Nominations for our Jan. & Feb. 2005 book selection
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Author:  Chris OConnor [ Sat Nov 27, 2004 6:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Nominations for our Jan. & Feb. 2005 book selection

This thread is for making nominations for our January & February 2005 book selection. Please, please, please include an explanation for why you think your suggestion would be ideal for a BookTalk selection. Do not just post a book title. You'll greatly enhance the chances of seeing your suggestion on the next poll if you put some effort into selling us on your book.

You can simply copy and paste a description of the book from if you like. You don't have to type an essay as to why the book is so wonderful. Just do something to educate us on what the book is about and why you would like the community to read it. Please limit your suggestions to just a few. Thanks!

Important Note:

The next poll will be conducted in a slightly different fashion. Each BookTalk member that is qualified to cast a vote in the poll will be allowed 3 total votes. They can assign their 3 votes however they see fit. In other words, if there are 3 books on the poll they can assign their 3 votes evenly over the 3 selections, or all 3 on one book, or 2 on one and 1 on another. The choice is theirs.

We won't be using the actual EZBoard poll as it doesn't allow this sort of flexibility, but there is an advantage to not using that poll. It will not be necessary for members to follow-up their vote with a post telling us what book they selected. In our last poll 2 votes didn't even count, because 2 members didn't make the required follow-up post. So this should make voting easier and more honest.


Edited by: Chris OConnor  at: 12/13/04 9:12 am

Author:  Dissident Heart [ Sat Nov 27, 2004 11:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Religious Voices for Justice, Peace, and Ecological Wisdom

Liberating Faith: Religious Voices for Justice, Peace, and Ecological Wisdom
by Roger Gottlieb

I think this book would be an excellent choice for Booktalk discussion. Liberating Faith: Religious Voices for Justice, Peace, and Ecological Wisdom is an essential resource for making sense of the struggles for justice, peace and ecological sanity throughout the world religions in their many complex histories and turbulent evolution.

Professor Gottlieb has assembled the most important, influential, and powerful voices from Religious history providing a treasure chest of inspiration, agitation, information and outright revolution.

I think Booktalk should read a book about Religion from an author who practices within a Religious communtiy (Judaism in this case)...and I am certain we will discover an approach to the subject that is critical, thoughtful, focused upon dialogue and mutual transformation, as well as finding tools and resources for healing a ravaged planet. This book will provide a profound alternative to the usual fundamentalist screed or new age mush, and it will challenge the Atheist, Agnostic, Theist, take a stand regarding those issues in life that make peace, justice and ecological survival absolutely essential.

From the Amazon write up:

This sweeping new anthology shows how religion has joined with and learned from movements for social justice, peace, and ecological wisdom. Liberating Faith surveys the entire range of religious social activism: from liberation theology and feminist religion to ecotheology and peace activism.

It includes theology, social critique, position papers, denominational statements, manifestos, rituals, prayers, biographical accounts, and journalistic descriptions of real world struggles, beginning with a survey of ethical teachings from traditional sources.

Following sections deal with "precursor" voices before the 20th century, Gandhi's exemplary vision, overviews of the connections between religion, society, and political movements, and impassioned accounts of particular issues.

Containing voices from a multitude of traditions, national settings, and perspectives. Liberating Faith includes writings by Latin American liberation theologians and radical American religious activists, statements on social justice by the Pope and environmental morality by the Eastern Orthodox Patriarch, religious critiques of collective and interpersonal violence, passionate denunciations of racism and quiet eloquence which demands that we all stand up for morality in dark times.

Among the more than eighty authors are Thomas Berry, Thich Nhat Hanh, Abraham Heschel, Martin Luther King, Winona Laduke, Michael Lerner, Thomas Merton, Henri Nouwen, Judith Plaskow, Rosemary Ruether, and Vandana Shiva. An invaluable teaching resource and the definitive introduction to global religious social activism, this book offers a visionary alternative to both repressive fundamentalism and spiritless secularism.

Edited by: Dissident Heart at: 11/27/04 11:40 pm

Author:  pctacitus [ Mon Nov 29, 2004 5:54 am ]
Post subject:  So Many Books

I would like to nominate So Many Books: Reading and Publishing in an Age of Abundance by Gabriel Zaid.

I think we should choose this book because as a group we generally complain about not having enough time to read as much as we would like and this book deals with that subject.

