Greetings from Utopia Park

Greetings from Utopia Park
Author: Claire Hoffman
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9780062338860
Available:
Release: 2016-06-07
Editor: HarperCollins
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

In this engrossing, provocative, and intimate memoir, a young journalist reflects on her childhood in the heartland, growing up in an increasingly isolated meditation community in the 1980s and ’90s—a fascinating, disturbing look at a fringe culture and its true believers. When Claire Hoffman’s alcoholic father abandons his family, his desperate wife, Liz, tells five-year-old Claire and her seven-year-old brother, Stacey, that they are going to heaven—Iowa—to live in Maharishi’s national headquarters for Heaven on Earth. For Claire’s mother, Transcendental Meditation—the Maharishi’s method of meditation and his approach to living the fullest possible life—was a salvo that promised world peace and enlightenment just as their family fell apart. At first this secluded utopia offers warmth and support, and makes these outsiders feel calm, secure, and connected to the world. At the Maharishi School, Claire learns Maharishi’s philosophy for living and meditates with her class. With the promise of peace and enlightenment constantly on the horizon, every day is infused with magic and meaning. But as Claire and Stacey mature, their adolescent skepticism kicks in, drawing them away from the community and into delinquency and drugs. To save herself, Claire moves to California with her father and breaks from Maharishi completely. After a decade of working in journalism and academia, the challenges of adulthood propel her back to Iowa, where she reexamines her spiritual upbringing and tries to reconnect with the magic of her childhood. Greetings from Utopia Park takes us deep into this complex, unusual world, illuminating its joys and comforts, and its disturbing problems. While there is no utopia on earth, Hoffman reveals, there are noble goals worth striving for: believing in belief, inner peace, and a firm understanding that there is a larger fabric of the universe to which we all belong.

Utopia

Utopia
Author: Thomas More
Pages: 80
ISBN: 9781504062879
Available:
Release: 2020-05-05
Editor: Open Road Media
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

The classic political satire about an imaginary ideal world by one of the Renaissance’s most fascinating figures. Named after a word that translates literally to “nowhere,” Utopia is an island dreamed up by Thomas More, a devout Catholic, English statesman, and Renaissance humanist who would be canonized as a saint centuries after he was executed for choosing God over king. More’s novel introduces us to Utopia’s society and its customs. It is a place of no private property and no lawyers; of six-hour workdays and simple ways; and, intriguingly, of a combination of values that blend the traditional with the highly controversial, from euthanasia to married priests to slavery. Remarkably thought-provoking, it is a novel that asks us to question what makes a perfect world—and whether such a thing is even possible.

The Accidental Buddhist

The Accidental Buddhist
Author: Dinty W. Moore
Pages: 224
ISBN: 9780385492676
Available:
Release: 1999
Editor: Harmony
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

As the author looks for the faith he has lost, he explores the different varieties of American Buddhism and tracks down and questions the Dalai Lama

The FBI and Religion

The FBI and Religion
Author: Sylvester A. Johnson,Steven Weitzman
Pages: 376
ISBN: 9780520962422
Available:
Release: 2017-02-07
Editor: Univ of California Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has had a long and tortuous relationship with religion over almost the entirety of its existence. As early as 1917, the Bureau began to target religious communities and groups it believed were hotbeds of anti-American politics. Whether these religious communities were pacifist groups that opposed American wars, or religious groups that advocated for white supremacy or direct conflict with the FBI, the Bureau has infiltrated and surveilled religious communities that run the gamut of American religious life. The FBI and Religion recounts this fraught and fascinating history, focusing on key moments in the Bureau’s history. Starting from the beginnings of the FBI before World War I, moving through the Civil Rights Movement and the Cold War, up to 9/11 and today, this book tackles questions essential to understanding not only the history of law enforcement and religion, but also the future of religious liberty in America.

