Yes, I know Eliade was in the Iron Guard as a young snot. That said, this book is brilliant at connecting the dots between religious traditions and rituals, and helped me understand why certain things work even in BDSM and shamanistic rituals. A good tight concise read. Helped me find my way out of the fundamentalism in which I was raised, too.

I was really torn between this and "Slaughterhouse Five" for my Vonnegut selection. S5 was what first hooked me in 9th grade, and hearing about the insane hypocrisy of war from a "good war" veteran really spoke to me. But this is the book whose message reaches me now: "We are who we pretend to be, so we must be careful about who we pretend to be".

Yeah, I know every bozo in the world likely has this on their shelf. It's still a gorgeous book of poetry, and something I re-read regularly.

The captures both the ecstatic highs and crushing pain of love better than anything I have ever read. Drives me almost to tears every single time I read it.

I am too alone in the world, and not alone enough
to make every minute holy.

I could really put several of his books here, but this one is especially essential. It's amazing the consider that with the beauty of Conrad's prose, English was his THIRD language behind Polish and French. Helped me also to understand that atrocities and genocide aren't new but a recurring ugly fact of human civilization.

How could any unusual person growing up in the late 20th century avoid these? Yes, I read the beat up old paperback editions with this paintings by Tolkien on them. And as good as the Jackson movies are, the images inside my head will top anything in those movies.

This is a book I wind up returning to when I need to re-center myself. It's not 100% right, but that's what I love about Zen influenced works: keep what works, and leave the rest behind.

A book that was important when I was in my teens and helped me think in different directions.

Some books that have been important to me.... in no particular order. This one I read in college, when I was really starting to figure out I was not entirely straight and I was kinky.

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