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Jul 31st
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Top Winter Reading Picks

ae_booksJust Kids
The Autobiography of Mark TwainUnbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption
The Essential New York Times Cookbook
Half Empty
Cleopatra: A Life
Too Much Happiness
All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost

Bookshop Santa Cruz recommends:
Just Kids by Patti Smith. Musician Patti Smith’s fantastic memoir of her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe begins as a love story and ends as an elegy. Chronicling their lives as young artists in late-’60s and ’70s New York City, this book just won the National Book Award.

The Autobiography of Mark Twain. Edited by Harriet Elinor Smith Mark Twain is his own greatest character in this brilliant self-portrait, the first of three volumes collected by the Mark Twain Project on the centenary of the author's death.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival. Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand, In her long-awaited new book, Hillenbrand writes with the same rich and vivid voice she displayed in her bestseller, “Seabiscuit.” Telling an unforgettable story of a man’s journey into extremity, “Unbroken” is a testament to the resilience of the human mind, body, and spirit.

The Essential New York Times Cookbook. Edited by Amanda Hesser. Looking for a wonderful new general cookbook? Here it is! Hesser, a food columnist for the New York Times, offers “a superb compilation of the most noteworthy recipes published by the paper since it started covering food in the 1850s. It should grace the shelves of every food-lover,” says Publishers Weekly.

Capitola Book Café recommends:
Half Empty by David Rakoff. It’s not surprising, given the state of things, that some of us are a bit testy, but David Rakoff reminds us that irritability is best processed with good cheer. Whether deconstructing creativity or childhood, he brings opposing forces together: humor and pathos, joy and pain, apathy and awe—all the things decency is made of.

Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff, Cleopatra was the ultimate rock star, larger than life in a way that only fans (and enemies) can imagine.  In elegant, expansive prose, Stacy Schiff unravels the facts from the agendas of those who have told her story, bringing this remarkable queen back down to earth and into her rightful place as a complex, formidable woman.

Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro. In yet another profound collection of short stories, Alice Munro continues to till the soil close to home, lending such an air of surprise to simple truth that the known world dawns on us unexpectedly. You’d swear you’re overhearing these conversations in the next room. Such is her gift.

All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost by Lan Samantha Chang. This is a lovely book for the artist in all of us. Centered around two writers, and begun in an Iowa Workshop-like setting, it muses on how one can be a poet as well as a friend, lover, and teacher. It’s a subtle but deeply felt book.

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Leo Sun; Full Moon, Venus Retro in Leo; Saturn Direct

It’s a complex week of planetary movements, challenges, demands and callings. We’re in the time of the Leo Sun. Leo—fixed fire, gold, the heart, generous, strong, noble, the king/queen—needs appreciation and praise from everyone in order to move forward. During Leo we gain a greater sense of self-identification by recognizing our creativity. It’s therefore a perfect time for Venus retrograding in Leo. In Venus retrograde we review and re-assess values. Venus retro in Leo concerns our self as valuable, acknowledging talents, gifts, abilities and offerings. Friday, Venus re-enters Leo (29 degrees, a critical degree) continuing the retrograde to 14 degrees Leo on Sept. 6. Friday (Full Moon) is also the (8 degrees) Leo solar festival, Festival of the Future. Leo is the heart of the sun, the heart of all that matters. When attuned to this heart, we have understanding and inclusivity. The heart of the Lion is Mitra (think “Maitreya,” the coming World Teacher). Leo prepares humanity to receive divine love from subtle sources and later to radiate that love to the kingdoms. Sirius, Ray 2, where love originates, streams through Regulus (heart of Leo), into the heart of the sun (Ray 2) and into all hearts. The heart of Leo is Regulus. Joining Venus, the love underlying all of creation appears. Saturday is Sun/Neptune (confusion or devotion) with late night Saturn turning stationary direct. Ideas, plans and structures held long in abeyance (since March 14) slowly move forward. (Read more on Leo and the week at nightlightnews.org and Risa D’Angeles’ Facebook page, accessed through my website.)

 

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