Brian Carr's Book List

Brian Carr's Book List

New Jerusalem Bible Translation

Interesting sections are:

Leviticus 10:19
Confusing wording, commentary suggests that eating of sacrificial meat should be done with joy, but Aaron could not feel joy after death of sons. I didn't see any of that in the text, so it sounds like a reach to me.
Deuteronomy 25:11-12
See http://bible.ort.org/ for an accurate translation with conscientious commentary. Many translations skip this. One commentary explained it about maintaining modesty!
The Book of Job
Really strange. Hundreds of people killed by Satan on
what appears to be a frivolous bet. God angry at those who defend his actions claiming they must be just.
Wisdom 6:15
The value of meditation
Ecclesiasticus 14:20
The value of meditation
Ecclesiasticus 22:3
The birth of a daughter is always a loss? Some translations add foolish.
Ecclesiasticus 30:1
Whoever loves his son will beat him frequently.
Jeremiah 31:31-38
Enemies will be destroyed, sure thing. The new convenant. Never again?
Corinthians
Men lust for men is a punishment for sin or a sin itself?
Matthew 10:34-40
Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law - a man's enemies will be the members of his own household

Sangharakshita

The Drama of Cosmic Enlightenment, Parables, Myths, and Symbols of the White Lotus Sutra * 1993
Mostly a discussion of the White Lotus with a few stories from it. Lots of discussion about the split between the Hinayana and Mahayana, Pali canon sutras and later mahayana sutras.

Choguam Turngpa

The Lion's Roar, An Introduction to Tantra, 1992
Based on two seminars on Tantra. It prompted some thoughts on tantra and delusion.

Maurice Walshe

The Long Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Digha Nikaya (formerly titled: Thus Have I Heard) (Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1987) **
Very nice translation. Has historical, cultural, and spiritual insights. Easy reading.
The Fruit of the Homeless Life, 68, pg 101
Abondoning ill-will and hatred... and by compassionate love for the welfare of all living beings, his mind is purified of ill-will and hatred.
What Brahma Didn't Knows, 3-9, pg 175
there are three kinds of miracle that I have declared... psychic power, ... telepathy, and ... instruction. ... a monk displays various various psychic powers in different ways. Being one he becomes many, being many he becomes one.... Then someone who has faith and trust sees him doing these things. He tells this to someone else who is sceptical and unbelieving ... and that man might say ... there is something called a Gandhira charm. It is by means of this that that monk becomes many.... Seeing the danger of such [psychic and telepathic] miracles, I dislike, reject, and despise them. [( but from proper instruction there are many great blessings and no faults)]
The Way to Brahma, 76, pg 194
Thus he dwells suffusing the whole world ...with a heart filled with loving-kindness, abundant, unbounded, without hate or ill-will.
The Great Discourse on the Lineage, 3.22, pg 217
Wander abroad, monks, for the good of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare and happiness of devas and humans.

The Koran

by Pitkhall, 1909

Interesting sections are:

Surah 6, Cattle 113
Thus have We appointed unto every Prophet an adversary - devils of humankind and jinn who inspire in one another plausible discourse through guile. If thy lord willed, they would not do so; so leave them alone with their devising.
The main themes (often repeated) is that God/Allah is all powerful and all knowing, those who obey Allah will receive perpetual rewards (such as numerous virgin brides) while those who disobey will receive everlasting punishments (in the fires of hell). However, there is an interesting note that Allah chooses those who come to him and those who turn away (Allah is all powerful), so how can anyone be punished as everyone is doing Allah's will as best they can....

Barnaby Rogerson

The Phophet Muhammad 2003 **+
A history of the life of Muhammad and the start of Islam
This history in particular along with the teachings of Muhammad caused me to pause to consider the harsh environment in which Muhammad founded Islam. I wrote down my thoughts on that issue in a separate page.

Al-Hadith

by Mishkat-ul-Masabih, translated by Maulana Fazlul Karim
1,3,50(d)pg120
The passing away of the world is certainly easier for Allah than the killing of a Muslim unjustly (3:94).
1,4,61(l)pg134
The Muslim is he at whose hands other Muslims are safe regarding their lives, properties, and honour (1:59).
1,4,72pg143
There will soon arise difference[s] of opinion and sects among among my people who will make excellent speech but will do heinous deeds. They will read the Quran which will not pass beyond their throats; … They will be the vilest of creations and bests. Happy is he who kills them and (happy are) they who kill him. They will call to the Book of Allah while they follow us not in anything. Whoso will fight with them will be dearer to Allah than themselves. … What will be their signs? “Sitting in groups” … Worst of men in latter times will be those whose tongues are sweet but heart bitter, and whose words do not correspond to actions. Their signs are that they will sit in a circle or in groups for close companionship and gossips. …
1,6,112pg170
my people will be divided into 73 sects. Each of them will remain in the fire except one sect...
1,6,113pg170
Oh my darling! If you can get up at dawn and pass evening without any malice in your heart, do (so). Afterwards he said: Oh my darling! That is my sunnat (way) and he who loves my sunnat loves me and he who loves me will be with me in paradise.
3,8,132pg325
Allah is not kind to one who is not kind to men.
3,8,84pg328
The creation is the family of Allah. So the dearest of the creations of Allah is he who is best to His family.
3,9,146pg331
An ant stung the Prophet so he ordered the village of the ants (to be burnt), and so it was burnt. Then the Almighty Allah revealed to him: An ant stung you, so you have burnt a class out of so many classes who glorify Allah!
4,6,316,88pg391
... one for whom the fire is prohibited - every meek, modest, accessible, plain man
6,10,527,159pg646
Eat what you like and put on what you like so long as two things do not mislead you, extravagance and pride.
6,11,528,162pg650
The angels do not enter a house in which there are dogs and pictures. ... (163) ... The prophet ... ordered all dogs to be killed, til he ordered dogs guarding small gardens to be killed and to leave dogs guarding big gardens.1
Volume 2
17,2,889,19pg254
Lawful things are manifest and unlawful things are also manifest and between the two are doubtful things which many people do not know. Whoso guards against doubtful things, keeps his religion and honor pure; and whoso falls in to the doubtful things, falls in unlawful things like a shepherd who, grazing his flock round a reserved pasture, becomes near grazing them therein. Behold, every king has a preserve. Behold! There is a bidden things. Behold! There is a piece of flesh in the body, when it is sounds the whole body is sound and when it is unsound the whole body becomes unsound. Behold! It is the heart.

This seems to be the basis for much later Islamic law following the reasoning of avoiding doubtful things so one does not slip into unlawful things. Strange. Isn't our judgement refined by applying our best judgement and learning from the result. Isn't that how we purify the heart?

17,2,889,21pg255
... prohibited price of blood, price of dogs and earnings of a prostitue. And he cursed the devourer of usry and its giver, the tatooer and the tatooed and the sculptor (of life pictures).
17,2,889,33pg259
No believer incurs an expenditure except his expenditures for this earth.
17,5,932,316pg291
Whoso stores up food grain for 40 days and then gives it in charity, it will not be an expiation for his sins.

I was surprised by the numerous condemnations of usury (though a lot of people have condemned usury) and hoarding which would be storing food for more than 40 days. That caused me pause to consider those issues which I wrote up on a separate page.

23,4,1046,121pg381
... forbade to kill women and children.
23,4,1046,128pg384
When you find a mosque, or hear a proclaimer for prayer, don't kill anybody.
25,5,1169,54pg497
No believer kills from ambush.
25,9,1185,75pg508
A people will soon appear in latter days young in age and fool in understanding. They will speak the best of the sayings of the creation, but their faith will not cross their throats. They will flee away from religion as an arrow runs from the quiver. Whever you meet them, kill them, because there will be a reawrd for their murder on the Resurrection Day for those who kill them.
29,1,1410,404pg707
Wine collects all sins, women are snares of the devil, and love of the world is the root of all sins.... Keep women under inferior position wherein Allah kept them.
Volume 4
39,1,2290,28pg18
... while I the seal of the prophet; there will be no prophet after me; ...
42,2,2409,Epg182
It is for this reason that the saint Rabiya [Basri (717-801 AD)] prayed: O Lord, if I worship Thee to avoid the Fire, make it lawful for me [or send me to the Fire]; if I worship Thee for Paradise, make it unlawful for me [or don't send me to Paradise]. If I worship Thee to meet Thee, grant it me [or let me be close to Thee].

Abdullah al-Mamun, Sir, 1882-1935

El Hadith, The Sayings of Muhammad by Suhrawardy **+
Very sweet and loving collection of sayings of Muhammad.

Rumi Mevlana

Words of Wisdom from Mawlana 2010 Rumi Publications, Konya, Turkey **+
A selection of nice brief poems from Rumi / Mevlana.
Do not look on us, do not fix thy gaze on us: look on thine own kindness and generosity
If you are putting trust in God, put trust (in Him) in regards (your) work: sow (the seed), then rely on the Almighty.

