This summer I’ve been reading like I’ve never read before. I pick up a book and I devour it. Next. My kids are at the age where they like to read too, which gives me more opportunities to read as well.
I have generally been a reader in my life, althought certainly the amount and style has ebbed and flowed over time. When I lived in France, the library and the English book store were two of my favourite places. When you’re immersed in a foreign language, being surrounded by books in your native language is a pleasure. I loved going to the library in town and perusing the compact English section. Now I often get my books from my local library in Canada. I like to own non-fiction and hold onto some fiction if I think i’ll read it again. I prefer the physical presence of a book in my hands versus a digital copy if I can get the actual book.
Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, challenges readers to spend a week without reading anything. She writes that most people find this one of the most challenging weeks of her 12 week course and greatly resist it. One of the points of the exercise is to notice how we are using reading in our lives and see if it’s for growth and pleasure or procrastination. If our jobs are creative, we can use reading as a distraction from focusing on what we need to. Notice I haven’t been blogging for over a month? I’ve been reading. Last summer I tried a week without reading or using screens, and I completed a lot of projects.
Reading can be an escape for me from doing things I “should” be doing, and it can also be a pleasure in my free-time to spend time with a good book. I like that time goes more slowly when I’m reading than when I’m watching television.
For the most part I’ve been reading Fiction this summer. Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series, Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series, and Jacqueline Winspear’s Maisie Dobbs series have occupied much of my summertime reading. Intermittently I have added some non-fiction which I’ve included in the mix of 4 books to share with you.
Karen Marie Moning’s Feversong (Book 8 in the series)
Michael Pollan’s How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence
Maria Shriver’s I’ve Been Thinking… Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life
Alice Miller’s The Drama of the Gifted Child
1. The Guilty Pleasure
I recently had a conversation with a friend about books you read but you don’t really talk about it with everyone. You know what I’m talking about – that harlequin romance, that young adult series, or Fifty Shades of Grey. But then in passing you mention said series, and you realize that many people are reading these books too.
A friend of mine introduced me to the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. This is one of those series that you are likely to both love and hate. I have rolled my eyes, I have judged the characters (and myself for reading the series), and the pages of rehashing past events, yet I have kept reading the series. The chemistry between the main characters is certainly a draw and the fantasy element of Fae and humans interacting and trying to save their respective worlds. These books are easy reading. Perfect for summer-time.
2. Up and Coming – Psychedelics & Psychotherapy
Michael Pollan is the perfect author to write about this heated topic. A skeptical New Yorker-style writer explores the history of psychedelics and it’s resurgence with clarity, groundedness, and evidence. His vocabulary is much broader than my own.
There is a resurgence happening in the world of psychotherapy of integrating the use of psychedelics in treating addiction, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, terminal illnesses, and more. LSD, psilocybin, MDMA (ecstasy), and ayahuasa are the main ones that I’ve heard and read about. I’ve noticed more and more credible researchers starting to speak about this topic in 2018. In fact Michael Pollan writes that there has been more research on psychedelics in the past 15 years than there was in the 60s. Wow. He is so intrigued by his own research that he decides to experiment with psychedelics himself in a guided environment.
If you’re curious to learn more but don’t feel like reading, I recommend two podcasts.
Tim Ferriss – Michael Pollan: Exploring The New Science Of Psychedelics
Tim Ferriss – Gabor Maté: New Paradigms, Ayahuasca, & Redefining Addiction
3. Spirituality – Maria Shriver
I was listening to Krista Tippett interview Maria Shriver and was impressed with Maria’s combination of fire and compassion. She talks about finding her authentic voice in her 60s after decades of supporting those around her. Her book of Prayers, Meditations, and Reflections are a great way to start or end your day. Each reflection includes a story, a quote, and a small prayer. They are each a few pages. You can start at the beginning or randomly choose one. She is a Catholic woman who is reconnecting with her faith. This book isn’t specifically Catholic and can be read by anyone with spiritual interests.
4. Healing Old Wounds
Sometimes you find a book that is like a therapy session. Alice Miller’s book The Drama of the Gifted Child is exactly that. The original title of this book was “Prisoner’s of Childhood” which is a better fit than the current title. This book matches my psychotherapeutic approach as it relates current problems to patterns developed in childhood. Patterns often develop innocently in a way that serves our larger needs. Over time this pattern becomes problematic in areas of our lives, and we’re often oblivious as to why we’re facing the same problem over and over in our life.
This book is especially humbling if you’re a psychotherapist yourself. The author talks about the similarities in childhoods of psychotherapists (gulp). The importance of choosing a psychotherapist who is doing her own work cannot be minimized.
What has made it onto your booklist this summer?