Friday, August 24, 2007

Recommend-A-Book Day

Because we talked about dreams yesterday, I want to list a few great books on the subject, just in case anybody wants to do a little study. But why stop with what interests me? Please consider this a day for recommending non-fiction books that have been really important to you, on ANY subject, from dreams to birdwatching, from computers to cooking.

All righty, then. To dream, perchance to read. . .

Memories, Dreams, Reflections--This is Carl Jung's autobiography, a really amazing and essential book, in my opinion.

Our Dreaming Mind by Robert L. Van de Castle

Lucid Dreaming by Stephen LaBerge

Creative Dreaming by Patricia Garfield

That's a start, at least. Several of those are "classics" in the field, at least for laypeople. The Van de Castle book, particularly, will help you determine what school of dream analysis/interpretation appeals to you. I just naturally gravitate to Jung's stuff. I've read a lot of his work, but I think he's hard to read directly. It's easier to read books that others have written that explain his ideas, theories, practices, and research.

What great books have instructed you in subjects that fascinate you?


Nancy P said...


Speaking of birdwatching, my fav books are Birds of North America by Kenn Kaufman and Stokes Field Guide to Birds of North America.

I need a good modern (green) gardening book. Got any suggestions?

katiebird said...

I've got nothing to offer, but a big-fat Hello!

I'm looking forward to what everyone has to say, but I don't think I've ever read a book on either dreams or gardening.

Now ask me about Relational Database Design -- And I've got plenty to say.

Oh! Here's something: Like Andi, I dream the solutions to computer problems ALL the time.

Nancy P said...

You do?! That's so cool. Really, it truly is.

Have you ever come across a weight-loss book that inspired you, kb? Anything you can turn to whenever you need an emotional lift? (In case somebody wonders why I'd ask, it's because her site is dedicated to weight loss and other health issues.)

Family Man said...

Morning Nancy and KB.

Sorry nothing to offer either on book of dreams or gardening. However, on the gardening I'm sure IVG would have something to say.

It's back to nap time for me, see ya later.

Nancy P said...

(Whispering so as not to wake up family man.)

It's a lovely cool morning here!

Is anybody here close to the flooding?

pattinase (abbott) said...

Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg.

Nancy P said...

Hi, pattinase, and welcome. Goldberg's book has been so inspirational for so many people, bless her.

The writing book that helped me the most when I was just starting to write fiction was: Writing the Natural Way, by Gabrielle Rico. I also got help from an art book, Drawing on the Right-Side of the Brain. It helped free my imagination.

You've given me the idea of some day doing a post about nothing but writing books.

Conda said...

Here's three--all quite different: The Road Less Traveled by Scott Peck; Earl Mindell's Soy Miracle (great recipes, especially the desserts)and for writing: Donald Maass' Writing the Breakout Novel.

Whew! There are not to get me started!

GreenMinute said...

Good Question, Nancy.

A. N. Wilson's Jesus: A Life.

Of course, I tend to remember this book as "Jesus, What a Life!"

GreenMinute said...

But, it wasn't a book, really, that changed things. It was Mike Shrieve (Soul Sacrifice) who taught me to close my eyes and leave the planet in 1969.

Don't know why I keep coming back.

Jen said...

Very few books have had all that profound of an impact on me, but one that did, and the one I'd pick in the desert island game of "if you could only bring one" would be Ethics, by Benedict de Spinoza.

Kelly McCullough said...

Here are four:

The Beak of the Finch, Jonathan Weiner.
Guns, Germs, and Steel, Jared Diamond.
Adventures in the Screen Trade, William Goldman.
The Selfish Gene, Richard Dawkins.

olivia said...

