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Non-tarot boook recommendations

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Nemia
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Non-tarot boook recommendations

Post by Nemia » 07 Oct 2017, 04:50

Which books or authors are important to you, and you want to recommend their books to others?

Let's start with two authors I want to recommend. Dava Sobel and Yuval Noah Harari.

Dava Sobel is a popular science writer. She has the knack to explain scientific discovery clearly - and to make their significance unforgettably clear. Her beautiful Longitude was the book that put her on the maps (she loves maps ;-) ), and it's a great read and very enlightening.

It's about the solution of a navigation problem. It's not difficult to find out at which latitude you are - look at the constellations, which constellations can you see and how many appear in one night? At the North Pole, you see only circumpolar the constellations and they move like a carousel over the horizon. At the Equator, you see all the constellations in one night, and they rise up and go down all night long like a ferris wheel (my comparions :icon_cool: ). So everybody who knows his constellations, and sailors of course knew them well, can tell you that if you see the whole tail of Scorpio which a week ago you didn't, well, you have moved to the South. The height of the sun tells you the same. Latitude is straightforward.

But what about longitude? There is no Western or Eastern pole that can serve as point of comparison. How do you know how far to the East or West you have moved? You need to compare the time of sunrise and sunset with a reliable clock.

Dava Sobel tells the story of this discovery and the development of clocks for navigation very well. I have given this book a number of times as present (with beautiful illustrations), and everybody who loves science, travel, navigation, maps and questions of time and place enjoys this book.

Her other books are very interesting, too. Right now, I'm reading Planets and I'm having the time of my life. It's as though she wrote this book for me ;-) Sobel tells the story of our solar system, and the story of each planet. Mythology, art, literature, science and the history of science all weaved together beautifully. It really makes the planets come alive (a useful thing for people who deal with tarot, no doubt, but also for anyone else).

I didn't finish it yet and I see in the reviews that many readers think she became a bit too personal and lyrical in her approach to the planets- let's see how I will bear with it :-) Right now, I enjoy it, and I can understand that a writer who spent her life researching and writing books now mellows a bit and tears down the distance between her, her subject and her readers.

Anyway - Dava Sobel is a great writer and I'm happy to recommend her books - happy I found her. Much of the popular science literature market moves in her steps. (An earlier, interesting example is Arthur Koestler's Sleepwalkers - not a new book but very interesting to read.)

Another great writer is Yuval Noah Harari. I always recommend Gombrich's Little History of the World as good history book if you've forgotten what you learned at school and want a broad overview of the history of the Western world (mainly, a bit China and Islam are in it, too). Although written in 1935, before the catastrophic WWII, it's a pleasure to read also today. If you like historical books like I do but feel you get lost after reading about Charlemagne, the Russian revolution and the founding of Constantinople until you really don't know any more which was when and how they are connected... if at all..., Gombrich pulls the whole picture together again.

Yuval Noah Harari goes one step further in Sapiens. (I didn't read Homo Deus - yet). This book is, along with Harry Potter, the only one all my children read and they all agreed - it's a great book. Harari doesn't tell the story of Western civilization, the way Gombrich does, but the story of our species. He really rolls out the carpet of human development and breakthroughs. His interdisciplinary approach (biology, history, economy etc) makes this a wonderful reading for everybody. How did we invent money, religions, machines, the idea of the nation state? We were not born with all these things, so how did they come into being?

Harari is the panorama, Gombrich the wide shot and Sobel the close-up of history. All three write clearly and beautifully for a wide audience.

These recommendations were born and sharpened in an discussion with one of my daughters who's a bookworm, a student, and asked me what I think "general knowledge" is (Allgemeinbildung). We discussed it and came to the conclusion that the necessary foundation for general knowledge is historical knowledge. You can't really understand literature, society, art, the development of technology and science and religion, if you don't have a historical timeline in your head to which other knowledge attaches. In my opinion, basic historical knowledge is absolutely necessary.

Obviously, I'm biased, having taught for decades Art History to students who, when they started out, often didn't know the difference between the 4th and the 14th century. For many, it was all a black hole of funny people who didn't have smartphones and antibiotics. I saw again and again how historical ignorance spoils all kinds of other insights; that's why I have reached the conclusion that history is the best foundation for all other knowledge. Sobel, Harari and Gombrich seem to agree :-) and make history interesting. Others may disagree about this idea of the best foundation of knowledge.

For people who deal with tarot, a sense of history is certainly a useful thing.

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Re: Non-tarot boook recommendations

Post by Barleywine » 07 Oct 2017, 06:49

Here are a few books for those who are interested in the kind of traditional astrology that underlies the Golden Dawn approach to the tarot:

Understanding the Birth Chart: A Comprehensive Guide to Classical Interpretation by Kevin Burk
On the Heavenly Spheres by Helena Avelar and Luis Robeiro

The General Principles of Astrology by Aleister Crowley, which is comprised mostly of the material he ghost-wrote for Evangeline Adams' two books (Astrology, Your Place in the Sun and Astrology, Your Place Under the Stars).