When I Spoke in Tongues

When I Spoke in Tongues
Author: Jessica Wilbanks
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9780807092248
Available:
Release: 2018-11-13
Editor: Beacon Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

A memoir of the profound destabilization that comes from losing one's faith--and a young woman's journey to reconcile her lack of belief with her love for her deeply religious family. Growing up in poverty in the rural backwoods of southern Maryland, the Pentecostal church was at the core of Jessica Wilbanks' family life. At sixteen, driven by a desire to discover the world, Jessica walked away from the church--trading her faith for freedom, and driving a wedge between her and her deeply religious family. But fundamentalist faiths haunt their adherents long after belief fades--former believers frequently live in limbo, straddling two world views and trying to reconcile their past and present. Ten years later, struggling with guilt and shame, Jessica began a quest to recover her faith. It led her to West Africa, where she explored the Yorùbá roots of the Pentecostal faith, and was once again swept up by the promises and power of the church. After a terrifying car crash, she finally began the difficult work of forgiving herself for leaving the church and her family and finding her own path. When I Spoke in Tongues is a story of the painful and complicated process of losing one's faith and moving across class divides. And in the end, it's a story of how a family splintered by dogmatic faith can eventually be knit together again through love.

Transcendental Deception

Transcendental Deception
Author: Aryeh Siegel
Pages: 224
ISBN: 0999661507
Available:
Release: 2018-01-15
Editor: Unknown
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Former TM insider inundated with publicity about TM being a scientific relaxation technology that is a cure for just about everything and, since non-religious, should be in our public schools. It was a false narrative. Someone needed to set the record straight, and with his background in public health and behavioral science, he decided to do it.

Escaping Utopia

Escaping Utopia
Author: Janja Lalich,Karla McLaren
Pages: 176
ISBN: 9781315295077
Available:
Release: 2017-09-01
Editor: Routledge
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Actors Michelle Pfeiffer, Glenn Close, Rose McGowan and Leah Remini. Humorist Garrison Keillor. Musician Lisa Marie Presley. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Each of these well-know people has more than fame in common; each was born or raised in a cult. We think of cults as bizarre, inexplicable, or otherworldly places that only strange people inhabit, but cults and other abusive and high-demand groups (and relationships) are actually quite commonplace. In fact, the behaviors, social pressures, and authoritarian structures that create cults exist to a greater or lesser extent in every human relationship and every human group. Cult behavior is human behavior – and by studying cults, we can learn remarkably useful things about the social world and our place in it In the first in-depth research of its kind, sociologist and cult expert Janja Lalich interviewed sixty-five people who were born in or grew up in thirty-nine different cultic groups spanning more than a dozen countries. What’s especially interesting about these individuals is that they each left the cult on their own, without outside help or internal support. In Escaping Utopia: Growing Up in a Cult, Getting Out, and Starting Over, Lalich and award-winning author (and fellow cult survivor) Karla McLaren craft Lalich’s original and groundbreaking research into an accessible and engaging book, the first of its kind focusing on this particular population. Lalich and McLaren explore fundamental questions about human nature, human development, group dynamics, abuse and control, and triumphs of the human spirit in the face of intense and extended suffering.

Feed

Feed
Author: M. T. Anderson
Pages: 240
ISBN: 9780763651558
Available:
Release: 2010-05-11
Editor: Candlewick Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Identity crises, consumerism, and star-crossed teenage love in a futuristic society where people connect to the Internet via feeds implanted in their brains. Winner of the LA Times Book Prize. For Titus and his friends, it started out like any ordinary trip to the moon - a chance to party during spring break and play around with some stupid low-grav at the Ricochet Lounge. But that was before the crazy hacker caused all their feeds to malfunction, sending them to the hospital to lie around with nothing inside their heads for days. And it was before Titus met Violet, a beautiful, brainy teenage girl who knows something about what it’s like to live without the feed-and about resisting its omnipresent ability to categorize human thoughts and desires. Following in the footsteps of George Orwell, Anthony Burgess, and Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., M. T. Anderson has created a brave new world - and a hilarious new lingo - sure to appeal to anyone who appreciates smart satire, futuristic fiction laced with humor, or any story featuring skin lesions as a fashion statement.