The Bhagavad Gita

translated by Annie Besant 1895

This is a book/chapter from the more recent of the two great Hindu epics. The Lord, incarnated as Krishna, speaks with Arjuna, the King and General leading the army of the just in an upcoming battle. Arjuna is dishearteded because while his cause is just, the other army includes teachers, friends, and family. Also, in this epic, the just have their own faults and the unjust have their own qualities (just like life). Arjuna asks for a way to avoid the battle and killiing those dear to him. Krishna explains that everything comes from him (the Lord) and everything merges with him in the end. It is illusion to imagine that Arjuna really does anything. Arjuna needs to focus on doing his duty (dharma) while forsaking the fruits of his actions. Bliss is the result of right action without selfish motives.

Jonathan Star

Tao Te Ching : the definitive edition / Lao Tzu, 2003 **
Very loving and thoughtful translation. The Tao Te Ching seems to have much the same teachings as many mystical scriptures (such as the Bhagavad Gita) but has a distinctly koan like style which may be appropriate given that such truths can never be accurately stated in words.

Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

Pointing Out the Dharmakaya 2003 **
Simple and direct explanations of meditation practices.

The Book of Mormon

Nephi 14:10
And he said unto me: Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the church of the Lamb of God, and the other is the church of the devil;wherefore, whoso belongeth not to the church of the Lamb of God belongeth to that great church, which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.
2 Nehpi 21-23
For behold, they had hardened their hearts against him, that they had become like unto a flintl wherefore as they were white and exceedingly fair and delightsome, that they might not be enticing unto my people the Lord God did cause a skin of blackness to some upon them. 22 And thus saith the Lord God: I will cause that they shall be loathsome unto thy people, save they shall repent of their iniquities. 23 And cursed shall be the seed of him that mixeth with their seed and they shall be cursed even with the same cursing. And the Lord spake it and it was done.
Mosiah 11
For behold, and also his blood atoneth for the sins of those who have fallen by the transgression of Adam, who have died not knowing the will of God concerning them, or who have ignorantly sinned.
Mosiah 17
And moreover, I say unto you that there shall be no other name given nor any other way nor means whereby salvation can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.
Mosiah 55
And if they be evil they are consigned to an awful view of their own guilt and abominations, which doth cause them to shrink from the presence of the Lord into a state of misery and endless torment, from whence they can no more return; therefore they have drunk damnation to their own souls.

Jim Frederick

Black hearts : one platoon's descent into madness in Iraq's triangle of death 2010 rq

Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now 1999 *
A rather standard treatment of modern spiritual thought, possibly a major contributor to this as well as a reflection of it. However, it did prompt me to write up page with my thoughts on the limitations of current Westernized spiritual thought.

Tara Brach, psychologist and Buddhist

Radical Acceptance 2003 ***+
Excellent combination of thoughts and feelings with duals wings of mindfullness and compassion. Somewhat on the feeling first side of spectrum, but with a very good balance. Deals most directly with the problems of fear and shame.
True Refuge 2012 **rq
Theme is say 'Yes' to things as they are. Has some suspicious statistics on Domestic Violence. I wrote to her asking her source, etc., but don't expect a response.

Sonja Lyubomirsky 2008 NY

The How of Happiness 2007 ***+
Easy to read and convincing explanation of several techniques to make a person happier. Well founded in western psychology. Happiness can be increased through choice, but requires commitment and continued effort. Suggests choosing three or four happiness increasing strategies.
  1. Expressing gratitude
  2. Cultivating Optimism
  3. Avoid over-thinking (ruminating) and social comparisons
  4. Acts of kindness
  5. Nurturing relationships
  6. Developing stragtegies for coping
  7. Learning to forgive
  8. Doing activities which engage you, take your full focus
  9. Savoring life's joys
  10. Committing to your goals
  11. Practicing religion and spirituality
  12. Take care of your body, meditate, exercise, diet.

Barbara Fredrickson

Positivity 2009 ***
Another description of the advantages of positivity, but much is from first person (says I and you). Based on Western pyschology but more anecdotal in style than Sonja's 'The How of Happiness'. It also makes a much stronger heart connection, but eschews any reliance on spirituality. The basic emotions of positivity are: love, joy, gratitude, serenity, interest and hope. Also pride, amusement, inspiration, and awe.

Martin Seligman

Learned Optimism 1990-2006 *+
Interesting history of the development of Cognitive Psychology and the relationship between pessimism (with a definite measure for certain atrtributes) and its relationship with depression as well as health and success. It prompted some thoughts which are on a separate page.

Sharon Salzberg

Loving Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness 1995 **
Read in FUUSA meditation group, firmly based in Buddhism, but uses Western terminology and is pretty heart based.

Adishankara Charya

Riddles in Hinduism
Buddha and his Dharma
Wonder that was India

Gary Shteyngart

Super Sad True Love Story: A Novel 2010 *+
Interesting satire of today's superficial internet media. Ironic as this author's treatment is realistic of Jews and Russian and Korean immigrants, but is blithely unaware of the workings of the military, science, business, day laborers, and, I presume, politics. The author doesn't seem to be aware of this irony and just sounds like he is whining about his style of literature falling out of popularity.

Rob Brezsny

Pronoia Is The Antidote For Paranoia 2005 *** pg 125
Upbeat quirky presentation that the whole world is conspiring to shower you with blessings.

Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love **+
First person description of writer's experience in Italy, India, and Indonesia (Bali). The Italy experiences did not resonate with me, but provided a good foundation for the India experiences where she stayed at an ashram and had some serious spiritual awakenings (also quite normal for people styaing at an ashram and with a serious desire for spirituality). Bali was interesting.

Khenchen Thrangu Rinpoche

The Heart of the Dharma, Mind Training for Beginners 2010
translated by David Karma Choephel

Stephen Greenblatt

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern 2011 *
History from the 1400's of the recovery of the religious / philosophical poem by Lucretius, 'On the Nature of Things'. Quite presumptive and very 'Western' centric portraying Secular Humanism as the face of modernity rather than the dead end and delaying modernity that it was.

Mary Lawson

The Other Side of the Bridge 2006 **
Fictional drama set in Canada rural north before and after WWII.

Rory Stewart

The Places In Between 2006 *
Scotsman walks across Afghanistan just after the fall of the Taliban.

Teju Cole

Open City 2011 -
Pointless rambling about random experiences walking through NYC; only made it through the first 20% before concluding it never made a coherent or interesting point.

Paul Gilding

The great disruption : why the climate crisis will bring on the end of shopping and the birth of a new world 2011 +
Written by environmental activist uses highly distorted collection of facts to create false drama of great threat and dramatic changes.

Erik Larson

In the garden of beasts 2011 **
Events around the ambassador to Germany just as Hitler came to power.

John O'Donough

Eternal Echoes 1999 *
Beautiful prose describing human condition but did not resonate with me.

Katherine Boo

Behind The Beautiful Forevers 2012 ***
Factual, dramatic account of life in Mumbai slum.

Stephen Cope

The Great Work of Your Life 2012 -
Discussion of dharma and how it applies to your life. Interprets dharma as your passion, not duty. Very self-centered western misunderstanding of dharma. I was concerned enough about these misunderstrandings that I wrote a review of this book.

Arjia Rinpoche

Surviving the Dragon: A Recent History of Tibet Through the Looking Glass of a Tibetan Lama 2010
http://sikhs.org/
Sikh Holy Book
Guru Granth Sahib (also known as the Adi Granth)

Gelles, Richard J.

Intimate violence 1988

Brian Greene

The Elegant Universe: superstrings, hidden dimensions, and the quest for the ultimate theory 1999,2003 **
A suprisingly easy read about the current state of theoretical physics. It was a little superficial from my perspective, overlooking critical points. There are complaints I have with general relavity and they remained unaddressed. While the author was open about the current failings of string theory, he seemed overly optimistic about prospects (but then he works in the field and should be optimistic).

George Steinbeck

East of Eden

Jhumpa Lahiri

Unaccustomed Earth 2008 rq

Phil Stutz, Barry Michels

The Tools 2012 *+
Presents four tools for improving your life presented in an easy to understand format with limited spirituality (only talks about a higher power within us). Pretty mental, not very heart based.

McBride, Rebecca

Traveling between the lines : Europe in 1938, 2010 *
The trip journal of John F. Randolph and his daughter's response

Robert C. Martin

Clean Code: A Handbook of Agile Software Craftsmanship
Generally good suggestions about maintaining the quality of a code base, but I disagree with the suggestion of ultra-tiny methods (called in only one place) and omitting comments. It works for his comparatively trivial examples, but for truly complex, multi-threaded code it makes reading the actual code difficult as you jump all over the place. Poorly named methods are fatal in this environment whereas out of date comments are easily corrected (they are right by the code they discuss).

