Tag Archives: books

Robert Louis Stevenson

was born 160 years ago today, the author of Treasure Island & Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, he grew up in Scotland, he also spent some time in Hawaii later in life, and befriended the last Hawaiian Princess, Ka’iluani

“Books are good enough in their own way, but they are a poor substitute for life.”

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move. “


“A normal human visual system is capable of distinguishing approximately 16.7 million different colors.” – page 42, Color Companion For The Digital Artist


a book publisher, online, which I’ve recently used myself, set up a free member account, download their software, called BookSmart, which includes templates & options for the book, put together and design the thing, submit to blurb to be uploaded on the account, and have as many or as few published as wanted, a person can even use her/his blurb account as an online shop to sell the book for her/him to potential customers, blurb will ship it right to the buyers, a person can set her/his own price, & get a cut of the profits for herself/himself for the work s/he put it into it as well

the Blurbarati, the BlurbNation, find it all here: http://www.blurb.com/

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

another excerpt from this book I’ve been reading:

“In most cases, according to scriptures and legend, it happened in a flash. Mohammed fasting and meditating on a mountainside near Mecca and-flash!-ecstasy, vast revelation and the beginning of Islam. Zoroaster hauling haoma water along the road and-flash!-he runs into the flaming form of the Archangel Vohu Mano, messenger of Ahura Mazda, and the beginning of Zoroastrianism. Saul of Tarsus walking along the road to Damascus and-flash!- he hears the voice of the Lord and becomes a Christian. Plus God knows how many lesser figures in the 2,000 years since then, Christian Rosenkreuz and his “God-illuminated” brotherhood of Rosicrucians, Emanuel Swedenborg whose mind suddenly “opened” in 1743, Meister Eckhart and his disciples Suso and Tauler, and in the twentieth-century Sadhu Sundar Singh -with-flash!- a vision at the age of 16 and many times thereafter; “…often when I come out of ecstasy I think the whole world must be blind not to see what I see, everything is so near and clear… there is no language which will express the things which I see and hear in the spiritual world…” Sounds like an acid head, of course. What they all saw in… a flash was the solution to the basic predicament of being human, the personal I, Me, trapped, mortal and helpless, in a vast impersonal It, the world around me. Suddenly! -All-in-one!- flowing together, I into It, and It into Me, and in that flow I perceive a power, so near and so clear, that the whole world is blind to. All the modern religions, and the occult mysteries, for that matter, talk about an Other World – whether Brahma’s or the flying saucers’ – that the rational work-a-day world is blind to. The-so-called!friends-rational world. If only they, Mom&Dad&Buddy&Sis, dear-but-square ones, could but know the kairos, the supreme moment… The historic visions have been explained in many ways, as the result of epilepsy, self-hypnosis, changes in metabolism due to fasting or actual intervention by gods-or drugs: Zoroastrianism began in a grand bath of haoma water, which was the same as the Hindu soma, and was unquestionably a drug. The experience!

– pages 127-128 of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe (1968)


a website for book readers, I’ve been a member there for a few months now, & it’s a nice, modern, tech savy, networking way of noting & keeping track of the books I’ve read, the books I’m reading, the books I’m interested in, & connecting with others who are into the same literature, though the website seems limited to American/English books


Assassination Vacation

a good book written by Sarah Vowell, which I read about 3 years ago, when it was released in 2005

a book about the first three assassinations of U.S.A. Presidents: Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, & William McKinley, who all happened to be of the Republican Party as well

through roadtrips & research she digs up a lot of interesting details & connections, & I really like her style of writing & way of thinking, as she pursues her interests in these strange things

The Fires Of Paratime

by L.E. Modessit Jr.

a book I borrowed from somebody & read a couple years ago

Chapter XX

page 204

“Life is too easy to face the hard decisions, and so we plan, and watch, and wait, and hope, and are the compliant victims of the schemers and the madmen.” [Sammis to Loki]

page 207

“… and no man or god would know his place while blew the wild winds of time.”

page 211

“The universe has no gods and while some have the power of gods, those who thought they were indeed were mad.”

page 214

“The histories, the might-have-beens, the was and the were, the is and the are, warred upon each other. Through the black windows of time hung in front of us, battles never fought were fought, all at once, all together, and the new turning points of history and parahistory, of space and para-space, were hammered out in the fires of para-time.”

