Teaser Tuesday

So, here’s the idea: Every Tuesday you:

Grab your current read

Let the book fall open to a random page

Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!

There is only one VERY IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER:

*** Do NOT post anything that could spoil the plot of the book!!! ***

If your sentences that fall between lines 7 and 12 on the page you turn to give too much away, choose a different page, or a different spot on the page… we don’t want to ruin any surprises for anyone!

Every Tuesday, on the “TEASER TUESDAYS” posts, leave a link to your blog post where you’ve shared your “Teaser“. If you don’t have a blog, share the teaser in a comment on that week’s “Teaser” post. :D

This week's Teaser:


"There are many people who pride themselves on their honest speech and claim to say what is on their mind. But it is surprising how often this approach is just a channel or vent for their negativities - the anger, the ill-will, and the jealousy in their minds."
~ From "Into the Heart of Life" by Tenzin Palmo, p. 88

Monday Blogcrawl


I'm working on my thesis, people - busy scribbling away and sinking my head into books both fascinating and incomprehensible. But, being me, my mind wanders to thoughts of how I might be able to better capitalise on all this industry and turn it into an opportunity to self-promote...would welcome any ideas. Here are some interesting things I've been reading:

Stephanie Dowrick's new book advertised in this month's Science of Mind Magazine

For all of my friends and readers in America, exciting news.
One of my absolute favourite books from last year has been released in America, and was advertised prominently in this month's Science of Mind Magazine.



Stephanie Dowrick's newest book Seeking the Sacred is a thought-provoking and uplifting book - you can read my review of it here.
Stephanie is one of Australia's most beloved and bestselling authors, and has for many years enjoyed an established readership in the United States, where her books are distributed by Tarcher.
So rush down to your local bookstore and grab a copy of Seeking the Sacred for a fascinating look at the growing desire for sacredness and transcendence in our everyday lives.

Alexander's Red Hymn Book

Unless you go to church regularly (and I doubt that very much) you are probably unaware that in the Christian world there are two subjects that tear religious communities apart. The first is homosexuality, and you are probably pretty much au fait with its controversies. The second is hymns. And I would say that it is probably the latter issue that gets people angriest. So emotive are these two issues that at one stage the Uniting Church magazine placed an embargo on discussion of either topic on its pages.
What's so divisive about hymns, I hear you ask? Well, up until the mid-70s people in churches across the country sang pretty much the same hymns, most of them at least a century old, many older. These were the songs that people grew up with, the songs they were married to and buried with, and their tunes and lyrics became a part of Western popular culture. New standards were gathered along the way, but at a stately pace. One very rarely heard a "new" hymn sung at any church, no matter what the denomination. Hymns were sung to the accompaniment of an organ (in my case frequently being played by a relative), were filled with "thees," "thous" and "thines" and contained ample doses of fire and brimstone and evocation of Christ as king and humans as miserable sinners - just think of the line in Amazing Grace about saving "a wretch like me."
In Protestant churches in Australia the main hymn book used was Alexander's red Hymns, and I recently came into possession of a copy from the early 1960s that had belonged to my great grandmother.



Just seeing the distinctive red cover made me nostalgic, and the book automatically fell open at Hymn No. 252, Abide With Me - obviously a great favourite.



I also gloried in the index at the back, containing the first line of the hymns - a universal way of recognising and naming hymns in those days. Special favourites had been marked by her with a pen.




But fashions change, and Christian denominations across the board began to get with the times around the middle of the 1970s. Organs were torn out from churches and were replaced with acoustic guitars, recorders and pastors playing the bongo drums. The old hymns were largely abandoned and replaced with 70s soft-rock that soon became instantly recognisable as a special genre all of its own. The tradition continues today at mega-churches like Hillsong. Occasionally the old tunes were kept but replaced with gender-inclusive and more uplifting language. The "Wretch like me" became the "Soul like me."
Christians of a progressive stripe become quite furious now whenever they hear an old hymn sung, decrying the chauvinistic language and the bad theology. I once witnessed a woman cry at a progressive conference because we'd sung Jerusalem.
But deep in the hearts of many an old Methodist lurks a secret passion for the old hymns, and I have heard of secret progressive parties where people sit around an organ with a copy of Alexander's singing the old tunes in a spirit, supposedly of irony, but I suspect of true nostalgia and affection.

New Books for July - History & Biography

My room is filling up so fast I actually have no more room to put things. If I want to place a glass or a piece of paper on a flat surface I have to dislodge something. I need a new house. Until then, I keep buying new books. Here are some history/biography/autobiographies that I have ready to read. From the top:



  • The Hare With Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal - Just about everyone's favourite book, I think.
  • English Eccentrics by Edith Sitwell - A Folio Society edition, I already own a copy of this, but it's in paperback, I couldn't resist it.
  • Love Undetectable by Andrew Sullivan - Everyone's favourite gay conservative. A collection of essays, including a very good one on the "gay cure" movement.
  • At Home by Bill Bryson - I haven't read Bryson in years. I wondered why he stopped writing travel books?
  • The Darkened Room by Alex Owen - An examination of women & Spiritualism in Victorian England. This one is for my thesis, but I have a feeling I am going to enjoy reading it.
  • Intimate Journals by Charles Baudelaire
  • Keep the River on Your Right by Tobias Schneebaum - I have been wanting to read this one for years. Gay New Yorker goes to South America, lives with a cannibal tribe and has sex with the warriors. And it's all true!
  • Julian of Norwich: A Contemplative Biography by Amy Frykholm - This one was recommended on a blog I read and like. I have been fascinated by Julian of Norwich for many years.
  • I'm Over All That by Shirley Maclaine
  • For Nelson Mandela - Oh dear, I bought this one by accident.
  • Joan Crawford by David Bret
  • The Quality of Mercy by William Shawcross - An examination of the Cambodian holocaust, for my next book.

