These are some of the books that I have read in whole or in part during 2002. Many of them contributed directly to the content and mood of the accompanying observations and musings. I list them in case you are interested in traveling down some of the same roads I have this year. As I prepared to list, I was surprised with the size of the stack. I surely didn't read them all from end to end, but I took a good chunk out of most. In addition to books I can confirm snatching ideas from Oprah and her guests Gary Zukov and Dr. Phil. And Denise, Star Trek, Northern Exposure, the X Files, and NYPD Blue contributed their bits to the whole.
Read and enjoy. Most of these are well worth a few nights' time.
Borg, Marcus, Ed. The Lost Gospel Q: The Original Sayings of Jesus. Seastone, Berkeley, California. 1999. This is just what it says it is, a distillation fo original sayings of Jesus pried from the traditional gospels and the gospel of Thomas.
Borg, Marcus. Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time: The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith. Harper, San Francisco. 1995. An investigation delving into the differences between the historical Jesus who walked the Holy Land and the post-Easter Jesus Christ. I kept feeling that I had read the book before as I went through the author's explicate revelations and explanations but I do not think I had read it previously. I think I had only come to similar implicit conclusions through parallel study earlier. Every person who calls him/herself a Christian can learn something about his/her faith from the book.
Bryson, Bill. The Lost Continent. Harper Perennial, NY. 1989. An account of the author's traveling around the U.S. looking for the perfect small town. The cover says this is an "unsparing and hilarious account of one man's rediscovery of America...." It was unsparing all right. But not exactly the style I like. The author has written many books and is a popular travel writer. I read him at the strong suggestion of my weekly writer's group as a way to help me improve my own writing. Mine will not mimic his.
Cameron, Julia. The Vein of Gold: a Journey to Your Creative Heart. Putnam, NY. 1996. A workbook that describes a journey or quest to discover and activeate your creative and artistic self. Julia also authored The Artist's Way, a similar book I did not read this year.
Chetanananda, Swami. Will I Be the Hero of My Own Life? Rudra Press, Portland, Oregon.1995. In Buddhistic context, this book explores the basic purpose of life and asks us to do the same. It asks whether I am taking full advantage of the gift of life I was given. It is probably not the best book for a strict, fundamental Christian. But though its theme is Buddhistic, its content translated into mystic terms is no different from that taught by Francis of Assisi, Anthony of Egypt, or the monks of any cloistered order. Mysticism is mysticism the world over and this book is true mysticism. Read it and learn about yourself, your center, the universe, and God (however you define him/her). I read this book cover to cover on a mountain top in Colorado this summer--what a trip.
Egan, Tony. Lasso the Wind. Vantage Books, NY. 1998. Essays on the history of the west.
Granta. A magazine of travel writing published by Viking Penguin of New York. I dabbled in several editions.
Iyer, Pico. Tropical Classical: Essays from Several Directions. Vintage Departures, NY. 1997. Travel essays by Pico and others.
Johnson, R. Neville. The Language Codes. Samuel Weiser, York Beach, Maine. 2000. Neville reveals the dysfunctional side of our language and aims to help us speak a conscious language with clarity. This small book goes a long way toward helping you regain control of your self through changing how you use your English language. Read it if you have some time.
Mendez, Antonio and Jonna with Henderson, Bruce. Spy Dust. Atria Books, NY. 2002. The story of two ex-CIA disguise masters and their operations that "helped win the cold war." A fun and intriguing change from my normal reading.
Morrison, Michael. HTML & XML for Beginners. Microsoft, Redmond, Washington. 2001. An introductory text to the two subjects. (I had to read something technical this year.)
Shah, Idries. The Dermis Probe. Octagon Press, London. 1980. A delightful group of short Indian Islamic stories, each with a lesson to teach about man and his society.
Sekuler, Robert and Blake, Randolph. Star Trek on the Brain: Alien Minds, Human Minds. W.H. Freeman and Co., NY. 1999. An unique effort to explain normal and abnormal functions of the mind using human and alien characters of all generations of Star Trek as case studies. I enjoyed revisiting many old friends and learned a bit about the brain in the process.
Solnit, Rebecca. Wanderlust: A History of Walking. Penguin, NY. 2000. A joyful and thorough exploration of the facts and the philosophies of walking through the ages. If you like walking, you'll enjoy this book.
Theroux, Paul. Fresh Air Fiend. Haughton Mifflin, Boston. 2000. A delightful collection of Paul's travel essays written between 1985 and 2000.
Thoreau, Henry D. Walden. Shanley, J. Lyndon, ed. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ. 1989. The icon of living in the wild. I revisited it this year.
Tolle, Eckhart, The Power of the Now. I can't place the book just now so I can't give you the other particulars. This is a powerful book that entices you to concentrate on living in the Now and leaving the past and future to take care of themselves because neither truly exist. The one has gone and the other is a figment of your imagination. There is a lot of valuable insight in this book. At least browse it if you have a chance.
Watts, Alan. The Spirit of Zen. Grove Press, NY. 1958. The third edition of Watts' ground breaking book introducing Zen to the Western world. A bit wordy for Zen, but a good introduction.