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Mistermandolin

Mistermandolin

Joined June 2020

review
Mistermandolin
The Apparition Phase | Will Maclean
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Enjoyable debut novel exploring hauntological themes. It flagged a bit in the second half, getting bogged down in overlong sequences involving a series of seances which I was sorely tempted to skip. Maclean needed them for the plot but you could tell he was regretting this somewhat. I doubt I‘ll be buying any more from this author but I love a bit of nostalgia and this had it in spades. Good cover, too.

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Mistermandolin
Mystery Big Cats | Merrily Harpur
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Just lost a whole review so will keep this brief: Harpur asserts that many big cat sightings - pumas, lynx, jaguars, et al - are anomalous to the point of incomprehensibility: particularly in countries like the UK where such animals are not indigenous. Her conclusion: they‘re daimons. Trickster-beings with only one foot - or two paws - in this world. An intriguing hypothesis, backed by a wealth of data.

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Mistermandolin
The Disappearing Act | Florence de Changy
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Before Covid, the disappearance of flight MH370 was the quintessential Fortean mystery of our times. De Changy‘s book is a detailed and worthwhile examination of the facts. She concludes that there was no turn-back at waypoint IGARI and that MH370 met a violent end over the South China Sea. Definitive study of a gripping and still unresolved aviation mystery. More on my blog at www.markfox.co.uk if you‘re curious.

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Mistermandolin
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If it was possible to judge a book by its cover I‘d give this one a perfect score. In fact, the whole book is beautifully presented. Came with a quality bookmark too. Hats off to Schiffer publishing (I‘d never heard of them).

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Mistermandolin
The Shining | Stephen King
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As I was telling AmyG the other day, I gave away, several years ago, a first edition NEL paperback edition of The Shining, originally bought during a family holiday to Spain in 1979. What was I thinking?!! 😩😱🤯Reading it in ‘79, I was so terrified that I dreaded walking down the hotel corridors. Later, I loved the film too, although King, I understand, didn‘t. Today‘s King question: which of his books absolutely straight-out scared you the most?

BkClubCare I haven‘t read the King books that seem to be most horror (all my own impression - how can one really know?!) but Pet Semetary was one the I was most scared to read. I survived it and enjoyed it more than I expected. Bag of Bones was another one I thought would be terrifying - I survived 😱 2y
Mistermandolin @BkClubCare Apparently Pet Sematary scared him too, to the extent that he thought twice about its publication. 2y
AmyG Pet Semetary for me, too. I loved the movie...with Dale Midkiff and Fred Gwynne. Gage looked like a friend‘s son..freaked me out. The Shining, though, is a favorite King book. I enjoyed the movie, too. (edited) 2y
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Mistermandolin @AmyG There‘s something very dark about that one for sure. 2y
Twainy My first horror book was The Shining. So I‘ll go with that one but it looks like I need to read my copy of Pet Sematary. 😁 2y
Mistermandolin @Twainy And don‘t forget Salem‘s Lot. Also scary as hell. 2y
swynn @Mistermandolin Definitely Salem's Lot, no contest, which I read at a time in my life when I was especially receptive to what it was doing. 2y
Twainy I have the old silver paperback of The Shining & recently got the new classy looking version in a swap 🖤 you never forget your first horror book! I have the B&N exclusive collection with Salem‘s Lot included so now every time I see the new hardcover edition that would match most of my other King books I wonder just how crazy would it be to own two versions of that book also ... especially since I bought the 1st one to save space. 2y
jb72 None of the SK books I‘ve read have actually scared me. But Salem‘s Lot did give me a nightmare one time. 2y
Gissy I haven‘t read anything too scary yet but I‘m only beginning to read Mr. King‘s books. However, Pet Semetary was a great book. There were many social critics in the book, his love as a father, the superstitions, it was gory, dark but not scary to me. The movie adaptation was awful. I enjoyed The Outsider and The Green Mile. I need to read It, The Shining and Salem‘s Slot to see if they scare me. I‘m buying some of those old hardback editions. 2y
Mistermandolin @jb72 Same here with Salem‘s Lot. The scene in the window gave me a nightmare. Not many books have done that. 2y
Mistermandolin @Gissy King‘s favourite band were The Ramones, who did a song called Pet Sematary. Scarier in its own way than the book. 2y
jb72 @Mistermandolin Exactly what happened to me. That scene is crazy. 2y
abandonedonearth I cannot say any book has scared me, including King‘s books. But I do enjoy his novels, although I do admit I haven‘t read anything he wrote post-1998. 2y
Mistermandolin @abandonedonearth I reckon sticking to the earlier stuff is wise. He had his best moments then, for sure. 2y
Gissy @Mistermandolin I will check this song. Thanks! 2y
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Mistermandolin
Different Seasons | Stephen King
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Shawshank has tended to eclipse the others but this is actually one of his ‘four stories‘ collections. The Body is my favourite: King doing his ‘lost innocence‘ thing in the way only he can. Stylistically it‘s superb, with dialogue to die for. Apt Pupil is great, too, and as for Shawshank: well, you know the rest. A great collection, revealing the author at the height of his powers. Things went a bit west in places after this.

