What book(s) are on your nightstand?

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Re: What book(s) are on your nightstand?

Postby Rozax on Sat Jun 11, 2011 8:11 pm

Thirteen Orphans by Jane Lindskold
I'm not making much headway in this one with all my studies, but I'm hoping to make some progress after taking the NCE...assuming I pass on the first try.

Montessori Madness! A Parent to Parent Argument for Montessori Education by Trevor Eissler
Looking forward to a book discussion on this one. It appeals to non-parents as well - practically anyone who's critical of the education system, or who feels that their schooling years could have been so much better.

Theory and Practice of Therapeutic Massage
A Massage Therapist's Guide to Pathology
Re-reading both of these for the NCE.

Add to this a stack of classics from Gutenberg.org on my laptop, which sits on my nightstand.
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"The Grace in Dying"

Postby holley on Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:24 pm

By Kathleen Singh is my favorite read.
Written for anyone who will die or knows someone who will die.
It's a treat for the living as well.
If you miss it. well, "know that your safe".
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Re: What book(s) are on your nightstand?

Postby kathryn on Sun Jul 03, 2011 1:42 am

okay, just about finished with Skeletal Muscle Structure, Function and Plasticity by Richard Lieber. Recently finished A MInd of It's Own by Cordelia Fine (which was a fantastic book about the workings of the mind!). I've just started reading Through the Language Glass by Guy Deutscher (about how our language affects our worldview) and then on to The Culture of Pain by David Morris................Yes, I love reading!!
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Re: What book(s) are on your nightstand?

Postby Rozax on Wed Jul 06, 2011 7:23 pm

I'll have to take a look a Through the Language Glass. I love linguistics, and since I passed my NCETM, I can finally do some leisurely reading instead of studying all the time.

I also want to get my hands on The Spiral Staircase: My Climb Out of Darknessand The Case for God, both by Karen Armstrong. She's an interesting person. She spent several years as a nun before realizing that it isn't for her, and coming to her conclusions on God and spirituality.
One of the points she made in one of her NPR visits that sticks out strongest in my mind is, "Very often people hear about God when they're little...at the time they first learn about Santa Claus. And over the years, their ideas about Santa Claus have changed and developed, but their ideas of God have got stuck in this rather infantile mode..." Good point, and interesting stuff.
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NY Times book review-Robert Wright

Postby holley on Mon Sep 03, 2012 4:08 pm

UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN
A Story of Violent Faith.

By Jon Krakauer.

SINCE Sept. 11, 2001, Americans have talked a lot about the dark side of religion, but for the most part it isn't religion in America they've had in mind. Jon Krakauer wants to broaden their perspective. In ''Under the Banner of Heaven,'' he enters the obscure world of Mormon fundamentalism to tell a story of, as he puts it, ''faith-based violence.''

In July 1984, in a Utah town called American Fork, Dan Lafferty entered the home of his brother Allen, who was at work, and killed Allen's wife and 15-month-old daughter. Dan, now serving a life sentence, has no remorse about the murders and no trouble explaining them. His older brother, Ron, who assisted in the crime and is now on death row, had received a revelation from God mandating that Brenda and Erica Lafferty be ''removed'' so that, as God put it, ''my work might go forward.'' Brenda Lafferty, a spunky 24-year-old, had been bad-mouthing polygamy and in other ways impeding the fundamentalist mission that had seized Ron and Dan.

Parallels between the Lafferty brothers and Islamic terrorists aren't obvious, and Krakauer doesn't explore them very explicitly. The author of ''Into Thin Air,'' the best-selling account of death on Mount Everest, he is essentially a narrative writer. He mentions Osama bin Laden near the beginning and end of the book and leaves it for readers to draw their own conclusions, with some help from the book jacket's reference to ''Taliban-like theocracies in the American heartland.''

Still, by setting Mormon fundamentalism in its historical and scriptural context, and by powerfully illuminating Dan Lafferty's mind, Krakauer provides enough raw material for a seminar on post-9/11 questions. What drives people toward fundamentalism, and then toward violence? Where is the line between religious fanaticism and insanity? How heavy is the influence of religious history, in particular scripture, as opposed to the material conditions of modern life?

Mormon fundamentalists aren't Mormons in the common sense of the word. They don't belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which abandoned the doctrine of ''plural marriage'' in 1890. Many live in small towns (the ''Taliban-like theocracies'') where men evade anti-bigamy laws by having one lawful wife and additional ''spiritual'' wives. Others -- especially ''independents,'' who belong to no particular fundamentalist sect -- just blend into the landscape. The street preacher who allegedly kidnapped 14-year-old Elizabeth Smart last year and forced her to ''marry'' him was an independent.

Dan and Ron Lafferty weren't born into this world. They were raised as severely pious but mainstream Mormons, and both were married before they flirted with fundamentalism.

