Literary Adventures: September Reads

What I Read In September

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September was the beginning of cozy season here in Saskatchewan, Canada (also known as fall/winter). So, when I was not editing books, I was reading them. Coffee in hand (like it had to be said) and comfort at optimal levels (slippers on).

Here’s what I dove into this month.

***No spoilers, I promise***

1. The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav

Many people feel that “heart-centred” means mushy and sentimental, but that is actually the opposite of heart-centred. Becoming heart-centred means choosing to act from loving parts of your personality instead of frightened parts of your personality. In other words, moving from being unconsciously controlled by fearful emotions. Once you can do this, you are in a position to change your life, your future, and your world.
— Gary Zukav

I’m going to be honest with you (as per usual)…

I read this because Oprah told me to. Do you ever really need any other reason?

And, do you know what? I’m really freaking glad I did. This book opened my mind to perspectives that I, personally, had not been introduced too previous to reading it and that is something I strive to find in every book I pick up. While many people might entitle the subject matter as “woo-woo”, I found it to be incredibly eye-opening and enlightening. I took my time with it, read it a chapter at a time, and really let the intention behind his words sink in. And, when I was left feeling somewhat lost in the grandiose notions the included study guide and meditations where equal parts helpful and fascinating.

The matter-of-fact way Gary Zukav broached topics such as “authentic power” and fear based decisions really resonated with me and, if nothing else, lit a spark in me around the motivations behind my choices and actions. It has left me contemplating the way I would like to live my life from a new perspective and I’ll call that a win.

With lucidity and elegance, Zukav explains that we are evolving from a species that pursues power based upon the perceptions of the five senses -- external power -- into a species that pursues authentic power -- power that is based upon the perceptions and values of the spirit. He shows how the pursuit of external power has produced our survival-of-the-fittest understanding of evolution, generated conflict between lovers, communities, and superpowers, and brought us to the edge of destruction. Using his scientist's eye and philosopher's heart, Zukav shows how infusing the activities of life with reverence, compassion, and trust makes them come alive with meaning and purpose. He illustrates how the emerging values of the spirit are changing marriages into spiritual partnerships, psychology into spiritual psychology, and transforming our everyday lives. The Seat of the Soul describes the remarkable journey to the spirit that each of us is on. (Synopsis as found of Goodreads)

If you are looking for a book to light a spark around the power of your intentions and on the importance of living a conscious life, you can get The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav here.

2. Sin and Syntax: How to Craft wicked good prose by constance hale

True prose stylists carry on an impassioned lifelong love affair with words, banishing mediocre ones like so many uninteresting suitors, burnishing the good ones till they shimmer. Be infatuated, be seduced, be obsessed.
— Constance Hale

I was assigned this books while taking a copy-editing class during my book publishing certificate program and never have I thought I would love a book about grammar so much.

Constance Hale’s wit and charismatic writing style had me inspired to pick up a pen, a thesaurus, and a dictionary, while simultaneously making me laugh every step of the way.

My copy (which I’ve now read twice) is full of scribbles, highlighted passages, post-its, and folded corners. All the tell tale signs of a book I’m destined to read over and over again.

The use of everyday real world examples of written word gone wrong, makes every lesson digestible and, even maybe, entertaining. For this reason and for so many others, I suspect that even if grammar isn’t your jam, you will enjoy this book as much as I did.

Today’s writers need more spunk than Strunk: whether it's the Great American e-mail, Madison Avenue advertising, or Grammy Award-winning rap lyrics, memorable writing must jump off the page. Copy veteran Constance Hale is on a mission to make creative communication, both the lyrical and the unlawful, an option for everyone. With its crisp, witty tone, Sin and Syntax covers grammar’s ground rules while revealing countless unconventional syntax secrets (such as how to use—Gasp!—interjections or when to pepper your prose with slang) that make for sinfully good writing. Discover how to: Distinguish between words that are “pearls” and words that are “potatoes”, Avoid “couch potato thinking” and “commitment phobia” when choosing verbs, Use literary devices such as onomatopoeia, alliteration, and metaphor (and understand what you're doing). Everyone needs to know how to write stylish prose—students, professionals, and seasoned writers alike. Whether you’re writing to sell, shock, or just sing, Sin and Syntax is the guide you need to improve your command of the English language. (Synopsis as found of Goodreads)

If you are looking to get lost in a world of dangling modifiers, wickedly entertaining prose, and a refreshing take on grammar I highly suggest you grab yourself a copy of Sin and Syntax: How to Craft Wicked Good Prose.

3. The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower I) + the drawing of three (The dark tower II) by Stephen King

Few if any seemed to have grasped the Principle of Reality; new knowledge leads always to yet more awesome mysteries. Greater physiological knowledge of the brain makes the existence of the soul less possible yet more probable by the nature of the search.
— Stephen King, The Gunslinger

Ok, so I’m going to let you in on a little secret…

This series is the first ever Stephen King book I’ve ever read.

I finished the first book in a daze. Literally dazed and confused about what the hell I had just read. I don’t think I could have explained what it was about, if you had paid me…and yet, I eagerly picked up the continuation.

Something about The Gunslinger had me equal measures confused, intrigued, and impressed. It is a book that is mystical, historical, sentimental, and just a little bit dirty. It leaves you wondering where it’s heading every step of the way without giving you any hints whatsoever. It also has you wondering where Roland has come from with the same degree of frustrating intrigue.

This worked perfectly to keep me turning every page until, before I knew it, I was done and had volume II in my hand. In the continuation of the epic I was equally intrigued and impressed by Stephen King’s attention to detail, humour, and ability to seamlessly carry the reader across times and points of view. The book has action packed sequences and continues to keep you intrigued enough to want to pick up The Waste Lands (The Dark Tower III).

THE GUNSLINGER: In the first book of this brilliant series, Stephen King introduces readers to one of his most enigmatic heroes, Roland of Gilead, The Last Gunslinger. He is a haunting figure, a loner on a spellbinding journey into good and evil. In his desolate world, which frighteningly mirrors our own, Roland pursues The Man in Black, encounters an alluring woman named Alice, and begins a friendship with the Kid from Earth called Jake. Both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike, The Gunslinger leaves readers eagerly awaiting the next chapter. (Synopsis as found on Goodreads)

THE DRAWING OF THREE: While pursuing his quest for the Dark Tower through a world that is a nightmarishly distorted mirror image of our own, Roland, the last gunslinger, encounters three mysterious doorways on the beach. Each one enters into the life of a different person living in contemporary New York. Here he links forces with the defiant young Eddie Dean and the beautiful, brilliant, and brave Odetta Holmes, in a savage struggle against underworld evil and otherworldly enemies. (Synopsis as found on Goodreads)

I love me a good world building series so I will definitely be continuing on to Volume III. Shall we adventure together?

If you are looking to get lost in a seven book epic filled with gunslingers, mystery, time travel, and mutant lobsters, click to grab your copy of the The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower I) + The Drawing of Three (The dark tower II).