Society Magazine

READING REPORT: February 13, 2015

By Berniegourley @berniegourley

Welcome to a special Friday the 13th edition of the Reading Report. What’s so special about it? If you’re not deluded by superstition, then not much. If you are superstitious, reading this post may cause you to suffer a plague of locusts (or whatever plagues your particular geographic area.)


Now that we’ve gotten rid of the illiterate ninnies, we can get down to discussing books.


I finished two books this week–one nonfiction and one fiction. I’ll be posting book reviews within the next couple weeks.


The nonfiction book was called Yoga Body: The Origins of Modern Posture Practice. The author’s intriguing and controversial thesis is that yoga as it’s practiced in studios around the world today nothing to do with traditional Indian yoga, but, instead, owes it’s existence to European calisthenics and bodybuilding systems and the Indians that borrowed from them. I didn’t find the author’s argument compelling for a number of reasons that I’ll get into in my review. This isn’t to suggest that I’m certain he’s wrong. He may be right, but the way he constructed his argument left a great deal of room for doubt.



The fiction book was a graphic novel entitled The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Vol. 1). For those of you who haven’t seen the movie featuring Sean Connery, this comic book gathers together a team of protagonists from 19th century science fiction and adventure novels. The team consists of Mina Harker (of Bram Stoker’s Dracula), Allan Quatermain (of H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines), Captain Nemo (a Jules Verne recurring character), Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde (Robert Louis Stevenson’s title characters), and Hawley Griffin (of H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man). One needn’t have read all those classic stories to follow this book, but being a fan of 19th century tales of the fantastic definitely makes it more fun. The story depicted in this volume has nothing to do with the movie plot.



I’m more than halfway through a couple of books that I mentioned in earlier Reading Reports, they are Why Do People Get Ill? and The Mandala of Sherlock Holmes.  I read chapters 7 through 9 of the former book, which had to do with the expression of symptoms, the heart as a symbol and that symbol’s expression in illness, and the impact of mother’s experiences on infants and children. In the latter book, Holmes has arrived in Tibet, and the plot thickens. The author is Tibetan, and so has some unique insights. However, some chapters advance the story with action, and others are almost like travelogue.


I’m still early into reading two books that I’ve previously mentioned. The first is Zen and the BrainIn this book I’ve transitioned out of the part explaining Zen and the author’s experience of that tradition, and am now into the part that lays down the basic neuroscience. While the author writes in a readable style, for a neuroscientist, this is still challenging reading because of its scientific nature and the complexity of the brain. However, the chapters I read recently both raise some fascinating questions and provide useful information. The chapter I just finished dealt in part with the neurochemistry of addiction. I like that this book is divided up into short chapters. This is beneficial for taking in such complicated information. I need frequent think-breaks to ruminate on what I’ve read.



The second is The Pyjama Game. After a slow start, the last two chapters have contained some fascinating information. One of these chapters dealt with the history of jujutsu, particularly as Japan transitioned from medieval to modern. The other chapter outlined Kanō Jigorō‘s development of judō.


I bought three books this week.


The first is entitled Healing Moves, and is by a married couple consisting of a fitness writer and a cardiologist. This book addresses a topic that is a prevailing theme in my nonfiction reading as of late, which is what movement, exercise, and physical activity can do to improve one’s health (not just one’s fitness.)



The second book is Greatest Ever Boxing Workouts.  This book presents information about what boxers like Mike Tyson, Manny Pacquiao, and Floyd Mayweather do to prepare for fights. It’s a follow-up to an earlier book that included fighters like Muhammad Ali and Roy Jones Jr.



Finally, I just got a short story collection on Kindle Daily Deal the other day entitled Lovecraft’s Monsters.  This isn’t a collection of H.P. Lovecraft stories, but rather is an anthology of stories inspired by Lovecraft’s work.


By in Books, fiction, Literature, nonfiction, Reading on February 13, 2015.

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