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

Grab your current read

Open to a random page

Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!



My teasers:

"We're never alone. As soon as we step outside the campfire glow, our Muse lights on our shoulder like a butterfly. The act of courage calls forth infallibly that deeper part of ourselves that supports and sustains us."






Summary:


What keeps so many of us from doing what we long to do? Why is there a naysayer within? How can we avoid the roadblocks of any creative endeavor—be it starting up a dream business venture, writing a novel, or painting a masterpiece? The War of Art identifies the enemy that every one of us must face, outlines a battle plan to conquer this internal foe, then pinpoints just how to achieve the greatest success.

I have just become hooked on this book - it seems to be speaking directly to me. A must-read for anyone who wants to lead a creative and fulfilling life.

Hear Travel Writer Rosamund Burton speak at Neutral Bay


MONDAY 18TH JULY, 2011

The Southern Cross Academy of Light
St John’s Uniting Church Hall, cnr of Yeo Street and Barry Street, Neutral Bay. Enter off Barry Street. Session starts 7:30pm. Entry Fee: $15, concession $10.


Discover the richness of Ireland’s Celtic spirituality as Rosamund Burton, author of Castles, Follies and Four-Leaf Clovers, talks about walking Ireland’s little known ancient highway and pilgrim route, St Declan’s Way. Learn about Brigid, who is revered as both a goddess and a saint, and sheela-na-gigs, the female fertility figures carved above the entrances of churches. Hear about the fairy forts, the holy wells and springs and the age-old Ogham alphabet, each letter of which is associated with a tree.
Though born in Ireland, Rosamund Burton grew up in England until her father got a job in Lismore, mid-way along St Declan’s Way. She went on to become an actress performing in both Dublin and London. Then she worked for England’s first left-wing think-tank before coming to Australia to join the organizing team for the Mind Body Spirit Festival. She now writes for a range of newspapers and magazines.
To see more about Castles, Follies and Four-Leaf Clovers go to Allen & Unwin’s website by clicking here.

Quantum Tarot Version 2.0

Quantum Tarot Version 2.0


This a beautiful tarot deck for anyone who loves the universe and its mysteries. I became quite absorbed in the cards and their imagery, even though I am not much of a science nerd. The deck would certainly appeal to anyone who loves science and the night skies.


The cards are exquisitely produced, embossed and filled with the tiniest detail. Every time you look at a card you discover something new, and they really have been crafted beautifully. But this is definitely NOT a tarot for beginners – you need to know the cards pretty well to make the best use of this deck. At the risk of sounding sexist, I would like to suggest that this would make a great men’s deck, because its emphasis on science, physics, mathematics and the natural world is suitably macho, and the whole vibe is boyish.


Some interesting details:

The Hierophant is Isaac Newton.

The Tower card is one of the World Trade Centre Towers being split in two – a striking, disturbing, though still beautifully rendered image. It works powerfully.

The Chariot card has an image of Einstein and his famous formula.

The Major Arcana focus on the theories of Quantum Physics, the minor cards focus on the phenomena. So for example the 2 of wands is “Planet Formation” and the 3 of swords is the “red dwarf”

The Court Cards daw on the mythic archetypes of the stars and constellations, and will drive any astrologer wild with wonder. Eg. The King of Pentacles is Saturn, the Queen of Cups is Andromeda.


I love the deck and would readily use it personally. It's a beautiful choice for a teenage boy, with just the right energy of masculinity, adventure and mystery.The blurb for the cards describe the deck as "Modern science meets the ancient spiritual system of the tarot" and "A tarot of the New Physics." So if you liked What the Bleep Do We Know? you will almost certainly love this deck. It is literally exciting to use – some of the great sense of possibility of quantum physics is translated through the clever artwork.

Cool and beautifully designed, the cards I loved best draw extensively on images from the Hubble Space Telescope. I know a couple of people who reject spirituality altogether, but whose love of science would draw them to this deck and make them want to explore it. It’s a really interesting bridge between two worlds, and I think you will be intrigued by it.

Some North Queensland Moments

I am just back from some time in North Queensland, where I grew up.



Ravioli at the Oasis Coffee Lounge, Ingham - my hometown has a big Italian population, and we grew up eating delicious and wholesome food like this. A big plate of ravs at the Oasis is essential whenevr I visit.



Canefields on the edge of town, Ingham - Ingham is a sugar town, and you don't have to drive far to hit a cane farm.


The W. W. Mason Bridges, Cairns - Named after my great-grandfather, this is the bridge that leads you North out of Cairns


Frogs restaurant, Kuranda - I don't care what the haters say, I love Kuranda.



The Ingham water tower - for some reason I am obsessed with this structure, and always want to see it whenever I go back.

"Beautiful Malice" Spotted at Townsville Airport Bookshop


I love it when friends see copies of my book Destination Saigon "in the wild" at bookshops. And I get just as much of a thrill when I see the books of friends out and about in their natural habitat.
So this morning I was delighted to discover the new B-Format of Rebecca James' wonderful book Beautiful Malice proudly on display at Townsville airport.
If you haven't yet read Beautiful Malice, do yourself a favour and grab a copy, as it is one of the most orginal and chilling reads around. Rebecca's book rightly sold foreign rights in over 30 countries, so Beautiful Malice has been an outstanding international success, by any standards. Before the book even came out it had earned over a million dollars!
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