Monday, August 20, 2007

Books Read

The Soul of Money: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Life by Lynne Twist
I really only skimmed through this, didn't read it. A few things I want to remember:
Myths about money:
"Scarcity is a lie." or "There's not enough."
"More is better."
"That's just the way it is."

The reality is, "sufficiency is always available." She says money is like water: know the flow, direct the flow. "When all is said and done, they want to put their money in flow. Philanthropy at any level enables people to get back in touch with that relationship with money." Tad Hargrave: "Charity is complete when it is grounded in solidarity."

Saying from the Achuar people: "Change the dream." It was because of a dream that they sought out help from the author in understanding Western money, so they could meet "civilization" rather than get swallowed up by it. Lynne Twist said, "They say that we really can't change our everyday actions because at their root will always be the dream we have for our future and we will always act consistent with that dream. However they say the dream itself can be changed in the space of one generation and the time is now to do the work that will change the dream."

This reminded me of the defensive driving skill of looking where you want to go. If you go into a skid for some reason, look at the road where you want to go. Don't look where you think you're headed, like the ditch or that tree. Look where you want to go, and your hands will send you there. It is when we trust our instinct, act without thinking, when we change the dream before the thought, that is when we can change things. Sheer force of will, that causes so much heartache, coercion, and violence.

Inuit wisdom: "Words do not label things already there. Words are like the knife of a carver: they free the idea, the thing from the general formlessness of the outside. As a man speaks, not only is his language in a state of birth, but also the very thing about which he is talking."

Finally, the reason I checked out this book was due to the great workshop on fundraising at the BPF Member gathering last year, given by Kristi Nelson. If I did anything, I wanted to see the poem she found in the book, and quoted in the workshop:

I lived on the shady side of the
road and watched my neighbors'
gardens across the way reveling
in the sunshine.

I felt I was poor, and from door
to door went with my hunger.

The more they gave me from
their careless abundance the
more I became aware of my
beggar's bowl.

Till one morning I awoke from my
sleep at the sudden opening of
my door, and you came and
asked for alms.

In despair I broke the lid of my
chest open and was startled into
finding my own wealth.

Rabindranath Tagore

Look Both Ways: Bisexual Politics by Jennifer Baumgardner
I didn't read this book either, just skimmed it quickly. For a book about feminist politics, it seemed very self-absorbed, more of a memoir of Jennifer Baumgardner, about her self-involved experience as a twenty-something in New York. Confused or exploring your sexuality, learning to "look both ways?" Then you're excused from treating your girlfriend like crap. That was the impression I got. I was pleased to learn that Edna St. Vincent Millay was a "major rake at Vassar, seducing all the girls, and was reputed to be the model for Lakey in The Group by Mary McCarthy." Now I have to check that book out.

Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
This Shadow Children series got rave reviews by librarians as books kids will like. As I read it in the break room, one of my co-workers said he tried to read it but he didn't get far and it didn't pull him in. It did me. In some indeterminate future where worldwide famine causes the Government to go dictatorial, laws are passed that make third children illegal. Luke Garner is one of those accidental children that must never be seen by outsiders. When his family is forced to sell some of their farmland for new houses, he can no longer even go outside. He is pushed to the edges of his own family, who for fear of discovery have him live in the attic and sit on the stairs for meals. His family is poor. The new neighbors are rich, but he discovers they have something in common, a third child too. It is a very quick read, for kids after all, but I liked it enough to send for the sequel. It's nice to have something for those times I want to have something to read that won't distract me for days on end.

Tales Out of Oregon by Ralph Friedman
This was a fun book to read while I was traveling. I got this via bookmooch, a wonderful experience in itself. (Mentioned briefly back here.) The author invites you in, encourages you to set a spell. It was published in the year of my birth, and while on the first page I thought there were just too many adjectives, after a bit I was pulled in by the folksy flow of it and found myself wondering why we don't use more adjectives these days.

He reminisces about his wandering in the 30s around Oregon, following the seasonal jobs. He quotes Joseph Conrad as the reason for his wanderlust at the age of 18, and looks back with the wisdom, and the good storytelling, of a well-aged anecdote. When I got to the section that came from his days of writing travel articles, it wasn't quite as good, so while library books call, this book sits waiting to be finished.

Greywalker by Kat Richardson
There were some first-time author mistakes in this book. The first-person past-tense narrative for hold-your-breath life-or-death scenes didn't quite work for me. For those kinds of scenes I as a reader don't want to notice the narrator sure had a lot of time to notice a lot of details . I also shouldn't notice the author trying to be a clever author, for example saying "potato-headed" instead of "couch-potato." I kept reading though because I really like the world she created. A private investigator has a near-death experience (not once does the author call it that...wasn't she clever?) and comes out of it with the paranormal ability to walk in the grey world between life and death, where monsters, ghosts and vampires walk, and where magic glows as snakey tendrils of force. I liked noticing some things I think may be quintessentially Pacific Northwest (it is set in Seattle) such as gothy chicks who like ferrets, but at the same time groaned with the kinky cutie undertones of gothy chicks who like ferrets.

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