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These Omnibus editions are a thing of the past now but they‘re still going for a song second-hand. Worth picking up? Depends if you‘re happy settling down in your favourite chair with a ton weight in your lap, I guess. Bible-thin pages too. Carrie is the stuff of legend but I bailed on The Tommyknockers: King‘s worst ever, I reckon, despite a great premise. My other SK bails: Needful Things, Insomnia, Revival. So far. How about you?

Soubhiville I don‘t think I‘ve ever bailed on anything by him, but I haven‘t enjoyed him in a long time. I couldn‘t get enough of his books in the 90‘s, though. It‘s possible I might have bailed on some short story collections, but in general SS aren‘t my thing. 2y
llcoolnate Love some, hate some for sure. Bailed on Insomnia (ugh). I hated From a Buick 8 (has to be his worst), Under the Dome, and others I'm forgetting. Def a hit or miss guy 🤷🏻‍♂️ 2y
llcoolnate Oh god and Bag of Bones 🤮 2y
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Mistermandolin @Soubhiville I can understand that. Although I still enjoy him I don‘t get the thrill that I used to. He hasn‘t changed much - and maybe that‘s the problem. Many authors like to plough well-worked and familiar furrows but sometimes even the most constant of readers yearn for fresh fields. 2y
Prairiegirl_reading I also bailed on needful things. I took a long break from him after that one too. 2y
Reagan I have never tackled Insomnia but loved The Tommyknockers and Needful Things. Those omnibus editions 😳 I have a few Dean Koontz and John Saul -so heavy. 2y
LitStephanie I liked Insomnia a lot. Other than Carrie, which I remember liking, haven't read the others. 2y
Mistermandolin @Prairiegirl_reading Taking a break is a great idea. From all writers, I reckon. Even the best ones. 2y
Mistermandolin @Reagan I remember really wanting to like The Tommyknockers and enjoying it up to a point. I‘m going to give it another go this summer or whenever we get some decent outdoor reading weather. I‘m in the UK and this time round we‘re having the worst spring I can remember: rain, rain, rain. 2y
Mistermandolin @LitStephanie The early stuff‘s the best. Hits and misses thereafter. Some notable hits, though. Later, his latest, certainly has its moments. 2y
swynn Insomnia and It (unpopular opinion, for sure). I've wanted to bail at some point on most of the longer ones I tried. Haven't tried Neeedful Things or Tommyknockers yet. 2y
Mistermandolin @swynn I totally agree - his long ones can be a schlep. 2y
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Mistermandolin
Later | Stephen King
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Another year, another SK Hard Case Crime offering. King fairly churns this stuff out these days and although there‘s nothing exactly new here the plot is fresh and compelling. The usual twists and turns - and clunky dialogue in places - but there‘s none of the flab of his weightier tomes and the book is all the better for that. King is insanely readable when he‘s as good as this and Paul Mann‘s cover is the best in the series to date, I reckon.

AmyG I enjoyed this, too....but I didn‘t not picture Liz like the woman on the cover. 🤣 Jamie is a wonderful character. (edited) 2y
Mistermandolin @AmyG I agree - sort of. To me, it‘s her but not-her. The holster-motif‘s there but the hair‘s too long, despite King more than once telling us how long - or short-ish - the back actually is. Artistic license to sell a few more books, I reckon. You can kind of tell that‘s what Mann was doing. For one thing, he‘s increased the proportions of everything. And you‘re right - Jamie‘s great! (edited) 2y
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Of all the King books I own - a lot - I like the cover on this one the best. The stories are consistently strong, too. I‘d call this ‘mid-period‘ King: not as good as the early stuff but the drug days were behind him and it shows. Incidentally, one of 600 or so books I gave away during a house move. Instantly regretted, then years later I found this at a car boot sale - identical to the one I gave away. Sometimes you just get lucky, I guess.

