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Posted: Nov. 17, 2002
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Question of the Week: 64 - 10/29/2001
What Are YOUR book/video/dvd Recommendations?
What books do you like? Which ones do you read over and over again? What ones do you recommend for those 'taking a mental break' moments or for holiday gift giving? Do you have some suggestions for videos/dvds that deserve a viewing? Your suggestions need not be Pagan specific. In fact, we encourage you here to offer tips on good selections that may be found in the often-overlooked area of mythology, history, humor, sociology, sci-fi or art sections of the bookstores or video sections.
| Reponses: There are 119 responses posted to this question.
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| Well, Let's Start Out In Sci-fi. The Hyperion Series By Dan Simmons... ||Oct 26th. at 1:56:08 pm EDT|
|Shrike (Williamsport, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 26 |
Well, let's start out in Sci-fi.
The Hyperion series by Dan Simmons, (Hyperion, Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, Rise of Endymion), is amazing. Some of the best world development I've seen, and some really memorable characters as well.
The Sprawl Trilogy, by William Gibson (Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Overdrive) is another must-read. While it is written as a cyberpunk series, like the Hyperion series, there is a distinct spiritual dimension to it. Gibson was a seer in his time, anticipating world economic conditions, social conditions, and above all, the rise of cyberspace, a word he coined in 1983. His conception of cyberspace seems almost like the pagan perspective of the spirit realm, his artificial intelligences become godlike, and blur into the human realm. Really amazing concepts.
Also, don't forget Douglas Adams, may he rest well! I for one am keeping him in mind this Samhain. His sense of humor has brought laughter to many, and he will be dearly missed.
I am not a huge fan of fantasy, but can't help but recommend Marion Zimmer Bradley. It might be blasphemy to most pagans, but I actually liked "The Firebrand", a historical novel of the fall of Troy from the perspective of Cassandra, much better than the Avalon series.
In mystery, I highly recommend Rosemary Edgehill's Bast mysteries (Speak Daggers to Her, The Book of Moons and The Bowl of Night, all available in a paperback collection entitled Bell Book and Murder). She has such a down-to-earth view of the pagan community, and Bast is a phenomenal character! Anyone who's spent any time in the pagan community will agree how true-to-life her portrayal of the pagan community rings true.
For general fiction, I am a Kurt Vonnegut Jr. addict. I especially recommend "Cat's Cradle", "Hocus Pocus" and "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater"
On to inspiriational works, the ones I find uplift my spirit and give me hope in troubled times.
Jean Houston is an amazing author, her vision of humanity's potential is inspiring. I really recommend her autobiography, "A Mythic Life"
other inspirational titles:
Robert Pirsig, "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance"
Paulo Coelho, "The Alchemist"
Starhawk, "Truth or Dare" - I believe this to be an ideal model for pagan communities. A shame its advice is rarely taken to heart.
Oriah Mountain Dreamer, "The Invitation"
As for pagan authors, the Farrars, Starhawk, and Doreen Valiente are the ones which really impress me the most. Not going to say much along these lines, since I think people can easily find info on pagan books around here somewhere =)
| The Book That I Read Over And Over Again Is The Complete... ||Oct 26th. at 1:47:06 pm EDT|
|Leighsha Batchelor a.k.a. Autumn (west palm beach) ||Age: 17 - Email |
The book that i read over and over again is The Complete Book of Witchcraft by Raymon Buckland. when I was starting out in my spiritual search it helped me out a great deal. It is especially good for beginners. It has rituals and rites and how to preform them. It goes into detail on how to cleanse your body as well as work area. I would say it's one of the best books I ever read, and I've read a lot. Green Witchcraft is good as well, along with Everyday Witchcraft.
Movies: the Labrynth
| I Am The Author Of The Following Books Which Are Pagan And... ||Oct 26th. at 1:16:42 pm EDT|
|Pamela E. Apkarian-Russell, The Halloween Queen (Winchester, New Hampshire US) ||Age: 53 - Email |
I am the author of the following books which are Pagan and Wiccan friendly and may be of interest to you and your readers.
"The Tastes and Smells of Halloween" Trick or Treat Trader Publications 2000 full color A cook book-Bogie book.