Deborah Moggach

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2012 *
Struggling pensioners from U.K. retire to India (out sourcing their care). View of English culture, superficial view of Indian culture.
Autobiography of a Yogi (Complete edition) Paperback - Full length
by Paramahansa Yogananda 

Robert Jordan

The Eye of the World (1) 1990
From the Two Rivers *+
Rand and his friends start there trek away from their home.
To the Blight **
>
Group gets back together and reaches eye of world for the big show down.
The Great Hunt (2) 1990 **
The six make there way to Falme to recover the Horn and where Rand fights Ba'alzamon and is declared the Dragon Reborn.
The Dragon Reborn (3) 1992 *+
Three young women learn the ways of magic to oppose the incarnation of the great evil, ....
The Shadow Rising (4) 1993 **
The six split into three groups and go off on their separate adventures. Others defeat a couple of the Forsaken.
The Fires of Heaven (5) 1993 *+
The parties continue in their separate directions, the Aiel join Rand, a couple of the Forsaken are killed.
Lord of Chaos (6) 1994 *+
The White Tower is split and Egwene is made Amylin (head) of rebel group. Rand is captured by main group and freed.
A Crown of Swords (7) 1996 *+
Ilian conquered by Rand, Sammael (one of the Forsaken) killed by Shadar Logoth (?), Rand has new Allie?
The Path of Daggers (8) 1998 *+
Weather restored. Seanchan, big battle. Outcome? Rebel Aes Sadai march on White Tower and then travel to get there for big battle (why bother with the march). Battle in next book! Faile (Matt's wife) captured by Shaido.
Winter's Heart (9) 2000 *+
Rand married and bonded to Elayne, Min, and Aviendha. Matt escaping Seanchan kidnaps heiress to the Empress, Tuon, his foretold wife. Rand cleans taint from male energy, saidin.
Crossroads of Twilight (10) 2003 *+
Nothing resolved, Matt running with Tuon, heiress to the Seanchan empire, White Tower still divided but Egwene captured, Faile still captive....
Knife of Dreams (11) 2006 **
One of forsaken (Semahourage) captured trying to kill Rand, he loses hand. Perrin gets help from Seanchan and Measema (the mad prophet). Perrin agrees to serve Seanchan afterwards. Faile freed, Shaido broken and remants returning to three fold land. Measema weakened. Matt and Tuon married, Tuon returns as Empress. Elaine wins throne of Andor.

Brandon Sanderson

The Gathering Storm (12) 2009 **
Rand gets harder, accepts killing women and using balefire against the forsaken, but after encounter with his father chooses another path with help from others.
Towers of Midnight (13) 2010 rq
A Memory of Light (2013)

John Jakes

Tiros, weather eye of space 1966 NY
The Bastards 1974 (see the Warriors)
The Rebels 1975 (see the Warriors)
The Warriors 1977 (Combination of the The Bastards 1974 and The Rebels 1975) **+
Bastard son of English nobility chased to America and leads up to shots at Concord.
The Furies 1977 *+
Amanda raises son, Louis, from SF gold rush to New York where she gets back Kent & Sons publishers.
The Titans 1976 **
The Kents family continues through the first battles of Civil War.
The Lawless 1978 **
The Kents continue after civil war through Indian engagements.
The Americans 1980 **
Kents continue up to about 1890, covers development of medical practice (disinfectants) and extremes of wealth and poverty.
North and South 1982 **+
Very nice portrayal of the events leading up to the Civil War. Centers around the families of two West Pointers from that era.
Love and War 1984 **
Fictional lives continued on through Civil War bringing in many historical characters and events.
Susanna of the Alamo : a true story 1986
Woman at Alamo experiences Texas revolution.
Heaven and Hell 1987 **
Fictional lives continued on through Reconstruction.
California gold : a novel 1989 **
Mack walks to California, beaten in San Francisco, heads to LA, finally finds oil, becomes rich with many successful businesses.
The best western stories of John Jakes 1991 *+
Miscellaneous stories, more historically accurate than most in the genre I presume.
In the big country 1993 *+
Same stories / text as above but one new story at end. Pretty good story.
New trails : twenty-three original stories of the West 1994 *
Only the last short story was by John Jakes, the rest by other authors.
Homeland 1993 **
German immigrant to Chicago around 1900 gets involved in the early beer industry.
American dreams 1998 **
German immigrant to Chicago around 1900 gets involved in the early beer industry.
On secret service : a novel 2000 **
Secret service and Pinkertons involved in acting around Abraham Lincoln's time.
Charleston 2002 **
Nice history of the development and end of slavery in Charleston. The character development skips through some years (reads like a history book), but is quite good through periods covered. There is also a kinder and gentler coverage of slavery and abolition which is very nice. Caused me to have some thoughts about slavery.
The Gods of Newport 2006 **
Nice historical novel about the extravagances of the rich robber barons around 1900.

William Glasser

Choice Theory 1998 **
Interesting presentation of idea that we have much choice in our life. Limited by Glasser's focus on power and control.

Caroline M. Myss

Sacred Contracts 2001 *+
Interesting ideas about people having various archetypes which can be used in guiding them to their divine contract. Myss goes too far in reaching many conclusions, but anything that encourages introspection and people considering their relationship to God has to be helpful. Myss also goes a little overboard with power.

Richard Gillett

Change your mind, change your world 1992 ***
A really excellent balance between Western science and Eastern spiritualism. It resolves many of the percieved conflicts between those two schools of thought in a thoughtfull and well presented manner.

Gampopa translated by Khenpo Konchog Gyaltsen Rinpoche

The Jewel Ornament of Liberation 1998
Translation of Tibetan Buddhist book from ~1150, important foundation book for all the main branches of Tibetan Buddhism. It represents an effort to simplify and classify the extensive teachings of Buddha. It has many lists such as 'There are three categories of living kindness...'. However, its lists on karma and the eighteen different hell realms prompted some thoughts on karma.

Bardor Tulku Rinpoche

Rest for the Fortunate 2004
pg89
from the Buddhist tradition's point of view, sexual activity is inherently unvirtuous or negative.... The problem with it is not that someone is necessarily being hurt. What is wrong with it is that it reinforces the attachment which brings about and maintains cyclic existence [and suffering].
pg99
Hell... results from negative actions. It is not ... permanent or ... a punishment imposed by any form of deity or creative force.
Hell is not ... any type of punishmnet or imposition because there is no being who has the ability to control any other being's destiny in that way....
bodhisattvas ... want all beings to be free of all types of suffering...
Even when a being harms a ... bodhisattva, they still lead to liberation....
if you form a negative connection... though you may suffer as a result of your actions, the ... bodhisattva you have harmed is going to bring you to liberation because they are the embodiment of limitless, unbiased compassion.
pg101
How can we maintain a sense of selflessness in doing the ... practice without some sort of ego-clinging to the benefits?
The type of selfishness we give rise to when we consider the benefits of a practice ... is not considered to be a big problem.... We have to admit that we need some kind of motivation, some kind of enthusiasm will be born from confidence in future benefits to oneself.... The approach we take is ... to extend ourselves beyond that by introducing empathy for others into the self-interest.
pg153
For any and all of these benefits to be accrued what is of the greatest importance is having confidence and freedom from doubt about this. If you have the slightest doubt about the benefit of of the virtuous action or practice it will not lead to any benefit whatsoever.... the most important thing is lack of doubt.
These last two quotes caused me to consider the implications of performing selfless acts for selfish motives (seeking a reward) and I wrote up a separate page about rewards for spiritual practices.

Surekha Vijay Limaye

Ornament of Mahayana Sutra (Mahayanasutralankara) 1992
Not generally available

Red Pine

The Diamond Sutra ~400BC
28 page sutra, 400 page explanation, but quite necessary as the sutra is quite obtuse, perhaps the most obtuse. It deals with emptiness and not emptiness and can be quite challenging. I only read to page 70. First written around 200BC, considered esoteric at first (at least).

Thomas Cleary

The Flower Ornament Scripture : A Translation of the Avatamsaka Sutra, 1984 from Chinese translations
Some believe this sutra is from the first three weeks of Buddha's teachings, some believe it is from around the start of our Current Era (0CE). I am inclined to believe that it was written by numerous devoted and highly refined Buddhist teachers with the assistance of their most devoted students. It is very sweet and very refined. There is a really sweet love poem in the 'Entry into the Realm of Reality' on page 1408 with a section on page 1413 with 'She is slender at the waist, full breasted', so apparently the standards of good looks today are not all that different from the past.
The Dhammapada : sayings of Buddha : translated from the original Pali 1995
Short and sweet. Probably more useful to beginning learner than to advanced practitioner.