BoleyBooks I really like this cover art! 2y
Mistermandolin @BoleyBooks So much going on. Like ciphers revealing keys to the content! 2y
Suet624 You‘re right about the cover. So good. And I sympathize with you about regretting a particular book‘s release into the world. I have had to hunt down many a book that I gave away. 2y
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Mistermandolin @Suet624 In future I‘ll buy a bigger house before I give books away. Always a space thing. Crazy. 2y
Suet624 LOL. I live in a small apartment with boxes and shelves filled with books. Sometimes it‘s overwhelming. But I‘ve learned my lesson. I‘m only giving away books I didn‘t like. 2y
Mistermandolin @Suet624 That‘s a great idea. Wish I‘d adopted it in the past. I even gave away Misery. Can you believe it?! 2y
Suet624 Gah! 2y
Reagan I love that cover! 2y
AmyG Great cover. I‘d never seen this one. I used to collect SK books and donated many because I was moving to CO...and yes, I regret ittoo. 2y
Mistermandolin @Reagan It‘s just a great book all round. There‘s even a photo inside. Just one: a black and white illustration of a pivotal moment in the story that follows it. I‘ve never seen that in any of his other books. They sure pulled out the stops for that edition. A Labour of love to offset all the horror, perhaps. 2y
Mistermandolin @AmyG There ought to be some online support group we can go to. Maybe we should start one. ‘Donators Anonymous‘, or whatever. For everybody like us who gave away books only to spend years ruing that fact. Grieving their loss: a grief made worse by the fact of knowing that we could have chosen to keep them. I gave away a first edition NEL paperback edition of The Shining. Bought from a kiosk in southern Spain on a family holiday in 1979. I did. (edited) 2y
AmyG Oh no....that‘s got to hurt. And that website would just be people either crying about what they did or people saying...DON‘T. 🤣I will say, I did check to see if I had any first editions before I donated them. I didn‘t. I kept my favorites. But still. 😢 (edited) 2y
Mistermandolin @AmyG Yep; still hurts. Serves me right for not thinking more. Still, onwards and upwards. Life‘s too short for regrets. And anyway, it might turn up one day at a boot sale like ‘Nightmares...‘ did. You never know. Crazier things have happened. Like a globe-sweeping viral apocalypse where they nonetheless still deliver your groceries every Thursday. Never saw that one comin‘.... (edited) 2y
AmyG Ha. Not on MY bingo card- the apocalypse. And it‘s just a “thing”. In the scheme of life very unimportant. 2y
Reggie I love this book because it was one of the first books to make me really love short horror stories. Crouch End is my favorite from here. 2y
Mistermandolin @Reggie Yep; I like that one too. It‘s a really strong collection although I recall it getting some mixed reviews when it first came out. 2y
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It struck me a while back that testimonies of ‘heavenly visits‘ by near-death survivors required some sort of theological response and this book was the result of several years reflection on Near-Death Experiences from the twin - but related - perspectives of religion and philosophy. More at www.markfox.co.uk if you‘re curious.

Gissy My main interest is a philosophical one, things science doesn‘t explain. You have mentioned great books in this area. I read long time ago books by Kubler Ross, psychiatrist. Her perspective was describing persons who knew when they were going to die, things not explained by science. It has some elements related with what you are reading but I think she believed in reencarnación something that is another topic which I‘m not interested. 2y
Mistermandolin @Gissy The older I get the more I‘m convinced that there are very many things for which science has no explanations. 2y
Gissy @Mistermandolin That‘s true! 2y
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An ironically theological choice of title, given the book‘s attempt to use science to unlock the mystery of NDEs. Still, it‘s a readable engagement, in which the author argues that whilst no one scientific explanation can explain every feature of NDEs, a whole bunch of them suffices to explain them all. Ultimately reductive and generally unconvincing, it fails to adequately examine what experiencers actually report, which is a major flaw.

