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Sep 04th
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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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Venus Direct, Mercury Retro Soon, Honoring Our Labors

As Burning Man (nine days, Aug. 30-Sept. 7 in the sign of Virgo) burns in the hot white desert sands, a petal of the rose created by retrograde Venus and the twelve-petaled Sun in Virgo’s petals unfold. All of us are on the burning ground (Leo) in the womb (cave of the heart) of the mother (Virgo), gestating for humanity once again (each year) a new state of consciousness. Both Virgo and Cancer, feminine (receptive energies) signs, are from our last solar system (Pleiades). When humanity first appeared on Earth we were nurtured by the mother, a matriarchy of energies (on islands in the Pacific). Eve, Isis and Mary are part of the lineages of our ancient Mother. Overseen by the Pleiades, the Earth (matter, mater, the mother) in that last solar system was imbued with intelligence (Ray 3). As we move toward autumn, another mother, Ceres realizes she has mere weeks left with her beloved daughter, Persephone. Persimmon and pomegranate trees prepare for autumn, their colors signs of hope as the light each day continues to dim. Sunday, Venus in Leo turns stationary direct, yet continues in her shadow until Oct. 9 (when retrograde Mercury turns direct). Slowly our newly assessed values emerge from the Venus retrograde. We thought in Venus retro how to use our resources more effectively. Mercury retrogrades Sept. 17. Monday is Labor Day. Let us honor the labor of everyone, all life a “labor.” Let us honor Labor Day and all those who have “served” (labored for) us this past year. We honor their labors. We honor the labor of our parents, those who have loved us. We honor our own labors, too. We are all in service, we are all laboring. We are all valuable.

 

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