Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 25th
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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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Simplicity Preparing for Thanksgiving

When we study and apply astrology in our daily lives, we are anchoring new Aquarian thinking. Study, application and use of astrology, understanding its language, builds the new world, the new culture and civilization. Astrologers are able to plan right timing and right action. Next week is Thanksgiving (Thursday, Nov. 26). It’s good to understand the energies influencing us in the days leading up to Thanksgiving. When we know these things we are able to make Right Choices, have Right Action. We link heaven and Earth, our minds with the starry energies that influence us. Let us consider the following influences. The North Node (point in space where sun and moon meet, representing humanity’s present/future pathway) has just entered Virgo. Virgo is about food, purity, cleanliness, service, detail, order and organization. What can we learn from this? Because these energies are available to us we, too, can have intentions and a rhythm of order and organization, purity and cleanliness. Sunday, the sun enters Sag, joining Mercury (we have high ideals, many goals). Tuesday, Mercury/Saturn (structured disciplined thinking) squares Neptune (thoughts, ideas, goals dissolve away). Wednesday is 3 degree Sagittarius solar festival (full moon). Sag’s keynote is, “We see a goal, we achieve that goal, and then we see another.” We might have many plans and goals for Thanksgiving. However, on Thanksgiving those goals may be dashed. Saturn (structure) squares Neptune. All structures and plans dissolve and fall away. What is our response to this? We simplify all that we do. We plan on everything changing. We don’t fret. We adapt instead. Adaptation is the behavior of the Disciple. Sagittarius is the sign of the Disciple. 


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