Lama Dudjom Dorjee

Falling Off the Roof of the World 2006 ***+
A very sweet autobiography with interesting cultural, historical, and spiritual insights all blended for an enjoyable result.
Heartfelt Advice 2010 **+
Numerous short chapters dealing with highly relevant topics which combine to make Buddhist teachings very accessible with practical applications in our lives.

Mick Brown

The Dance of 17 Lives 2004 *
The history of the various incarnations of the Karmapa from a non devotees perspective, most focussed on recent events. It jumps around and can be hard to follow (ordered by experiences of writer, sort of, with information presented somewhat piecemeal as one would expect).

David Lipsky

Absolutely American: Four Years at West Point 2004 ***
Light read decribing the new four class system at West Point

Kay Kenyan

Braided World *+
Humans visit world to find lost genetic diversity.

William Gibson

Neuromancer 1984 **+
Failed virtual reality cowboy recovered to free A.I. from restrictions

Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner 2003 **+
Story of Afghan life before communists and then life of immigrants. Characters are engaging and there are lots of cultural and historical (at least recent history) information.
A Thousand Splendid Suns 2007 ***+
Excellent description of life in Afghanistan before communists up through the defeat of Taliban. The characters are very engaging and the various aspects of the conflicts are described including kinder and gentler treatment of the communists, mujahideen, war lords, and Taliban. With an effort one can develop compassion for even these individuals.

Larry Niven

A Gift from Earth 1968 *+
Crew founds dictatorship before waking colonists, maintains control...
Neutron Star 1968 *+
A collection of short stories which I have already read...
Ringworld 1970 *+
Puppeteers breed humans for luck, they and kzin (carnivore bred for docility) stranded on ring world.
Protector 1973 *+
Pak expedition to Earth converts on Belter to Pak, waits to sabotage next Pak expedition, is fleet, galactic core explosion.
The Mote In God's Eye 1974 **
Aliens trapped in their solar system developed specialized breeds, can't break cycle of population explosion, collapse of civilization.
A World Out of Time 1976 **
Frozen corpsicles revived by 'State' to occupy bodies of convicted criminals (mind wiped). Forced to be 'slaves' if can help the state. Steals ramjet to visit galactic core, returns 3 million years later due to proximity of black hole. State gone, ....
Lucifer's Hammer 1977 *
Long novel, start is very predictable and boring about comet hitting Earth. End is aftermath and gets more interesting.
The Ringworld Engineers 1980 *+
Visit ring world to steal devices, discover ring world is drifting into sun, save ring world.
The Patchwork Girl 1981 rq HI
The Magic May Return 1981 **
A collection of stories about magic / mana running out by six different authors.
Dream Park 1981 HI
Oath of Fealty 1981 HI
The Integral Trees 1983 *+
Interplay of humans who colonized 'smoke ring' of gas giant losing its atmosphere. Life without dominating gravity well. Colonized by mutineers of exploration / seeding mission. Ship remained crewless and loyal to the 'state'.
Niven's Law 1984 *
Starts with some fun and insightful short stories based on a bar with a galactic focus (providing for aliens as well as humans). Ends with forward looking expectations. They were generally wrong, but it is interesting to see how perspectives have changed over just a couple of decades.
Limits 1985 *+
A collection of short stories many of which occur elsewhere.
Footfall 1985 *
Classical invasion from space by 'baby elephants'. Slow reading at start. Premises ignore appropriate use of tactical nukes. Very supportive of space program (perhaps unrealistically so). Uses massive spaceship powered by nuclear bombs.
The Smoke Ring 1987 **
Continues Integral Tree, new Citizens Tree sends expedition to Clump with Loggers. Kendy (computer) discovers it shut down in face of conflicting orders, becomes more humble.
Man-Kzin Wars 1988 *+
Two stories, researchers / explorers of anolmalous and ancient solar system find Kzin base, .... Introduces zoo planet as human civilian captured, left on zoo planet, ...
The Legacy of Heorot 1988 *+
First human colony on island with monstrous amphibians which eat anything including their own children (fishlike tadpoles) but eat children last. Warrior traits required.
Barsoom Project 1989
N-space 1990 *
Odd collection of short stories and exceprts from past works.
Playgrounds of the Mind 1991 *
Lots of commentary with various short stories and excerpts, some new to me, some not.
Achilles' Choice 1991 *+
Futuristic olympics include academics, requires boosting to win, but boosting kills in eight years (two chances). Some winners are permitted to link, supplement with computer connections, which grants apparent immortality. Raises question of what is human.
The Gripping Hand 1992 *+
The Moties get free as new star forms new jump points, only asteroid civilizations now, worm restricts birth rate, trade started.
Man-Kzin Wars II 1989 *+
Three stories about anti-matter planet, tides of black hole, etc. loosely tied together.
Man-Kzin Wars IV 1991 *+
Cowardly kzin, returns captured faster than light drive to kzin
Man-Kzin Wars V 1992 *+
Team prospecting in outback find tnunctipun spaceship, used to keep ARM at bay.
The California Voodoo Game 1992 rq
Future gaming community and Mars colonization project combine for virtual reality theft / crimes.
Crashlander 1994 HI
Beowulf's Children 1995 HI
Flatlander 1995 HI
Man-Kzin wars VII 1995 *
Kzin retreating from third fleet track human attack ship, attempt to capture, incur wrath of zealot faction of outsiders, meet puppeteers.
The Ringworld Throne 1997 *+
Continuation of stranded travelers on Ringworld.
Destiny's Road 1997 **
Exploration of established colony of world which is potassium poor.
Choosing Names: Man-Kzin wars VIII *+
Captured humans overcome kzin on spacecraft, interesting one is aid of kzin telepath and their joint escape.
Rainbow Mars 1999 **
Fun and light variation of time travel, altered past.
Saturn's Race 2000 **
Behind the scenes conflict between enhanced long lived humans. Saturn is enhanced human/shark combination that plots to sterilize billions and control world (stop any other enhanced entities). Fails and is replaced by enhanced human.
The Burning City 2000 **+
Exploration of Tep's Town, the Burning City, where Lordkin gather and kinless hide their wealth. Moves to Hemp Road and traders.
Man-Kzin Wars IX / Hal Colebatch 2002 *+
Interesting set of independent stories loosely stitched into Man Kzin interactions.
Man-Kzin Wars X, the Wunder War / Hal Colebatch 2003 *+
Set of stories more tightly stitched into Man Kzin interactions.
Man-Kzin Wars XI / Hal Colebatch 2005 **
Another set of stories, ties up numerous previous loose ends in fun way.
Fallen Angels 2002 *
Greens and anti-tech rule, glaciers back with a vengenace, astronauts declare independence in space, scoop nitrogen from atmosphere, shot down, aided by sci-fi fans, return to space.
Scatterbrain 2003 *
Listed as non-fiction, but it is a series of short stories and excerpts along with some history about each.
The Flying Sorcerers 2004 **
Fun story about stranded civilized explorer on planet with lost, human colony, savages.
Ringworld's Children 2004 *+
New ghuol protector, Tunesmith, deals with fringe war for control of ringworld, improves ringworld and moves rignworld with two of Louis Wu's children, one by Teelah.
The Magic Goes Away Collection 2005 r
Burning Tower 2005 **
Fantasy based on decreasing manna (magic gets all used up) and gods going mythical in pre-historic Aztec post Atlantis times. Sandry fights terror birds, marries Burning Tower, king of empire, escapes.
Building Harlequini's Moon 2005 **
Colonists stranded at wrong star start terraforming to get fuel for rest of journey. Fear technology, have children to do labor, will leave behind....
The Draco Tavern 2006 *+
Series of short stories from bar on Earth that specializes in providing for visiting aliens. Many published elsewhere.
Fleet of Worlds 2007 ***
Early precursor to ring of worlds, encounter Nessus and Nike before. Puppeteers first encounter with humans.
Juggler of Worlds 2008 *+
Inferno 2008 **+
The Hunting Park 2007
Escape from Hell 2009 **
Continuation of variation of Dante's Inferno. Can everyone get out of hell?
Destroyer of Worlds 2009 **
Fleet of Pak ram scoop ships headed toward Earth, attacked by Earth derived Paks.
Betrayer of Worlds 2010 **
Sea creatures with communal mind (Gwoereth) in path of Fleet of Worlds. Pak fleet leaves home world, headed for New Terra and Fleet of Worlds. Ally with Gwoth (sea creatures which meld into larger mind) to redirect Pak fleet.
The Moon Maze Game 2011 *
Games moved to the moon, plot to kidnap African Prince, overthrow government there.
Fate of Worlds: Return from the Ringworld **
After ring world visits, ring world goes into hyper-space, attracts numerous aliens, fleets prepare to attack Puppeteers.
Strange Light 2010 Collection
Stars and Gods 2010 Collection -
Collection of excerpts from other books. Doesn't make much sense and not really new stuff.
Probability Zero, The Man in the Pink Shirt (2012)
The Goliath Stone 2013 rq
Red Tide 2014

Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha and Indian Tale 1920 ... 2003 *
Fictional character explores emptiness of mind and mastering spiritual practices

Diamond, Jared M.