Dan went first. It might seem that a man's attraction to a polygamous sub-culture needs little explaining, especially if he comes from a religion that discourages nonmarital sex with inordinate vigor. But Dan's conversion was about more than wanderlust. After his mom-and-pop sandwich business was shut down for lack of a license, leaving his family in a financial bind, he grew ardently averse to government regulation and found backing for this sentiment in the Book of Mormon. It was in this libertarian spirit that he came to reject the Mormon Church's jettisoning of polygamy; church leaders had caved in to an invasive federal government.

Ron, like Dan, turned toward fundamentalism while under economic pressure. The bank was about to foreclose on his home -- he would sometimes break into tears over his family's plight -when Dan convinced him that God wanted him to forsake material goals and become a fundamentalist missionary. Dan also drew his four other brothers into the fold, but there was one problem: Brenda, the wife of his brother Allen. As the Lafferty boys started espousing polygamy and other strange things, Brenda urged the other wives to resist. And Ron's wife took Brenda's advice in spades. She divorced Ron and took the children to Florida. So when Ron's divine revelation about Brenda's ''removal'' arrived, he was in a receptive frame of mind.

Though organized around the Lafferty brothers' crime, ''Under the Banner of Heaven'' recounts the always interesting history of Mormonism, starting with the day in 1823 when the New York visionary and suspected charlatan Joseph Smith met an angel named Moroni. Krakauer wants to show how the Lafferty murder is rooted in the Mormon past. He emphasizes, for example, the doctrine of ''blood atonement,'' stressed by Smith but later dropped by the church.

It's true that Dan Lafferty, while delving into church history, encountered this idea. But it's also true that by then he already harbored volatile grievances and that he had come from a violent background; his father killed the family dog with a baseball bat as family members looked on. Most religions, and certainly the monotheistic ones, have odes to violence in their scriptural past. (See, for example, Deuteronomy.) The question is what makes some people more inclined than others to latch onto these passages.

However valid Krakauer's linkage of past and present, it steepens an already formidable storytelling challenge. The contemporary parts of the book -skipping from the Lafferty case to sketches of two fundamentalist towns to a late-breaking chapter on Elizabeth Smart -- can themselves disorient the reader with disparate detail. (From a strictly literary standpoint, polygamy's main downside is its creation of lots of characters with the same last name.) With long historical sections mixed in, the momentum dissipates further. Almost every section of the book is fascinating in its own right, and together the chapters make a rich picture, but there is little narrative synergy among them.

The book ends near the desert town of Colorado City, Ariz., a bastion of fundamentalism, with DeLoy Bateman, a resident, reflecting on his conversion to atheism. He grants that believers are happy but says happiness isn't as important as being free to think for yourself. He's referring partly to the totalitarian undercurrent of Mormon fundamentalism. (The town's leading prophet tells his flock to avoid television, magazines and newspapers -- and sometimes tells teenage girls whom they should marry.) Still, this, the book's closing note, will be taken by some as a verdict on religion writ large -- especially since, at the moment Bateman notes religion's conduciveness to happiness, he happens to look out over ''a quivering sheen of mirage.''

Certainly the picture of religion presented in the book is unflattering. Linking the Laffertys to Mormon history means stressing its violent and authoritarian aspects. And of course neither of these is an invention of Krakauer's. (Polygamous societies in general tend toward authoritarianism, as the anthropologist Laura Betzig has shown. She attributes this to the need of powerful men to control not just women but the understandably unsettled lower-status males who, through the grim mathematics of polygamy, go mateless.) Still, it would have been nice to see some of religion's upside. Something must explain the vibrancy of mainstream Mormonism, and I doubt it's just the dark energy of residual authoritarianism. Religion, like patriotism, can nurture virtue within the group even while directing hostility beyond it.

Courtroom arguments over Ron Lafferty's sanity impinge on the question of religion from another angle, by questioning the line between religious fervor and pathological delusion. Though believers may find this question offensive, in a way it acquits religion of some charges against it. If there isn't much difference between the talking dog that gave David Berkowitz his marching orders and the ''God'' that visited Ron Lafferty, then for all we know Lafferty, had he not been religious, would have gotten his guidance from another voice.

THE human mind is great at justifying its goals, and it does so by whatever medium is handy, including -- if neither god nor dog seems plausible -- simple moralizing. Dan Lafferty, asked to distinguish himself from Osama bin Laden, says, ''I believe I'm a good person.'' An unfortunately common sentiment. Krakauer writes that ''as a means of motivating people to be cruel or inhumane . . . there may be no more potent force than religion.'' But sheer instinctive self-righteousness may ultimately be a bigger part of the problem. It is a common denominator of crimes committed in the name of religion, nationalism, racism -- even, sometimes, nihilism.

And it isn't the only element of the Lafferty story with this kind of versatility. Dan and Ron Lafferty saw their quest for security and stature frustrated and then found someone to blame -- a description that, in one sense or another, applies to Mohamed Atta, Timothy McVeigh and the Columbine killers. ''Under the Banner of Heaven'' is an arresting portrait of depravity that may have broader relevance than the author intended.

