Monday, January 16, 2006

November Musings and Reading Recommendations

Late November Musings:
I've been listening to Eckhart Tolle read his new book, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose. See below for more information on the book itself, but it left me in a nice, calm place. Which was good - we had a chaos-filled Thanksgiving full of sick family members and a dog who broke her leg while she was in the kennel and four states away from us. Maybe I needed the extra calm to manage through all that. Odd, how the universe seems to take care of you. See my blog for a picture of the broken-legged puppy.

Focusing in on the spiritual dimension of life, and staying involved in the creative side, makes the outside world seem even stranger.

I had two odd war-related realizations:

First, I was reading Jay Lake's Rocket Science (again, see below), which is set against a just-barely-post-WW2 time frame. In those days, war changed much about us. People did without to support it - no hosiery, no new cars, the rationing of certain goods. I cannot imagine the America of today doing without anything as a result of the Iraq war.

Secondly, I'm reading London Bridges by James Patterson, a sort of war-on-terrorism thriller. I'm thinking, gosh, this is unbelievable. People just don't act like this. His villains are too cold, too single-minded to ever exist. Then I'm listening to NPR today, and they are talking about some poor archeologist in Iraq who's been kidnapped. She's apparently being set up like the other people who've been beheaded there: an attempt to use a hostage to get a government to back down (in this case, to get Germany to bow out of supporting the war in Iraq). Real people, just as bizarre and impossible to understand as Patterson's villains.

November Reading Recommendations:

I'm half-way through writing a new novel, so I haven't had much reading time. I did get through four books. Two of them are worth mentioning:
Flying in Place, by Susan Palwick. A brilliant book. Originally published in 1992, the book didn't gain a wide readership. Well, it should have. A brave discussion of child molestation through the eyes of the child, a well-honed character study, full of hope as well as hurt. It's a quick read, and I don't recommend reading it anyplace where you have to put it down, or where you don't want to risk a good cry in public.
Good for Tor Books for reissuing it - particularly with such a beautiful cover.

Rocket Science, by Jay Lake, Fairwood Press. Jay's debut novel. Not at all believable, but a hilarious, pulpy ride with a main character who IS believable. A very worthy debut: Jay is a master of voice of style, and they both shine in Rocket Science.

I've also been listening to an amazing audio book - A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life's Purpose, by Eckhart Tolle. When I was a kid, the two books I'd have taken to a desert island were Stranger in a Strange Land, by RA Heinlein, and Think on These Things, by J. Krishnamurti. Both books, by the way, are still in print in multiple editions. So I guess I had good taste in books. That aside, Eckhart Tolle reminds me of Krishnamurti. His voice seems both as timeless and calm and correct as Krishnamurti's, and his message is both as old and as fresh. I did buy the hardback, and I'll be giving a few copies away for Christmas, and I really liked listening to Eckhart's voice. It's a great jolt of spirituality without any religious trappings.


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