Can You Keep a Secret

Can You Keep a Secret
Author: R. L. Stine
Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781466892958
Available:
Release: 2016-04-12
Editor: Macmillan
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

R.L. Stine has built his legacy on scaring children and teenagers. Now he's back with another spine-tingling tale of horror in this new Fear Street book about temptation, betrayal, and fear. Eddie and Emma are high school sweethearts from the wrong side of the tracks. Looking for an escape their dreary lives, they embark on an overnight camping trip in the Fear Street Woods with four friends. As Eddie is carving a heart into a tree, he and Emma discover a bag hidden in the trunk. A bag filled with hundred-dollar bills. Thousands of them. Should they take it? Should they leave the money there? The six teens agree to leave the bag where it is until it's safe to use it. But when tragedy strikes Emma's family, the temptation to skim some money off of the top becomes impossible to fight. There's only one problem. When Emma returns to the woods, the bag of money is gone, and with it, the trust of six friends with a big secret. Packed with tension and sure to illicit shivers in its readers, this new Fear Street book is another terrifying tale from a master of horror.

The Grace of Silence

The Grace of Silence
Author: Michele Norris
Pages: 185
ISBN: 9780307475275
Available:
Release: 2011
Editor: Vintage
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

A host of NPR's "All Things Considered" traces her ancestry in America's South and how it reflects the nation's turbulent efforts toward racial equality, a heritage that has influenced her awareness about character, silence, and integration.

Robes of Silk Feet of Clay

Robes of Silk  Feet of Clay
Author: Judith Bourque
Pages: 221
ISBN: 9163362783
Available:
Release: 2010
Editor: Unknown
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Beyond This Horizon

Beyond This Horizon
Author: Robert A. Heinlein
Pages: 240
ISBN: 9781625793140
Available:
Release: 2014-09-16
Editor: Baen Publishing Enterprises
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Utopia has been achieved. For centuries, disease, hunger, poverty and war have been things found only in the histories. And applied genetics has given men and women the bodies of athletes and a lifespan of over a century. They should all have been very happy.... But Hamilton Felix is bored. And he is the culmination of a star line; each of his last thirty ancestors chosen for superior genes. Hamilton is, as far as genetics can produce one, the ultimate man. And this ultimate man can see no reason why the human race should survive, and has no intention of continuing the pointless comedy. However, Hamilton's life is about to become less boring. A secret cabal of revolutionaries who find utopia not just boring, but desperately in need of leaders who know just What Needs to be Done, are planning to revolt and put themselves in charge. Knowing of Hamilton's disenchantment with the modern world, they have recruited him to join their Glorious Revolution. Big mistake! The revolutionaries are about to find out that recruiting a superman is definitely not a good idea.... With an all new afterword by Tony Daniel. At the publisher's request, this title is sold without DRM (Digital Rights Management).

Lost in the Valley of Death

Lost in the Valley of Death
Author: Harley Rustad
Pages: 304
ISBN: 0062965964
Available:
Release: 2022-01-11
Editor: Harper
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