Salem Witchcraft and Souvenirs Schiffer Publishing 20.00
More Halloween Collectibles
Halloween Collectilbe Games and Decorations
all Schiffer Publishing and sell for 30.00 ea.
Postmarked Yesteryear the art of the Holiday Postcard
Collectors Press 30.00 ( will be released in the next week)
I am currently looking for a publisher for a book on fortune telling and paranormal collectilbes. I am also, looking for a building in the Salem area to house a museum of over 15, 000 items spanning over 300 years dedicated to the memorabilia of Halloween, Salem Witch and the Paranormal (not Haunted House.)
I can be contacted via my email of web page http://adam.net/~halloweenqueen/home.html
blessings, Pamela THQ
| I've Been Meaning To Write A Review For A Book I Read... ||Oct 26th. at 1:01:44 pm EDT|
|Nicole Mussen (Walled Lake, Michigan US) ||Age: 28 - Email |
I've been meaning to write a review for a book I read recently and up pops this topic. I'm not sure it's coincidence.
The Knitting Sutra by Susan Gordon Lyndon
"If the devil makes works for idle hands, then could constantly busy hands entice angels to whisper in the knitter's ear?" This book is reflection on 30 years of knitting and spiritual paths and the conections and mergings of them. From pursuit of mastery knitting and the study of Sufism, Native American sprituality, meditation and Hebrew heritage, the author finds that she must eventually make her own path to heal herself. I found this book to be wonderfully insightful and I would reccomend it to anyone on any spiritual path.
Yet other books I love:
I started my path to Paganism (or call it what you will) with Ann Moura and her three books on Green Witchcraft. I also found The Origins of Modern Witchcraft to be enlightening.
I've learned more about being Pagan from reading this website weekly than any single book.
Fanuilh, Wizard's Heir, Beggar's Banquet, and Scales of Justice by Daniel Hood are difficult to find, but are worth it! Fantasy and mystery wrapped up in one wonderful series.
The Complete Fuzzy by H. Beam Piper
Scifi and absolutely nothing to do with Paganism, it may look a bit on the cute side, but I can't put it down if I pick it up.
The Light Bearer by Donna Gillespie
Historical fiction for those hooked on the Pagan end of Gladiator. Good read.
Anna McCaffery, of course. Of more recent writings, I rather enjoyed the Freedom's Landing trilogy.
Nevada Barr's Ana Pigeon mystery series about a park ranger.
Night of the Wolf by Alice Borchardt
Also for those who love Roman historical fantasy. There is a sequel.
I'm very surprised that noone has mentioned Gael Baudino. Find her books. Read them. They're in the fantasy section and are very good for Pagans. I mean it.
Ursula K. Le Guin's Catwings books are in the childrens' intermediate fiction section. They are more than worth the $3.95 per book. I guess they're good for kids too.
Elizabeth Moon's Paksenarrion series (not sure about spelling). Very good.
Creating Mandalas by Susan Fincher
She also has a mandala coloring book. Very insightful. Who needs headshrinkers?
A Kitchen Witch's Cookbook by Patricia Telesco (her book Urban Pagan is also very handy for those who need to be thrifty).
Biker Billy's Freeway-a-Fire Cookbook by Bill Hufnagle.
This guy does a cooking show in his garage with a hotplate and a garden hose. Even for a meat-eater like me, this vegetarian cookbook is an excilent primer for cooking with and learning to like fire. Studies show that a little fire in your daily diet can help speed up your metabolism a little bit.
The Real McKenzies
Scottish Punk - Do I need to say more?
Star Wars movies - The Force mean anything to anyone?
Yes I loved Gladiator and Crouching Tiger too.
Anything Kevin Smith
Waking Ned Divine
The Shadow - Am I crazy you ask? Watch it again.
Witches of Eastwick is wonderful, but the Craft is a groaner, I'm sorry.
Mystery Men is just plain fun.
Scifi channel (although I'm still very disappointed that The Secret Adventures of Jules Verne got cancelled - Michael Praed, mmmmm.)