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Beyond Death's Door | Thomas Nelson Publishers, Maurice Rawlings
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An odd book, published in 1978. The first study of Near-Death Experiences to show that not all such experiences are positive and that persons visibly distressed immediately after ‘hellish‘ experiences recall them as pleasant later on. They‘re replacing bad memories with good, according to Rawlings, as a way of dealing with extreme trauma. A brave book and a novel thesis, for which he was vilified by several other researchers in later years.

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I‘d normally post a photo of the book cover but my copy long since disintegrated to the point where the cover went. Anybody else read a book so much that it simply fell apart? If so, what was it? In Life After Life, Raymond Moody coined the term ‘near-death experience.‘ It‘s a commonplace part of our vocabulary now but back in 1975 it was a ‘new thing.‘ Were these experiences really proof that the soul survives death? A compelling read, even now.

Suet624 Lonesome Dove was my falling apart book. 😁 2y
Soubhiville My first copy of The Hobbit is shredded, but I can‘t part from it. 2y
Lucy_Anywhere @Soubhiville Likewise! Pretty sure it‘s more sellotape than book 2y
SqueakyChu As a kid, I owned a copy of Anderson‘s Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Anderson. I read it over and over until it finally was reduced to a pile of pages held together by the front and back covers and lots of rubber bands. I loved that book so much. 💕 1y
Mistermandolin @SqueakyChu The best-loved books always seem to be the most dog-eared! 1y
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To kick off my NDE week, here‘s a new and very readable overview of half a century‘s research into Near-Death Experiences by one of the field‘s pioneers. There‘s nothing really ground-breaking here, but the testimonies are vividly related and the conclusions immensely thought-provoking. Death really isn‘t the end, according to many clinically dead and revived folks - that alone makes this study well worth the price of admission.

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Through judicious use of FOI requests, Clarke was given access to a tranche of UK Defence Ministry files on UFOs from The National Archives and the result was this book. Alas for him, it turns out that there were no Great Secrets to be had there; no ‘smoking guns.‘ Not because of any grand cover-up, but simply because of a lack of money and personnel. There‘s certainly nothing here you can‘t find elsewhere. And not a single X-File in sight.

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Basically, Hastings‘ thesis is that there is a clear link between UFO activity and nuclear bases. This has been the case since the dawn of the nuclear age and continues to be so. After nearly 600 pages I‘m still not entirely convinced but I must say the quantity of data is very impressive. I‘d have liked him to drill down more into the ‘classic‘ cases - Big Sur, Malmstrom - instead of his ‘scattergun‘ approach. The kindle formatting is poor.

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A haunting and in many ways disturbing real-life tale of the tragic death of four - perhaps five - young men. It‘s been hailed - if that‘s the right word - as America‘s Dyatlov Pass: a group of young people leave their car in a place they shouldn‘t have been and walked to their deaths on a snowy mountain. This book needed way better editing, but even the regular bloopers couldn‘t distract from a genuinely engrossing, if tragic, tale.

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Can cats show us the meaning of life? John Gray says: not really. And that‘s kind of the point: the preoccupation with meaning, he says, is a uniquely human endeavour that cats don‘t share. Still, they can teach us to simply be, and in doing so reveal where our own contentment might be found. An entertaining little book, exploring happiness, ethics, love, time, death and the soul: all through a very satisfying feline ‘lens.‘ Well-written, too.

AmyG My next life. A housecat. 2y
Mistermandolin @AmyG Better than being a human for sure. Food on demand, round-the-clock cuddles, permanent permission to be utterly indifferent...what‘s not to like? I‘m coming back as a house cat, without a doubt. 2y
Michael_Gee Oh, I love this! 2y
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Part-travelogue, part sad story of one man‘s search to find his son in America‘s wide open spaces. I thought it would be a bit more like David Paulides‘ Missing 411 series but it was rather more personal than those books, and mainly focussed on one case. Some other - notable - cases were introduced almost as asides and I would have liked to have known more about some of them, although I accept that this would have resulted in a dilution of focus.

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Clever title for an interesting, if somewhat pedestrian, book. Alma Fielding was haunted by her past, Kate Summerscale suggests, and the result was the raging gimcrackery of poltergeistery that seemed to follow her wherever she went during several dramatic months in 1938. Fraud aplenty - Freud, even - and precious little in the way of actual supernatural events, but, as the author hints, that was never the real point.

