Books I Read This Month (July2022)

Avengers vs. Xmen – Aaron, Bendis et al.
A State of Fear – Laura Dodsworth
The Joy of Mindful Journaling – Tara Ward
Die: Fantasy Heartbreaker – Kieron Gillen & Stephanie Haar
Light from Many Lamps – ed. Lillian Eichler Watson
Injustice: Gods Among Us Vol. 1 – B. Buccellato, B. Redendo et al.

You know what’s freaking awesome?! Naps. Highly recommended. I don’t know how it’s relevant to a book review but I’ve been touting the afternoon siesta like it’s some miracle drug no one’s ever heard of after I made it a regular thing. Turns your day into two mini, much more manageable ones. Anyways…

“Avengers vs. XMen” gathers every hero in the Marvel universe and pits them against each other. Cyclops leads the Xmen to establish an utopia on the earth using the power of the Phoenix (the same Phoenix that killed Jean Grey in the third Xmen movie), but their totalitarian methods cause the Avengers, along with mutant defectors Wolverine and Professor X, to fight back and seek the destruction of the Phoenix.

“The Joy of Mindful Journaling” wasn’t my bag of chips, even though I love journaling, and regularly practice mindfulness. I guess the prompts aren’t really geared towards 32 year old convicted drug dealers, but rather 40 something hippies. Exhibit A: “Focus on your breath for a few moments, concentrating on the word ‘joy’….transfer your sight and attention to the inner crook of your arm. As you look at it, touch it gently and then sniff it. If you feel like it, you can even lick it..” It goes on and on like that. A little too much self-love for me.

“Light From Many Lights” is an anthology of inspirational passages and quotes for “more confident living today and hope for the future.” This is what self-help looked like in the 1950, with chapter headings like “Happiness and the enjoyment of living,” “Love and family life,” and “Self-discipline and the development of character.” Each chapter contains a short quote with an explication. Writers include my boy James Allen, and luminaries like Seneca, Confucius, and St. Paul as well as obscure journalists and professors from the early to mid 20th century. The advice is direct, profound, and immediately applicable.; it’s earned a spot in my daily readings, right before I meditate.

“A State of Fear” investigates the potentially unethical use of behavioral psychology and nudge theory during the pandemic in the UK. These fields have advanced so much that behavioral psychologists collaborate with the government to help with it’s messaging. Unfortunately, during the pandemic, the government and behavioral psychologists purposefully terrified the populace into following their public health mandates, which often trampled on long revered civil rights in the West. This book includes interviews with those psychologists working on behalf of the government.

“Injustice” is just like the graphic novel “Irredeemable” that I read last month, except this time the actual Superman loses his shit after Lois Lane is killed when the Joker detonates a nuclear bomb in Metropolis. He doesn’t kill innocents but he does become unhinged, and Batman, the Greek pantheon, and other heroes look to subdue him.

“Die” is like Jumanji but with D&D. 6 teens play a RPG and get sucked into the game where they enter a fantastical, violent world. One gets left behind when they first escape to the real world. 20 years later, they’re forced to return to the game world, where their forgotten companion is now the “dungeon master,” and has fashioned the game after himself, and each obstacle is designed to taunt his former friends.

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