11 / 88 (12.5%)
also: I call this self-education, because I read to expand my mind (and enjoy myself). Some are fiction, some aren't -- but every book is a collection of thoughts from someone else, and by comparing/contrasting my way of thinking with the ways presented in the book, I can broaden my views. My brain also runs differently when reading -- I can't explain it but it makes my ways of thinking more organized somehow. It's like mental stretching, I suppose -- it makes me more mentally limber. :D
1. The Merlin Effect by T. A. Barron
Young Adult book, I decided to read it because several of the previous novels by this author were so imaginative and had some jewel-like truths hidden in them. But this one was a disappointment. I dislike Arthurian legend to begin with, and so it didn't give me much to be interested in.
2. The Girls Next Door: Into the Heart of Lesbian America by Lindsy Van Gelder & Pamela Robin Brandt
This was, hands down, one of the top 10 best books I've ever read and definitely the best non-fiction. It opened my eyes in so many ways -- especially to the horror of mainstream culture. When compared to lesbian culture, which celebrates values that are usually defined as 'feminine', mainstream culture's true disconnectedness and disrespect of self and others is thrown into sharp relief. I'm so glad I randomly decided to buy this book when I saw it at the used bookstore -- I've learned so much. And it's a good thing that I bought it rather than borrowing, because otherwise I would have been frustrated at not being able to dog-ear the pages that had something that struck me as especially profound:
:D (when the book practically doubles in thickness, you know it's amazing) I skimmed through my dog-eared pages to pick a quote, but it covers so many topics that there is no one 'bit' that would be an accurate representation. It's full of personal stories and quotes from various people, which I love because it gives such a real glimpse. I'd recommend this book to every person -- straight people, so that they can see the flaws in mainstream culture and be galvanized to change them, as well as clearing up commonly-believed myths; and lesbian/bisexual/queer/gay people, so they can be inspired by the strength and power of the stories. READ IT.
3. The Magic and the Healing by Nick O'Donohoe
4. Under the Healing Sign by Nick O'Donohoe
5. The Healing of Crossroads by Nick O'Donohoe
YA series, but so imaginative and vivid! about a woman who is going to vet school and gets an unusual assignment -- to go to another world and heal legendary creatures, unicorns, griffins, etc. Some very unique creatures and great plot twists -- I especially liked the werewolves.
6. Mara, Daughter of the Nile by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
This was good in some ways; I liked the characters and thought the plot was interesting, but the characters were a liiiittle stereotyped and the historical accuracy was utter shit. Several times I put it down and yelled with frustration at how the author used modern culture instead of doing her research *grrrr* BUT it reminded me strongly of a daydream I used to have, being an escaped slave girl in Egypt, so I enjoyed it anyway. ;-)
7. Ramses: The Son of Light by Christian Jacq
Ahh, like a warm dry fluffy cozy bed after standing naked in a freezing rain, this was SO wonderful to read after Mara. It's written by an Egyptologist so it's VERY historically accurate, and beautifully captures the feel of the day, particularly in the roles of women. The concept of Ma'at and vital religious beliefs and rituals are woven in inextricably, to the point where these ideas which are alien to our culture become expected within the world of the novel. And of course, the story is fascinating. Characterization is not as important -- you get the feel that you are watching like a fly on the wall, rather than becoming each character by turn. Normally this would make my interest much less, but in this case it works.
8. Keeping You a Secret by Julie Anne Peters
My lil sis' favorite book -- she lent it to me ;-) It's the story of two teens who fall in love -- it's by turns sweet, wrenching, and thought-provoking. It's very well-written, but the plot seems a little melodramatic sometimes: some things happen that I have a hard time believing in. Still, definitely worth the read.