Sunday, October 30, 2011

Recommended "Boomer Reading" for the Season

First, a brief announcement: I'm down another 2 lbs. I'm pleased.

Now to the topic, fall reading. Much is said about "summer reading lists," but I would also propose that the cooling of the weather, shortening of the daytime hours (be sure to set your clocks back one hour on Saturday night, November 5th!), and the end-of-the-year contemplation in which many of us engage may cause us to consider a good book or two.

Here are some of my favorites:

Monday Morning Memoirs: Women in the Second Half of Life. In this anthology, I would like to call particular attention to the essays of my former Burbank High School classmate, Hillary Horan: "The Swollen Penis," "Miss Rose Kathleen," and "The Trust Thing." This is edited by Maureen Murdock, formerly of Pacifica Graduate Institute (where I did my own doctoral studies), and also now at the UCLA Extension Writers' Program.

Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up, by James Hollis, PhD, a Jungian analyst from Houston, Texas, one of my favorite authors, and one hell of a terrific speaker! I went to a seminar he held last year in West Los Angeles, and was honored to get his inscription on my copy of the book, and have a few precious moments of face-time. Should I admit here and now that I was just a tad star-struck? Okay, I will!

Dr. Hollis has also written Why Good People Do Bad Things: Understanding Our Darker Selves. Very thought-provoking, and oddly comforting in its way to help us 'fess up to our "failings."

A third from Dr. Hollis is a slightly more academic, but still quite clear is The Middle Passage: From Misery to Meaning in Midlife.

Gail Sheehy, author of Passages, offers up a candid look at one of our generation's pressing issues in Passages in Caregiving: Turning Chaos into Confidence. I'd like to see this book more actively promoted in caregivers' support groups held across the country.

From Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D., another Jungian analyst: Goddesses in Older Women: Archetypes in Women Over Fifty. Lest any male reader of mine feel slighted, may I mention that Dr. Bolen also has written Gods in Everyman. All of Dr. Bolen's works are practical, readable, and encouraging. She skillfully draws upon a large pool of ancient myth and legend to show the ways we can conceive of ourselves--and become--the formidable selves we were meant to be.

A final one for this post: Dorothy Morrison's In Praise of the Crone: A Celebration of Feminine Maturity. Another practical guide to feeling better at "this age." Crones ARE NOT ugly old hags, as portrayed in cartoons. Rather, they are wise women; I like to think of them as being the counterparts of the Merlin figure in the Arthurian legend.

Okay, that's more than enough for this post. There is more, especially on the subject of crone-hood, which I will share in the near future.

Best regards as we approach All Hallows Eve.
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