Thursday, January 6, 2011

Books Read:

Dreamkeepers  A Spirit-Journey into Aboriginal Australia  by Harvey Arden:  It's a bait and switch book. I was hoping to read about some dream journeys but what happened was the author drove hither and yon meeting with various Aboriginal leaders and none of them would talk about the Dream Time, and he ended up feeling guilty. Well, I should think so. I thought this would be a book about living with the Aborigines for a number of years and entering into their lives. A drive by interview hardly qualifies. So the author wrote about his trip and what the leaders told him instead of Dream Time stories. He showed them his previous book about Native American Indian thought, and the Aborigines enjoyed reading parts of it. But I did not get the feel that he gave to book to anybody as a gift or that he offered to share any profits made from the potential book.  My main impressions from the book are two: How sad that alcohol has so thoroughly destroyed the tribes of Australia as it has in Alaska. People who have a land based religion are screwed when circumstances change.     I wonder what type of religion the first Aborigines had when they moved to Australia. It could not have been land based.

      The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout, PhD.    An unsettling look at why some people are so evil.  There was an uncomfortable overlap of sociopath and Asperger's brain deficiencies. But those of us who are not sociopaths but still fall short in the empathy department make do with sympathy, compassion, and love. Some of her advice about how to protect ourselves from sociopaths echoes Gavin de Bakker's (?) book about the gift of fear.

     The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell:  I cannot say WOW! enough about this book. Beautifully written, and the whole time you are following the two story lines of a group of people heading to a disaster and the one survivor maybe going to tell what happened, you are mentally screaming at the turn of every page, "What happened?" That the author knew nothing about the Jesuits before she started writing the book floors me. I thought she was a dyed in the wool Catholic. Her science-fiction alien premise is fascinating. Absolutely fascinating.

      A Wizard In Mind by Christopher Stasheff  was a lot of fun.
     Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman: a cute little story with cute illustrations.
     How to Train Your Dragon book 3 How to Speak Dragonese by Cressida Cowell: hit my funnybone.
      Waifs and Strays by Charles DeLint: I skipped some of the punk fairy stories. I liked the stories with Tetchie and Maisie in them. Beautifully written, of course.

     My husband got halfway through Joel Rosenberg's thriller The Twelfth Imam and quit. He said the man does not know his sports and he could not believe a 6'2" man could have Iranians towering over him. I dunno why not. And he said I write a lot better than Joel. Well, thank you sweetie, but Joel's style is just fine for thrillers. The only person I can think of at this moment who writes literary thrillers is Dean Koontz.

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