I've just started reading Where War Lives by Cdn journalist Paul Watson. Here's the publisher's snippet:

A Pulitzer Prize — winning journalist takes us on a personal and historic journey from Mogadishu through Rwanda to Afghanistan and Iraq. With the click of a shutter the world came to know Staff Sgt. William David Cleveland Jr. as a desecrated corpse. In the split-second that Paul Watson had to choose between pressing the shutter release or turning away, the world went quiet and Watson heard Cleveland whisper: “If you do this, I will own you forever.” And he has.

I heard Mr Watson on the radio the other day. He a very quiet-spoken man. Still haunted by that moment. He told stories about the other things he's seen -- walking through fields of dead bodies for instance. About the evil things we do to each other ... it's a hard read. It makes one question humanity.

Here's one quote from the book:

“The fundamental question for us all is as timeless as the primal urge to wage war itself: What evil do we commit against ourselves as we fight to defeat others? War does not conquer evil. They embrace each other. If we’re fortunate, we may manage to wrestle war to our advantage. But it cannot be a triumph. It is always an admission of failure, an acceptance that we cannot do any better.” (p. 358)

Kelly McCullough said...

Funny note on mine, the Dawkins book was one that actually has had a profound effect on the way I think about story, because of his discussion of the informational evolutionary unit the meme and his discussion and comparison of the meme to the gene. Fascinating stuff for anyone who's put serious time into thinking about what makes a story powerful and how it propagates from reader to reader.

Kidspeak said...

Garden books - any of the Timber Press books and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden books.

Biography? Jill Ker Conway The Road from Coorain.

John McPhee's books, e.g. Coming Into the Country

There are so many. One day our house will collapse under the weight of our books.

boran2 said...

Interesting discussion. I'd recommend the Scully book on shingle style architecture for us armchair architects, but the potential audience is tiny.

Nancy P said...

What a diverse and interesting bunch of recommendations--from a diverse and interesting bunch of people.

Kelly,I really have to take a look at that Dawkins book. Very provocative observation. Makes me curious.

Nancy P said...

boran2, I had to go look up "your" book on Amazon. I had no idea that style was uniquely American! "The Shingle Style embodied intellectual pluralism and cultural democracy"

Nancy P said...

Olivia, that is a powerful quote. I believe everything he says there.

kidspeak, thanks so much for the gardening book recs.

jen, can I get that in a graphic novel? :)

conda, I have a friend who will want that soy book.

greenminute, I'm on my way to looking up the Jesus book. And. . .do you actually mean out of body, or something else? Sorry to be so literal.

Kelly McCullough said...

The meme discussion and the way it made me rethink story came very late in the book and was made stronger because I'd been reading the rest slowly and really digesting it so I was ready to think deeply about the meaning. Every so often when I'm reading or working I'll go into shut-down mode, where what I'm thinking about is taking so many processor cycles that my backbrain starts closing down non-essential systems, like talking and moving. The Dawkins book gave me one of those moments. Laura is always fascinated when this happens because it's rare and because the second I stop moving people start checking to see if I'm dead–I'm a bit on the kinetic side.

Nancy P said...

That's funny to imagine, Kelly. I can see you as the hero in a movie--going full speed and then suddenly Full Stop while something brilliant occurs to you. Around you, the other charcters would be muttering to each other, "What's he thinking now?"

FARfetched said...

Stephen King's On Writing, of course. Stuff I should know, collected together so I can remember it.

PostgreSQL: Introduction and Concepts, by Bruce Momjian. No book has ever had me going "aha!" as much as this one did — if you've ever wanted to know how large-scale databases do their jobs, this is the book. Don't take my word for it, have a look :-)

The book I'm looking for is How to Thrive Without Sleep. Maybe I could keep up with everything in my life....

Kelly McCullough said...

Actually, that's not too far off (well except the part about being a movie hero, and maybe the brilliance). It's almost that abrupt if it's out and about (happened in Halifax while we were touring an old fortress in June). Just dead stop except for the gears turning in my head.

Nancy P said...

far, the computer book? I'll take your word for it. :)

Kelly, maybe you need brake lights?