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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top 10 Books Read 2011

1. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
I have so much to say about this, why, I wrote a whole blog.

2. What Technology Wants by Kevin Kelly
The concept of the "technium" is something I find myself coming back to again and again. The author writes a brilliant blog called The Technium.

3. The Magus of Strovolos: The Extraordinary World of a Spiritual Healerby Kyriacos C. Markides
This was one of the many books I read in preparing the introduction to my translation of Francisco I. Madero's Spiritist Manual of 1911. Sociologist Markides' work stands out among the many books on esoteric subjects not only for the quality of the writing, but the author's open-heartedness combined with discernment. If anyone were to ask me where to start reading on the subjects of healers and mediums, I would tell them to start with Markides.

4. Holy Sh*t: Managing Manure to Save Mankind by Gene Logsdon
Highly amusing. I've become a fan of the author's blog, The Contrary Farmer, where, by the way, you can download a free e-book of his best posts.

5. Wandering Souls: Journeys with the Dead and Living in Viet Nam by Wayne Karlin
Transcendent and fascinating, this is one of the most important works to come out of the Viet Nam War.

6. To Be Young by Mary Luytens
Oh, those wacky Theosophists...

7. Francisco I. Madero by Stanley R. Ross
The classic of the 1950s. I have my quibbles about the book but overall, it is an impressive work of original scholarship and reads as smoothly as a good novel. I'd put it on my short list of recommended books to read about Mexico.

8. Art, Life and UFOs: A Memoir by Budd Hopkins
A deeply strange book by a deeply courageous and all-around original American.

9. Peregrina: Love & Death in Mexico by Alma M. Reed, Edited and with an introduction by Michael K. Scheussler; Foreword by Elena Poiatowska
This is the memoir of Alma Reed, a San Francisco journalist, a feminist far head of her time, who came to Mexico and fell in love with Yucatan's charismatic left-leaning governor, Felipe Carrillo Puerto. They were engaged to be married when he was murdered in 1924.(I hope to interview Michael K. Schuessler about this book for my Conversations with Other Writers podcasts in 2012.)

10. The Beekeeper's Lament by Hannah Nordhaus

Top 10 Books Read 2010
Top 10 Books Read 2009
Top 10 Books Read 2008
Top 10 Books Read 2007
Top 10 Books Read 2006