Guns, germs, and steel : the fates of human societies 1999 **
Explores factors which contributed to development of 'civilization'.

Piers Anthony

Xanth Series
A Spell for Chameleon 1977 **+
Boy exiled for having no magic, discovers his magic protects him from magic, brings exiled magician Trent back from Mundania to be king.
The Source of Magic 1979 **
Quest for the source of magic finds imprisoned demon, freed all magic disappears, demon comes back and restores magic.
Castle Roogna 1979 **+
Dor's quest back 800 years into Castle Roogna tapestry with spider. Dor talks to inanimate objects, Grundy (gloem back to life) talks to animate. Brings back potion to restore zombie as Zobmie Master
Centaur Aisle 1981 **
Centaur archivist Arnolde brings magic to Mundania, quest to medieval Mundania for trade, free kidnapped / imprisoned King Trent.
Ogre, Ogre 1982 **
Smash, half human ogre quests with collection of young attractive women...
Night Mare 1983 **
Imbri, night mare (delivers bad dreams), becomes partially physical, helps fight invading wave, The Horseman, who traps king's souls in Dream Gourds. Women and Imbri become kings, break spell, free other kings.
Dragon on a Pedestal 1983 **
Young girl (3), Ivy, is sorceress who enhances anyone else's powers, Chasm forget spell breaks, she has adventure in the wilds making new friends in her adventures.
Crewel Lye ** 1985
Ivy (5) enhances the tapestry and gets story of Jordon the ghost prior life, could not be killed, always comes back to life. She brings him back to life with his love, a half demon Therody.
Golem in the Gears 1986 *+
Golem leads a quest to find Stanley the Steamer dragon. Rescues Rapunzel from the Ivory Tower, learns to be nice and finds love.
Vale of the Vole 1987 *+
Demons straighten Kissamee river to reduce hummers, Vole and young ogre, Esk, and Brassie daughter work to save the river for the voles.
Heaven Cent 1988 *+
Dolph, new prince boy, can become any creature, has adventure and ends up betrothed to two women, one he loves but is older than him (Nada) and doesn't love him and one Elctra, you is his age and loves him but he doesn't love her.
Man From Mundania *+ 1989
Ivy, princess who can enhance magic takes trip to Mundania where she gets help of Grey Murphy who is son of Murphy the Evil Magician. Grey can stop any magic. Grey and Murphy return to Xanth.
Isle of View *+ 1990
Che, young flying centaur is kidnapped by Goblins. Dolph, Electra and Nada find him but he is needed to help Gwenny a disabled Gobliness who needs him to be chief of the Goblins, improve them.
Question Quest *+ 1991
The Good Magician Humphrey dictates his experiences as he waits for Xanth, gets Rose out of hell for a year but has to rotate between his six wives (previously dead and in hell).
The Color of Her Panties 1992 *
Two sets of three women on parallel quests, daughter becomes king of the goblins.
Demons Don't Dream 1992 **
Mundanes visit Xanth through a video game.
Harpy Thyme 1993 *
Gloha Goblin-Harpy is searching for love, goes on quest with youthened Trent and finds Crombie.
Geis of the Gargoyle 1994 *
Gargoyle helps stop the spread of the madness, group goes back in time to orignal Xanth and puts in the demon filter
Roc and a Hard Place 1995 *
Demoness Metria delivers summons for trial, later learned to Roxanne Roc.
Yon Ill Wind 1996 *
Hurricane brings Mundane family to Xanth, Xanth the demon must get Chlorine to shed a tear for him.
Faun and Games 1997 *+
Faun must find replacement to bond with a nearby tree.
Zombie Lover 1998 *
Breanna, 16 year old young woman from black wave find love, Justin the tree, and they take over from the Zombie Master.
Xone of Contention 1999 *
Edsel and Pia visit Xanth while Chlorine and Nimbo visit Mundania on challenge. Edsel and Pia work out problems with their marrigae.
Dastard, The 2000 *+
Souless man with talent to change the past is brought under control when is given soul.
Up in a Heaval 2002 *+
Umlaut is a non-entity, the result of a bet between Jupiter and a far off demon. Completes mission, saves Xanth, becomes person (marries Surprise)
Swell Foop 2001
*** Quest to collect six rings to find and control the Swell Foop and rescue Earth, maintain gravity, from Fornax who loses planet in her galaxy.
Cube Route 2003 *
Very plain woman, Cube, leads quest to find the route to planet in Fornax,
Currant Events 2004 *
Muse of history, Clio, goes on adventure, encounters mundane black Sherlock who becomes magician who can reverse magic, reverses her curses and they live mortal life.
Pet Peeve 2006 *
Obnoxious bird finds home
Stork Naked 2006 *
Travel to alternate universes via storks to correct misdelivered baby
Air Apparent 2007 *
Random Factor escapes by switching places with random people / locations. Agent created to recapture him on bet by Demons.
Two to the Fifth 2008 *
Cyborg defeats wizard class Roc (giant bird) who was siezing control of Xanth by changing enemies into illusions.
Jumper Cable 2009 *
Spider saves Xanth from destruction by demoted demon Pluto by restoring connection to Mundania.
Knot Gneiss 2010 o
Well-Tempered Clavicle 2011
Luck of the Draw 2012
Macroscope 69-03 rq
Prostho Plus 73-86 na
Race Against Time 73-85 na
Rings of Ice 74 87 na
Triple Detente 74-88
Steppe 76-09
But What of Earth? 76-89
Hasan 77-86
Mute 81-01
On A Pale Horse 1983 **+
Human mortal kills Death (in time of magic and science) and becomes Death.
Bearing An Hourglass 1984 **
Man becomes Chronos, lives backward in time, controls aspects of time.
With a Tangled Skein 1985 *+
Young woman becomes youngest aspect of fate, son is Luna's father, retires, has family, becomes middle aspect of fate.
Wielding a Red Sword 1986 *+
Indian Prince becomes War.
Being A Green Mother 87-88 *+
Phenomenal singer pursues magical song, becomes green, marries devil who ceases to be devil.
For Love of Evil 88-90
Tubes : a journey to the center of the Internet

Jerry Pournelle

West of Honor 1978 *+
New academy grad sent to colony to restore order, French Foreign Legion and mixed techologies.
King David's Ship 1980 **
New empire after secession wars, FTL through select points only, primitive planet uses advanced military strategies on more primitive planet, gets 'space ship' before being admitted in empire.

Jean-Dominque Bauby

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly 1997 **
Written by a person afflicted with 'Locked in Syndrome' where he can only blink his left eye (making dictation painfully slow). Very interesting perspectives.

Sherman Alexie


a Spokane/Coeur D'Alene Naindian
Flight 2007 **+
Short novel about abandoned foster 15 year old boy, half indian, and his struggles. Has visions ( or time travel and consciousness switching into other people).
Old shirts & new skins 1992 *
A collection of poems from current Native American reservation life.

Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time 1962 ***
Nice fantasy about travel through fifth dimension, conflict between darkness and light.

Ken Follett

Eye of the Needle

Susan Krinard

Chasing Midnight 2007 *+
Ingenious romance / action in roaring twenties of conflcts between mob, vampires, and werewolves.

Dalai Lama

The Universe in a Single Atom 2005 *+
The Dalai Lama addresses the relationship between Buddhism (spirituality) and science. His statement on page 109, 'Literally, Karma means "action" and refers to the intentional acts of sentient beings.' is the first written source I have found for my own definition of karma and dharma. However, he makes the supposition that 'sentient beings' does not include plants while I can not see any substantive reason to imagine that plants are not conscious as consciousness can not be created (must be pre-existing) and plants are very close relatives to us (as compared to our more distant relatives, the common bacteria like ancestor).

W.E.B. Griffin

Secret Honor 1999 *
Historical drama set in Argentina / Germany during WWII.

