The topics I’ve been reading about the past month have been a little all over the place. I’ve been bouncing back between esoterica and new age conspiracy theories to early twentieth century feminist fiction to sort of maybe kinda sci-fi to don’t even know what to call it. I haven’t gotten through all of the titles stacked up top, but I’ve been slowly working through them. My mailbox has been full all month with packages from Amazon containing books about sacred geometry, crop circles, and ancient alien theories – research for a tattoo I’m planning out (exciting!!).
Kafka on the Shore
Following Norwegian Wood, which I was sorely disappointed with, I kept up with my Murakami Marathon with Kafka on the Shore, and loved it. What I found very interesting about it was how many seedlings of ideas were planted here that came to fruition in 1Q84. I noticed so many parallels, as if Kafka was a rough draft of the other, or maybe another set of characters living in the same world. I think I mentioned in a previous stacked that there are quite a few running themes through Murakami’s novels, and this one was no different. Sexual experiences all seem to happen in trance states, and apartments are all very sparse and tidy.
As disappointed as I was with Norwegian Wood, I really enjoyed Kafka on the Shore. Eventually, I will get back to completing his titles.
Vampires in the Lemon Grove
Karen Russell’s first two books, St. Lucy’s Home for Girls Raised by Wolves and Swamplandia!, were both so fantastic that I pre-ordered Vampires in the Lemon Grove, and started it the moment that it arrived. Unfortunately, this came no where near the others. A collection of shorts that starts off strong and then just falls apart more and more with each story, I’m hoping that whatever she publishes next pulls back up. All of that being said, there was one story, Reeling for the Empire, that was simply fantastic, so I do feel there’s hope yet.
The Books of Enoch
Discovered in the caves that contained the Dead Sea Scrolls, The Books of Enoch are biblical texts excluded from today’s accepted Bible. Had my psuedo-Sunday school education taught anything out of these, I would have probably become a devout Catholic as a child and grown up to enter an Enochian convent (not that I’m aware that anything like that exists).
The Books of Enoch describe, in great detail, what can be very easily interpreted as extra-terrestrial encounters. Honestly, I could very easily go on at great lengths about this, but I am going to keep it as brief as possible. The Watchers, a race of heavenly beings, literally came down from the skies to guide mankind. Instead of simply keeping watch on them, they began to teach humans their secrets of technology (weapons, sorcery, astronomy, and writing), and eventually began to marry human women. The offspring was a hybrid race known as the Nephilim, all-consuming giants that obliterated everything in their paths. God created the Flood to wipe out the Nephilim, but not before alerting Noah, and creating Hell for the fallen Watchers. In 3 Enoch (the third book), Enoch literally ascends to heaven, and describes in detail the various levels and enlightened creatures he encounters, where he then is transformed into the archangel Metatron.
All three texts are heavily laced with calculations of the seasons and time, which further reinforces my belief that these stories are accounts, fictitious or historical, of other worldly visitors. This was an absolutely fascinating read, and I recommend this edition, by Joseph Lumpkin, highly.
The Power of Myth
This was the absolute perfect follow up to The Books of Enoch. A series of interviews with Joseph Campbell by Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth discusses the importance and evolution of myth in human race, and the synchronicity of its development. I found myself smiling many times while reading this, and nodding in agreement to so many of the points that Campbell makes. I am actually a bit embarrassed to admit this was the first of his works that I’ve read, but I will definitely be following this up with The Hero With A Thousand Faces.
Rest in Pieces
Bess Lovejoy is one of the contributing writers to The Order of the Good Death, one of my favorite blogs to follow. In her first book, she researched the “Curious Fates of Famous Corpses” throughout history, and there has been some very strange stuff happen to some dead folks! Did you know that Sir (and Saint) Thomas More’s daughter caught her executed father’s head when it was tossed from the London Bridge? Or that Perchy Shelly’s heart was plucked from his burning body (while it was cremated on the beach after it washed up ashore), and his wife, Mary, kept it in her desk for the rest of her life? Yeah, I didn’t either! This book was a super fun read, and I enjoyed it so much that I gave away a copy on Haute Macabre a few weeks ago.
In between reading things cover to cover, I’ve been picking up The Portable Dorothy Parker and reading a bit of it at a time. I’ve also been studying the runes using Taking Up the Runes by Diana Paxson, which has been an excellent guide so far. I’ll give a more detailed review once I’m all the way through it, but so far, I do recommend this as a starter guide.
I usually don’t read multiple things at a time or skip back and forth between books, but I have been the past few weeks, depending on whatever my mood is.
Do you usually have a few books going at a time, or do you stick to just one?