So I will list the books and make some notes about them here in this blog post - then I can tag it "books I have read" :)
Collected Poems - James McAuley
This book was a loving gift from a second hand bookshop, the first of many - I am so glad that when I was asked if I liked bunches of flowers that I said I would prefer a book! This has been a great call, after all there are plenty of flowers in the gardens of the world!
The poems spoke to me- how did James McAuley know as a 21 year old how someone like me (45 years old, four young adults growing towards leaving home) would feel - the poem The Woman in the House made me wonder
Here are some of the lines that made me feel like James McAuley had been standing next to me:
The young have a bird's bright eye,
Their tender desires are unkind.........
Now they will move in the sun
And change like water and wind
For them will be how many
Things ending, things begun:
For me there is only one
Beginning, which is an ending
When everything else is done.
Inspired by his poetry and wanting to give a gift that would stand in time to my own 21 year old musician son I purchased some James McAuley first editions for his birthday. As any openminded and sensitive musician the gift was not lost on my son. Although the last straw may have come as he lay in bed with the flu on his 21st birthday and instead of being able to party he was captive to my reading aloud from the collected poems! From my point of view - perfect, I had my son to myself, (altho sorry he wasnt well), from his point of view and not without humour, well, it was a birthday he would never forget.
Chris Lowney - Heroic Leadership
I have blogged about this book before, but I still think about its four main tenets, ingenuity, self awareness, love and heroism everyday. I have taken on the Jesuit practice of reflecting during the day about how I am going in respect to these and how I could do better.
John Baldock - The Essence of Rumi
The quote on the back of the book says it all, and what isnt in the quote is in the tales of Rumis life and Sufi stories:
"Get drunk on Love for Love is all that exists. Unless you make Love your business you will not be admitted to the Beloved".
Richard Neville - hippie hippie shake
I am glad I read this because I didnt realise the extent of discrimination towards participants in the counter culture of the 1960s. Discrimination looks the same no matter where or how it is practised, and it is always sore, oozing and ugly.
Two things stood out for me - the "hippies" almost got it right in terms of freedom and love - the cover of the book shows a group of young people on the beach in Ibiza and they look as happy and healthy as anyone can be. Too many drugs that wasted them - not everyone though. Although it was interesting to understand the influence of drugs on the art and music of the time and feel the spirit of the quest for a new world (is here some parallel here with Second Lifers and Web 2.0 progressives?).
Simone De Beauvoir - A Very Easy Death
Intense, rich in description of nature and humanity. Family, love, life and death as counterpoints to each other - when is just being alive no longer a life? I f ound this story had the effect of reconciling me to death, maybe just because it laid out all the details of deteriorating illness that arent usually talked about.
Stephen Edgar - Where The Trees Were
I heard Stephen Edgar read from this book at the Wednesday night poetry reading at Sappho bookstore Glebe. Having heard Stephen read and meeting him I was very touched to have the book presented to me as a gift by my loved one to take the book home - you know that delighted feeling when you are unexpectedly given something you know you will really like?
The poem Penshurst was my favourite because I grew up around there and had a strong recognition of what the poet was saying. He describes so well the hidden nature of the suburb, the "street in suspense, deserted...." "the wives indoors posessed by their invisibility" and even the far off sounds of the trains "muffled, far off" "that simply hung", the suburb "the reassuring weight of houses, safe." Thank you for the book Michael and thank you for the poems Stephen Edgar.
I will do some more of the other books I have read another night, there is still at least a dozen others, too much for me to feel in one post.