In the vein of Jon Krakauer's Into the Wild, a riveting work of narrative nonfiction centering on the unsolved disappearance of an American backpacker in India--one of at least two dozen tourists who have met a similar fate in the remote and storied Parvati Valley. For centuries, India has enthralled westerners looking for an exotic getaway, a brief immersion in yoga and meditation, or in rare cases, a true pilgrimage to find spiritual revelation. Justin Alexander Shetler, an inveterate traveler trained in wilderness survival, was one such seeker. In his early thirties Justin Alexander Shetler, quit his job at a tech startup and set out on a global journey: across the United States by motorcycle, then down to South America, and on to the Philippines, Thailand, and Nepal, in search of authentic experiences and meaningful encounters, while also documenting his travels on Instagram. His enigmatic character and magnetic personality gained him a devoted following who lived vicariously through his adventures. But the ever restless explorer was driven to pursue ever greater challenges, and greater risks, in what had become a personal quest--his own hero's journey. In 2016, he made his way to the Parvati Valley, a remote and rugged corner of the Indian Himalayas steeped in mystical tradition yet shrouded in darkness and danger. There, he spent weeks studying under the guidance of a sadhu, an Indian holy man, living and meditating in a cave. At the end of August, accompanied by the sadhu, he set off on a "spiritual journey" to a holy lake--a journey from which he would never return. Lost in the Valley of Death is about one man's search to find himself, in a country where for many westerners the path to spiritual enlightenment can prove fraught, even treacherous. But it is also a story about all of us and the ways, sometimes extreme, we seek fulfillment in life. Lost in the Valley of Death includes 16 pages of color photographs.

Outraged

Outraged
Author: Ashley 'Dotty' Charles
Pages: 176
ISBN: 9781526605047
Available:
Release: 2020-07-09
Editor: Bloomsbury Publishing
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

'The powerful new voice of her generation' The Times 'Funny, nuanced and wonderful' Jon Ronson 'A book that had me hollering, nodding and questioning at the same time' Candice Carty-Williams, author of Queenie 'Funny, educational, enlightening . . . Way ahead of its time' Chris Evans A candid exploration of the state of outrage in our culture, and how we can channel it back into the fights that matter, from presenter and DJ Ashley 'Dotty' Charles. Ours is a society where many exploit the outrage of others in order to gain power - and we all too quickly take the bait. But by shouting about everything, we are in fact creating a world where outrage is without consequence. There is still much to be outraged by in our final frontier, but in order to enact change and become more effective online, we must learn to channel our responses. This is the essential guide to living through the age of outrage.

A Promised Land

A Promised Land
Author: Barack Obama
Pages: 768
ISBN: 9781524763183
Available:
Release: 2020-11-17
Editor: Crown
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making—from the president who inspired us to believe in the power of democracy #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NAACP IMAGE AWARD NOMINEE • NAMED ONE OF THE TEN BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The Washington Post • Jennifer Szalai, The New York Times • NPR • The Guardian • Marie Claire In the stirring, highly anticipated first volume of his presidential memoirs, Barack Obama tells the story of his improbable odyssey from young man searching for his identity to leader of the free world, describing in strikingly personal detail both his political education and the landmark moments of the first term of his historic presidency—a time of dramatic transformation and turmoil. Obama takes readers on a compelling journey from his earliest political aspirations to the pivotal Iowa caucus victory that demonstrated the power of grassroots activism to the watershed night of November 4, 2008, when he was elected 44th president of the United States, becoming the first African American to hold the nation’s highest office. Reflecting on the presidency, he offers a unique and thoughtful exploration of both the awesome reach and the limits of presidential power, as well as singular insights into the dynamics of U.S. partisan politics and international diplomacy. Obama brings readers inside the Oval Office and the White House Situation Room, and to Moscow, Cairo, Beijing, and points beyond. We are privy to his thoughts as he assembles his cabinet, wrestles with a global financial crisis, takes the measure of Vladimir Putin, overcomes seemingly insurmountable odds to secure passage of the Affordable Care Act, clashes with generals about U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, tackles Wall Street reform, responds to the devastating Deepwater Horizon blowout, and authorizes Operation Neptune’s Spear, which leads to the death of Osama bin Laden. A Promised Land is extraordinarily intimate and introspective—the story of one man’s bet with history, the faith of a community organizer tested on the world stage. Obama is candid about the balancing act of running for office as a Black American, bearing the expectations of a generation buoyed by messages of “hope and change,” and meeting the moral challenges of high-stakes decision-making. He is frank about the forces that opposed him at home and abroad, open about how living in the White House affected his wife and daughters, and unafraid to reveal self-doubt and disappointment. Yet he never wavers from his belief that inside the great, ongoing American experiment, progress is always possible. This beautifully written and powerful book captures Barack Obama’s conviction that democracy is not a gift from on high but something founded on empathy and common understanding and built together, day by day.

