01/09/2014 by syrbal-labrys

1kissed with a lieYes, I am back to non-fiction. And confronting the question of whether to continue putting the book discussion/review/snark here or over at the softer side at Experiential Pagan. Oy.

I’m inclined to leave them here, but the very first two books of this new year would be good to discuss over there, too. Damn it all.

#1 is “Spirituality Without Structure” by Nimue Brown – I really enjoyed this quick little read. It is a common sense guid to an existentialist approach to a personal spiritual life. Brown finds the dominant paradigm religions rife with control issues and corrupted by power and money; she doesn’t like airy-fairy reasoning and thinks the rational mind MUST be involved in finding a spiritual grounding. She makes so many good points about finding a place for your personal store of awe and wonder to feed you and nurture you without sacrificing free will OR rationality. She does not believe you need to believe in, much less kowtow to deities — one of the best things I’ve read on this topic in decades. Five stars.

#2 is “A Short History Of Myth” by Karen Armstrong – I had some high hopes for this book, I’d read about it in a pagan book review, recommending it as a part of any pagan library. Meh…I’m not so sure. I’m pretty sure I won’t buy another book by Armstrong. She gives less of a history of myth (for that, hey…just go read Joseph Campbell, ok?!) than an argument that we need to re-mythologize ourselves to avoid a sort of spiritual ptsd reaction. Rationality, she says, tells us HOW to do things, but she contends that only mythology will content us with a reason WHY. Since I’ve seen some damned destructive uses of myth…Biblical myth to permissive murder, rapine, slavery and the like, I’ll stick with rational thanks!

Also, very early in the book I almost tossed this in the crapper because she made some utterly nonsensically broad statements allegedly about history. Like saying that paleolithic hunters and neolithic farmers had to be “ritually pure” and thus “abstain from sex” before they hunted and planted. Where the FUCK did she get that nonsense? That is a totally unverifiable thing to write. So the book was not history of anything….having extensively read mythology I didn’t find this anything except a cheap knock-off. AND having read a lot of history and anthropology, I find her very broad statements unsupportable and misleading. No stars.

#3 is a cookbook that I am still wading through. It is called “Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and Diet Dictocrats” by Sally Fallon.
That will be extensively discussed TOMORROW Saturday in the Food Blogging Project post.


2 thoughts on “Books…

  1. Rowan says:

    Looking forward to the cookbook review.

    I’ll look for the Brown book. But don’t mind if I’ll skip the Armstrong.

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The name of this blog, and my Dreamwidth blog, Herlander Refugee, is taken from a 1915 feminist novel "Herland". It makes my heart sing that modern women are experimenting with creation of a new "Herland"! Yes, comments are closed. Anyone who just MUST reach me can do so at syrbal6 at gmail dot com.

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