Greetings from the Land of Enchantment: Books that have changed my life

Friday, November 17, 2006

Books that have changed my life

They announced the National Book Award winners yesterday and it got me thinking about all the books that have changed my life. I was trying to come up with a nice round 10 but here's what I've thought of so far, in no particular order:

If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland
Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche
Lalita Sahasranama: The Thousand Names of the Divine Mother
The Bone People by Keri Hulme
Waiting for God by Simone Weil
Body & Soul by Frank Conroy
King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild
Ghost Dance by Carole Maso
Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
Language Older than Words by Derrick Jensen
Ishmael by Daniel Quinn
The Turning Point by Fritjof Capra
Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley
Short History of a Prince by Jane Hamilton
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The Places that Scare You by Pema Chodron
All About Love by Bell Hooks
A House by the Sea by May Sarton
Teaching a Stone to Talk by Annie Dillard
A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
No Boundary by Ken Wilber
Total Freedom by J. Krishnamurti
Eyeless in Gaza by Aldous Huxley
The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles
Come to Me by Amy Bloom
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Well, maybe the list will continue but that's what I could come up with so far. It's a mix of fiction and nonfiction, so it's not your traditional top ten list, but these books have either steered me in new directions or so profoundly seared into my consciousness that I cannot forget them.

Although I can't begin to have a complete list of the poets who've changed my life, here are the top three: Rainer Maria Rilke, Mary Oliver, and Pablo Neruda.

Happy reading!


At 2:26 AM, Blogger sushil yadav said...

The link between Mind and Social / Environmental-Issues.

The fast-paced, consumerist lifestyle of Industrial Society is causing exponential rise in psychological problems besides destroying the environment. All issues are interlinked. Our Minds cannot be peaceful when attention-spans are down to nanoseconds, microseconds and milliseconds. Our Minds cannot be peaceful if we destroy Nature.

Industrial Society Destroys Mind and Environment.

Subject : In a fast society slow emotions become extinct.
Subject : A thinking mind cannot feel.
Subject : Scientific/ Industrial/ Financial thinking destroys the planet.
Subject : Environment can never be saved as long as cities exist.

Emotion is what we experience during gaps in our thinking.

If there are no gaps there is no emotion.

Today people are thinking all the time and are mistaking thought (words/ language) for emotion.

When society switches-over from physical work (agriculture) to mental work (scientific/ industrial/ financial/ fast visuals/ fast words ) the speed of thinking keeps on accelerating and the gaps between thinking go on decreasing.

There comes a time when there are almost no gaps.

People become incapable of experiencing/ tolerating gaps.

Emotion ends.

Man becomes machine.

A society that speeds up mentally experiences every mental slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A ( travelling )society that speeds up physically experiences every physical slowing-down as Depression / Anxiety.

A society that entertains itself daily experiences every non-entertaining moment as Depression / Anxiety.





To read the complete article please follow either of these links :




At 9:35 AM, Blogger Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa aka Chiara Huddleston said...

Apologies to those who read my blog regularly. I don't know who this commentator is nor what is trying to be said. Disregard please. Sat Nam.

At 10:01 AM, Blogger Sat Purkh Kaur Khalsa aka Chiara Huddleston said...

Apologies to Mr. Yadav, evidently my "spam trigger" was a little to quick. He is commenting on two of my favorite authors: Quinn and Jensen, who's work changed me in so many ways. But much like the Ayn Rand phase that most of go through and hope we move on from, I've incorporated their ideas without being constrained by them.

I wrote a long commentary on your message that got lost so I'm going to do my best to recreate it here.

Yes the world is speeding up and yes there is the risk of losing our emotional sensitivity, our "humanness". And yes there is some risk that our information age will ultimately collapse, our monetary system will collapse and we'll have to return to "the land". Our Teacher Yogi Bhajan has said just that in the past. The Aquarian Age is coming on the tales of war, famine, and tragedy.

But this changing of the Age doesn't mean we become less human, it means we must become more human. As fast as the world is moving, the human mind is infinitely faster. IT's a matter of mastery, sensitivity, and compassion.

Television and telephones, and wireless and electromagnetic scanning are all just material manifestions of the innate human capacity. It's not age of machines--we've already moved through that--not that machinery won't become more and more sophisticated, more and more 'intelligent'. Just one look at nanotechnology will show you that. But that doesn't mean we become less human.

IT means we become more sensitive, it means we use our intuition to know the unknown, see the unseen and master the future by our projection in the present.

Catastrophe may still happen; the land may reject us. But what we must recognize --and which Quinn and JEnsen so eloquently point out-- is that we are not separate from the land. Our destiny is integrally linked to the destiny of the trees, the animals, the climate, etc.

But do we lose our emotional body because our lives move so quickly, we work so hard, we have families, we have responsibilities? No. We simply elevate ourselves to meet the day--and we smile in gratitude for having it to meet.

Becoming more human in the face of it all is the challenge.

Sat Nam and Blessings.

At 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't say how many times I have read Ishmael. No matter where I'm at, or what I'm thinking about reading that puts my head on straight - or at least facing a new direction.



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