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jmiedema's books from LibraryThing

Recent books from jmiedema's LibraryThing library


Phaedrus by Plato

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 10:00:02 -0400


V for Vendetta New (New Edition TPB) by Alan Moore

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 09:59:46 -0400


The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 09:59:15 -0400


Reading In The Brain by Stanislas Dehaene

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 09:59:00 -0400


Authentic Knowing by Imants Baruss

Sun, 02 Oct 2011 09:57:09 -0400


Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

Fri, 22 Jul 2011 16:44:13 -0400


The Razor's Edge by W. Somerset Maugham

Mon, 04 Apr 2011 21:53:55 -0400


Library Juice Concentrate by Rory Litwin

Fri, 12 Nov 2010 09:07:17 -0500


Living with the Devil by Stephen Batchelor

Sat, 14 Aug 2010 20:36:06 -0400


The Value Of Nothing by Raj Patel

Tue, 30 Mar 2010 05:38:02 -0400


Odes to Tools (Volume 1) by Dave Bonta

Fri, 05 Mar 2010 22:41:08 -0500


The Golden Mean by Annabel Lyon

Wed, 24 Feb 2010 14:55:15 -0500


The Road (Movie Tie-in Edition 2009) (Vintage International) by Cormac McCarthy

Mon, 11 Jan 2010 21:36:11 -0500

(image) jmiedema's review: ""He thought each memory recalled must do some violence to its origins. As in the party game. Say the word and pass it on. So be sparing. What you alter in the remembering has yet a reality, known or not." (131) "What's the bravest thing you ever did? He spat into the road a bloody phlegm. Getting up this morning, he said." ( 272)"

The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier

Thu, 31 Dec 2009 22:52:56 -0500


Living the Good Life How to Live Sanely and Simply in a Troubled World by Helen Nearing

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 23:53:24 -0500

(image) jmiedema's review: "I read Living The Good Life a few years ago. It is a practical book by Helen and Scott Nearing on living simply. They describe how they built their stone home and how they fed themselves off the land. The first edition was in 1954, long before the idea of going back-to-the-land was trendy in the sixties, and before it began to seem necessary in the oil crisis of the seventies. Scott Nearing was previously an economics professor who was blacklisted for his socialist views. The couple undertook a simple lifestyle so they could continue promoting their progressive politics. Three ideas from the book really stuck with me. One, the idea of bread labour. The Nearings worked only four hours a day to feed themselves, and spent the other hours in activist and creative pursuits; the simple life does not have to be long days of physical labour. Two, the mono-diet. The Nearings lived on a diet of simple staples with little variance. At first this struck me as awful — does simple have to mean boring? On reflection, it made much more sense. Our culture demands that our food be new and different daily, and we ignore the cost of dragging foods across the planet so we can have whatever we want whenever we want. This demand is more about a craving of ego than of physical appetite. Indigenous eating reconnects us with our local foods and local economy. Variety is nice, but we may appreciate more subtle nuances when we pay closer attention to our food at hand. Three, Sunday morning music. Helen was an accomplished musician. Scott asked her why she played the music of others instead of making her own. The music industry of our day is designed for the reproduction and distribution of other people’s music. Music has to have mass appeal, and musicians have to dedicate careers to the production of material. Why not just play music for one another for entertainment? Or read to one another? Do people do this anymore?"

Zen and Now: On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Vintage Departures) by Mark Richardson

Mon, 14 Dec 2009 23:50:20 -0500

(image) jmiedema's review: "Zen And Now: On The Trail Of Robert Pirsig And Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance Mark Richardson; Alfred A. Knopf 2008 Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (ZAMM) by Robert Pirsig is a classic, a modern Walden with its inquiry into values and its journey off the beaten path. Many readers begin ZAMM, fewer finish it, but it is the kind of book to which you can return and finish later. I first read ZAMM in my twenties, then reread it in my thirties with a new kind of satisfaction. Another decade later, I am rereading it through Zen and Now: On the Trail of Robert Pirsig and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Mark Richardson. One of the compelling things about ZAMM is that the essence of the book is fact, both Pirsig’s motorcycle trip and his philosophical pursuit into the meaning of quality. Richardson follows Pirsig’s route on his own motorcycle, laptop and GPS along, aiming to reach the final destination of San Francisco by his 42nd birthday. As Richardson observes, 42 is the answer to the ultimate question of life in Douglas Adam’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. It also happens to be my current age, and perhaps explains some of why the book worked for me. Richardson does ZAMM readers a big favour with his carefully researched details about the real-life characters in the book. Richardson’s correspondence with Pirsig was met with helpful replies, but no opportunity for a meeting. Pirsig told him “the best place to meet an author is on the pages of his book”. Readers learn about Pirsig’s wife, Nancy; his son, Chris, who was murdered a few years after the book was published; and his other son, Ted, who was never mentioned in the book. Richardson meets John Sutherland, who helps set the record straight about himself and his wife Sylvia, and later dines with the DeWeeses. Zen and Now does not attempt to delve into the philosophical depths of ZAMM. Richardson tactfully describes the real life schizophrenia suffered by Pirsig, which ZAMM frames as a sort of climax to his philosophical investigations. Personally, I do not subscribe to correlations of genius and madness. Pirsig managed to pull things together and write a second book, Lila, his preferred work, a coherent statement of his philosophy, though never as hot a bestseller as the first. Richardson’s trip has many parallels with the original. Like Pirsig, Richardson is in a state of estrangement from his wife and two children, and is using the trip to help sort it out. Richardson’s storytelling has the same sleepy quality, with mindful observations about the road, and lessons about motorcycle maintenance that are really about caring for oneself and finding quality in life. If you are one of those who liked ZAMM but didn’t finish it, this book may be your way forward."