Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Top 10 Books Read 2013

Madam Mayo's #1 for 2013
1. Carl Jung's Memories, Dreams, Reflections
A strange, fascinating, and mightily illuminating memoir. 

2. John Tutino's Making a New World: Founding Capitalism in the Bajío and Spanish North America
La bomba atómica! Read my review in Literal.

3. Stephen Greenblatt's The Swerve: How the World Became Modern
Rich as a truffle, delightful, sad, scary, astonishing, and a gift in so many ways.

4. Heribert von Feilitzsch's In Plain Sight: Felix Sommerfeld, Spymaster in Mexico, 1908-1914
A deeply researched paradigm-smasher of a biography-- and major addition to the bibliography on the Mexican Revolution. Sommerfeld was President Madero's chief of secret service and a German spy. He was also close to President Madero's personal doctor, Arnoldo Krumm-Heller, another German spy, mason, Spiritist, and esoteric author (aka "Maestro Huiracocha") who went on to become the chief of artillery under General Obregon.
Felix Sommerfeld
>Visit von Feilitzsch's website
>Read my blog post, Arnoldo Krumm-Heller and Francisco I. Madero: Some Notes on Sources.

5. Paul Vanderwood's The Power of God Against the Guns of Government: Religious Upheaval in Mexico at the Turn of the Nineteenth Century
Must reading for anyone interested in Teresa Urrea, aka La Santa de Cabora, star of Luis Alberto Urrea's latest works. It is also crucial for understanding what really happened in Tomóchic, a key episode in the lead-up to the 1910 Revolution.

6. Deborah Blum's Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death
Not only a fascinating read, this is a monumental work of scholarship about the 19th century father of modern psychology's (and many others') adventures in psychic research.

7. Alessandro Marzo Magno's Bound in Venice: The Serene Republic and the Dawn of the Book
A delightful companion to Greenblatt's The Swerve (see # 3, above).

8. John Tutino (editor), Mexico and the Mexicans in the Making of the United States
Read my review in Literal.

9. Pat Schneider's How the Light Gets in: Writing as a Spiritual Practice
By a visionary teacher and prolific and talented writer and poet. Genuinely inspiring.
***UPDATE: Read Pat Schneider's new year's post on voice.

10. Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants
It is always a pleasure to read Gladwell. Fun conversations ensue. It was especially interesting to read this as I was writing Metaphysical Odyssey Into the Mexican Revolution-- the David (Francisco I. Madero) and Goliath (Porfirio Díaz)  metaphor came up often.

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Top 10 Books Read 2012
#1 Sara Mansfield Taber's Born Under An Assumed Name

Top 10 Books Read 2011
#1 Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace

Top 10 Books Read 2010
#1 Paula Kamen's Finding Iris Chang

Top 10 Books Read 2009
#1 Rosemary Sullivan's Villa Air-Bel: World War II, Escape, and a House in Marseille

Top 10 Books Read 2008
#1 Nancy Marie Brown's The Far Traveler: Voyages of a Viking Woman

Top 10 Books Read 2007
#1 Patricia Klindienst's The Earth Knows My Name
#1 Henry James' The Portrait of a Lady