The Book Monster Vol. 8
As a former member of the army reserves I find rule books to be awfully depressing (when you have to follow the rules), and so I don’t blame the Family Guy-version of Dr. House for chucking this book out the window. But I find rule books to be mildly entertaining and a twinge on the funny side of the fence when you don’t have to follow the rules.
In this installment of The Book Monster the theme is “Rules” and the theme will be loosely adhered too. The first book I review is related to the reason we have certain drug laws. The second book is about breaking cultural rules, and the third book is an actual rule book.
“Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD, The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond” by Martin A. Lee and Bruce Schlain: I picked this book up from the library when I first moved to Eugene because I thought it would be a fitting read considering the drug culture this town is known for. Having never tried LSD myself, as I read my curiosities were aroused after a few chapters, but by the time I finished it had scared every ounce of curiosity out of me. Some of the highlights of this book include: the CIA spiking the drinks of federal employee’s and the tragic aftermath, extensive information on Timothy Leary, in-depth descriptions of acid trips, history of the drug while it was being tested by the government, and Aldous Huxley’s obsession with LSD.
“Bound Feet and Western Dress: a memoir” by Pang-Mei Natasha Chang: I was assigned this book for a class at the U of O, and I ended up finishing this book long before I had too; I couldn’t put it down. This multi-generational memoir is about the life of the author as a Chinese women living in modern America, and the life and times of the author’s great aunt, Chang Yu-i. Yu-i was born in China in 1900 and lived during a time when China’s conservative-patriarchal-confucian values and culture were being broken down as the influence of the west increased. Yu-i was a trailblazer: she refused to have her feet bound, she got an education, got the first divorce in China, and eventually became a successful business women. She did it all in the midst of adversity and disgrace.
“George Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation” by George Washington: Our first president lived a few centuries ago, but some of his rules of civility are still relevant. But I guess that’s up to you to decide. The book is in a list format and numbers from 1st to 110th. There are some rules, in my opinion, that shouldn’t be followed at all, “Mock not nor jest at any thing of importance” (47th). My favorite (7th), reads thus, “Put not off your clothes in the presence of others, nor go out your chamber half dressed.” Whether you want to become a more civil person, or see what manners were like in George Washington’s day, or you just want a good laugh, it’s a breeze to read through.