Mitch Pedestrian is a good word to describe this. I wanted fireworks but it felt more ‘pedestrian‘ liked it none the less - just a different mood than I was expecting! (edited) 2y
Mistermandolin @Mitch It was like she was so overcome by the ‘fat folder of evidence‘ that she had to try and cram everything in. The pre-war backdrop didn‘t help, either. It was just presented as a kind of parallel narrative instead of the kind of context that traditionally calls forth signs and wonders. I wonder why she didn‘t do more to weave both narratives together? The book cried out for that. Got bored, maybe? 2y
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Sinister Yogis | David Gordon White
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Look at that cover! That title! A rollicking read; right? If only. It‘s dull, dull, dull. Whilst purporting to be some kind of grand expose of charlatan charismatics it‘s actually a trudgy slog through various kinds of obscure metaphysical arcana. There‘s not a rogue in the house, just a steady drip, drip, drip of sleep-inducing pseudo-esoterica. Maybe that‘s the point. Or maybe I‘m missing all the points. Whatever. I bailed well before the end.

danx It does look like it should be a great book 😆 2y
Mistermandolin @danx Absolutely. My biggest reading disappointment for some time. 2y
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Planet of the Apes | Pierre Boulle
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I always had a soft spot for this franchise. The series was wonderfully terrible, the films uneven in quality, and the books fair to middling, but I can still remember the excitement I felt when I woke to see this annual at the bottom of my bed on Christmas morning 1975. Alternate histories - past, present, and future - fascinate me still. I guess what we watch and read as children leaves a massive legacy.

AmyG I remember watching this in the theater. It will always be one of my favorites from my youth. Seeing the Statue of Liberty..blew my young mind. 2y
Mistermandolin @AmyG It‘s one of the defining images of my youth. Half-buried Liberty and Taylor pounding the ground: “Damn you all to HELL...!!” 2y
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Introducing...Sir Alister Hardy: a maverick biologist who early came to the view that our capacity for spiritual and transcendent experience actually aided our evolution as a species. He devoted his life to a reconciliation of the ‘worlds‘ of biology and the spirit and this book charts, among other things, what he did in order to do that. Hay knows Hardy‘s world from the inside, and the result is a fitting biography of a truly unusual man.

Suet624 Wow! This sounds so interesting! 2y
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Eyewitness Testimony | Elizabeth F. Loftus
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Fascinating book with many applications. Criminology, obviously, but I‘m also thinking in terms of ‘anomalies‘: encounters with ‘ghosts‘, UFOs and the like. If testimonies are all you have, testimonies are what analysis should seem to explain: stories rooted in memory. Loftus shows how unreliable memory can be, but is in no way dismissive. I like this approach way better than the discarding of recollection because it doesn‘t supply ‘hard data.‘

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Jung on Synchronicity and the Paranormal | Carl Gustav Jung, Roderick Main
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Jung can be unfathomable but he‘s rarely less than interesting. These readings are fascinating, particularly those to do with synchronicity. I have on occasion experienced ‘coincidences‘ that left me speechless, humbled, and contemplative. Jung would say that this is entirely typical and part of the way the universe ‘works.‘ Openness is key, it seems.

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Now there‘s a question. Ostensibly, so the authors contend, because the situation was wrongly defined - and hence grossly mismanaged - from the start, with famously tragic consequences. Koresh was a scumbag, but it took a spectacularly incompetent administration to elevate him into a martyr. Interesting how that seems to go for many so-called ‘charismatic‘ figures from the past. Another instance of history repeating, I guess.

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The Stand | Stephen King
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Surely the most reviewed book on Litsy this year and I couldn‘t help but join in. Apocalyptic and massive in scale, it‘s obviously what a novelist‘s idea of what a pandemic would be like and, we now know, nothing like the reality. Or, at least, 2020‘s reality. That said, any writer who namechecks Jerry Garcia is in my cool book. I first read it aeons ago and it made a massive impression which stayed with me. One of his absolute best.