Robert Wright, a visiting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, is the author of ''The Moral Animal'' and ''Nonzero.''
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Re: What book(s) are on your nightstand?

Postby RelaxandRejuvenate on Tue Sep 04, 2012 7:13 am

The Amateur.
Smithers: "Sir, I'm afraid we have a bad image, people see you as a bit of an ogre." Mr.Burns: "I ought to club them and eat their bones!"
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"A Study of History"

Postby holley on Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:30 pm

A.J Toynbee approaches history from the civilization which it arises rather then the nation state. Reading the Illustrated abridged version.
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"Spillover" by David Quammen

Postby holley on Sat Mar 30, 2013 11:16 pm

The next "Big One", the pandemic that is coming and will kill millions of us will most likely originate with animals and spillover into humans. This book discusses: Ebola, Aids, Influenza, Marburg, SARS, etc. and how, why, when and where they jumped from animals to humans (Aids in 1908!!!!). An exploration as riveting as any detective novel.
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"The God Problem"

Postby holley on Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:58 pm

By Harold Bloom.

"Gobsmacked" is under rating it. "Bloody hell...what an extraordinary book", sums it up more adequately.
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"The Secret Life of Dust"

Postby holley on Tue Nov 25, 2014 4:19 am

by Hannah Holmes

Surprised and delighted to find a world in a grain of sand.
'Every Day is a god, each day a goddess and holiness pours forth in time."
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Re: What book(s) are on your nightstand?

Postby lhommedieu on Thu Jan 01, 2015 12:48 pm

Currently "The Brewer's Tale - A History of the World According to Beer" and "Brewing Trappist Ales." You might guess that I am a home brewer.
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Re: "The God Problem"

Postby lhommedieu on Thu Jan 01, 2015 12:50 pm

holley wrote:By Harold Bloom.

"Gobsmacked" is under rating it. "Bloody hell...what an extraordinary book", sums it up more adequately.


I took a course with him at the New School in the 80's and have several of his books on my shelves.
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Re: What book(s) are on your nightstand?

Postby Giri on Mon Jan 05, 2015 10:36 pm

Finnegans Wake
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Re: What book(s) are on your nightstand?

Postby holley on Wed Jan 07, 2015 7:17 am

Just finished 1927 by Bill Bryson; a delightful romp through time.
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"On Immunity" by Eula Bliss

Postby holley on Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:00 pm

'Every Day is a god, each day a goddess and holiness pours forth in time."
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"When Women Were Birds"

Postby holley on Sun Apr 10, 2016 5:27 am

The author, Terry Tempest Williams, reveals more of her humanity then I can bear. How can it be that her search for authenticity tugs at my own masks and leaves me reeling ?
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Infectious !

Postby holley on Mon Jul 18, 2016 6:18 pm

"The Hidden Half of Nature" the Microbial Roots of Life and health by Montgomery and Bikle.

The wonders, and connections of the microbial life in the soil and our guts brought to life with enthusiasm and love.

https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-revi ... of-nature/
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Re: What book(s) are on your nightstand?

Postby holley on Thu Feb 16, 2017 1:14 pm

"When Breath Becomes Air"
A young doctor, in his dying,
reveals his and our own humanity.
"Here we are together, and here are
the ways through....."


https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/07/book ... death.html
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"I Contain Multitudes" by Ed Yong

Postby holley on Thu Jun 08, 2017 8:16 am

"On one view, the rise of natural philosophy over the last several millennia has slowly stripped man of his God-given dominion over creation and squeezed the human species into a tiny corner of the cosmos that, through accidents of physics, chemistry and evolution, happens to be our home. The diminishment of humankind is a trajectory that I find terrifying and exhilarating and it continues apace in Ed Yong’s masterful new book, I Contain Multitudes, which tells the stories of the microbes that swarm within and around us.

While we might preen at how far we have come in the past few thousand years, the whole of human history is but the work of a moment next to the three or four billion years that microbes – mostly bacteria, but also their cousins among the archea and single-celled eukaryotes – have ruled the roost. This is the point around which Multitudes pivots: precedence matters. The multi-celled animals and plants that emerged late in life’s story had to find accommodation on a planet where every niche was already occupied by invisible microbes. They had no choice but to interact, bodily and genetically, and through the blind thrashing of evolution, with the Earth’s microbiome. And we are only now discovering the extraordinary reach of the web of interactions spun from those turbulent processes."

Stephen Curry
@Stephen_Curry
The Guardian (Occams Corner)

Thursday 25 August 2016 06.40 EDT Last modified on Tuesday 9 May 2017 13.31 EDT
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"The Trouble With reality"- Brooke Gladstone

Postby holley on Tue Oct 10, 2017 8:02 am

This brief (less then 100 pages) "is a rampage thru the hall of mirrors that is the new post truth era...".

Don't miss it.
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