Saturday, July 30, 2016

A Wonderful Short Story Collection

     While on vacation at the beach, I took along Ursula K. Le Guin's collection of early short stories entitled The Wind's Twelve Quarters.  What a terrific book!  It was fun for me to see how she developed as a writer, and how she became the fearless, highly inventive novelist of her later years.  It's definitely worth reading.  Here's a marvelous quote from "Winter's King":
"Life loves to know itself, out to its furthest limits; to embrace complexity is its delight.  Our difference is our beauty.  All these worlds and the various forms and ways of the minds and lives and bodies on them -- together they would make a splendid harmony."
     Wouldn't you love to wave that on a poster at your nearest political rally? 


Saturday, July 23, 2016

An Interesting Book, Part 2

     Last week I was reviewing the book Life After Life: A Novel by Kate Atkinson.  A fascinating take on the idea of reincarnation, it follows the lives of Ursula, who keeps getting reborn into the same life "until she finally gets it right."  I would just like to compare my understanding of reincarnation and the version presented in this book.

     In this book, Ursula must make decisions in her life (avoiding certain people or situations, choosing to live in one flat versus another in order to avoid getting bombed during the Blitz, studying one subject in college versus another subject, going to Europe for a year or not, and so on) in order to finally achieve a place where she can be in a situation that affects the fate of Europe and her world.  In this view, reincarnation is for making external choices in order to achieve something that affects the world.

     In my understanding of reincarnation, however, the emphasis is more on learning from our actions and their consequences in order to become something more pure, more wise.  The focus is on internal growth.  External actions are not the goal, but the result of spiritual maturity.  We don't go from one life to the next in order to get it right, but to become purified.  That is, in my mind, the essential difference.

     Still, this book is worth a read if you want to expand your mind a bit.  Recommended.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

An Interesting Book

     I just finished reading the bestseller Life After Life: A Novelby Kate Atkinson.  Wow.  How inventive, detailed, exhaustive (and a little exhausting).  At over 500 pages, this was an investment in time and concentration, but at the end, it paid off.

     The premise is:  "What if we had a chance to do it again and again, until we finally did get it right?  Wouldn't that be wonderful?"  Spoken by a secondary character, this idea lies at the heart of the novel.  The protagonist, Ursula, keeps getting reborn into the same life and experiences the results of her actions or inactions.  Death comes and she does it again, but often avoiding some of the fateful decisions from the previous life or lives.  To her, it feels like deja vu, but it is actually her previous self nudging her towards a different destiny.  In the end, she finally achieves something that changes the fate of her family, her nation, and the world.  Phenomenal.

     I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a different view of reincarnation, or in parallel lives or parallel universes.  This would also appeal to people who enjoy historical fiction, with an emphasis on London during the Blitz.  Want to stretch your brain?  This book is for you.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Don't Just Sit There! Read!

     Would you believe that summer is nearly half over?  Go get yourself a good book and read!  This is prime reading time, with the easy, breezy days of summer just aching to be filled with a favorite book.  If you would like a suggestion about what to read, feel free to satisfy your curiosity and get The Gemini Bond.  It's perfect for a summer day. 

(photo courtesy of

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Happy Independence Day!

 May you be free of suffering.
May you be free of desires and aversions.
May you be free of self-delusion.
May you be free of self-imposed limitations.
May you be free to love and accept love.
May you be free to fulfill your destiny.
Happy Independence Day.
(photo courtesy of