Neil Gaiman

The Sandman
Preludes and Nocturnes 1991 **
Morpheus held captive and sleepers never wake....
The Doll's House 1995 **
Morpheus's must kill girl who is dream vortex, serial killer convention.
Dream Country 2002 *+
Story telling theme, captured muse, Shakespeare's Midnight Summer's Dream played before faeries.
The Season of Mists 1992 **
Morpheus goes to hell, devil empties hell, makes handling the dead Morpheus's problem...
A Game of You 1993 *+
Wanda (born Alvin) and Barbie face the Cuckoo in Barbie's dream land.
Fables, Reflections 1992 ***
Presages to The Kindly Ones, Desire's feud, Orpheus's loss, etc..
Worlds' End 1993 **+
Travelers lost in reality storm stay at inn share tales.
The Kindly Ones 1997 **
Very complex. The furies drive Morpheus to accepting death.
The Wake 1997 *+
After Morpheus dies, there is wake and funeral for him, Dream is replacement.
Death, the High Cost of Living 1994 ***+
Death's experiences during her day (one each century) as a mortal.
Brief Lifes 1994 *+
Miscellaneour short themes.
Endless Nights 1995 **
Stories about the others of the Endless Ones
The Dream Hunters 2000 ****
Not comic, illustrated story. Japanese monk learns lessons with fox (and magic) in times of old.
Black Orchid 1991 **
Comic series about hybrid between woman and orchid and experience of opposing violence in a violent world.
Good omens : the nice and accurate prophecies of Agnes Nutter, witch 1992 ***
The antichrist is born, but raised by humans, angels and demons powerful, but simplistic (pure good or pure evil). Antichrist avoids argamedon.
Miracleman, Book Four 1992 **
After world's problems solved by Miracleman, sense of malaise and other adjustments explored.
The Books of Magic 1993 comic
Same theme as short story about boy who is introduced to ways of magic because of his immense potential
The Sandman book of dreams 1996 *+
Short stories about Morpheus and dreaming. Mixed quality by various authors.
.
The day I swapped my dad for 2 goldfish 1998 **
Children's book about dad who reads newspaper and ignores all. Gets traded around neighborhood.
Stardust 1999 ***+
Lovely tale of adventure in the land of faerie where a young seeks a fallen star, fights witches, etc..
Neverwhere 1997 ***+
London underground populated by people who dropped through the cracks (demented homeless people?). Complex plot to free fallen angel with girl who can open doors.
Violent Cases 1997 comics *+
Short, interview with prison inmate, strange associations.
Death: the Time of your Life 1997 comics ***+
Excellent story about Morpheus sister, Death, and the deal she made out of compassion....
Only the end of the world again 2000 comic
Same theme as short story. Day in the life of a werewolf in New England town. Holds back forces of eveil from the sea.
Angela's Hunt 2000 comics
American Gods 2002 ***
Petty criminal life is turned upside down when gets out of jail, old gods making new gods...
Coraline 2002 **
Young teen girl goes to other world made by soul spider. Cat helps her back.
The wolves in the walls 2003
Children's book about family run out by wolves in walls, moves into walls and runs out wolves...
MirrorMask 2005 **
Children's book, about life and dreams of teenage girl. Most intriguing.
Anansi Boys 2005 ***
Story about Gaimaan's style of gods, the kids of Anansi (spider god) growing up.
Fragile Things 2006 **
Diverse set of short stories. Full breadth one would expect of Neil Gaimon
Interwork 2007 **+
Interesting variation of alternate universes interacting with each other.
M is for Magic 2007 **
Another set of short stories. Targeted for younger audience. About one third overlap with Fragile Things. A little lighter.
Eternals 2007
Marvel comics.
Smoke and mirrors : short fictions and illusions 1998 x
Angels & Visitations
A Walking Tour of the Shambles
The invitation / Carla Jablonski 2003

John C. Wright

The Golden Age
The Golden Age, Book One 2002 **+
Future lives of computer assisted imortality, Phaethon recovers memories and shakes up society.
The Phoenix Exultant, Book Two **+
Phaethon survives life in exile, gets help to retrieve ship.
The Golden Transcendence, Book Three
Phaeton alters memories were based on reality, really is opponent in the stars...
Mists of Everness 2005 *+
Fantasy about watchers who guard the gates to the dream worlds to keep out. Dark forces gatheriong.
The Last Guardian of Everness 2004 *+
The forces darkness are overcome (for now) while maintaining mankind's freedom from the whims of gods/nightmares.
Orphans of Chaos
Fugitives of Chaos
Chronicles of Chaos
Titans of Chaos

Isaac Asimov

Nemesis 1993 *+
Space colony uses sub-luminal to go to near by hidden star, heading to destroy Earth, planet has intelligent bacteria (one mind)....

Anne Rice

Vampire Chronicles
Interview with the Vampire 1976 **+
Vampire tells of early adventures, loss of love of life from regular evil deeds (feeding).
The Vampire Lestat 1986 **
Vampire writes own book/autobiography as rock star in modern times, French noble son goes to Paris, breaks up coven, starts theatre.
The Queen of the Damned 1989 **
Lestat wakes original vampire, she starts religion based on no males (1/100).
The Tale of the Body Thief 1992 *+
Lestat swaps bodies with mortal, has to steal vampire body back with David's help, turns David into vampire
Memnoch the Devil 1995 **
Lestat asked by satan to be prince, visits heaven and hell, all is to save souls, brings back Veil of Veronica
The Vampire Armand 1998 *+ History of Armand from Venice and his making, back to Russian icon painter, to Paris and NYC.
Blackwood Farms 2002 *
Long and a little slow, young new vampire has spirit friend, his dead twin, made by hermophrodite gladiator vampire, Mona back and made into vampire, Lestat back.
The Feast of All Saints 1979 **
Romance/drama about gens de coleur in New Orleans as American territory.
Cry to Heaven 1982 **+
Historical novel about Italian singers in Renaissance, eunichs, Venice Doge
Exit to Eden 1985 ***
Love story about senior trainer (woman) at S&M club and new slave.
Belinda (Anne Rampling) 1986
Male writer/artist for girls' books hooks up with runaway teenager, does nudes...
The Mummy (or Ramses the Damned) 1989 **+
Elixir makes living things immortal, only requiring light else long sleep. Ramses awakened and discovers modern life, raises Cleopatra (old love), etc..
The Witching Hour 1990 ***
Long novel about family of witches and spirit/curse. Ending left to imagination of reader with hero and heroine still apart. However, separate book, Lasher, has ending.
Taltos: Lives of the Mayfair Witches 1994 **+
Lasher is born, terrorizes family,... Ties up loose ends
Servant of the Bone 1996
Jew in Babylon cursed to live forever, foils modern cult led by madman
Violin 1997 **+
Ghost plays on misery of people by playing violin, gains solidity from it. Finally ghost gives up driving people mad and passes on.
Pandora 1998 **
Roman lady made vampire to be company for Marius
Vittoria the Vampire 1999 **+
Middle ages Italian nobleman's son family killed by group of vampires who
prey on nearby town. Vittoria avenges murderers with help of angels, can't kill female vampire who had saved him, turned into vampire himself, lives solitary life.
Merrick 2000 **
Voodoo/Mayfair witch from Talamasca uses spells to call the spirit of Claudia, then get herself made into a vampire.
Blood and Gold, or, The story of Marius 2001
The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty (A.N. Roquelaure) 1983 *
Sleeping Beauty waken to be made naked sex slave in medieval fantasy, story of Alexi's training.
Beauty's Punishment (A.N. Roquelaure) 1984 *+
Beauty and Tristan sent to village to be slaves for commoners, more sublime punishments, stolen to another kingodom at end
Beauty's Release (A.N. Roquelaure) 1985 *+
Beauty, Tristan and Laurent sent to Sultan as slaves, can't speak. Laurent becomes master in secret. Stolen back and Beauty returned against her will. Laurent pony, released to become king, marries Beauty.
Out of Egypt 2005 *+
Fictional events of Jesus during his child hood. Interesting historical and cultural perspective.

Han Nolan

If I Die Before I Wake 1994 **
Spiritual fantasy about experiences of holocaust and today's neo-nazis. Pretty simplistic portrayal of each. However, it prompted some thoughts about the holocaust.

Marion Zimmer Bradley

Priestess of Avalon 2001 Nine 158
Priestess of faerie origins in Britian experiences late Roman empire.

Jared Diamond

Guns, Germs, and Steel; The Fates of Human Societies

Rodney Stark

The churching of America, 1776-1990 : winners and losers in our religious economy 1992
The Rise of Christianity: How the Obscure, Marginal Jesus Movement Became the Religious Force ... **+ 1996
Use socialogy to discuss the rise of Christianity in Roman empire, conversions mostly amongst jews initially (most of whom were outside Jerusalem) and higher birth rate.
Cities of God : the real story of how Christianity became an urban movement and conquered Rome 2006 NY
Mormons and Mormonism : an introduction to an American world religion 2001
One true God : historical consequences of monotheism 2001
The victory of reason : how Christianity led to freedom, capitalism, and Western success 2005
Cities of God : the real story of how Christianity became an urban movement and conquered Rome 2006
Discovering God : the origins of the great religions and the evolution of belief 2007

Karen Armstrong

A history of God : the 4000 year quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam 1993 *+
Describes the different views of God within the monotheism traditions. I liked page 201 where Anselm of Canterbury addresses the mystery of atonement: Christ had been crucified to awaken compassion in us and by doing so he became our Savior.
In the beginning : a new interpretation of Genesis 1997
Buddha 2001
Battle for God 2000 **
Modern culture is distinct, logos (reason) rules, mythos (fables) flounders. Covers how monotheism religions adapted to changes, struggles people face with absence of mythos to address purpose or meaning for life. She uses encouraging compassion as a measure of religions 'truth'.
Twelve steps to a compassionate life 2011

Neale Donald Walsch

Conversations with God Book 2 1997 +
Books written as series of questions and answers between author and god. It deals with some significant issues, but the answers are generally glib without addressing the ramifications of the answers.