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Re: Non-tarot boook recommendations

Post by Nemia » 28 Feb 2018, 12:25

I'm reading right now a book that may interest others, too. It's Leonard Shlain's "The Alphabet versus the Goddess", and it asks the question how literacy, the use of an abstract alphabet and the creation of canonical texts influence human society, especially the relationship between men and women.

His hypothesis: in a world of images and oral tradition, women are revered, and so is birth, the earth, sexuality and gods and especially goddesses. In a world of abstract words, men take control over women, and in the codified holy texts, traces of women and the goddess disappear. The brain works differently in each medium, and men have an advantage in the alphabetical medium.

Now I really don't know whether this hypothesis is true, and he can't really prove it - after all, the illiterate societies by definition left no written accounts of their workings. Much of what he writes is anecdotal evidence and his own elaboration on it.

But I'm actually not unhappy about that. It makes me think, and since in tarot, we deal with images, intuition and this whole "feminine" side of things, it's very interesting to read about cultures and belief systems who show definite parallels to how tarot works. I can come to my own conclusions whether I "buy" his hypothesis or not.

The book covers a lot of ground and not all of it is interesting to read in detail - there is a LOT of Greek mythology and some gentle editing might have helped. But taking a trip through human history and the different ways all kinds of cultures expressed themselves, defined themselves and communicated with each other and us - that's very interesting to read.

I'll add some online reviews of the book so you can see and decide whether it interests you. I think it's a great book for tarot readers who walk all the time between the medium of the image, the medium of the book and the medium of the spoken word - and who know how difficult it can be to transport content and meaning from one medium to the other.

One little thing: there are some minor mistakes in his mythological stories; I'm a mythology freak and write notes in my Kindle text when that happens.

https://www.brainpickings.org/2014/03/1 ... t-goddess/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Alpha ... he_Goddess

http://www.alphabetvsgoddess.com/



Definite recommendation!

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Re: Non-tarot boook recommendations

Post by Nemia » 16 Mar 2018, 12:43

Another book recommendation from my piles!

I've been stuck in an organizing rut for some time. I want to re-organize our house but it seems such a daunting task, especially since we can't afford to spend money on new furniture or anything similar. I'm basically organized (thank you, Flylady), but... well, if I want to motivate myself, the best way to do so is by reading a book.

"Organizing from the Inside Out" by Julie Morgenstern is a classic of the organizer genre, and it's been lying around for quite some time in my Kindle. I thought I don't need it. But now I've read and nearly finished it and I know that it deserves its reputation. It's not a "throw away a third of your possessions and call it declutter"-book. I prize my possessions and don't intend to throw away clothes that I still wear, books I love or kitchen appliances I use. So all these radical declutter cures don't cut ice with me.

Julie tells you the most logical way to organize anything - a handbag, a kitchen or an office - is making it function like a kindergarten: around specific, functional needs and activities. In the kindergarten, if you want to paint, you do it in the paint area. Everything you need is there and nowhere else, and only things you need for painting.

What that means for the house is obvious. All the baking stuff in one place - all the craft stuff together - etc. Now you will say like I do: I do that anyway. But I want to re-purpose rooms and didn't know where to start. Now I have a lot of new ideas, and I start by asking myself: what do I want to do with these rooms? and things fall into place.

She has a lovely, warm and encouraging writing style. Her ideas are good and practical. She emphasizes that organizing anything is an expression of individual needs and style. One person will organize her books alphabetically, another according to topics, the next according to colours. There is no right or wrong.

She asks you: what is holding you back? Now what did I have to admit? I didn't want to re-organize the empty rooms because I dislike having an empty nest. I don't want my grown children to regress and come back - oh no. But I prefer not to deal with reality.

For every delay, procrastination and hesitation that stands between us and a necessary organizing project, there is a reason. It's valid and no reason to be embarrassed. But it can be overcome.

Her approach to organizing is a bit like Benebell Wen's to tarot: inclusive, forgiving, individual, very intelligent and full of creative ideas.

If you're stuck with a chaos corner somewhere in your life and you need the mental kick in the backside to get it organized nicely, read this book.

Since reading it, I have re-organized my jewelry and hair jewelry corner, our bathroom, a corner bookshelf and a part of the living room. No, I didn't tackle the guestrooms-to-be yet but when everything else is done, I'll do them :-)

So another definite recommendation for Julie Morgenstern.

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Re: Non-tarot boook recommendations

Post by celticnoodle » 02 Apr 2018, 07:33

Nemia, I did pick up the book "Planets" by Dava Sobel. I read a few pages first on Amazon (I think?) and then when we went to the library, searched for it. So far, so good. Very interesting! :)

I also picked up a book titled "The Hidden Life of Trees" by Peter Wohlleben. My husband had read it on his tablet--downloading it from the library. Its about Trees being able to communicate to each other and well, in my own words, they are like a family, helping one another. I haven't started that one yet though. Wanted to concentrate first on Planets.

