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

dezember 2018 – good to read

Magic Medicine: A Trip Through the Intoxicating History and Modern-Day Use of Psychedelic Plants and Substances

Cody Johnson
Did US Army Intelligence really use LSD as an enhanced military interrogation technique? Why does ayahuasca have such a long history of use in Peru? Science is beginning to research what traditional cultures have told us for years: psychedelics have transformative healing properties. Many psychedelic plants and substances have a long history of being incorporated into various healing traditions — such as cannabis and opium in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Magic Medicine explores the fascinating history of psychedelic substances and provides a contemporary update about their progressive inclusion in modern medicine, science, and culture. Cody Johnson balances historical knowledge with cutting-edge science.
Fair Winds, June 2018

High Magick: A Guide to the Spiritual Practices That Saved My Life on Death Row

Damien Echols 
«Magick is not a path for followers; it is a path for questioners, seekers, and anyone who has trouble settling for dogma and pre-formulated answers. Magick is for those who feel the desire to peel away the surface of reality and see what lies beneath. Like various persecuted forms of mysticism, magick promotes direct contact with the source of creation.» At age 18, Damien Echols was sentenced to death for a crime he didn’t commit. With High Magick, the author shares his first teaching book on the powerful spiritual techniques that helped him survive and transcend his ordeal on death row. He brings you an engaging and highly accessible guide for bringing magick into your own life.
Sounds True, October 2018

How to Read a Protest: The Art of Organizing and Resistance

L.A. Kauffman
In this original and richly illustrated account, organiser and journalist LA Kauffman delves into the history of America’s major demonstrations, beginning with the legendary 1963 March on Washington, to reveal the ways protests work and how their character has shifted over time. Using the signs that demonstrators carry as clues to how protests are organized, Kauffman explores the nuanced relationship between the way movements are made and the impact they have. How to Read a Protest sheds new light on the catalytic power of collective action and the decentralised, bottom-up, women-led model for organising that has transformed what movements look like and what they can accomplish.
University of California Press, October 2018

Women of Visionary Art

David Jay Brown & Rebecca Ann Hill
In this full-color illustrated book, David Jay Brown and Rebecca Ann Hill examine the work and inspirations of eighteen of today’s leading female visionary artists, including Josephine Wall, Allyson Grey, Amanda Sage, Martina Hoffmann, Penny Slinger, and Carolyn Mary Kleefeld. They explore the creative process and the role that dreaming, psychedelic experiences, sexuality, and divine guidance play in the work of these women, alongside full-color examples of their art, and they discuss the future of visionary art and reveal how these artists have all been informed and inspired by deep inner experiences and seek to express non-ordinary visions of reality, often reminiscent of those encountered in shamanic trance, lucid dreams, psychedelic states, spiritually transcendent experiences, and other altered states.
Inner Traditions, November 2018

Coca Wine – Angelo Mariani’s Miraculous Elixir and the Birth of Modern Advertising

Aymon de Lestrange
One of the oldest and most potent natural stimulants, the leaves of the coca plant, are the organic source from which cocaine is synthesized. Fresh coca leaves and products made from them have verified medicinal and healing properties – and not the same addictive qualities or negative side effects as cocaine. In the late 19th century coca products became hugely successful in Europe and the United States. The most famous was Vin Mariani, a coca-based tonic wine developed by Corsican pharmacist Angelo Mariani (1838-1914). Many celebrities sang its praises, including Pope Benedict XV, Sarah Bernhardt, Thomas Edison, H. G. Wells, William McKinley, Emile Zola, and the doctors of Ulysses S. Grant, who credited Vin Mariani with giving him the strength to finish his memoirs before his death. A lavishly illustrated history of coca wine and the revolutionary advertising methods that made it a worldwide success.
Bear Company, December 2018

november 2018 – good to read

The Psychedelic Renaissance, Second Edition: Reassessing the Role of Psychedelic Drugs in 21st Century Psychiatry and Society

Ben Sessa
Psychiatrist Dr. Ben Sessa makes a persuasive case for the reevaluation of psychedelics—LSD, MDMA DMT, psilocybin, ayahuasca, peyote, ibogaine, and more—as he explores their clinical potential for treating a range of conditions from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression to autism and cluster headaches. Based on a thorough review of the evidence, Sessa corrects some common misconceptions about psychedelics and makes a clarion call for their responsible therapeutic use, with appropriate set and setting, in psychotherapy, psychiatry, and personal growth. «Sessa enthusiastically progresses his account of the potential of psychedelic drugs into spirituality and creativity, bringing his unique clinical background to consider concepts too often neglected in psychiatric illness». (The Lancet )
Muswell Hill Press, March 2018

Burning Down the Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Tim Mohr
It began with a handful of East Berlin teens who heard the Sex Pistols on a British military radio broadcast to troops in West Berlin, and it ended with the collapse of the East German dictatorship. Punk rock was a life-changing discovery. The buzz-saw guitars, the messed-up clothing and hair, the rejection of society and the DIY approach to building a new one: in their gray surroundings, where everyone’s future was preordained by some communist apparatchik, punk represented a revolutionary philosophy—quite literally, as it turned out. This secret history of East German punk rock is not just about the music; it is a story of extraordinary bravery in the face of one of the most oppressive regimes in history.
Algonquin Books, September 2018