From Publishers Weekly
"The human race publishes a book every thirty seconds," writes Mexican author and consultant Zaid. How can the average reader keep up with even a fraction of the latest new releases, let alone the multitude of classics stretching all the way back to Homer and Plato? The prospect is daunting to even the greatest bibliophile; furthermore, Zaid argues, people seem more interested in writing books than reading them (a recent survey shows 81% of Americans feel they should write a book). Though frustrated by this state of affairs, Zaid takes a philosophical perspective on the state of book publishing today, claiming that the industry doesn't always recognize one of its greatest strengths: its overwhelming diversity. In the publishing industry, a book that appeals to just a few thousand readers stands a good chance of getting published, whereas the commercial film industry and other mass media must function almost exclusively on a mega-budget scale. He celebrates the small printings that appeal to segmented clienteles, specialized niches, and members of different clubs of enthusiasts because "just a few thousand copies, read by the right people, are enough to change the course of conversation, the boundaries of literature, and our intellectual life." Not a groundbreaking book, but an appealing, meditative collection of thoughts and observations on the book industry and the state of literature in the early 21st century.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist
"The human race publishes a book every thirty seconds," observes Mexico City-based poet and essayist Zaid, and therefore "how is a single book among the millions to find its readers?" This is the conundrum upon which Zaid builds his incisive, wry, ultimately celebratory meditation on the chaotic and wasteful, yet exciting and felicitous world of books. Believing that culture is a conversation conducted on many levels around various foci, of which books constitute a vital and crucial number, Zaid reminds readers that books don't have to reach a huge audience to have impact but, rather, must be read by the right readers. Zaid also considers our ambivalence regarding books: we want them to be readily available--that is, produced and sold as commodities--but we also hold them sacred. He then parses the absurdities inherent in the economics of publishing, notes with stinging wit the frustrating fact that more people want to write than to read, and delights in the fecundity and diversity of book ecology. Lively, cosmopolitan, and piquant, Zaid's treatise will engage every serious reader. Donna Seaman

Author:  Mr. P [ Thu Dec 02, 2004 3:46 pm ]
Post subject:  The Radical Center

The Radical Center : The Future of American Politics

This bold book proposes to take American politics in a totally new direction--away from "our rigid two-party cartel" of Republicans and Democrats, and toward a centrism that currently doesn't exist in an electoral sense. "Our nation's politics are dominated by two feuding dinosaurs that have outlived the world in which they evolved," write Ted Halstead and Michael Lind. Both men are affiliated with the New America Foundation, and Lind is the provocative author of The Next American Nation and Vietnam: The Necessary War. They believe the ongoing technological revolution will transform American politics in fundamental ways, and most of The Radical Center advocates specific shifts across a range of issues. The result is a mishmash that isn't so much a set of new ideas as a blend of existing ones. Halstead and Lind want to enact private-school choice for students and parents (a conservative idea), for instance, and also to equalize funding by essentially abolishing the states' role in education (something that might appeal to liberals). Their goal, they say, is to increase personal choices where possible and minimize class inequalities where feasible.
Much of The Radical Center reads like a wonk's fantasy; Halstead and Lind identify policy problems everywhere they look--from voting rights to health care--and suggest solutions with the confidence of technocrats who believe they can remake the world. What they produce is a grab bag that will simultaneously fascinate and frustrate readers who start off ensconced on either the right or left of the political spectrum. How many people will favor both their idea of abolishing all corporate income taxes as well as their notion of implementing a new nationwide tax on consumption? But that's the point: Halstead and Lind try to forge a new politics that takes the best parts of today's left and right and abandons the rest as so much dead weight. The Radical Center is at once jarring and invigorating; readers willing to engage with it will wrestle with hard questions. Many may come away persuaded by large parts of Halstead and Lind's argument. And if the whole project sounds a tad ambitious, there's a reason: "Major political change in the United States, in short, tends to be revolutionary, not evolutionary." If that's true, then consider The Radical Center a manifesto for a new age that's right around the corner. --John Miller

Product Description:
Record numbers of Americans describe themselves as "independents" and reject the conventional agendas of Left and Right. In this widely acclaimed book, Ted Halstead and Michael Lind explain why today's ideologies and institutions are so ill-suited to the Information Age, and offer a groundbreaking blueprint for updating all sectors of America society. Taking on partisans and experts on both sides of the political divide, they propose far-reaching reforms for the way we provide health and retirement security, collect taxes, organize elections, enforce civil rights, and educate our children.