A book I would like to recommend is called "The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, by Heidi W. Durrow. I picked it up at our library's book sale for a dollar. It was a very easy and very good read. Made the National Bestseller list, and I can see why after having read it. Really a great book! Highly recommend it for just an easy, relaxing kind of read. :)

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Re: Non-tarot boook recommendations

Post by Nemia » 02 Apr 2018, 14:45

Ooooh I want that book about the trees! *off to Amazon*

I'm reading right now parallel two books: "Former People" by Douglas Smith about the fate of aristocrats in the Russian Revolution. I have a little obsession about the Russian Revolution (about the French Revolution and the Dutch Revolution, too), and it's a very interesting account of the very drastic fall from unimaginable power and luxury that this aristocracy enjoyed. It really makes you shake your head - didn't they see it coming?

And a total contrast to it but weirdly relaxing to read switchingly ;-) - "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser. I was not aware of the role fast food plays in the US, we don't eat any and ignore fast food restaurants. The whole context of this phenomenon is SO interesting.

(I read Joel Fuhrman's book about fast food before just because I love Fuhrman's approach to nutrition and read anything he writes, but then I got curious so I bought Schlosser's book, too, which doesn't only talk about nutrition but the historical rise of the fast food industry, its connections to the entertainment and automobile industry and many other aspects.)

I think I know too little about Russia and the US although I have visited both in the distant past, and have lots of friends who came from either place. How little one knows about anything outside of one's own circle...

PS: downloaded samples of Wohlleben's books - in German - and Durrow, too! they look great!

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Re: Non-tarot boook recommendations

Post by Charlie Brown » 02 Apr 2018, 15:49

Nemia wrote:
02 Apr 2018, 14:45
I have a little obsession about the Russian Revolution
Me Too! Or, at least, I have a bit of an obsession about the Soviet Union so, of course, the revolution plays into that. I also, coincidentally, have an obsession about The Revolution, as in "Prince and..." Sadly, after really delving in three to four years ago, I haven't had much time over the past two years to read much more. Have you read a book called "The House of the Dead?" It's all about Siberian exile and the ramifications it had for the development of modern Russia.

Speaking of Soviet Russia and fast food, do either of your books go into McDonald's and the 1984 Olympics? I remember it well. In the months leading up to Olympics, McDonalds gave away game cards that had the names of Olympic events on them. If the U.S. won a medal in that event, you could trade it in for free food: A soda for a bronze, french fries for a silver, and a Big Mac (or similar) for a gold. Most of the cards were in events that the Eastern Bloc were sure to dominate, but then they all boycotted at the last minute and the whole country had months of game cards stored up for events like Women's Weightlifting and the like. Needless to say, McDonald's suffered heavy losses as the entire country basically ate for free over the next several months.

I also have the honor of being—at a very young age—one of the focus group testers for the Chicken McNugget. You're welcome, world.
Charlie Brown
—“I’ve developed a new philosophy. I only dread one day at a time.”

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Re: Non-tarot boook recommendations

Post by Nemia » 02 Apr 2018, 19:22

Charlie Brown, that's fascinating, thank you. I'm not yet at that stage in the book. I like Orlando Figes' books about Russia very much - also Massie's haunting insight into the life of the last imperial family, and Rapaport's portrait of the legendary four daughters of the czar. I read so much about WWI that I can't remember it all - I found Christopher Clark outstanding and challenging.

I also have a book about the Olympic Games in Hitler's Berlin on my Kindle - didn't read it yet :-)

I didn't know that big commercial firms give teaching aids to schools, or that fast food is served in school cafeterias in the US. Eye opener after eye opener for me. Really interesting. The connection between urban sprawl - car culture - fast food chains -- I never thought about it that way.

I remember that when we were in the USA in 1977, we were fascinated by McDonald's, we didn't know fast food chains like that. Now I read about this time when they spread all over the world. I'm a witness of history :-)

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Re: Non-tarot boook recommendations

Post by celticnoodle » 10 Apr 2018, 19:22

Nemia wrote:
02 Apr 2018, 14:45
And a total contrast to it but weirdly relaxing to read switchingly ;-) - "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser. I was not aware of the role fast food plays in the US, we don't eat any and ignore fast food restaurants. The whole context of this phenomenon is SO interesting.

(I read Joel Fuhrman's book about fast food before just because I love Fuhrman's approach to nutrition and read anything he writes, but then I got curious so I bought Schlosser's book, too, which doesn't only talk about nutrition but the historical rise of the fast food industry, its connections to the entertainment and automobile industry and many other aspects.)
Oh, fast foods in the U.S. is ridiculously HUGE. You wouldn't believe how many people make fast foods their choice of dinner every night. Its awful really. I know many people who eat out every night, because fast foods are filling and cheap in a sense. For example, McD's has a dollar menu....then on top of that, many of the fast food places also have coupons galore to entice you to come in and toys for the kids when they do eat there.

And, yes, I also eat at fast food joints once in awhile. I love the kids sized hamburger at McDonalds and in my opinion they also have the best tasting french fries. :icon_redface:

I haven't yet started the tree book as I'm still reading the book Planets. I do find it fascinating still! I am learning a lot from that book that I don't think I knew before on the planets. really cool! :)

Charlie Brown, I enjoyed your post!

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