Books! What are you currently reading or just finished?


After a couple of terrifying experiences I haven’t taken psychedelics in almost 20 years, but I’m kind of curious of how my adult, edging into responsible mind would take them now. The positive experiences I ahd were life changing in many ways. Provided I partake infrequently and don’t just watch a movie, I get the experience on a lower level with marijuana if I just sit in a dark room and let my mind wander or ponder.


Requested it from my library on the basis of this post. Looking forward.

Have you read David Markson’s late novels? (Reader’s Block, This Is Not A Novel, Vanishing Point, The Last Novel) —

They might appeal, being collections of anecdotes which are not explicitly connected but which build upon one another to form a kind of narrative as the books progress.


I haven’t read anything by him but just by looking him up now it seems like the kind of thing I’d be into…Thanks!


One of the things stressed in the book is the whole “set and setting” idea - all of these clinical trials and studies that have shown great success involve very controlled, guided sessions with trained therapists who prepare the patient for the experience, are there with them the whole time, and then through talk therapy in the days following, work with the patient to get them to integrate the experience into their life. The people being studied also wore blindfolds so that the trip was very inward and reflective. I wouldn’t be surprised if in several years medical psilocibin, potentially even LSD, treatments become normal, but only these very professional guided therapy-like sessions.


Just finished A Really Good Day by Ayelet Waldman, while her experiences with microdosing were super interesting I think I enjoyed it more for her insight on the war on drugs. Definitely going to be checking out more of the works cited throughout. Now I’m reading Taipei by Tao Lin and I’m not sure how I feel about it yet. I haven’t read anything else from him but I have several friends who love his work. I’m getting really distracted by his style of writing though where a sentence builds and builds with more descriptors to the point that I eventually get lost and have to re-read. It’s a really interesting way of writing but not sure if it’s my thing yet.


I read a piece by Tao Lin from … that one website that was kind of like Medium before Medium and I totally know what you mean. The style was fascinating at the same time as it really rubbed me the wrong way. Picked up Taipei in a bookstore and decided from the first few pages that I was not gonna buy it any time soon :joy:


insanely awful, and doesn’t really belong here, but longtime Pittsburgh used/rare bookstore Caliban is in the news:

I’ve spent so much time there over the last 25 years and have sold plenty of books (most recently last fall). totally mind-blowing and shitty to find out the owner was in on the theft of some of the rarest books in existence FROM A LIBRARY over the course of decades.


I’d like this to be the plot of the next Wes Anderson movie.
As recited by Alec Baldwin:
The man shrugged. He did it to “stay afloat” he said, and that he “expected trouble down the line”.


I’m really glad Pollan is exposing new audiences to psychedelics and making a case for the necessity of scientific research around clinical use of psychedelics. That being said, there are soooo many more engaging works on the topic. But I don’t know what to recommend because there are so many different directions one could take such research… anyway, if you’re interested in learning more about any particular aspect of mind altering substances, I’ve got a pretty full bookcase, and I’m happy to make some recommendations.


Any that discuss psychedelics and feelings?


Not as such (very interesting idea!) but a couple I have on the topic of psychedelic therapy are:

And I’d also say that the Shulgin classic is full of ideas for note-taking around sessions, for the purpose of further analysis of what it all means. Obviously emotions end up playing a large part of it all.

All of the above would make great followups to Pollan’s book for anyone just getting started with the adventure.

I’ll continue on to say that writing was a huge help to me in the process of integrating these experiences back into “everyday consciousness”. I was very fortunate to be able to participate in a mailing list that included many of the people mentioned in the books above, in the 90s. It gave me a forum to write about what happened to me in my own explorations. The simple act of writing adding depth and dimension to the experience. Highly recommended!


Currently reading these three:

After reading his “Buddhism without Beliefs”, I felt like reading more by him as he explores the same discontent I have with most dogmas I’ve noticed in the teachings of Vipassana. Confessions is Stephen’s journey as a monk going from Tibetan Buddhism to Zen to eventually disrobing and arriving at his “own” blend of agnostic/secular Buddhism.

Wanted to read more on the ‘memory palace’ technique, but already took away more that that. Here’s a passage which I liked:

“I’m working on expanding subjective time so that it feels like I live longer”

Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it. You can exercise daily and eat healthily and live a long life, while experiencing a short one. If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle and passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the next—and disappear. That’s why it’s important to change routines regularly, and take vacations to exotic locales, and have as many new experiences as possible that can serve to anchor our memories. Creating new memories stretches out psychological time, and lengthens our perception of our lives.

Got this as a birthday present. Not into sci-fi in general, but after binge reading half of the book in one sitting I was a bit surprised by myself, haha. I don’t like how its written, it’s characters, it’s plot feels sloppy glued together, but somehow it’s cleverness captivates me.

And got this from my colleagues for my bday, can’t wait to start:


Stumbled over this by accident today. Unfortunately, I was unable to find an English version of it. But perhaps some of the German-speaking line members will find it interesting. I guess the title translates to “What is fascism, really?”…

…and in times like these more people should read this.


Pretty accurate assessment, although I also think the book 1 translation is rough, which contributes to the sloppy feeling.


Oh man, I’m gonna try and find a copy near me. The snippet up on the website is really good, and it would make good practice keeping the cobwebs off my German. Danke!


I recently read The Three Body Problem and liked I think more than I thought I would at first. Slow to get going but has some interesting ideas. I think part of the strangeness of the book comes from having been written in Chinese, but the translation is quite well-done. I’d like to read the two other books in the trilogy at some point.

I just finished Space Odyssey, by Michael Benson. I didn’t think there were new things to be learned about 2001, but I was wrong. Great book. And I’m currently reading Rocket Men, by Michael Kurson It’s a very well-written account of Apollo 8.


Lost momentum on Gravity’s Rainbow after setting it down for my trip. May leave it aside for awhile and restart it later. Decided to get started with the Keith Rowe bio which is great halfway through. My buddy Greg had a book called Loft Jazz (exploration of the 70s scene) which should arrive soon - add it to the stack! :slight_smile:


Definitely check out the following two books in the Three Body Problem trilogy. They improve on the original book in very interesting ways.

I also just finished Space Odyssey by Michael Benson and really enjoyed it. Totally expanded my view of the film and Kubrick as an artist/manager of artistic teams.


Thanks! I definitely will get the other two, then.

I really did love Space Odyssey. It gave me even more respect for Kubrick. I hadn’t realized the initial reaction to the film was quite that negative, too, and Kubrick was so upset about it. Even Clarke didn’t like it.


Just finished Ursula Le Guin’s collection of short stories The Wind’s Twelve Quarters, which has stories that extend pretty much every mention of her novels in this thread so far.

It’s really good imo. There’s always a risk with old SF that events have kinda overtaken the way things are written, and although she has future people running around with tape decks alongside cloning tech, she’s so much more interested in “psychomyths” than the science that I never found it a big deal.

The story that extends Left Hand of Darkness is much more readable than that novel imo.