Thursday, November 10, 2016

Books on my shelves I should read or re-read

1.  Words That Hurt, Words that Heal: How to Choose Words Wisely and Well ~ by Joseph Telushkin, 1996, ethics
Telushkin explains the harm in spreading gossip, rumors, or others' secrets, and how unfair anger, excessive criticism, or lying undermines true communication.  By sensitizing us to subtleties of speech we may never have considered before, he shows us how to turn every exchange into an opportunity.  He illuminates the powerful effects we create by what we say and how we say it.
Part One ~ The Unrecognized Power of Words
Part Two ~ How We Speak ABOUT Others
Part Three ~ How We Speak TO Others
Part Four ~ Words That Heal
Part Five ~ What Do We Do Now?
2.  Religious Right, Religious Wrong: A Critique of the Fundamentalist Phenomenon ~ by Lloyd J. Averill, 1989, religion
Averill considers fundamentalism to be faith turned in upon itself and consequently ungenerous and unlovely in its religion, flawed in its understanding of history, and dangerous in its politics.  Yet he is also able to delineate some important redeeming characteristics of fundamentalism that deserve acknowledgement.
3.  The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had ~ by Susan Wise Bauer, 2003, education
Offers brief, entertaining histories of six literary genres ― fiction, autobiography, history, drama, poetry, and science ― accompanied by detailed instructions on how to read each type.  If you can understand a daily newspaper, there’s no reason you can’t read and enjoy Shakespeare’s sonnets or Jane Eyre.  Bauer will show you how to allocate time to reading on a regular basis; how to master difficult arguments; how to make personal and literary judgments about what you read; how to appreciate the resonant links among texts within a genre and also between genres.
4.  Knowing Woman: A Feminine Psychology ~ by Irene Claremont de Castillejo, 1973, psychology
A noted Jungian analyst explores the division of the human psyche into masculine and feminine.  Characteristic of feminine consciousness is diffuse awareness, which recognizes the unity of all life and promotes acceptance and relationship.  The masculine attitude is one of focused consciousness, the capacity to formulate ideas and to change, invent, and create.  Concerned with the experience of women in a culture dominated by masculine values, the author discusses topics such as the animus (the masculine "soul image" in a woman's unconscious); women's roles in relation to work, friends, children, and lovers; and issues such as abortion, aging, and self-determination.
5.  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks ~ by Rebecca Skloot, 2011, science-race-ethics
Tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.  Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa.  She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells — taken without her knowledge in 1951 — became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more.  Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family can’t afford health insurance.
6.  Biography as Theology:  How Life Stories Can Remake Today's Theology ~ by James Wm. McClendon, Jr., 1990 (new edition), biography
By looking at the lives of four significant persons (Dag Hammarskjöld, Martin Luther King, Jr., Clarence Jordan,and Charles Ives), the author discovers a theology that is adequate to account for the kind of lives these persons lived.  The book concludes with suggested methods by which the work of doing theology biographically can be carried further.
7.  The Psychology of Imagination ~ by Jean-Paul Sartre, 1948, psychology
France's leading existentialist writer examines the function of consciousness in creating a world of unrealities.  Sartre reveals a new way of conceiving of consciousness, the nature of psychic life, and the mind's complex relationship with the external world.
8.  Behind the Mask of Tutankhamen ~ by Barry Wynne, 1972, history
An account of the discovery by Howard Carter and the fifth Earl of Carnarvon of the last unaccounted tomb of a Pharaoh in the royal Valley of the Kings at Luxor, Egypt - a treasure vault unparalled in the history of modern excavation.
9.  The Bookseller of Kabul ~ by Åsne Seierstad, 2003 (in English), biography
This mesmerizing portrait of a proud man who, through three decades and successive repressive regimes, heroically braved persecution to bring books to the people of Kabul has elicited extraordinary praise throughout the world and become a phenomenal international bestseller.  This book is a revelation of the plight of Afghan women and a window into the surprising realities of daily life in today's Afghanistan.
10.  The Highest State of Consciousness ~ edited by John White, 1972, psychology
What is the highest state of consciousness?  St. Paul called it "the peace that passeth understanding" and Richard M. Bucke named it "cosmic consciousness."  In Zen Buddhism, the term for it is satori or kensho, while in yoga it is samadhi or moksha, and in Taoism, "the absolute Tao."   Thomas Merton used the phrase "transcendental unconscious" to describe it; Abraham Maslow coined the term "peak experience"; Sufis speak of fana.  Gurdjieff labeled it "objective consciousness" while the Quakers call it "the Inner Light."  Jung referred to individuation, and Buber spoke of the I-Thou relationship.  In this anthology John White brings together a diverse collection of writings by contemporary thinkers such as Aldous Huxley, P.D. Ouspensky, Alan Watts, Kenneth Wapnick, Richard Maurice Bucke, Abraham Maslow, and many more, and asks the question:  What is the Highest State of Consciousness?
11.  Crack in the Cosmic Egg: Challenging Constructs of Mind and Reality ~ by Joseph Chilton Pearce, 1971, psychology
The sum total of our notions of what the world is — and what we perceive its full potential to be — form a shell of rational thought in which we reside.  This logical universe creates a vicious circle of reasoning that robs our minds of power and prevents us from reaching our true potential.  To step beyond that circle requires a centering and focus that today's society assaults on every level.  Through the insights of Teilhard, Tillich, Jung, Jesus, Carlos Castaneda, and others, Pearce provides a mode of thinking through which imagination can escape the mundane shell of current construct reality (the "cosmic egg") and leap into a new phase of human evolution.
12.  Exploring the Crack in the Cosmic Egg: Split Minds and Meta-Realities ~ by Joseph Chilton Pearce, 1974, psychology
We go through early childhood connecting with the world through our senses.  With the development of language and the process of acculturation not only do our direct experiences of the world become much less vivid, but our innate states of nonordinary consciousness become suppressed.  Trapped in a specific cultural context — a “cosmic egg” — we are no longer able to have or even recognize mystical experiences not mediated by the limitations of our culture.  Motivated primarily by a fear of death, our enculturation literally splits our minds and prevents us from living fully in the present.  Drawing from Carlos Castaneda’s writings about Don Juan and the sense of “body-knowing,” Pearce explores the varieties of nonordinary consciousness that can help us return to the unencumbered consciousness of our infancy.  He shows that just as we each create our own cosmic egg of reality through cultural conditioning, we also innately create a “crack” in that egg.  Ultimately certain shifts in our biological development take place to offset acculturation, leaving an avenue of return to our primary state.  Pearce examines the creation of the “egg” itself and ways to discover its inherent cracks to restore wholeness to our minds, release us from our fear of death, and reestablish our ability to create our own realities through imagination and biological transcendence.
13.  Quartet in Autumn ~ by Barbara Pym, 1977, fiction
This is the story of four people in late middle-age — Edwin, Norman, Letty and Marcia — whose chief point of contact is that they work in the same office and they suffer the same problem — loneliness.  Poignantly and with much humour, Pym conducts us through their small lives and the facade they erect to defend themselves against the outside world.  There is nevertheless an obstinate optimism in her characters, allowing them in their different ways to win through to a kind of hope.

The only rule for Thursday Thirteen is to write about 13 things.  The New Thursday 13 is hosted by Country Dew @ Blue Country Magic and Colleen @ Loose Leaf Notes.  If you want to read lists by other people or play along yourself, here's the linky for this week.

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