Twice before the United States has dramatically reconfigured itself, shifting from an agrarian to an industrial society after the Civil War and successfully adapting to the massive technological and demographic changes of the early twentieth century during the New Deal era. Uniting a sweeping historical vision with bold policy proposals, The Radical Center shows us how to reinvent our nation once again so that all Americans can reap the benefits of the Information Age.


I think this is a very important topic to discuss. Since change will not come from within the workings of our system, we, the people, need to starting thinking more about how we can change it from without!

Mr. P.

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

I came to get down, I came to get down. So get out ya seat and jump around - House of Pain

HEY! Is that a ball in your court? - Mr. P

I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper

Author:  Tiarella [ Thu Dec 02, 2004 5:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: book suggestions

I've been looking around's nonfiction section. I was tempted by a Jared Diamond book, but then I saw this: Gates of Injustice: The Crisis in America's Prisons by Alan Elsner. Amazon's page is here: Would this interest anyone else? I apologize for the focus on US prisons. If anyone can recommend something else on the subject of crime & punishment in society, I'd welcome it. :)

p.s. - Sam, when I scrolled down, I missed your post - I'd not have gone looking if I'd seen yours. ;)

Edited by: Tiarella at: 12/2/04 5:39 pm

Author:  Mr. P [ Fri Dec 03, 2004 5:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Mendeleyev's Dream : The Quest For the Elements

Mendeleyev's Dream : The Quest For the Elements

by Paul Strathern

On the night of February 17, 1869, the Russian scientist Dmitri Mendeleyev went to bed frustrated by a puzzle he had been playing with for years: how the atomic weights of the chemical elements could be grouped in some meaningful way--and one that, with any luck, would open a window onto the hidden structure of nature. He dreamed, as he later recalled, of "a table where all the elements fell into place as required." His intuition that when the elements were listed in order of weight, their properties repeated in regular intervals, gave rise to the Periodic Table of the Elements--which, though much revised since, underlies modern chemistry.
Mendeleyev's discovery brackets Paul Strathern's learned and literate history of chemistry. He traces the origins of that science, as it is understood in the West, to the Greek philosopher Thales of Miletus, who backed up his surmises about the nature of things with evidence and used arguments "entirely within the realm of this world." From Thales's day, Strathern takes us into the studies of Arabic-speaking scientists such as Avicenna and Al-Razi, who preserved classical science and added to it their own insights; introduces us to the medieval alchemists who in turn preserved the work of Islamic scholars while questing to discover the inner secrets of matter (and perhaps make a little gold in the bargain); and leads us into the early modern world of such greats as Lavoisier, Van Helmont, and Cavendish, who added rigorous methodology and important discoveries to that quest.

Strathern relates false steps and true breakthroughs alike, and his narrative is a pleasure to read. --Gregory McNamee

Mr. P.

The one thing of which I am positive is that there is much of which to be negative - Mr. P.

I came to get down, I came to get down. So get out ya seat and jump around - House of Pain

HEY! Is that a ball in your court? - Mr. P

I came to kick ass and chew Bubble Gum...and I am all out of Bubble Gum - They Live, Roddy Piper

Author:  LanDroid [ Sat Dec 04, 2004 7:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Imperial Hubris

How about Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror by Michael Scheuer or perhaps Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama Bin Laden, Radical Islam & the Future of America by the same author? I don't have a strong sales pitch other than the author was a long term CIA analyst and it sounds like these books contain critical information on the course of action the U.S. has taken.

Edited by: LanDroid at: 12/4/04 7:53 pm

Author:  Chris OConnor [ Mon Dec 13, 2004 9:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Unknown

In another thread Interbane suggested...

If no one has read the book yet, I'd recommend "Man is the Measure" by Rueben Abel for next month. It's somewhat of an introduction to philosophy and is very comprehensive. I've just started it, so I'd be able to participate in any discussions of it.


Author:  Dissident Heart [ Mon Dec 13, 2004 6:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Context for Religious Voices for Peace and Justice

Here's a few more books written by Roger Gottlieb that will help to place his book Liberating Faith: Religious Voices for Justice, Peace, and Ecological Wisdom within a more comprehensive context.

