Ways to live – a trio of reviews

It occurs to me that all three things I’m reviewing this week have explicit things to offer about how we live, and how we might need to rethink how we live. All three things could be discussed from an array of other angles, but I’m going to run with this common thread…

Circles of Meaning, Labyrinths of Fear, by Brendan Myers. An epic and at the same time accessible philosophical book about how to live well and fully. It really is a handbook for life, and challenges us to explore 22 different forms of relationship and re-imagine ourselves in light of how we can live out those relationships in more meaningful ways. Each one of those 22 chapters was totally fascinating, and rewarding to read. Every chapter gave me things to wonder about and new ideas to play with. It’s a practical, inspiring book full of details – history, philosophy, popular culture, all manner of studies into all kinds of things plus the author’s many insights. A great read, and offering much to chew on, I can heartily recommend it.

More about the book here – http://www.moon-books.net/books/circles-of-meaning-labyrinths-of-fear

 

Fullmetal Alchemist, Brotherhood – the anime adaptation of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga, by Hiromu Arakawa. 64 episodes, with a complete and well plotted story. I could write you pages about the plot intricacies, and about the alchemy, but what really interested me was the importance of relationships in terms of getting things done. Threads of causality that come from how characters treat each other. The long term consequences of small gestures. It’s an expression of how big moments in history are made out of the actions of many, many people. A powerful tide for change can be created by lots of people all making a small move in the same direction. Themes around not giving up, not succumbing to despair, not accepting defeat in the face of overwhelming odds run through the story, but what’s key in keeping those themes alive is the two young central characters, who refuse to give up, and who refuse to let others give up either, and the wide reaching consequences this has.

I reviewed Crown Moon, by Anna McKerrow, last year (review here – https://druidlife.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/eco-pagan-mythmaking/) and was delighted to be offered book 2 for review. I loved Crow Moon, but Red Witch is an even better book. Strong plot, strong characters, compelling magic, and a dark view of the future. This is a world in which we (the Redworlders) have burned most of the fuel and fought a long and brutal war over what little remains. We’re fracking, and letting the poor starve. The Red Witch of the title – Melz – comes from a little alternative enclave in the south west of England – Greenworld. It’s not however, a book of easy or comfortable morals. There’s good and bad in everyone. At the same time, a lot has gone wrong. Human relationships with power, energy and the land are at the heart of what has gone wrong, and the book is in many ways an invitation to get our shit together before it’s too late. How we treat those around us, how we give and withhold resources and information are contributors to the world we co-create.

More about the book here – http://www.annamckerrow.com/books.html

Everything we do is about relationship, and how we hold those relationships affects everything.

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About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

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