Sex on the Moon

Sex on the Moon
Author: Ben Mezrich
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9780385533935
Available:
Release: 2011-07-12
Editor: Anchor
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

From the bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires and Bringing Down the House, this is the incredible true story of how a college student and two female accomplices stole some of the rarest objects on the planet—moon rocks—from an "impregnable" high-tech vault. But breaking into a highly secure laboratory wasn't easy. Thad Roberts, an intern in a prestigious NASA training program, would have to concoct a meticulous plan to get past security checkpoints, an electronically locked door with cipher security codes, and camera-lined hallways even before he could get his hands on the 600-pound safe. And then how was he supposed to get it out? And what does one do with an item so valuable that it's illegal even to own? With his signature high-velocity style, Mezrich reconstructs the outlandish heist and tells a story of genius, love, and duplicity that reads like a Hollywood thrill ride.

Welcome to Utopia

Welcome to Utopia
Author: Alan Atkinson
Pages: 488
ISBN: 0648729621
Available:
Release: 2020-01-28
Editor: Utopian Dreams
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Utopia City.Rebuilt from the ashes of America's most horrific terror attack and transformed into a paragon of technological advancement, this city stands as a beacon of possibility where almost anything can happen.Jericho Hansen certainly hopes so; as a gay superhero in the deep South, his ambition is to achieve lifelong recognition by joining Force Majeure, America's best-known superhero team. But to do that, he must first travel to Utopia and learn the hard way if he's got what it takes. The events that transpire when he gets there will turn his entire world upside down. He will experience love and loss, triumph and tragedy. Mysteries will be solved and fresh inquiries opened.Welcome to Utopia, where the most important lesson is that nothing is truly as it seems.

Cat s Cradle

Cat s Cradle
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9780307567277
Available:
Release: 2009-11-04
Editor: Dial Press
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

“A free-wheeling vehicle . . . an unforgettable ride!”—The New York Times Cat’s Cradle is Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical commentary on modern man and his madness. An apocalyptic tale of this planet’s ultimate fate, it features a midget as the protagonist, a complete, original theology created by a calypso singer, and a vision of the future that is at once blackly fatalistic and hilariously funny. A book that left an indelible mark on an entire generation of readers, Cat’s Cradle is one of the twentieth century’s most important works—and Vonnegut at his very best. “[Vonnegut is] an unimitative and inimitable social satirist.”—Harper’s Magazine “Our finest black-humorist . . . We laugh in self-defense.”—Atlantic Monthly

Stranger in a Strange Land

Stranger in a Strange Land
Author: Robert A. Heinlein
Pages: 448
ISBN: 1101208961
Available:
Release: 1987-05-15
Editor: Penguin
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

Robert Heinlein's Hugo Award-winning all-time masterpiece, the brilliant novel that grew from a cult favorite to a bestseller to a science fiction classic. Raised by Martians on Mars, Valentine Michael Smith is a human who has never seen another member of his species. Sent to Earth, he is a stranger who must learn what it is to be a man. But his own beliefs and his powers far exceed the limits of humankind, and as he teaches them about grokking and water-sharing, he also inspires a transformation that will alter Earth’s inhabitants forever...

Senjutsu to Ninjutsu

Senjutsu to Ninjutsu
Author: Doshi Shigetsu
Pages: 60
ISBN: 1512187135
Available:
Release: 2015-05-14
Editor: CreateSpace
Language: en

Explanation of the Book:

A translation of a curious little speech on Senjutsu, the arts of the mountain ascetics, and Ninjutsu. From 1901. First time in English.