AmyG Hahaha. I recently read Jerry‘s name in a book and I wish I could remember which one. It‘s always a sign from heaven. “We are everywhere”. ⚡️⚡️⚡️ (edited) 2y
Traci1 I reread this one every few years and always love it. 2y
Mistermandolin @AmyG I thought it was so cool, calling a virus Captain Trips. Beats Covid-19 into a cocked hat. What kind of name‘s that?! 2y
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Mistermandolin @Traci1 Same here. 2y
AmyG I also love that the main character is Frannie Goldsmith. That is my last name and I shall never forgive my husband for not letting me name one of our daughters Frannie. 🤣 2y
Mistermandolin @AmyG Didja know there are Direwolves in Game of Thrones? 2y
AmyG Ha! I did. 2y
Mistermandolin @AmyG And Weirwoods? 2y
AmyG I know George Martin and his wife love the Dead. https://www.billboard.com/articles/columns/rock/6553854/game-of-thrones-grateful... (edited) 2y
abandonedonearth Superb book. I actually started referring to Covid as Captain Trips when it first started spreading. 🙂 2y
Mistermandolin @AmyG That figures. 2y
Mistermandolin @abandonedonearth Believe it or not, I did the same. 2y
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I love these multi-disciplinary studies. So often we think of love in terms of feelings - obviously rightly - but I found this book useful as a catalyst for asking: what, exactly, is this gentle and not-so-gentle breeze that has so often completely blown me away? Turns out it‘s just as much to do with willing as it is with feeling. A great study, but obviously no substitute for the Real Thing. That‘d be like confusing the menu with the meal.

paulfrankspencer Seriously, a philosophical, scientific, and theological study of light... can't be more dead on. 2y
Mistermandolin @paulfrankspencer Looks fascinating. Have added to stack. Thanks! 2y
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Love this cover. I knew John Hick and respected him enormously but cannot agree with his conclusion that all religions are to God as the colours of the spectrum are to light. It‘s the concept of ‘religion‘ itself that I struggle with. As if, say Buddhism and Judaism have anything at all in common. They don‘t. ‘Religion‘ is just some label with which to shoehorn incompatible things together. I respect ‘religions‘ - the term itself is the problem.

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400th anniversary this month of the magazine named after the subject of Steinmeyer‘s excellent biography. Before I read it I thought Fort was some sort of trickster figure but after I‘d finished I realised that he was actually a wonderfully eccentric figure who devoted his life to his extraordinary interests. A wonderful man, who once emigrated because he got banned from the library. My type of hero.

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Seminal - perhaps only - full-length study of premature burial. I can‘t think of anything worse than waking up to the terrifying realisation that I‘m in my coffin ten feet under but, as Davies shows, amazingly it‘s possible to survive even this horror-of-horrors. Some interesting Near-Death Experiences in this book too. Tip: if you want to make sure you don‘t wake up in your coffin, be cremated or embalmed. Happy Friday, guys!

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A pair of scoundrels! I was half way through Gurdjieff‘s ‘Meetings‘, ostensibly an autobiographical account of his youth and early travels, when I realised he‘d made it all up. Brilliantly funny, though, even so. Alas, Osho‘s own attempt at emulating his mentor falls well short and the result is mostly drivel. Thumbs up for Gurdjieff, two thumbs down for his copyist.

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Although he‘d been around for donkey‘s years when it came out this still seemed to me like King‘s ‘coming of age‘ book. It‘s what I‘d call ‘mature King‘, with all of the stories slow burns and the horror (mostly) understated, yet the whole package seems better for that. Made me feel pleased that I‘d stuck with him since nineteen seventy God-knows-when. I love these hardback editions, too. They feel good in the hand and not too heavy.

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A little-known case; inexplicable given the chaos this polt caused. Probably the best case I‘ve come across and this book does it full justice. Polts are generally disruptive but at least this one had a sense of humour: when the family decided to move - because they couldn‘t take it any more - the polt made sounds of packing, as if it was coming too!

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So hot off the press it‘s yet to arrive in Litsy‘s database - hence a previous title, above - may I proudly present, five years in the making, my first foray into fiction! It started with a name - Cold Inn is an actual place - and it grew from there: a rich blend of horror, romance and time travel with a pinch of mysticism and spirituality thrown in for good measure! More at www.markfox.co.uk - including a free ‘look in‘ - if you‘re curious...

Traci1 Congratulations! 2y
Mistermandolin Traci1 Thanks! 2y
Chrissyreadit Congratulations!!! 2y
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Caffeinated_Reader Sounds awesome congratulations! 2y
bibliothecarivs Congratulations! 2y
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Pickpick

Brunvand‘s been ploughing this furrow for quite a while now, proving that folkloristics can be...well, fun. We‘ve all heard the story: lonely motorist picks up rain-drenched hitchhiker on a country road in the middle of a stormy night. Ten miles further down the road he turns to offer him a cigarette and the guy‘s gone. Brumvand examines the richness and complexity of urban myths in a down-to-earth and accessible style. Social history at its best.