Fight Club

a 1996 book by Chuck Palahniuk, that I read about a year and a half ago

somewhat perverse, somewhat clever, somewhat entertaining,
its the warped world of Tyler Durden & company

The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

by Tom Wolfe ( 1968 )

“And it is an exceedingly strange feeling to be sitting here in Day-Glo, on poor abscessed Harriet Street, and realize suddenly that in this improbably ex-pie factory Warehouse garage I am in the midst of Tsong-Isha-pa and the sangha communion, Mani and the wan persecuted at The Gate, Zoroaster, Maidhyoimaongha and the five faithful before Vishtapu, Mohammed and Abu Bakr and the disciples amid the pharisaical Koreish of Mecca, Gautama and the brethren in the wilderness leaving the blood-and-kin families of their pasts for the one true family of the sangha inner circle – in short, true mystic brotherhood – only in poor old Formica polyethylene 1960s America without a grain of desert sand or a shred of palm leaf or a morsel of manna wilderness breadfruit overhead, picking up vibrations from Ampex tapes and a juggled Williams Lok-Hed sledge hammer, hooking down mathematical lab drugs, LSD-25, IT-290, DMT, instead of soma water, heading out in American flag airport coveralls and an International Harvester bus – yet for real! – amid the marshmallow shiny black shoe masses – ”

taken from pages 30-31 (at the end of Chapter 3: The Electric Suit)

a sentence, give-or-take a fragment, from this book that I’m currently reading

The Wisdom Of Confucius

edited & with an introduction by Lin Yutang

page 123

“To arrive at understanding from being one’s true self is called nature, and to arrive at being one’s true self from understanding is called culture. He who is his true self has thereby understanding, and he who has understanding finds thereby his true self.”

[Those Who Are Absolute True Selves]

“Only those who are their absolute true selves in the world can fulfil their own nature; only those who fulfil their own nature can fulfil the nature of others; only those who fulfil the nature of others can fulfil the nature of things; those who fulfil the nature of things are worthy to help Mother Nature in growing and sustaining life; (and those who are worthy to help Mother Nature in growing and sustaining life are the equals of heaven and earth.)”

pages 123-124

“Realization of the true self compels expression; expression becomes evidence; evidence becomes clarity or luminosity of knowledge; clarity or luminosity of knowledge activates; active knowledge becomes power and power becomes a pervading influence. Only those who are absolutely their true selves in this world can have pervading influence.”

page 124

“It is an attribute of the possession of the abolute true self to be able to foreknow. When a nation or family is about to flourish, there are sure to be lucky omens. When a nation or family is about to perish, there are sure to be signs and prodigies. These things manifest themselves in the instruments of divination and in the agitation of the human body. When happiness or calamity is about to come, it can be known beforehand. When it is good, it can be known beforehand. When it is evil, it can also be known beforehand. Therefore he who has realized his true self is like a celestial spirit.”

page 190

“The superior man is liberal toward others’ opinions, but does not completely agree with them; the inferior man completely agrees with others’ opinions, but is not liberal toward them.”

“The superior man is firm, but does not fight; he mixes easily with others, but does not form cliques.”


by Joan Bauer, 1999, 185 pages

finished reading it yesterday

fictional story of mid-teen years of main character Ivy Breedlove, (best friend Octavia Harrison (who is into sociology), pet dog Genghis, & Jack Lowden (wilderness-guide-to-be & who winds up being her current “interest”/boyfriend))
Ivy is into the family stories of the Breedloves (ancestory, etc.) & history in general
with the support of her Aunt Tib, she spends the the duration of the book collecting information for a Breelove history book of sorts, (while her Aunt Fiona would rather do a quick & shallow version of the family history), Ivy being an only child, Egan, a cousin once-removed, is a fellow family member close to her age that pops into the story at regular intervals,  many of the Breedloves are/were lawyers (on her Great-Great-Great-Great-Grandfather, Millard Breedlove’s, gravestone, it is etched “O, wouldst that all my sons be lawyers / Lest my heart break with the anguish / That they have become lesser men“), as the book unravels though, Ivy relates to her estranged Aunt Josephine in being different then the lawyers in the family, & the plot develops as quest for her to find her Aunt Josephine (with the help of Wilderness Guide Mountain Mama) & then spend time/get to know Josephine (“Jo”), who lives up in the mountains, lives with & cares for many many many birds, & has a pet wolf, Malachi, as well as reintroduce “Jo” to the family of Breedloves (& vice versa)…

other characters: Dan Breedlove (Ivy Breedlove’s father) Uncle Archie, William Wasington “Iron Will” Breedlove (Ivy Breedlove’s grandfather) (gravestone read: “Justice was his chief end.”) G. Preston Roblick (Headmaster of Long Wharf Academy (school Ivy Breedlove attends)),  Claude (ex-boyfriend), Mrs. Englebert (neighbor)

I agree with the themes that history is important, that researching ones roots definitely gives one a better sense of self, & that loners deserve respect & acceptance like anybody else… found it to be a semi-worthy read.

page 3

“I love to stand on the porch and gaze at the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains, the oldest mountains in the United States.

