After a hectic end to my autumn, I am happy to finally share my winter reading list ideas. I hope you cozy up with one of these treasures next to a fire in your warm fuzzies. Happy Holidays.
Sati’s Recommended Books: Winter 2019
By Michael Pollan
Already listed as one of the best reads of 2018 by the New York Times, I am not alone in my admiration for this work. Largely serving as philosophical and historical corrective on psychedelics, Pollan enchants by writing about psychedelics from multiple perspectives: considering the natural history, political history, medical research, and first-person subjective reports. Many of my previous assumptions surrounding psychedelics have altered significantly since this reading (and after watching a documentary about the research happening at Johns Hopkins University). If you love a good history lesson and pondering questions regarding human consciousness—you may enjoy this ride.
By Morihei Ueshiba
This reflective invitation has been a mainstay in my collection and lovingly placed by my bedside for years. The Art of Peace is written by Morihei Ueshiba (1883–1969), the founder of Aikido, a Japanese martial art that emphasis victory by non-violence. Ueshiba’s profound teachings reach into all aspects of life and seek to establish a harmony between the human heart, mind, and body with the essence of nature.
By Megan Marshall
A Pulitzer Prize finalist, this is a spectacular intellectual biography and a beast of a book. The result of 20 years of painstaking research, the Peabody Sisters is the story of three sisters who lived in mid-1800s New England. All three brilliant women influenced major philosophical and literary male influencers of the time (i.e. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathanial Hawthorne, and Horace Mann, among others). Elizabeth, Mary, and Sophia are inspiring, beguiling, and profound, and it could be argued that all three would be at the top of their fields if they lived today. An incredible story of dreams, talent, and ambition while navigating social conditions that disempowered women and the ever-present reality of 19th century illness. This book is for you if you want a true ‘Little Women’ story that doesn’t shy away from the harsher realities of being a woman during this era of American history.
By Jetsunma (Ani) Tenzin Palmo
This book is a compilation of lectures by Jetsunma (Ani) Tenzin Palmo. She remains my favorite communicator and teacher of Buddhism. Her stories are funny, enlightening, and accessible to non-Buddhists and Buddhists alike. Her insights into Buddhadharma are sharp and illuminating. She is someone who can bridge cultural divides, and despite being a participant within traditional Buddhist frameworks, she seems to excel in shaking up fundamentalist attitudes. Meeting her in India at her nunnery remains one of the most meaningful experiences of my life.
By Vicki Mackenzie
If you love to read books about intrepid female contemplatives, Freda Bedi is most definitely that, and a lot more. While Mackenzie’s writing is a bit emotionally removed for my taste, the trajectory of Bedi’s life amazes in all its twists and turns. From England to India, she morphed into a scholar, mother, activist, and eventually, Buddhist nun. Ultimately, her work would have an enormous impact on the spread of Buddhism westward. I don’t want to ruin the surprises here. Just read it if you are hankering for a short, accessible, mystical-infused biography.
Have a magical winter season!