I will watch Babylon 5 reruns for the rest of my life. (Need more J.M.S.? Look for Rising Stars. The graphic novel compelation of the beginning of the comic book is in bookstores with number two to come soon.)
| Oh, I Almost Forgot! If You Have Any Interest At All In... ||Oct 26th. at 12:43:24 pm EDT|
|Bethany (Graham, Florida US) ||Age: 23 - Email |
Oh, I almost forgot! If you have ANY interest at all in re-told fairy tales with a kind of feminist Pagan twist, you have to check out "Kissing the Witch", by Emma Donoghue. It's a collection of short stories, based on the standard childrens' fairytales. They are all stunningly well-written, and all in first person from the point of view of a character in the story. Each leads into the other with a little paragraph, the idea being that a character from one story was reincarnated from a character in another story, so that each story reaches further into the past and creates a strange kind of "family tree". I have no idea how, but it works.
Oh yeah, and the witches aren't evil! A nice change there, huh?
The book is kind of hard to find... it's usually in the young-adult section for some inexplicable reason. And don't be put off by the hideous black and neon-pink cover. :-)
| One Of The Best Science-fiction Series I've Ever Read Is Called The... ||Oct 26th. at 12:12:21 pm EDT|
|Bethany Harvey (Graham, Florida US) ||Age: 23 |
One of the best science-fiction series I've ever read is called the Gaia Trilogy, by John Varley. The books are "Titan", "Wizard", and "Demon". All three are wonderfully descriptive, very original books that somehow manage to combine a sort of surreal quality and likeable, well-developed characters. The philosophy is more Humanist than Pagan, but who cares? The world Varley creates is incredibly detailed and absorbing, and a sense of wonder and excitement pervades the whole trilogy, even within the "hard science" parts. The world of Gaia reminds me a little bit of C.S. Lewis's Narnia, but... bigger and better. Truly amazing books; read them even if you don't normally like SF.
| Hmmm...so Many Good Choices. Books: Start With Anything By Terry Pratchet... ||Oct 26th. at 8:29:18 am EDT|
|Rolf (Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania US) ||Age: 26 |
Hmmm...so many good choices.
Books: Start with anything by Terry Pratchet, especially the Disk World novels, but definately include "Good Omens", co-written with Neil Gaimen. I also recomend virtually anything by Charles DeLint. Of course Moby Dick and (also, of course) The Lord of the Rings. Check out Steven Brust and Emma Bull's "Freedom and Necessity" for a wonderful combination of Socialism, 19th century England and very subtle magick. Strangely, I also recomend "The Scarlet Letter" and "Jane Eyer." I may be the only person who loved them in high school, but I keep finding people who read them later and really grooved on them.
For non-fiction, the field is still broad. A strangely captivating read was "Star Trek Memories" and "Star Trek Movie Memories" both by Bill Shatner...I know, I know, but they're amazingly balanced and cover the inception of the series to the filming of "Generations." Very intresting for Trek fans and anyone intrested in the movie or TV business. Also, arguably the most important book of the 1990s was "The Axemaker's Gift" by James Burke and Robert Orinstein. Burke, best known in this country for his BBC series "Connections, " writes about technology, society and people, and this book is, "about the people who gave us the world in exchange for our minds." Though I don't completely agree with his conclusions, his evidance is staggering.
Movies: I rarely pass up a good "B" movie..."Godzilla vs. Anybody", for example. But for a delightful "B+" and a really sureal, campy experience, try "Welcome to Woop Woop, " if you can find it. If you haven't seen them, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is the finest example of its genre, bar none, and "Gladiator" is just a fun piece of movie-making. Also, if you love animation, rent "Princess Mononoke" (sp?)...even dubbed it is magnificent.
There are hundreds more of each, of coures, but these are highlights, and should keep anyone going for a while.
| Best Book I've Read In A Long Time Is 'we Have Always... ||Oct 26th. at 7:40:54 am EDT|
|Wolfgang Lischtansky (Albuquerque, New Mexico US) ||Age: 36 - Email |
Best book I've read in a long time is 'We have always lived in the castle' by Shirley Jackson. Found for reasons unbeknownst to me in the Horror section of the used book store. It's not Horror, it's more like 'Unstrung heroes'.
| ... ||Oct 26th. at 7:38:13 am EDT|
|Wolfgang Lischtansky (Albuquerque, New Mexico US) ||Age: 36 - Email |
| Most Of My Favorite Books Fall Under The Heading 'children's Literature,' But... ||Oct 26th. at 12:07:22 am EDT|
|Firefly (Atlanta, Georgia US) ||Age: 17 |
Most of my favorite books fall under the heading 'children's literature, ' but they are all fabulous, beautiful, and non age-restrictive, so here it goes...