Mountains draw you to a deeper place in yourself.”

page 18

“I’ve got the two things a good interviewer needs: curiosity and patience.”

page 28

“…stuck in the backwater. “Backwater” means an isolated or backward place or condition; it had become a favorite Breedlove expression..”

page 185

“You can’t pursue history without finding hope.”

Dakota: A Spiritual Geography

by Kathleen Norris

a book I read last summer, a good read

noted excerpts/quotes:

page 11-12:

     “… and I asked him if the angel had visited him here. “Don’t you know?” he said in the incredulous tone children adopt when adults seem stupefyingly ignorant. “Don’t you know?” he said, his voice rising, “This is where angels drown.”

page 14:

     “Reading is a solitary act, one in keeping with the silence of the Plains, but it’s also paradoxically public, as it deepens my connections with the larger world.”

page 16:

     “Silence is the best response to mystery.”

page 18-19:

     “We know it won’t last, not in Dakota, and we stay anyway. That is our glory, both folly and strength.”

page 19:

     “Many farmers I know use language in a way that is as eloquent as it is grammatically unorthodox.”

page 23:

     “Rather, it is a way of surrendering to reduced circumstances in a manner that enhances the whole person.”

page 24:

     “Desert wisdom allows you to be at home, wherever you are.”

page 26:

     “The Dakotas are America’s empty quarter…”

     “Say what you will about our climate, in Dakota we say it keeps the riff raff out.”

page 35:

     “It may be odd to think of living in Dakota as a luxury, but I’m well aware that ours is a privileged and endangered way of life, one that, ironically, only the poor may be able to afford.”

page 36:

     “Our odd, tortured landscape terrifies many people. Some think it’s as barren as the moon…”

page 37:

     “In western Dakota, as in few other places I’ve seen in this country, one realizes the truth of Gertrude Stein’s remark, “In the United States there is more space where nobody is than where anybody is.” Eleven counties in South Dakota now meet the traditional definition of frontier, places having two or fewer persons per square mile.”

page 38:

     “The Plains are not forgiving. Anything that is shallow – the easy optimism of a homesteader; the false hope that denies geography, climate, history; the tree whose roots don’t reach ground water – will dry up and blow away.”

page 41:

     “…my blood so like the sea in chemical composition, my every cell partaking of air. I live about as far from the sea as is possible in North America, yet I walk in a turbulent ocean. Maybe that child was right when he told me that the world is upside-down here, and this is where angels drown.”

page 95:

     “As Emily Dickinson once said, “You know there is no account of her death in the Bible, and why am I not Eve?””

page 104:

     “Shadows ‘n’ Owls: A Message From Jim Sullivan”

     “Dairy farming made an empiricist out of me. When I was a little boy I had to walk alone at night with bucket and lantern, down throught the trees by the river, and milk cows in a dark barn. There was no room in my life for bogeymen or poltergeists, anything I couldn’t explain. There were shadows ‘n’ owls, that’s all.”

page 107:

     “When you get the feeling that the whole world can see you but no one is watching, you have come to the grasslands of North America.” – Dan O’Brien In the Center of the Nation

page 108:

     “Where I am is a place that does not readily render its secrets or subtleties.”

     “Where I am is a place where Native Americans and whites live alone together, to paraphrase David Allen Evans, a South Dakota poet.”

page 110:

     “Where I am is a place where the human fabric is worn thin, farms and ranches and little towns scattered over miles of seemingly endless, empty grassland.”

     “Some have come to prefer the treelessness and isolation, becoming monks of the land, knowing that its loneliness is an honest reflection of the essential human loneliness. The willingly embraced desert fosters realism, not despair.”

page 117:

     “The West River of Dakota encourages you to either make or find deserts for yourself.”

page 121:

     “The irony and wonder of all this is that it is the desert’s grimness, its stillness and isolation, that bring us back to love.”

page 122:

     “For one who has chosen the desert and truly embraced the forsaken ground it is not despair or fear or limitation that dictates how one lives. One finds instead an openness and hope that verges on the wild…”

page 127:

     “I’ve come to think that one thing that distinguishes a frontier is the precarious nature of the human hold on it.