From Joining Hands: Politics and Religion Together for Social Change

Did Martin Luther King's spiritual understanding of political struggle truly help the Civil Rights movement? Can breast cancer victims incorporate both spiritual wisdom and political action in their fight for life? Confronting questions that challenge the foundations of both politics and spirituality, Roger S. Gottlieb presents a brave new account of how religious ethics and progressive movements share a common vision of a transformed world.

In doing so, he offers a bold and eloquent affirmation: that authentic religion requires an activist, transforming presence in the political world, and that the moral and psychological insights of religion are indispensable resources in political struggles for democracy, human rights and ecological sanity. With original and compelling interpretations of Martin Luther King and the civil rights struggle, feminism, disability rights, the global environmental movement, and the fight for breast cancer, Joining Hands will alter the way spiritual seekers, political activists, and society as a whole think about the political role of religion and the spiritual component of politics.

Deep Ecology and World Religions: New Essays on Sacred Ground (S U N Y Series in Radical Social and Political Theory)

Deep ecology, a valuation of the ecosystem or the whole system of life that does not necessarily involve a god, serves as the focal point of the 13 religious essays featured in this collection. As the editors point out, deep ecology suggests a moral, political, and spiritual stance that challenges religions to respond, out of their specific traditions, to the complex phenomenon of environmental philosophy, religious cosmology, and public policy. Barnhill (intercultural and religious studies, Guilford Coll.) and Gottlieb (philosophy, Worcester Polytechnic Inst.) excel at assembling disparate voices from a variety of world traditions, from Hinduism and Confucianism to Christian ecofeminism and New Age spirituality, and they present their concerns in a straightforward manner.

Some contributors struggle openly with deep ecology's issues, some find harmony, and others embrace ecocentrism over religion, hoping to locate a sense of the divine in the process. Overall, this is a satisfying discussion that showcases the complexities of thoughtful human engagement with our natural environment.

A Spirituality of Resistance: Finding a Peaceful Heart and Protecting the Earth

Invoking the spirits of Dorothy Day, Abraham Joshua Heschel and Martin Luther King Jr., Gottlieb (This Sacred Earth: Religion, Nature, Environment) strives to shape a personal spirituality marked by social justice. Most often, he says, people associate spirituality with personal happiness and inner peace. The author notes that most methods of spiritual practice encourage individual growth and spiritual self-esteem. Yet, says Gottlieb, this turn inward spiritually detaches people from the problems of the world where they live their everyday lives.

Gottlieb argues that we must stop separating spirituality from social responsibility and instead recognize that our spirituality imbues all our political and social decisions. The author uses the massive evils of the Holocaust and the destruction of the environment to illustrate his thesis that religious people often separate the spiritual from the political. Urging spiritual seekers to identify resistance with spiritual fulfillment, Gottlieb asserts that in such an act "we encounter the face of God, awaken to the call of the Goddess, and realize our deepest connections to the mysteries of human life."

Gottlieb's brand of spirituality promotes the achievement of true peace and oneness with all of reality through embracing evil and pain. Gottlieb's pleas for a spirituality that overcomes and resists evil even as it embraces it are eloquent and passionate.

Author:  MichaelangeloGlossolalia [ Thu Dec 16, 2004 10:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Context for Religious Voices for Peace and Justice

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Amazon's review: "Arguably the best book ever on what is increasingly becoming the science of persuasion. Whether you're a mere consumer or someone weaving the web of persuasion to urge others to buy or vote for your product, this is an essential book for understanding the psychological foundations of marketing. Recommended."

"Some people just won't take no for an answer. In Influence, Dr. Robert Cialdini explains the six psychological principles that drive our powerful impulse to comply to the pressures of others and shows how we can defend ourselves against manipulation (or put the principles to work in our own interest)."

Reader reviews:
"This is most certainly not only a book about negotiation, it is for anyone interested in a gripping read about human psychology and our subconscious response to external stimuli. An interesting example: if you are at a party and you begin talking with a member of the opposite sex whom you find moderately attractive, it is very likely that your initial assessment of this person will decrease when a "beautiful" girl or guy ambles over to join the conversation. Obviously the first person did not morph into someone physically different, but did become comparatively less appealing when smothered in the shadow cast by the "beautiful" person."

Author:  Unknown [ Tue Sep 18, 2007 11:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Unknown

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