Michael Pollan

The omnivore's dilemma : a natural history of four meals 2006 *
Author has nice tongue in cheek style, but the book has strong bias against the current food industry and is chock full of unfounded urban legends, e.g. Europeans exterminated the native Americans when, in fact, genetically speaking, there are far more native Americans today than there were when Columbus arrived, though, culturally speaking, they are predominantly hispanic at this time. The more interesting question is why there were so few native Americans in the NE forests and great plains when Columbus arrived. An example of his sloppy anlaysis is equating C-4 fixation in his analysis of food to corn while, in fact, C-4 fixation occurs in four food crops maize, sugar cane, millet, and sorghum. It is well known that all four of these plants are used in making animal feed so C-4 carbon from animals is certainly from these four plants in unknown proportions. He also seems to confuse the calories in chemistry with the food calories which are actually kilocalories (there is the classical conumdrum of it taking more calories to heat ice cold beer to body temperature than the beer contains but the beer really contains hundred of kilocalories so it is not a dilemma). As such, other than the biographical information, this work seems to be more fiction than fact (a majority of the claims are inaccurate), but it wouldn't qualify as science fiction as there are too many wholes in the logic. Might be fantasy.

Ann Rinaldi

Diana Wynne Jones

Aunt Maria *+
Teenagers discover town controlled by witches and other strange things.

Orson Scott Card

Ender's Series
Ender's Game **** 1985
Cool novel about kids being trained to fight alien buggers in space.
Speaker for the Dead 1986 ****
Xenocide 1991 ***+
Human reaction to destroy planet put into play, efforts to stop (part 1)
.
Children of the Mind 1996 ***+
Destruction thwarted, all species survive. Very interesting concepts of consciousness, etc..
.
Ender's Shadow 1999 ***+
Same time frame as Ender's Game, but from Bean's perspective.
Shadow of the Hegemon 2001 ***
After buggers defeat, Bean (and Peter) move on to wars to stop Achilles.
Shadow Puppets 2002 **
Achilles (the beast) defeated in anti-climatic ending after Peter becomes less competent and more frail.
First Meeting in the Enderverse 2003 *+
Three vigneetres from series, only first is new, rest is exceprts/synopsis.
Shadow of the Giant 2005 **
Peter establishes world government, Bean and other of Ender's crew off to space. Bean dying of genetic disorder, uncontrollable growth.
A war of gifts : an Ender story 2007 ***
Fundamentalist and pacifist resists Battle School. Turned away from fundamentalism.
Ender in Exile 2008 **
Covers the period where Ender is governor of colony.
Alvin Series
Seventh Son 1987 ***+
Fantasy about alternate American colonial period where magic works, George Washington was a Royalist, etc..
Red Prophet 1988 ***+
Fantasy continues with new stereotypical American Indians and their plight. Alvin lives with Indians.
Prentice Alvin 1989 ***+
Fantasy continues with stereotypical jabs at slavery, Alvin is smith's apprentice, helps 'mixup' (or racially mixed) boy.
Alvin Journeyman 1995 ***
Alvin tried for larceny (stealing plow) and helping runaway slave. Marries Margaret finally.
Heartfire 1998 ***
Alvin tried as witch/wizard inNew England. Slaves souls released in Camelot.
The Crystal City 2003 *+
Alvin visits New Orleans (New Barcelona under Spanish rule) and rescues slaves, French, etc..
Homeconing Series
The Memory of Earth 1992 ***
Computer built to keep humans from destroying themselves by restricting technology is failing. Involves people to help.
The Call of Earth 1993 ***
Key players retreat to desert, Basilica destroyed (epilogue). Lots of inter-family/brotherly rivalry.
The Ships of Earth 1994 ***
Trip to preserved ships, restoral, return to Earth. Heavy conflict between brothers.
Earthfall 1995 ***+
Group arrives at Earth, sibling rivalry causes two nations, humans and angels (bats) and humans and diggers (rats).
Earthborn 1995 ***
Humans, diggers, and angels all learn to live together after much dissension.
Songmaster 1978 ***+
Galactic empire shaped by school focussed on singing.
The Planet Called Treason 1979 **+
Planet where intellectuals who rebelled against being slaves to masses were exiled, no metal on planet. Each family developes unique abilities. In style of 'Lord of the Rings'?
The Worthing Chronicle 1983 **
Capital 1979
Hot Sleep 1979
Hart's Hope 1983 ***
Fantasy about chaotic daughter of evil king who was ravaged after her father was killed and then used magic to excat her revenge.
A Woman of Destiny 1984 (early versions) AKA
Saints 1984 **+
Historical fiction from early Mormom history about woman Dinah and her trials and tribulations. Has a lot of history from early Manchester, UK and then Nauvoo, Illinois when Mormoms were there. Deals with a lot of the controversy about polygamy.
Wyrms 1987 ****+
Thrown into middle of fantasy like lost colony. Very complex and enthralling
Treason 1988
Revision of Planet Called Treason, only read a few exceprts which were identical.
The Folk of the Fringe 1989 **
Stories about Mormons after civilization collapses.
Maps In A Mirror 1990 **
Short stories of various genres.
The Worthing Saga 1990 **
The Changed Man 1992 Stories of Dread
Cruel Miracles 1992
Flux 1992 Stories of Human Futures
Monkey Sonatas 1981
Lost Boys 1992 ***
Mormon family encounters problems when move to NC. Pretty complex. Son befriends ghosts from serial killer, causes arrest after killed himself.
Lovelock 1994 ***+
Enhanced monkey goes on interstellar 'ark' and learns independence from programming/master.
Pastwatch, the Redemption of Christopher Columbus 1996 ****
Desolate future studies past then sends three people back to irrevocably alter the past.
Treasure Box 1996 ***
Witches use man in battle to control the 'beast' for power, sucubus is imaginary wife...
Homebody 1998 ***
Old house captures people (and ghosts), grieving builder sets them free.
Stone Table 1998 **+
Fictional variation of life of Moses.
Future on Ice 1998 *+
A collection of short stories by other authors.
Enchantment 1999 ***+
Modern graduate student saves enchanted princess, travels back over 1000 years.
Magic Mirror 1999 **
Adult fable about break down of marriage and then recovery in modern times with overlays of medieval times.
Sarah 2000 ***
Fictional variation of Sarah of Genesis. Creative additions to make characters enthralling.
Rebecca 2001 ***
Fictional variation of Rebecca of Genesis. Creative additions make characters enthralling.
Very nice collection of older stories about offspring of mutation (Jason Worthing) with mind reading skills and effcts of long term sleep and memory selection on humanity. THis is also a combinaiton of the above Worhting tales.
Rachel and Leah 2006 ***
Fictional variation of Rachel and Leah of Genesis. Historical context and excellent characters. Quite entrhalling.
The Abyss 1989
Storyteller in Zion 1993
Magic Street 2005 **+
Fairy changeling born via magic, dreams/desire becomes magic, extension of trapped king of fairies, Oberon, frees queen, Titania.
Empire 2006 *+
Plot to undo republic in U.S., become empire / military dictatorship based in current time frame.
Space Boy 2007 *+
Ordinary 13 year old has great desire to be astronaut, but is quite mediocre. Attracts worm hole (desire). Different densities and rate of time....
Invasive Procedures 2007 *+
Virus used to alter DNA, produce super humans. There are the usual absurd assumptions about what can be done with better genes. Interesting drama even if poor science.
InterGalactic Medicine Show 2008 *+
Short stories often written with consultations with Orson, some base on Ender.
Stonefather 2008 NA
Wastelands : stories of the apocalypse 2008 **
Short stories, one by Card, about apocalyptical worlds.
Keeper of Dreams 2008 **
A large collection of short stories, most new to book format.
Hidden empire 2009 *+
Creation of hidden empire in US through created plague in Africa, attempted quarantine of Africa. Pretty predictable.
Pathfinder 2010 **+
Colony ship thrown in past through worm hole, sorts through implications of past / future selves, special powers....
Lost Gate 2011 **+
Fantasy about magical gates between worlds tying in gods of old with Loki, thief of all the old gates between worlds.
Laddertop, Vol 1&2 2012 *
Graphic novel about aliens visiting, kids must do maintenance, intrigues abound.
Shadows in Flight 2012 **
Beans genius kids discover cure for their genetic gigantism before he dies. Find formic old generation colony ship, only drones survived.
Earth Unaware 2012 **+
Free miners in asteroid belt encounter Formic scout ship, corporate miners test new gravitational drill.
Ruins Pathfinder 2012 **
19 separate colonies use time traveling to prevent their destruction.
The Gate Thief 2012 **
Loki, the ancient gate thief, helps defeat Bel, the embodiment of Satan.
Earth Afire 2013 **
Formics invade China, are repulsed by nukes under their baess, 'trash' drifting inside the mother ships defenses.
Earth Awakens 2014 **
Destroy mother ship by sabotage (silly, but allows salvage of ship for technology), then discover was actually a 'scout', not the mother ship.

