidizing the wealthiest businesses on earth, to fight for transparency, and to check the influence of the world’s most destructive industry and its enablers.
Penguin Random House, October 2019

Jay-Z: Made in America

Michael Eric Dyson
JAY-Z: Made in America is the fruit of Michael Eric Dyson’s decade of teaching the work of one of the greatest poets this nation has produced, as gifted a wordsmith as Walt Whitman, Robert Frost and Rita Dove. But as a rapper, he’s sometimes not given the credit he deserves for just how great an artist he’s been for so long. This book wrestles with the biggest themes of JAY-Z’s career, including hustling, and it recognizes the way that he’s always weaved politics into his music, making important statements about race, criminal justice, black wealth and social injustice. As he enters his fifties, and to mark his thirty years as a recording artist, this is the perfect time to take a look at JAY-Z’s career and his role in making this nation what it is today.
St. Martin’s Press, November 2019

The Beautiful Ones

Prince
Prince was a musical genius, one of the most beloved, accomplished, and acclaimed musicians of our time. He was a startlingly original visionary with an imagination deep enough to whip up whole worlds, from the sexy, gritty funk paradise of «Uptown» to the mythical landscape of Purple Rain to the psychedelia of «Paisley Park.» But his most ambitious creative act was turning Prince Rogers Nelson, born in Minnesota, into Prince, one of the greatest pop stars of any era. Prince — a first-person account of a kid absorbing the world around him and then creating a persona, an artistic vision, and a life, before the hits and fame that would come to define him. The book is framed by editor Dan Piepenbring’s introduction about his profound collaboration with Prince in his final months
Penguin Random House, December 2019

Yoko Ono & John Lennon – Liberté Conquérante / Growing Freedom

Michael Allred, Steve Horton & Laura Allred
Yoko is a leading experimental and avant-garde artist. In Tokyo during the 1950s, she introduced original questions about the concept of art and the art object, breaking down the traditional boundaries between branches of art. She has since been associated with conceptual art, performance, Fluxus, and 1960s happenings — one of the few women to participate in these movements. Through her performances and activism, she created a new kind of relationship with both spectators and fellow artists — including her late husband, John Lennon — by inviting them to play an active part in the creative process. In addition, her influence brings together Eastern and Western cultures, which extend and strengthen each other in continuous innovation.
Hirmer Publishers, December 2019

november 2019 – good to read

Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind

Stephen Kinzer
The visionary chemist Sidney Gottlieb was the CIA’s master magician and gentle-hearted torturer ― the agency’s «poisoner in chief.» He made pills, powders, and potions that could kill or maim without a trace ― including some intended for Fidel Castro and other foreign leaders. His experiments spread LSD across the United States, making him a hidden godfather of the 1960s counterculture. For years he was the chief supplier of spy tools used by CIA officers around the world. Stephen Kinzer, author of groundbreaking books about US clandestine operations, brings to life one of the most powerful unknown Americans of the twentieth century. Gottlieb’s reckless experiments on «expendable» human subjects destroyed many lives, yet he considered himself deeply spiritual.
NG Media, September 2019

Out of My Head. On the Trail of Consciousness

Tim Parks 
Hardly a day goes by without some discussion about whether computers can be conscious, whether our universe is some kind of simulation, whether mind is a unique quality of human beings or spread out across the universe like butter on bread. Most philosophers believe that our experience is locked inside our skulls, an unreliable representation of a quite different reality outside. Colour, smell and sound, they tell us, occur only in our heads. Yet when neuroscientists look inside our brains to see what’s going on, they find only billions of neurons exchanging electrical impulses and releasing chemical substances. Out of My Head tells the gripping, highly personal, often surprisingly funny, story of Tim Parks’ quest to discover more about this fascinating topic.
Random House, October 2019 

LSD and the Mind of the Universe. Diamonds From Heaven

Christopher M. Bache, Ph.D.
Journey alongside professor Bache as he touches the living intelligence of our universe – an intelligence that both embraced and crushed him – and demonstrates how direct experience of the divine can change your perspective on core issues in philosophy and religion. Chronicling his 73 sessions, the author reveals the spiral of death and rebirth that took him through the collective unconscious into the creative intelligence of the universe. Making a powerful case for the value of psychedelically induced spiritual experience, Bache shares his immersion in the fierce love and creative intent of the unified field of consciousness that underlies all physical existence. He describes the incalculable value of embracing the pain and suffering he encountered in his sessions and the challenges he faced integrating his experiences into his everyday life.
Park Street Press, October 2019

Hell Is Around the Corner

Tricky 
This unique, no-holds barred autobiography is not only a portrait of an incredible artist — it is also a gripping slice of social history packed with extraordinary anecdotes and voices from the margins of society. Tricky examines how his creativity has helped him find a different path to that of his relatives, some of whom were bare-knuckle fighters and gangsters, and how his mother’s suicide has had a lifelong effect on him, both creatively and psychologically. With his unique heritage and experience, his story will be one of the most talked-about music autobiographies of the decade. «Although it is bookended by tragedy, and shot through with the violence and abuse of his early life, Hell Is Round the Corner proves an ultimately uplifting read, the testament of a fierce, funny and seemingly indomitable spirit.» (The Guardian)
Blink, October 2019

BOWIE: Stardust, Rayguns & Moonage Daydreams Michael Allred, Steve Horton & Laura Allred

Michael Allred, Steve Horton & Laura Allred
In life, David Bowie was one of the most magnetic icons of modern pop culture, seducing generations of fans with both his music and his counterculture persona. In death, the cult of Bowie has only intensified. As a musician alone, Bowie’s legacy is remarkable, but his place in the popular imagination is due to so much more than his music. As a visual performer, he defied classification with his psychedelic aesthetics, his larger-than-life image, and his way of hovering on the border of the surreal. BOWIE: Stardust, Rayguns, & Moonage Daydreams chronicles the rise of Bowie’s career from obscurity to fame; and paralleled by the rise and fall of his alter ego as well as the rise and fall of Ziggy Stardust. As the Spiders from Mars slowly implode, Bowie wrestles with his Ziggy persona. The outcome of this internal conflict will change not only David Bowie, but also, the world.
Insight Comics, January 2020

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

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