Reading 2010, vol 4:

Uncle Ramsey’s Little Book of DemonsRamsey Dukes
Fairly fascinating argument for anthropomorphising life’s troubles as demons and engaging with them, from one of modern magic’s great philosophers. Hilarious slaying of any number sacred cows. Incidentally contains the most virulent and vicious offhand Thatcher bashing ever. (eg dropping occasional bombs like “British society is on its deathbed thanks to the Thatcherite cancer rotting its organs while maggots like Blair gorge themselves on the gangrenous residue of her destruction. It is probably too late to save our country, or the world, but this book can at least teach you how to put on a condom and hold your nose before you fuck the corpse.” in what is an another wise witty and genteel ride. 🙂 )

Don’t Sleep, there are snakes! – Daniel Everett
Missionary/linguist went to the Amazon, discovered the tribe he was with were a) unconvertable due to their language/consciousness and b) their language has features which defy Chomskyian grammatical theory.

Hands on Chaos Magic – Andrieh Vitimus.
Best practical book on magic I’ve ever encountered. By miles. To the point that I’d recommend reading some more theory oriented stuff first, just to have more grounding.

The Eight Circuit Brain: Navigational Strategies for the Energetic Body – Antero Alli

20 years on, Alli updates his take on Timothy Leary/Robert Anton Wilson’s 8CB model. The bulk of the book is a practical course dedicated to gaining experiential understanding of the circuits. His key notion of development of the lower circuits being necessary to anchor energetic shocks/experiences on the higher circuits rings true, and accords with my experience. Good shit.

Daemonomania – John Crowley

I am in utter awe at what he is doing. Dude is an absolute master. With this he is now elevated to my pantheon of favourite authors ever, and the Aegypt Quartet (of which this is book 3 (books one and two reviewed back here)) seems like a defining literary event of the age. Of course, it feels like he wrote this just for me…

The Aegypt Quartet is a novel of staggering ambition, split over four novels, that has taken about 24 years to complete (despite the action so far taking up less than a calendar year.) The characterisation and quality of the prose is simply astounding.

This book has given me chills, blown me away intellectually, and scared the crap out of me. For starters. I don’t really have the words to express how impressed I am with what he has achieved; I suspect that will wait until after the final book is read, and I have let it all settle in. But ultimately, what it deals with is the fundamental nature of the mystery of existence, how we create meaning, and the stories we tell ourselves. And it does these things better than anything else I have encountered; uncannily well.

I have the final volume lying around, but am a little afraid to start it.

The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch – Philip K Dick

Felt an urge to read a PKD novel. It happens every now and again. Fun but sort of a let down. Easily one of the weakest of his I’ve read, along with Radio Free Albemuth. The ideas are pretty wild/interesting, and he is using them to explore his usual post-Valis themes, but it somehow didn’t work so well as a narrative – a bit half assed and disinterested.

6 Responses to “Reading 2010, vol 4:”

  1.   Pearce
    July 5th, 2010 | 9:51 am

    Huh? Philip K. Dick wrote The Three Sitgmata of Palmer Eldritch fourteen years before Valis, and ten years before even the religious epiphany that inspired it. Given this, I don’t understand how it can be exploring “his usual post-Valis themes”.

  2.   C G
    July 5th, 2010 | 9:25 pm

    Thanks for the recommendation of John Crowley, I have just looked the series up on line and it looks brilliant. Not that I needed another book to buy and not read, however.
    (thinking of the as-yet-unread copies of 2666, Cyclonopaedia and Maldoror I have sitting on my bookshelf at home)

  3.   bruce
    July 7th, 2010 | 1:03 pm

    >b) their language has features which defy Chomskyian grammatical theory.

    Rupert Sheldrake has an interesting take on Chomskyian grammatical theory. He argues it is an artifact of the mechanist approach, i.e. if everyone talks the same, the reason must be in the physical structure.

    Sheldrake of course thinks this deep structure would be stored in fields, not in physical matter.

    So for the tribe in the book, if the deep structure information is not physical, and instead stored in fields, then it also allows for more fundamental variations amongst different populations, as language structure is no longer required to be part of our genetic commonality with all humans, but instead there could be a variety of field based structural attractors governing language amongst humans.

  4.   billy
    July 7th, 2010 | 9:39 pm

    Pearce: I stand corrected. Interesting that his themes are that consistent throughout; I think Brad muttered something along those lines once.

    Chris: you can’t read a book you don’t have, no matter how good it is 😉

    Bruce: interesting. have been meaning to properly read Sheldrake for a long while now…

  5.   bruce
    July 11th, 2010 | 6:45 pm

    Lots of good podcasts for free DL on sheldrake’s site…
    and his seminal work on morphogenetic fields vis a vis biology has just been republished in an all new revised 3rd edition. I was definitely thinking of you and what you said about reading original sources, which I had mostly disagreed with, when I was reading Sheldrake. In his case you were certainly right that it was a good idea 🙂

  6.   billy
    July 11th, 2010 | 8:23 pm

    Reading the original has pretty much always paid off for me. Of course, selecting which originals to read is the art 😉

    I have had the revised edition of A New Science of Life on my to read short pile for a good while now… more stuff keeps finding its way on, but I do get through it.

    Yeah, I downloaded some audio from his site before, it was really good shit.