In keeping with the new look of my blog, I’m taking a pilgrimage into old territory, going back to subjects and interests that have occupied me for years but which I've been neglecting because I've been writing fantasy for kids.
What I’ve just finished reading and can highly recommend:
Exploring the Edge Realms of Consciousness (edited by Daniel Pinchbeck and Ken Jordan): An eclectic series of essays handling just what the title says. There are many ways to look at consciousness, but delightfully this book ranges all over the map - including things like lucid dreaming, DMT, jhana states, synchronicity, and even gems like "the proper uses of stage magic." I loved the wide sampling here, just enough on each subject to keep my interest and stir up some unknown and uncomfortable areas in my own consciousness.
Walter B. Gibson and the Shadow (by Thomas Shimeld): A straight-up biography, although Gibson’s life makes for remarkable content. He wrote so much that even he didn’t know how many books he had published, and his primary occupation was the paranormal. He wanted to write it into the Shadow novels, but was forced to take a lot of it out of his fiction under pressure from his publishers. Gibson is my great-great uncle and I don’t profess to have anything like his creative output, but I do share his love of the unexplained, of finding what is truly mysterious in life, and of course of heroes, whether they’re super or not.
Chief Marin (by Betty Goerke): It is pretty rare to find a good book about California Indians -- and by "good" I mean one that wakes you up and makes you feel that for a moment you are back in the past, seeing the world as it was then. "Good" also means transcending the goofy romanticism so many books about Indians have. This story of Chief Marin, the Miwok leader who defied the Spaniards, is obsessively researched and pretty damn good.
The Witches of Eastwick (John Updike): I loved this twenty years ago, and all I can say now is god bless this man, he is still completely awesome. Even if he is not politically correct. Even if he is a bit wordy at times. He can get away with anything. His prose, his characters, his odd little asides serve up some kind of alchemical magic of their own. When he puts a Rhode Island winter on the page, by god you are there, like it or not.