What Are You Reading?

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YAY! It’s that time of the summer again! Smile

During a visit from Canada last month, my brother brought with him an amazing book called ‘Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm: Into the Dreaming of Earth’ by Stephen Harrod Buhner. Browsing through it, I was fascinated, and ordered a copy of my own. The book is brilliant. One I'll keep going back to.

Then I came upon another one of a similar nature but written in a different style and with less emphasis on the science. Written by the German forester and naturalist Peter Wohlleben, its focus is on the 'social networking' aspects of tree and plant behaviour. It’s brilliant. Stunning, in fact. At just about every page I’ve needed to put the book down and reflect on what I'd just read. I’ll never look at trees or forests again the same way.
The title is ‘The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate’.

In the realm of fiction, I’m still making my way through Jonathan Safran Foer’s poignant and hilarious family saga ‘Here I Am’.

So, what have you others been up to book-wise? Read anything that might inspire you to lyrics or music this time around?

cts's picture

I'm currently working through Happiness Is A Serious Problem by Dennis Prager and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. Though it's not actually reading, I finished the audio book, The Blood of Emmitt Till, which I found to be quite engaging and insightful. Songs may spring from these books. All of them have given me pause about the state of the world now, as it was then.

@cts, oh, I loved 'Their Eyes Were Watching God'. Thanks for reminding me of it. Smile Read it years ago, mainly while sitting on a train travelling in Canada.
Yes, there sure are plenty of books that can give us pause about how things were back then compared to now.

I like the title of the first book you mention. Will have to check it out.

Those tree and plant books sound absolutely fascinating, @Donna Devine. I'll have to track them down. I used to live in the forest and so am fully aware that trees have complex lives.
Just finished Iain M. Bank's "Feersum Endjynn", a wonderful and imaginative SF novel. I love his stuff.
Now I'm trying to decide whether to read a history of the Knights Templar or to go with more SF, "Perdido Street Station" by China Mieville.

@Fuzzy Yes, the books are wonderful. In fact I’ve just ordered another of Buhner’s books: ‘The Lost Language of Plants: The Ecological Importance of Plant Medicine to Life on Earth’.

Buhner has eclectic interests. I note he’s also authored a book on writing, called ‘Ensouling Language: On the Art of Nonfiction and the Writer’s Life’.

You have a difficult choice to make. Smile I love sci-fi, but a history of the Knights Templar could be fascinating as well. Especially given that they met the same fate as natural healers - so-called witches - in the Middle Ages during the abomination that was the Inquisition.

Dhalgren. It's a trip.

@Donna Devine, I will look into those tree books also. Trees are some of my best friends!

Words, words, words.

@Adnama17 Chip Delany's a frickin' treasure. That why you have 17 in your handle?

I agree with @headfirstonly about Samuel Delany. "Stars In my Pocket Like Grains Of Sand" is a truly awesome novel.
And it's no accident that my email address contains the word "Dhalgren".

@TomS Good answer! Wink

@headfirstonly, I wish I could say yes, but I'm not that cool. Sigh... This is actually the first of his I've read. Don't hate! You can thank @Fuzzy for educating me. I am enjoying it immensely! Smile (The 17 in my handle is because my birthday is February 17th.)

Book reading is coming soon! I've got a stack including Handmaiden's Tale (I was going through a dystopian phase... already reread Fahrenheit 451 and 1984),The Sellout, Chris Moore's Serpent of Venice, Waterworks... there's a lot on my list. Yet another reason why I probably won't get to 50 songs this year. Last summer I read very little.

Just finished 'You Are the Universe' by Deepak Chopra. Fascinating read!

I just finished "The High Mountains of Portugal" by Yann Martel. I loved it! I think it will inspire several 50/90 songs.

@JamKar - That's interesting. I'm reading 'The Self-Aware Universe' by Amit Goswami which seems to be coming from a similar place.

@atitlan Right! I read that one first, and I have to agree with you. Much to ponder.

@JamKar @atitlan I should read both of those. I'm currently reading Inedia, Non-Eating, Fasting by Joachim M Werdin. I have no plans to become a non-eater, but am very interested in expanding consciousness and realization of the universe, which is the crux of the matter.

@JamKar - I used to read a fair amount of Deepak Chopra. Also studied his primordial sound meditation method in which you're assigned a mantra. My favorite of his is "Book of Secrets."
Just about all I read these days is yoga-related - a lot of anatomy and physiology. I am also finishing a translation/commentary on the Bhagavad Gita - the second I've read - in advance of a training I'm doing in August. That will work its way into some songs.

Thank you, @Jen Distad !

along with this thread...

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut. Read most of Vonnegut, some repeatedly, now going back over some of the less familiar.
Pop Sonnets a few sonnets at a time by friend of fawm and 50/90 @Erik Didriksen.
Musicophilia (audio book for my commute) by Oliver Sacks
The Regulators by Richard Bachman a.k.a. Stephen King

To get me in the mood for 50/90, I'm in the midst of The Daily Adventures of Mixerman, a very entertaining and funny true story about the trials and tribulations of a major label album recording project gone bad.

Harry Potter (for the first time). On it.

Have been reading a lot of Lucy Maude Montgomery of late, partly as prep for a play in which I will likely have a part later this year.

Rikky Rooksby - How to Write Great Riffs on Guitar; Arranging Songs; Write Songs in Altered Guitar Tunings (just because)
Angela Ackerman - The Positive Traits Thesaurus; The Negative Traits Thesaurus; The Emotional Thesaurus; The Urban Setting Thesaurus; The Rural Setting Thesaurus (good for sense writing with lots of great ideas)
Tudor Publishing - The History of Painting (1,000 mini color plates from caveman painting through modern art)
I read Player Piano a few months ago. Lots of interesting things to me since I am an engineer and work for government

Just finished: The Long Drop by Denise Mina.

