Archive for January 2021

The Saturday Book Shop – Salute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 16, 2021

The enduring legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr and his life’s work is celebrated in the United States this weekend. Seemed an apt moment to spotlight the last book he wrote, which is, sadly, still timely: Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? The issues addressed in his book echo deeply today, and point the way forward for fulfilling the dream of civil rights. For the important work of amplifying dignity. For increasing equal opportunity and equal justice under law. For protecting voting rights. For uplifting a living wage. For well being for all along the road ahead. For coming together in kindness and caring in everyday acts of service that matter even while isolating at home. (Thanks, CNN, for a great list of ways to serve, even from home, here.)

From the publisher’s overview:

“In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., isolated himself from the demands of the civil rights movement, rented a house in Jamaica with no telephone, and labored over his final manuscript. In this prophetic work, which has been unavailable for more than ten years, he lays out his thoughts, plans, and dreams for America’s future, including the need for better jobs, higher wages, decent housing, and quality education. With a universal message of hope that continues to resonate, King demanded an end to global suffering, asserting that humankind-for the first time-has the resources and technology to eradicate poverty.”

There’s also a great list of 20 Martin Luther King Jr Books in Honor of MLK Day here.

Here’s honoring hearts and hands coming together as we move into a new chapter. And here’s a link for re-listening to Dr. King’s I Have A Dream” speech. Will be thinking of that dream during next week’s Inauguration, and cheering for President-elect Joe Biden, and for Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the first woman and first woman of color to be inaugurated as Vice President of the United States of America.

Dr. King took us all to church. Thank God for his life and the blessing of his leadership. May America move forward in healing with all due speed, peacefully, and forever in gratitude of his light and determination and grace. Amen.

 

 

 

The Saturday Book Shop – How the Whole World Is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings

January 9, 2021

Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia: How the Whole World is Conspiring to Shower You with Blessings by Rob Brezsny is a book that I gladly turn to in both joyous moments as well as crazy, horrible times like what transpired in Washington D.C. last week. This book is a gem whenever we need to catch our collective breath and pause to gather strength in fighting the good fight and renewing our focus on becoming a maestro of “rowdy bliss”, as Brezsny likes to say.

Brezsny’s writing helps re-gather a focus on beauty and truth, even in the midst of being witness to a Wannabe Tinpot Dictator extolling the virtues of America’s “freedom” while abdicating responsibility for preserving the hard-fought democracy foundations needed to keep “equal justice under law” moving forward and shining Liberty’s light, albeit imperfectly. Brezsny’s optimism doesn’t shy away from acknowledging the horrible and tragic in the world. His work is more thoughtful and intelligent and eye-twinkling-good-mischief-kinda-gonzo than that. I adore his unique way of reminding us how much more we have going for us even during challenging times, and it helps me re-ground. I needed it today. Here’s a quick excerpt from the book:

“Thousands of things go right for you every day, beginning the moment you wake up. Through some magic you don’t fully understand, you’re still breathing and your heart is beating, even though you’ve been unconscious for many hours. The air is a mix of gases that’s just right for your body’s needs, as it was before you fell asleep.

You can see! Light of many colors floods into your eyes, registered by nerves that took God or evolution or some process millions of years to perfect. The interesting gift of these vivid hues is made possible by an unimaginably immense globe of fire, the sun, which continually detonates nuclear reactions in order to convert its own body into light and heat and energy for your personal use.

You can’t live without the sun’s inexhaustible flood of unconditional love. Every move you make depends on it. Luckily, it never fails you. Did you know that your personal star is located at the precise distance from you to be of consummate service? If it were any closer, you’d fry, and if it were any farther away, you’d freeze. Is that just a happy accident? Or is it a sign of favor—a big, broad hint, from a cosmic intelligence that adores you?” — Rob Brezsny

Here’s to January 20, 2021, and to all the long-neglected work we will get to begin as the country turns a new page. God Bless Us All (and especially the amazing Stacey Abrams and all those dedicated volunteers who work to champion voting rights!) … and God Bless The United States of America (which has a beautiful little booklet called “The Constitution” which could probably use an amended edition).

“The American Dream & Experiment: Held Together with Safety Pins (There is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in – Leonard Cohen)” ©2016

All for now. See you next week here at The Saturday Book Shop …

The Saturday Book Shop – January 2, 2021

January 2, 2021

“A hymn of love to the world.”

That’s what author Elizabeth Gilbert says about the book I want to share with you today—and what a true description it is.

I am totally enthralled by Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

What a treasure this book is. The stories captivate with a blend of gentle beauty, facts, history, reverence, humor, and gratitude that are expertly and unforgettably woven together to help: “…people remember that what’s good for the land is also good for the people.”

It seems a good place to be, here in this first Saturday of 2021. A place where we’ve had more time to reflect and pause to notice the generous gifts of the earth while contemplating how we reciprocate that grace and care. This is what Robin Wall Kimmerer writes about so well, so wholeheartedly.

My beloved Bahamas is right now facing a potential threat to the pristine, abundant, and incredibly gorgeous waters that surround their 700 cays and islands. Pleas, petitions, and every know legal action and prayer are engaged today in urging that no further licenses be issued to drill oil in these irreplaceable waters. To risk an oil spill is unthinkable. The current administration did not negotiate the current drilling permits and has stated their opposition to it. Public support in The Bahamas and abroad is strong to cease the oil drilling, and it needs to be stronger yet. If you want to sign this petition to help save The Bahamas from oil drilling, please sign here. More background information on the situation is here.


… AND A REMINDER ABOUT MORE PLACES TO FIND WONDERFUL BOOKS & TERRIFIC WRITINGS ABOUT BOOKS IN THE NEW YEAR …

In my original post about the start of The Saturday Book Shop, I noted that I’m especially fond of the marvelously thoughtful Brain Pickings by Maria Popova, as well as Austin Kleon’s brilliant and eclectic weekly newsletter and blog. Elizabeth Gilbert has a new Onward book club that’s worth checking out too. All of these sources offer a wide wealth of writings and inspirations about books. Well worth being on their mailing lists.

That’s it for now, other than an ongoing plea to support local independent booksellerswhenever you can—these intrepid entrepreneurs have made the publishing world go round for a long long time and are essential nooks of civilization and creative caffeine everywhere!

What are you reading to begin this New Year? Would love to hear what’s on your nightstand table or in your book bag or e-reader if you want to share in the comments. See you next Saturday … 📚

“A book is a present you can open again and again.”

 


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