Anne Tyler

Dinner At The Homesick Restaurant 1996 *
Progress through life of odd family, no real point or ending.

Niel Hancock

Dragon Winter 1983 *
Fantasy about forest animals that are civilized and on quest against evil (man and humans).

W. Somerset Maugham

The Razor's Edge 1943 **
Gives historical perspective of Eastern mysticism and dharma bum.

Dennis Danvers

Wilderness 1991 **+
Woman is werewolf, has problem adapting to life with normals.
Time and Time Again 1994 ***
Lovers always meet in reincarnations. Guy remembers. Many different endings.
Circuit of Heaven 1999 *****
People give up physical bodies to live as immortals in virtual world, the bin. Romeo and Juliet variation.
End of Days 1999 ***+
Wacko Christian fundamentalists rule remaining people by terror. They get overturned.
The Fourth World 2000 ***
Plot to make Mexican revolutionaries/peasants slaves, send them to Mars to build new paradise for rich.
The Watch: Memoirs of a Revolutionist 2002 ***
Russian anarchist from 1921 dropped into 1999 by future time traveller to stir things up. Chooses prison and no revolution rather than being manipulated.
The Bright Spot 2005 aka Robert Syndey

Pamela Dean

Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary 1998 *
Events of three adolescent sisters and new (strange) neighbor. Fantasy at end (only).

Stephen King

The Dark Elf 1989 *
Author uses pseudonym for brutal crime books, pseudonym comes to life and goes on killing spree.

Jerry Pournelle

Prince of Mercenaries 1989 *
End of CoDominium, start of alternative, prince from Sparta.

Jack L. Chalker

A Jungle of Stars 1976 **
Two survivors from previous race which transcended lead galactic war against each other...
Well World Series
Midnight at the Well of Souls 1977 *+
Nathan Brazil tracks killer into Well, provides just rewards for all parties.
Exiles at the Well of Souls 1978 *+
Scientist and dictator bring planetoid (and computer) to actual well world. Starts race for control of well world.
Quest for the Well of Souls 1978 *+
Three factions try to get space ship off Well of Souls.
The Return of Nathan Brazil 1980 *+
Rip in time and space requires parties to find Nathan Brazil.
Twilight at the Well of Souls 1980 *+
War to prevent Nathan and Brazil from getting inside and resetting universe.
The Web of Chozen 1978 **
Virus created by A.I. computer changes humans into 'aliens' for utopia.
And The Devil Will Drag You Under 1979 **+
Couple must steal jewels from alternate universes for demon to save Earth from asteroid.
A War of Shadows 1979 ***
U.S. military government imposed because of terrorist plot actually started by part of government.
Dancers In The Afterglow 1979 **
Alien race encountered and war ensues, them trying to force us to conform with their self-less society.
The Devil's Voyage 1980 *
Historical fiction, take nuke to Japan, ship sunk, no rescue.
The Four Lords of The Diamond 1983
Lilith: A Snake in The Grass 1981 ***
Agent sent to assinate lord of world where certain people can change anything and no technology.
Cerebus: A Wolf In The Fold 1982 **+
Agent sent to world where people swap bodies when sleep. Water world.
Charon: A Dragon At The Gate 1982 ***
Agent sent to world where everyone can do magic (desert).
Medusa: A Tiger By The Tail 1983 ***
Agent sent to frozen world where everyone adapts to environment. Two alien races.
The Identity Matrix 1982 **+
Aliens make Earth a battleground using body swapping capabilities.
Dancing God Series, Part 1 1995, Part 2 1996
The River of the Dancing Gods 1984 *
Truck driver and battered woman taken to alternate universe of magic to fight evil.
Demons of the Dancing Gods 1984 *+
Demon and Dark Baron exposed in final battle killing Ruddygore. Now need to free enchanted goddess.
o Songs of the Dancing Gods 1990
o Vengeance of the Dancing Gods 1985
h Horrors of the Dancing Gods 1995 (end, not selling well).
Flux and Anchor Series
Spirits of Flux and Anchor 1984 **
Woman outcast into flux becomes wizard and reforms church.
Empires of Flux and Anchor 1984 **
Reformed church collapses, new threat to open gates to hell via technology overcome.
Masters of Flux and Anchor 1985 **+
Gates opened, aliens religious zealots, beaten.
The Birth of Flux and Anchor 1985 *
Pretty technical description of early origin of flux and anchors.
Children of Flux and Anchor 1986 *
Wars after Samish defeated, new women only society versus expanding male dominated New Eden.
Downtiming The Night Side 1985 **
War extended to time travel with interesting twists.
The Messiah's Choice 1985 ****
Super computer takes over, acts as devil.
The Rings of The Master
Lords of the Middle Dark 1986 ***
Introduce five rings to turn off computer which rules mankind after saving mankind from self destruction. Escape.
Pirates of Thunder 1987 **
Retrieve first ring (steal, fight out). Hindu cows.
Warriors of the Storm 1987 **
Get next two rings, amazons (drugs) and water surface world.
Masks of the Martyrs 1988 **+
Last ring, water world, no technology, and end.
G.O.D. Inc. Series
The Labyrinth of Dreams 1987 +
PIs travel to alternate universes.
The Shadow Dancers 1987 *+
Virus/drug is used in plot to take over/destroy G.O.D. Inc.
The Maze in The Mirror 1989 *+
Alternate company attempts to destroy labyrith, defeated by own independent computer.
Changewinds 1996 Storms across alternate worlds.
When the Changewinds Blow 1987 **+
Escape to world of magic and storms.
Riders of the Winds 1988 **
Girls continue quest to good wizard.
War of The Maelstrom 1988 **
Good wizard finds them (there were several candidates), merger of wizard, storm queen, and changewind produce god for these universes.
Dance Band On the Titanic 1988 *+
Collection of short stories, most of which were published previously.
The Quintara Marathon, three empires, ancient demons
The Demons At Rainbow Bridge 1989 **
All three empires send team through portal.
The Run To Chaos Keep 1991 *
Remnants of all three cities reach center.
The Ninety Trillion Fausts 1991 **+
Demons imprisoned again, new higher race started.
The Red Tape War 1991 *
Satire by three authors. A little funny. Very disconnected.
The Watchers of the Well 1994
Echoes of the Well of Souls 1993 **
Two watchers are called back to Well of Souls
Shadow of the Well of Souls 1994 *+
Parties travel in Well of Souls
Gods of the Well of Souls 1994 **+
Parties reach Well of Souls
Ghost of the Well of Souls 2000 *+
War of well of souls for 'straight gate' to outside.
The Wonderland Gambit, people trapped in virtual universes.
The Cybernetic Walrus 1995 ****
Escape from similar world to virtual realities.
The March Hare Network 1996 ***
Trapped as invalid in religious world.
Hot Wired Dodo 1998 ***+
Bureaucratic horse people, get most of the way out.
Priam's Lens 1999 ****
Communal consciousness aliens whip humans until they recover ultimate weopon
The Sea is Full of Stars 1999 **+
Ultimate criminal gets to well world and tries to take over.
The Moreau Factor 2000 ***
Mutated humans attempt to mutate rest of humanity.
Tales of Three Kings
Balshazzar's Serpent 2000 ***+
Space faring revivalists after center of civilization. disappeared.
Melchior's Fire 2001 **
Mercenaries reach volcanic source of gemstones, go insane.
Kaspar's Box 2002 *+
Military visit with Magi Stones, the stones are life form which built Three Kings, use other life forms to move... Destruction of human center caused by ancient mobile enemy.
Hotel Andromeda 1994 Editor of SF short stories 1994 *
Series of short stories by different authors about working in galactic hotel.
b Bid
w Won bid
o Own
r Reading
- Not in library system
__________________________________

1 I personally can not accept that God despises dogs any more than any other of God's creations such as cats, rats, cockroaches, etc.. Of course, as people we should make companions of animals based on our dispositions with cats and dogs as reasonable alternatives and rats and cockroaches as not so likely.

This page was last updated on February 5, 2017.