Just started: Who Do You Serve, Who Do You Protect? edited by Maya Schenwar, Joe Macaré, and Alana Yu-lan Price.

"The Shack" was suggested by a co-worker. Sooo...

Just read "The Innovators" by Walter Isaacson, who also wrote the definitive and popular Steve Job bio that came out around the time of Jobs' death. This one covers the inventors of the transistor (Schockly did contribute, but he was a jerk from the start), computer, Arpanet/Internet, and Web (okay the last one was mainly Tim Berners-Lee). I've read one or two dozen computer-and-recent-technology history books - my favorite is "Dealers of Lightning" - so much of what we use today originated at Xerox PARC.

Currently reading "Longitude" a 1995 book about clock designer John Harrison, whose name hit the news only a couple of years ago with his "Clock B" design that is amazingly accurate for a mechanical clock, even ridiculously so because it was designed near the end of his life, two centuries ago.

I read the Mixerman story, named as I recall, "The MIxerman Chronicles," with installments posted nightly on the Usenet newsgroup rec.audio.pro in 2000 or 2001, whenever it was. I'd stay up an extra hour weeknights reading what had supposedly happened that day. There was lots of discussion about who it could be, whether it was true or not, and which recording studio it could be. It was the biggest thing since "I Sing About Blue."

The First Concert by Edwin Prévost.

I am reading Sapiens: A brief history of human kind. Kinda puts things in perspective

[@sherrycanary I saw that book at the train station last week, and almost bought it. Maybe I'll pop in and pick it up.
Anything that can put things in perspective can't be bad. Wink

So Much Blue by Percival Everett.

I'm reading Zombies: Encounters With the Hungry Dead. I got it for $3 from a book discounter.

The Blood of Emmett Till by Timothy B. Tyson.

Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63 by Taylor Branch.

Effortless Mastery by Kenny Werner, was recommended to me ages ago but I never got around to reading it.
Not feeling the random religious rants here and there but the rest is indeed very interesting so far.

Against the Fascist Creep by Alexander Reid Ross.

Mystery short stories in Ellery Queen magazine.

I was so impressed by Stephen Harrod Buhner's 'The Lost Language of Plants' that I ordered his book on writing, 'Ensouling Language: On the Art of Non-fiction and the Writer's Life'.

It's stunning, and I highly recommend it to anyone who writes in any form, whether fiction, non-fiction, lyrics, whatever. Throughout the book, he includes inspiring quotes from writers, past and present. Every page contains a pearl - or pearls - of wisdom.

(For the novelists and non-fiction writers among you, Buhner also includes good information on the publishing industry, which by all accounts is as cut-throat as the music industry.)

@Donna Devine
Thanks for that book recommendation ('Ensouling...'). I checked it out a little further, and it sounds like something I will love. Onto the wish list it goes!

I just finished 'Zodiac' by Neal Stephenson. It is one of his earlier books (1988, I think) and it's a bit farfetched, but I enjoyed reading it. So much so,k in fact, I wrote a song about it (although the lyric might not make complete sense unless you've read the book.) http://fiftyninety.fawmers.org/song/23690

@Donna Devine! I was fasinated by the two books you originally started this thread with. I've ordered both, and am part way through "The Hidden Life of Trees" and loving every minute of it! Can't wait for "Plant Intelligence and the Imaginal Realm". Love love love love love!

Hey @tcelliott, I'm just finishing up "Snow Crash" for the second time. If you like "Zodiac" you'll probably want to read it, too (unless you already have).

@Adnama17 I'm thrilled you're enjoying 'Hidden Life...'. I know I'll be going back to it again and again. It's one of the very few non-fiction books I've ever read that I could hardly put down. And every day I couldn't wait till evening, when I could pick it up again. Wink You'll love the other book as well. It's 'heavier' in the first part (more scientific), but well worth pushing through the forest of information. Wink

@barbara You're going to love 'Ensouling...'. Smile I'm glad it's on your Wish List.

I now have another of Buhner's books: 'The Transformational Power of Fasting'. Wonderful.
I'm not new to fasting, and have other books on the topic, but his approaches it from a deeper perspective.

I just started reading Kim Stanley Robinson's 'Red Mars' again, which will undoubtedly lead to me reading the whole trilogy for probably the fourth or fifth time.

I've become more interested in 20th century history so I've been looking for cool books at the library but they're all so long...I did find a perfect one, Finland 1939-1940. A simple, short, well written and informative book on the Winter War. A very interesting brief chapter of World War II that I never knew about, Finland kicked buttocks!

@Fuzzy Snow Crash is the first of his I read. I actually got a hold of a prerelease copy of the book (with a common mispelling of a name in it) waaaay back before it was first released. I loved it. And I've read most of his other books not counting more recent releases. He's pretty darn good at the whole writing thing.

I've just finished 'Housekeeping' by Marilynne Robinson. What a treasure. It was her first novel, published in 1980. Don't know how I've missed seeing it before now. Beautiful use of the language, and a quietly compelling, unique story and main characters.

Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Y. Davis.

That one sounds interesting, @miltz. I often wonder just what effective or positive role prisons currently play. On the face of it, they seem to be barbaric, error-ridden, and largely a disaster (of course a reflection of the so-called justice system as a whole in particular countries).

(The only prison system that appears to function in a half-way humane manner might be that of the Netherlands, where the overall approach is to inform and educate as opposed to punish - especially with regard to drug use.)

Last night - in a binge-read - I finished another excellent, relatively short novel: 'Mothering Sunday' by the British writer Graham Swift. Beautiful, concise writing. Wonderful descriptive language.