BookwormM Would you class this as short stories? Sounds like something hubby would enjoy but he will only read short stories 2y
Mistermandolin @BookwormM Not really short stories per se. The book contains analyses of testimonies and testimony-extracts describing ostensibly non-fictional encounters. 2y
BookwormM Thanks might see if the library have this that way nothing lost if he doesn‘t get on with it 2y
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Mistermandolin
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Pickpick

‘Notes and Queries‘ first appeared on 3rd November 1849 and quickly established itself as the nineteenth century‘s go-to miscellany of the odd and the eccentric. This book presents the best bits; questions and answers, mostly. My favourites (in no particular order): ‘ELEPHANTS: Are they aroused by mulberry blood and human earwax?‘; ‘GAME FEATHERS IN BEDDING: Do they delay death?‘; and ‘LEECHES: Can they predict the weather?‘ Terrific stuff.

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Mistermandolin
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Pickpick

Tremendous anthology with a most apt and appropriate title. If anybody‘s mind was awake it was Lewis‘s. The prose leaps off the page too: ‘A creature revolting against a creator is revolting against the source of his own powers - including even his power to revolt...It is like the scent of a flower trying to destroy the flower.‘ I‘m not sure I agree with him here but I sure as hell wish I could write like him.

LitStephanie I feel the same. I do not enjoy reading Christian apologists, but C.S. Lewis was such a great writer, the prose stands on its own. 2y
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Mistermandolin
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Panpan

Really struggling with this one. To read the reviews you‘d think this was a seismic moment in Ufological history but in truth it‘s dull as ditchwater and contains little or nothing new. In fact, it‘s just a re-hash of old stuff; decades old in many instances. Several weeks in and I‘m still only on page 65. Time to bail, I think. A major disappointment leading me to un-stack her latest on life after death. You can‘t win ‘em all.

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Mistermandolin
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Pickpick

Apparently we‘re ‘wired for God.‘ That is, we‘re biologically designed to experience episodes of ‘the divine.‘ I confess that this is the least surprising thing I‘ve heard in a long time. After all, God, should He exist, could surely only communicate with biological beings in a way which was congruent with their essence and nature. Foster demonstrates this lucidly and carefully and with an admirable deftness of touch. A very nice man, as well.

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Mistermandolin
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Pickpick

Anybody else like James Morrow? He‘s funny, clever and one of the most unclunky writers I‘ve ever come across. Like Towing Jehovah - my favourite - this one is sharp, philosophically literate and absolutely rewarding. I guess he‘s blasphemous but only vaguely so. Worth a go if you haven‘t already.

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Mistermandolin
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Pickpick

Interesting book. Ian Stevenson spent a lifetime trying to ‘prove‘ reincarnation via an examination of children‘s‘ ‘past life‘ memories. Shroder went along with him on some of his field trips and this book serves both as a popularisation of Stevenson‘s work and a travelogue in which he examines some of the best cases. It‘s readable, thought-provoking and a tad unsettling. I trust this evidence more than I do the evidence from regressive hypnosis.

BookwormM I am a believer so will have to check this out 2y
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Mistermandolin
I and Thou | Martin Buber
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Pickpick

‘Meeting with God does not come to man in order that he may concern himself with God, but in order that he may confirm that there is meaning in the world.‘ I sometimes wonder if that‘s why there are so many conspiracy theories about so many things nowadays. Something has to fill the meaning vacuum that opens up when God is displaced from the world. We were made for a bigger picture. We crave it. And so we draw it.

Sace That's deep. 2y
Chrissyreadit People do crave an answer and dichotomy brings inclusion on top of that. When you believe you are part of a “team” and need that to feel important you absorb the meaning and beliefs of that “team” and believe what is posited about the other “team” we are social creatures who do not actually depend on each other tribally. Just my thoughts because I love human behavior and sociology. 2y
Mistermandolin @Chrissyreadit So interesting. Belief formation is fascinating and complex. 2y
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AmyG @Chrissyreadit Very relevant today. 2y
Chrissyreadit @Mistermandolin it is fascinating and complex. 2y
Chrissyreadit @AmyG my son and I have been focusing on individualism vs collectivism in the development of the USA . The way we have studied it (although I have not read the tagged book just the concepts) agrees relations and views of relations define us but does not look at Relation to/with God, but we are not religious so we look through the lens of global religion and US belief systems. Luckily my kids like to discuss the same topics I do. 2y
Mistermandolin @Chrissyreadit Sounds like you have some fascinating discussions! 2y
Chrissyreadit @Mistermandolin we do. We get just as intense over Manga, Anime, Marvel and DC 🤣 2y
AmyG @Chrissyreadit The whole topic is fascinating. We discuss alot of politics in my house and I am lucky we are all in agreement. ;) (edited) 2y
Chrissyreadit @AmyG that definitely helps! We are also very political (shocking I‘m sure!) and very active in civic engagement. 2y
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Mistermandolin
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Pickpick

