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Bill Bastian Reads What?
Our guest this week is Bill Bastian, faculty member in the Department of Music. Bastian will be performing Schubert's great song cycle, Die Winterreise with Dr. LeAnn House on March 2. The two also present on Winterreise at the SAL Colloquium on February 15.
Favorite or most influential books:
The Twilight Saga by
Call Number: ADAMS ROOM -- YOUTH PZ7.M57188 Tw 2006x
Particularly the first book, Twilight, speaks to me not because, deep in my heart, I’m a teen-age girl, but for the idea of personal gifts, and western society’s unwillingness to recognize them. Society defines “normal” and denigrates anything outside that scope (a kind of “conform or perish” approach that actually undermines the diversity that is life).
The Carlos Castaneda books by
Call Number: Browse at AMERICAN INDIAN RESOURCES -- 2ND FLOOR E99.Y3 C29
Particularly books 2, 3, and 4 (A Separate Reality, The Journey to Ixtlan, and Tales of Power). As children, we do not get to discover reality, we are told what “reality” is…with the idea that anything that does not jibe with society’s “reality” is not real. We are pointed in one particular direction and are rewarded for our acceptance of this “intellectual tunnel vision”, while it undermines our recognition of the existence of peripheral possibilities. The more we buy the prescribed “truths”, the more we see our differences as “flaws” which can be overcome through conformity. I believe we must embrace our individualities…not crush them.
Journey to the East by
Call Number: PT2617.E85 M6 1972x
Actually anything by Hermann Hesse including (but not limited to) Steppenwolf, Siddhartha, Narcissus and Goldmund, The Glass Bead Game, and (my personal favorite) Demian. Hesse’s philosophical openness to the vagueness of reality, as opposed to its specificity, embraces alternatives to “normal”.
Of Wolves and Men by
Call Number: QL737.C22 L66 1978
Again, any book by Barry Lopez (Arctic Dreams is also very powerful). Nature IS…Animals ARE…Communication happens…Without Words. All nature communicates without words. Our insistence upon words leaves us unable to understand that which is all around us. We call Nature “dumb” because it cannot “speak” yet it is we who, in fact, do not understand the communication that is happening all around us.
[Note from Library: our local copy of Of Wolves and Men was bequeathed to us by Father Whitney Evans, late faculty member and College archivist.]
Zen and the art of Motorcycle Maintenance by
Call Number: CT275.P648 A33
This might seem obvious; however, like he says, it’s not really about motorcycle maintenance or Zen. It’s about values…about questioning what we are told, and not simply accepting the norm as truth.
What are you reading now?
I just finished My Cross to Bear, the autobiography by Greg Allman. In our hearts, music is important. How many people do I know who studied music only to lose interest in it? A prime example of “the more one knows, the less one understands”. There is a real difference between “the World” and “The Earth”. The World is essentially man-made. The Earth was here long before. “To touch the Earth” often frees us from the “World” while opening our hearts.
Desert Island Pick
This morning I started re-reading The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer again. (Must be about the 10th time.) Society tells us the only things that are “real” are those things one can hold in ones hand…but that just makes us all the same. Last year, I decided to live my life embracing the “intangibles” (things that don’t exist physically, yet are overwhelmingly more powerful and more fulfilling than the superficial absolutes of money and power).