I swear my last reading update was years ago, yet it was really only in July. How is it that it was only two months ago?
And I thought I hadn’t read much until I started to pile up the books…they’re more than fourteen inches tall!
And yes, that is an old-fashioned ruler, the kind that construction workers used back in the day.
Mindfulness by Joseph Goldstein. This is a series of lectures by Goldstein, one of the people who brought vipassana (aka mindfulness) meditation to America. Along with Sharon Salzburg and Jack Kornfield, Goldstein founded the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts. When there is a retreat being held at the center, there is always a dharma talk, or lecture, in the evening; this book is a collection of those lectures by Goldstein specifically covering the Satipatthana Sutta, the foundational discourse of Buddha on mindfulness. I find I can only read a one lecture a day because each brings so much to ponder. It’s worth it, though, as there are plenty of jewels like this:
An ironic and useless patter that I’ve noticed in my own retreats is that my mind comments on someone not being mindful — or at least not appearing to be in my eyes — all the while being oblivious to the fact that in that very moment I’m doing exactly what it is I have a judgement about: namely, not being mindful! It usually doesn’t take me long to see the absurdity of this patter and then just to smile at these habits of mind. It’s always helpful to have a sense of humor about one’s own mental foibles.
I’ve definitely never been guilty of this, have you?
The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg. This was a fun little read that I picked up on a late summer adventure to Grand Rapids. I went over for the day and hit Nordstrom Rack, thrift stores on 29th street, Trader Joes, and (how could I not) Schuler Books. I ate lunch and gathered a few books including this one purely for the title.
The back-of-book blurb attracted my attention too: “Martha Andersson may be seventy-nine years old and live in a retirement home, but that doesn’t mean she’s ready to stop enjoying life. So when the new management starts cutting corners to save money, Martha and her four closest friends won’t stand for it.” This league of pensioners gets up to all sorts of hilarious hijinks and you’ll love it. Thank goodness there’s at least one more in the series: The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again!
On that same trip, I bought Bibliomysteries edited by Otto Penzler. This is a collection of short stories about bookshops, libraries, book collectors, and booksellers. Authors include Mickey Spiillane, Nelson DeMille, Anne Perry, and Laura Lippman. The subtitle of the book says it all: stories of crime in the world of books and bookstores.
Mindful Aging by Andrea Brandt. I really tried to like this book, but alas, I can’t do it. The subtitle of the book is “embracing your life after 50 to find fulfillment, purpose, and joy.” It comes off a little too simplistic for me, and probably for you, too.
The Greywalker series by Kat Richardson: Poltergeist , Labryinth, Vanished, and Seawitch, and others. This urban fantasty series features private investigator Harper Blaine who just happens to be able to see between the worlds. Start with #1 in the series, Greywalker, which explains how Blaine got these talents, among other things.
The Edge of Dreams by Rhys Bowen. Bowen writes the Molly Murphy mysteries series, set in the early part of the 1900s in the New York City area. Molly’s biggest challenge seems to be balancing what a proper woman should do (stay at home and take care of her young child) versus her natural instincts to solve mysteries as well as any man – including her police captain husband. Charming, if a little predictable.
The Tuscan Child by Rhys Bowen. Bowen is a prolific author, and this book is definitely not a Molly Murphy mystery. It does seamlessly blend the stories of a World War II British bomber pilot and his daughter in with a quaint rural Italian town. Bonus points for delicious food, but like The Edge of Dreams, this is a charming if a little predictable read.
Raspberry Danish Murder by Joanna Fluke. New Hannah!!! I read this super-cozy mystery in one night, and am delighted by the end. I wrote about the recipes on my other blog. Though I’ve been annoyed by plot developments in previous books, this one is sweet and complete, just like the perfect chocolate chip cookie.
The Last Girls by Lee Smith. If you got together with college roommates, you’d have a lot of fun, right? I would! But these roommates and friends seem more bent on destroying each other, or at least hurling insults and mean glances. There is fun, to be sure, as the women recreate their trip down the Mississippi, but I wouldn’t want to be along for the trip.
Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon by David McGowan. If you don’t know it already, I love me a good so-called conspiracy theory. I even wrote a little bit about the whole QAnon stuff going on this past year. QAnon and David Wilcock both posit that something much bigger is going on covertly, and that we’ll all know about it soon enough. So it’s the perfect time to read this little collection of stories from McGowan who wrote about a lot of very interesting things. This book explores the Laurel Canyon scene in the 60s and 70s that spawned a whole hoot of musicians: the Byrds, the doors, Buffalo Springfield, the Monkees, the Beach Boys, the Turtles, the Eagles, and more. And it especially delves into the underbelly of that scene (think Charles Manson connections) and a lot of military connections.
Don’t forget, I’m bringing PGS Intuition to the Mount Pleasant Celebration Cinema on October 1st. Hope to see you there!