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Sati's Book Club: Spring 2020

Updated: Mar 11



Dear Friends:

As we enter spring with our respective cities, towns, and countries in various stages of lockdown and gradual reopening, I hope the spring reading list offers your heart and mind a special kind of nourishment. As usual, I pulled from a diverse range of themes, including psychology, women’s studies, contemplative studies, Buddhism, and yoga history. I also added my first romantic classic to the list. Something about springtime invokes in me a desire to dig into a favorite Regency-era romance.


Sati’s Recommended Books: Spring 2020

1. The Great Oom: The Mysterious Origins of America's First Yogi

By Robert Love

I don’t think Americans would think of yogis or pseudo-yogis as elements of American religious history going back 130 years ago. Yet, it turns out that new research is uncovering a wild cast of rebellious and intriguing characters who intersected with Asian spirituality on American soil during this period. One such person was Pierre Bernard, whose forays into Indian yoga, tantra, and Tibetan Buddhism, made for some bizarre, ethically dubious, and, in many cases, wildly shocking outcomes. This detailed biography doesn’t skimp on details and inspires admiration in the reader for the painstaking research involved. You can listen to an interview with the author Robert Love HERE.

 

2. Love Poems from God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West

Translated by Daniel Ladinsky

I used to think poetry wasn’t for me until I read this book. It turns out that I do like poetry, but of a certain kind: some call it ecstatic poetry, sacred poetry, or spiritual poetry. Whatever term is used, this compilation contains riveting verses from Christian and Islamic mystics who expound on the divine union, altered states of consciousness, the nature of the empirical realm, and the power of love. As you will discover, a mystic's perspective produces work that is stunningly beautiful and hilariously naughty. The work includes that of Hafiz, Rabia, St. Francis of Assis, Rumi, Kabir, Meister Eckhart, St. Thomas Aquinas, Mira, St. Catherine of Siena, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and Tukaram.

3. Dakini Power: Twelve Extraordinary Women Shaping the Transmission of Tibetan Buddhism in the West

By Michaela Haas

It could be argued that my favorite story is the story of the female spiritual seeker: the heroic feminine journey toward mystical practice, encounter, and realization. This book traverses the lives of twelve compelling Buddhist teachers and practitioners, how each woman found her spiritual calling, and the major challenges faced along the way. I have personally met three of these women—Jetsun Khandro Rinpoche, Lama Tsultrim Allione, and Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo—and I’ve found all three to be extraordinarily original, direct, and insightful. I adore this book and raced through it with such fervor. Each story is unique and, in some cases, truly awe-inspiring.

4. Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

By Brene Brown

After listening to interviews with Brené Brown and watching her Netflix special, I decided to take the plunge and order one of her books. In this work, a lot of the research and teaching examples use America’s political atmosphere and corresponding social dynamics. While this is valuable, it could prove to be a barrier for those reading this book in other countries. The writing is very accessible, so much so that I found myself wanting much more of a theoretical challenge and a richer display of her thesis. The book’s focus on pragmatism and handy compact examples does not give Brown’s extensive research its full due; however, if you are looking for a glide path read that addresses topics of great relational value, you may appreciate this one.

5. Pride and Prejudice

By Jane Austen

When I was in high school, I was obsessed with Jane Austen’s books. So much so that I would read lines from her books and would quiz my poor little sister on “Who said what line?” The crowd favorite is also my favorite, Pride and Prejudice. I recently came across my original copy while digging through my U.S. storage unit and brought it back to Norway with me. If you haven’t yet read Pride and Prejudice, I highly recommend the Regency-era romance. If you are already a fan, why not revisit Elizabeth Bennet this year? “It is a truth universally acknowledged . . .”

 

Have a nourishing spring season!

Sati

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