Always Learnin’

I’m always learning. My bookshelf is full of texts I have yet to ingest and novels I’ve yet to fall in love with. My summer reading list swells every June.

Here are some of the books that I’m most looking forward to:

1 . Coming To Our Senses by Jon Kabat-Zinn

I’ve been interested in mindfulness for a little while now. As most of my long time readers have probably noticed, I have a hard time being present in the moment; I’m a perpetual future planner. Coming To Our Senses, a book considered by many to be a modern day masterpiece on the subject of mindfulness, is quite the tome at over 600 pages long. In the effort of full disclosure, I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf since last summer and I’ve only been able to get through the first chapter. It’s a really dense book. Author Kabat-Zinn is a scientist and a Professor of Medicine Emeritus at UMass. He’s also the founding director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the UMass Medical School. Though written in an easily understandable yet intelligent voice (this is no Mindfulness for Dummies), the subject matter is difficult for me to emotionally digest. I’ll fill you in on my progress with the text throughout the summer, as I get my Buddha on.


2. Unmarketable by Anne Elizabeth Moore

Here’s a saucy little review of the book by Mother Jones Magazine from a couple years ago. As someone who has always quietly considered herself pretty fuckin’ punk, I can’t wait to devour this book. The branding of youth culture is out of control. As an academic in a supposedly alternative, leading liberal arts institution of higher learning, I can’t help but notice the homogenization of our college aged kids. As generation gaps become increasingly accelerated because of technological advances, the internet and globalized markets, how are the kids gonna learn to think for themselves when the thoughts they have are almost wholly perpetuated by advertising and the media? Hopefully this book will clue me in.


3. The Artist’s Guide: How To Make a Living Doing What You Love by Jackie Battenfield and its online compliment!

Confession: I love self help books for artists. What else can I say? This looks like a great one, or at least contemporary.


4. The $12 Million Stuffed Shark: The Curious Economics of Contemporary Art by Don Thompson

This past February, I read 7 Days in The Art World which was an incredibly insightful, at-times-humorous and at-times-depressing read. The $12 Million Stuffed Shark seems to have a similar theme in the absurdity and calculated financial handling of the contemporary art market. In the middle of the book there’s a grouping of glossy photographs of works mostly by Jeff Koons, if that’s any indication of the text. I love scathing exposés! Take that you charlatans!


5. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

I deserve at least one novel to read at the beach this summer. Actually, I’m embarrassed that I have not yet read this book in its 10 + years of existence.


6. Pakriti: Your Aruyvedic Constitution by Robert Svoboda

For the past 7 months, I’ve been self medicating for my twice daily reoccurring hive outbreaks, which I’ve been enduring since February 2007. I’ve stopped seeing my immunologist, dermatologist, and allergist.  For the most part, I notice no difference between their liver damaging malaria preventative medications (of which, control over hive outbreaks was only a side effect) and my popping several over the counter generic zyrtecs a day. However, as you can imagine, being covered in red buring welts and taking medication is still a huge drag. Someone referred me to the ancient Indian practice of Ayurvedic traditional medicines. An overly simplistic explanation involves every individual person falling into a dosha or a certain physical and emotional constitution. Both your physical and emotional habits effect your overall health (now there’s a concept!) and when something is out of balance in one realm, it effects the whole. For each dosha, there are certain activities and diets that will work to right your imbalance. I primarily belong in the pitta dosha, and one of the main characteristics of an imbalance in this group is ‘inflammation of the skin and rashes.’ Interesting. Hopefully this book will be a little more involved than my preliminary internet research.


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