I re-read this a few weeks back in preparation for a small study group I lead. We were looking at anxiety and this book turned out to be helpful. Service for others, courage, confession, a ‘right view‘ of ourselves and the world: it all sounds so easy and right yet if you‘ve ever suffered from anxiety you‘ll know that all the rationality in the world won‘t make it go away. Talking about it helps, as we found in our group. Have a good week, folks.

AmyG You have a good week, too. 2y
gobecauseyoucan Very well stated, have a great week. 2y
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Mistermandolin
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Pickpick

Even when it was supposedly ‘new‘, the New Age wasn‘t really new. This book shows how almost a hundred years before the New Age the comparable ideas of Steiner, Gurdjieff and Madame Blavatsky herself had made significant inroads into the West. I love books like this, where the author‘s deftness of touch makes alive what in less capable hands would be drier than dust. What it also shows is the West‘s insatiable quest - even lust - for meaning.

rwmg It sounds intriguing 2y
Mistermandolin @rwmg It‘s certainly more proof - if more proof were needed - that there‘s really nothing new under the sun! 2y
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Mistermandolin
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Pickpick

What‘s ‘real‘? Could ‘this‘ all be a dream; a game; an illusion; a computer simulation? The Matrix and its sequels raised profound - some would say pointless - philosophical questions which had already been asked by philosophers from Plato to Descartes and all points in between. This book of essays explores their points of view non-technically and without unnecessary jargon, examining various answers to the ‘real‘ question along the way.

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Mistermandolin
Eve and Adam: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Readings on Genesis and Gender | Kristen E. Kvam, Linda S. Schearing, Valarie H. Ziegler, Valarie Ziegler
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Pickpick

Fascinating collection of textual ‘interpretations‘, diversions, reinventions and alternatives to the account of the creation of Adam and Eve as found in the Book of Genesis. Historical and cross-cultural, it provides ample testimony to the enduring power of the human religious imagination across time and space. ‘Inspired‘? Depends how you define that word. Challenging for sure, and never less than fascinating. And look at that cover!

AmyG Wild cover. 2y
rwmg Wishlisted 2y
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Mistermandolin
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Pickpick

Having been fortunate enough to share a stage with Prof Sheldrake in Oxford last year I was blown away by his talk. Gone are the days when ‘science‘ was pitted against ‘religion‘. As this marvellous book shows, science is becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of spirituality and has empirical proof to prove it. Meditation, gratitude, pilgrimage, ritual, singing and chanting all bestow benefits to body and soul - as Sheldrake lucidly shows.

paulfrankspencer Trying to get religious folks to see it goes the other way too. As science can affirm the worth of religion, theology affirms the mysteries of science. Gotta sit down with a book that dives deeply into it all to really appreciate it. 2y
Mistermandolin @paulfrankspencer Yep; absolutely. 2y
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Mistermandolin
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Pickpick

Like sociology, folkloristics has a reputation for being dry and reductive, but Bennett‘s sympathetic, testimony-driven approach means that this study of the supernatural experiences of British women is anything but. Wide-ranging, it covers ghosts, poltergeists, ESP, dreams, premonitions and fortune telling. I suspect Bennett‘s conclusions - these experiences exist and are worthy of study - are replicated in other cultural contexts too. Superb.

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Mistermandolin
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Pickpick

I enjoyed his books on Heaven and Judas and this one adopts a similar format: a multi-disciplinary history both accessible and very readable. This is one of those ‘sophisticated-folksy‘ books that informs as well as entertains and which will, I‘m sure, repay a return visit sometime. And for those who wonder where the angels have ‘gone‘: well Stanford covers that base too. I won‘t give the game away, except to say that they may walk among us still.