So Far So Good

Poetry by Ursula Le Guin
Legendary author Ursula K. Le Guin was lauded by millions for her groundbreaking science fiction novels, but she began as a poet, and wrote across genres for her entire career. In this clarifying and sublime collection―completed shortly before her death in 2018―Le Guin is unflinching in the face of mortality, and full of wonder for the mysteries beyond. Redolent of the lush natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, with rich sounds playfully echoing myth and nursery rhyme, So Far So Good bookends a long, daring, and prolific career.
Copper Canyon Press, October 2018

Psychedelic Medicine – The Healing Powers of LSD, MDMA, Psilocybin & Ayahuasca

Dr. Richard Louis Miller 
The author and his contributors cover the history of early psychedelic research as well as offering summaries of the most recent studies with MDMA, psilocybin, LSD, and ayahuasca. They explore the biochemistry of consciousness and the use of psychedelics for self-discovery and healing as well as the use of psilocybin for releasing fear in the terminally ill and the potential for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy in the treatment of PTSD. They examine Dr. Charles Grob’s research on the indigenous use and therapeutic properties of ayahuasca and Dr. Gabor Mate’s attempt to transport this plant medicine to a clinical setting with the help of Canada’s Department of National Health. They also cover the shifting political climate and the push for new research. A milestone!
Simon and Shuster, November 2018

Acid for the Children

A Memoir by Flea
Michael Peter Balzary was born in Melbourne, Australia, in 1962 and, as a child, moved with his conservative family to Westchester, New York, where life as he knew it was soon turned upside down. His parents split up and he and his sister moved into the home of his mother’s free-wheeling, jazz musician boyfriend, Walt. When Michael’s family moved to Los Angeles in 1972, his home situation was rockier than ever. At Fairfax High School, he met another social outcast, Anthony Kiedis…
Grand Central, November 2018

october 2018 – good to read

She Would Be King

Wayétu Moore
Wayétu Moore’s powerful debut novel re-imagines the dramatic story of Liberia’s early years through three unforgettable characters who share an uncommon bond. Gbessa, exiled from the West African village of Lai, is starved, bitten by a viper, and left for dead, but still she survives. June Dey, raised on a plantation in Virginia, hides his unusual strength until a confrontation with the overseer forces him to flee. Norman Aragon, the child of a white British colonizer and a Maroon slave from Jamaica, can fade from sight when the earth calls him. When the three meet in the settlement of Monrovia, their gifts help them salvage the tense relationship between the African American settlers and the indigenous tribes, as a new nation forms around them.
Graywolf Press, September 2018

Natural Antibiotics and Antivirals

Christopher Vasey N.D.
In this practical guide, Christopher Vasey presents eighteen of the most potent antibiotic and antiviral herbs from around the world and one beehive remedy, propolis. He details how to use them effectively as mother tinctures and essential oils as well as what illnesses they are best suited to treat. Drawing on the latest research, he explains how microbes can’t build resistance against these natural substances due to the many molecules in their make-up and their large spectrum of action in the body, which makes them effective against viruses as well. Unlike pharmaceutical antibiotics and antivirals, natural antibiotics generally lack any malignant side effects and have no adverse effects on non-targeted bacteria, such as intestinal flora.
Healing Arts Press, September 2018

Dancing with Raven and Bear

A Book of Earth Medicine and Animal Magic
Sonja Grace 
Drawing on both her Native American (Hopi) heritage and her Norwegian upbringing, renowned mystic and intuitive healer Sonja Grace shares original wisdom tales, received through her heart and soul, to take you on a journey into the magic of Raven and Bear and the healing power of Earth Medicine. Featuring Sonja’s distinctive and beautiful artwork, each story is embedded with ancient teachings to inspire you to live closer to the Earth.  The fables include powerful examples of animal magic and everyday, practical applications of Earth Medicine, such as simple energy exercises, dream interpretations, Earth Medicine prayers and meditations, and using medicinal plants to manage negative energies.
Findhorn Press, September 2018

Small Fry – A Memoir

Lisa Brennan-Jobs
Born on a farm and named in a field by her parents – artist Chrisann Brennan and Steve Jobs – Lisa Brennan-Jobs’s childhood unfolded in a rapidly changing Silicon Valley. When she was young, Lisa’s father was a mythical figure who was rarely present in her life. As she grew older, Jobs took an interest in her, ushering her into a new world of mansions, vacations, and private schools. His attention was thrilling, but he could also be cold, critical and unpredictable. When her relationship with her mother grew strained in high school, Lisa decided to move in with her father, hoping he’d become the parent she’d always wanted him to be. Scrappy, wise, and funny, young Lisa is a guide through her parents’ fascinating and disparate worlds.
Grove Atlantic, September 2018

Body Positive Power

Because Life is Already Happening and You Don’t Need Flat Abs to Live It
Megan Jayne Crabbe
For generations, women have been taught to see their bodies as collections of problems that need to be fixed. Instagram star Megan Jayne Crabbe is determined to spread the word that loving the body you have is the real path to happiness. An international body positive guru with fans in all corners of the world, Megan spent years battling eating disorders and weight fluctuations before she found her way to body positivity. She quit dieting, discovered a new kind of confidence, and replaced all those old feelings of body shame and self-recrimination with everyday joy. Free of the pressure to fit in a size 2, her life became more satisfying than ever before.
Seal Press, September 2018

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