     The severe climate of Dakota forces us to see that no one can control this land. The largeness of land and sky is humbling, putting humankind in  proper perspective.”

page 140:

     “I know that Thomas Jefferson, who first read Plato’s “Republic” in Greek at the age of seventy-one and found it overrated, believed that the independent farmer was a foundation stone of American democracy. But, knowing that the words for liberty and library come from the same Latin root, he also believed that the farmer had to be well read for democracy to work.”

page 153:

     “It’s a dangerous place, this vast ocean of praire. Something happens to us here.”

page 155:

     “The midwestern landscape is abstract, and our response to the geology of the region might be similar to our response to the contemporary walls of paint in museums. We are forced to live in our eye.” – Michael Martone

page 157:

     “Maybe seeing the Plains is like seeing an icon: what seems stern and almost empty is merely open, a door into some simple and holy state.”

page 159:

     “There is the Zen of it: “When you come to a place where you have to go left or right, ” says Sister Ruth, “go straight ahead.””

page 168:

     “If this process of leveling down, of making everybody alike… is allowed to continue, America is doomed to become the most impoverished land spiritually on the face of the earth; out of our highly praised melting pot will come a dull… smug complacency, barren of all creative thought… Soon we will have reached the perfect democracy of barrenness… Dead will be the hidden life of the heart which is nourished by tradition, the idioms of language, and our attitude to life. It is out of these elements that character grows.” – Ole Rolvaag Giants of the Earth

     “If we’re to accomplish anything worthwhile, we must do it as Norwegians. Otherwise we may meet the same fate as corn in too strong a sun.” – Ole Rolvaag

page 170:

     “Ghosts don’t exist in some cultures.” – Martin Broken Leg

     “They think time exists.” – Martin Broken Leg

page 171:

     “I said that telling a poet not to look for connections is like telling a farmer not to look at the rain gauge after a storm.”

page 173:

     Bible: Isaiah: “All flesh is grass.”

page 182:

     “I recall a saying of the desert monks: If a man settles in a certain place and does not bring forth the fruit of that place, the place itself casts him out.”

page 190:

     “I was reading one of the old ones who said, “One who keeps death before his eyes conquers despair.” The little girl calls me, holding up her paper for me to read:

When my third snail died, I said,

‘I’m through with snails,’

But I didn’t mean it.”

page 193:

     “A Newsweek reporter captured the essence of the communities…

     “…Some are sophisticated and scholarly, others are earthy and well-balanced, a few are simply God’s fools.” “

page 197:

     “True hospitality is marked by an open response to the dignity of each and every person.”

page 207:

     “At another, when I remarked that my stereotypes had been shattered, expecting monks would hate women, a monk replied, “You came at the right time. We had one like that, but he died.””

page 210-211:

     “She said, speaking of the relationship between Benedictines and the Vatican, “We’re a very decentralized order, and the popes don’t like that, because when they want to tell us what to do, they can’t find us.””

page 211-212:

     “All monasteries have their characters, and in taking to heart Benedict’s admonishment to “support with the greatest patience one another’s weaknesses in body or behavior,” monks often sense that their homes are the last refuge of the eccentric.”

page 212:

     “Of course our laughter came, as all true humor does, from a displacement of context.”

page 213:

     “The point is not to avoid having fun but to keep in balance one’s need for food, work, prayer, rest, and play. Moderation is essential, for, in the words of Amma Syncletica, a fourth-century desert nun, “lack of proportion always corrupts.””

page 214:

     “Like country folk everywhere, monks develop an ability to party simply but well.”

page 215:

     “What sets monks apart from the rest of us is not an overbearing piety but a contemplative sense of fun.”

page 220:

     “Unable to sleep, I’ve been reading the words of a modern monk: “You have only to let the place happen to you… the loneliness, the silence, the poverty, the futility, indeed the stillness of your life.””

Digital Fortress

by Dan Brown

a good read, entertaining with the codes & stuff

leaves me with one final mystery:

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hollows

by J.K. Rowling

a sastisfying read, kinda wish the epilogue had a little more to it, but whatever – I still found it to be a good book… & a good finish to the series

I read the first book in the series back in 2000, & went on from there, through all of them now… so, these last few days it’s been a time to reflect & ponder both the Harry Potter saga & my own, especially the last seven years of it

Harry Potter And The Deathly Hollows

by J.K. Rowling

was released today, the grand finale of a 7 book series

Angels & Demons

by Dan Brown

 a good read, lots of interesting tidbits, & Italian phrases