There have been a surprising number of requests for the kind of
books I read. Rather than keep answering them one at a time, I've put a short
list here. If you find that you are not ready for these books, if you find them
boring, irritating, or perhaps even repellant, then please put them down and
walk away. One must not have answers pushed at him before he has even asked
the question. Besides, there is nothing whatsoever wrong with walking a different
Although the Bros. W used Baudrillard's Simulacra and Simulation
as a reference, I do not recommend it. Books like that are only for the most
serious-minded, persistent students of philosophy. I haven't read much of it
myself, because the density is too great. The other notable absentee is The
Bible, which you should read (again?) only after you have made your way through
the list. I suggest using the New International Version and starting with the
Now on to the list.
Power of Myth, Joseph Campbell as intereviewed by Bill Moyers. This
is a fantastic introduction to the interpretation of mythic symbols. Start
John, by Robert Bly. You can see how someone other than Campbell dissects
a mythic story. Skip all the male support group parts, unless of course you
Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking. Now the object is to see
myth in the physical universe. I think this is most apparent at the frontiers
of understanding. If you are really up for a challenge, you can graduate to
Universe in a Nutshell, in which myth and scientific theory seem like
almost the same thing.
Hero with a Thousand Faces, by Joseph Campbell. Return to myth in
a big way. This book may be the single most important volume on mythic interpretation
ever written. (Yes, I know about The Golden Bough. I have a copy approximately
one meter away from me on the bookshelf. It is
so dreadfully hard to read that I question whether Frazer ever meant
for anyone to actually get through it.)
Hundred Secret Senses, by Amy Tan. Reading this book taught me the
difference between fact and truth. I believe I came to comprehend religion
because of this book.
Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. LeGuin. I have often referred readers
of the Matrix essays to this book. The depth of meaning in this story is astounding.
Lisa Overdrive, by William Gibson. This is the world of the Matrix
as imagined 20 years ago.