The Anne of Green Gables series by L.M. Montgomery
*No matter how much christianity appeared in the stories I swear Anne was pagan at heart
Skellig, Kit's Wilderness, and Heaven Eyes by David Almond
*All three are dark, myth-soaked, beautiful, and far too short
The Hero and the Crown (and everything else) by Robin McKinley
*This book won the Newbery Medal back in 1985 and is one of the most engaging works of children's fantasy I've come acoss
His Dark Materials (the Golden Compass, the Subtle Knife, and the Amber Spyglass) by Philip Pullman
*I've read these books to pieces, they are absolutely amazing works of art
Some grown-up stuff...
The Wood Wife by Terri Windling
*I tried to convince my parents that moving to AZ would be a good idea after reading this one, very magickal
Stardust by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess
*A wonderful grown-up fairy tale with fabulous artwork to accompany it
Burning Your Boats: the Collected Short Stories of Angela Carter
*Anything by Carter will blow you away, but her short stories positively glow
Tam Lin and Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary by Pamela Dean
*Both are magickal and lovely and have that wonderful "Dean" pace that allows the story to sneak up on you
A couple movies before I stop...
Holiday (1938) starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant
*I love Bringing Up Baby and the Philadelphia Story, but this one is the best of the Hepburn/Grant collaborations, funny, romantic, and full of play, what more could you ask for?
Sabrina (both the classic and the remake w/Harrison Ford)
They had me at the opening credits, what can I say
And of course the video collection staples of any 80's child:
The Princess Bride and Labyrinth 'nuf said
| For A Good Campy Horror Movie Check Out "pumpkinhead", And Be Sure... ||Oct 25th. at 10:35:53 pm EDT|
|Hunter (Toronto, Ontario CA) ||Age: 39 |
For a good campy horror movie check out "Pumpkinhead", and be sure not to miss the old Appalachian Witch!
If you're interested in the classical Greek world I highly recommend 2 books by Steven Pressfield: "Gates of Fire" - about the Spartans at Thermopylae, and "Tides of War" - about the Peloponesian War. Pressfield's writing will transport you through time. He also wrote "The Legend of Bagger Vance", which was a mediocre film but an interesting book.
Blessed Be everybody & have a great Samhain. BOO!
| Loving This Question! I've Recently Re-read Terry Prachett's "feet Of Clay" (and... ||Oct 25th. at 9:39:36 pm EDT|
|Hawthorn Fox (Dartmouth, Nova Scotia CA) ||Age: 33 - Email |
Loving this question!
I've recently re-read Terry Prachett's "Feet of Clay" (and haven't stopped chuckling about it.)I'd also recommend a fine series by Patricia Wrightson "The Ice is Coming", "The Dark, Bright Water", and "Journey Behind the Wind."
These are the only works of fiction I've seen that explores Australian culture and the Dreamtime.
Still on folklore, Dr. Helen Crieghton's "Bluenose Ghosts", is the defintive spooky story book dealing with my corner of the world. She researched in Nova Scotia right up until her passing.
The autobiography of Fleetwood Mac's founder Mick Fleetwood, entitled simply "Fleetwood" is one of the best pieces of non-fiction that I've read for a long time.(I know, that surprised me, too :)) If you're a fan of the band, you'll enjoy it that much more.
For movies to watch while the brain is on standby, I'd point out "The Usual Suspects", "The Thomas Crown Affair", "What Dreams May Come", "The African Queen" (the B/W version if you can), and if you need to laugh and think at the same time, "The Gods Must be Crazy" (This one was required viewing for a Social Anthropology class way back when. I never enjoyed academia more...)
If you're needing a VERY big jolt of suspense rent "Ghost Story". I believe it came out around 1980 and is based on the Peter Straub book of the same name. No gore, no blood, but it will give you a good scare.
Best of the Season to my Sisters and Brothers
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