Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Few Favorites from 2007

It's the time of year that everyone comes out with their lists of top books, music, etc. Not wanting to be left out, here's a very quick look at a few of mine from the last year. Disclaimer, just because I read them in 2007 doesn't mean they were published this past year! It sometimes take me a bit to get around to all the books that I buy.

I didn't purchase much in the way of "new" music this year. I'm just not finding much that interests me these days. One CD that did find its way onto the regular "playlist" at our house was "An Other Cup" by Yusuf Islam (the artist formally known as Cat Stevens). It was actually released in 2006, but didn't find its way to our house until spring. It's a wonderful CD full of mystical and hope-filled lyrics (even if they are from a ... gasp ... a ... a ... Muslum!). "The Beloved" is a prayful song that I find a great lyric for contemplation/centering .... give it a try.

Three books found their way onto my "best of" list for 2007. Topping the list is "Buffalo for the Broken Heart: Restoring Life to a Black Hills Ranch" by Dan O'Brien. It's a wonderful story of a hard-luck biologist that takes a huge gamble to reintroduce bison to a ranch in South Dakota. It's a story that encompasses the natural history of the prairie, our totally screwed up agricultural system, sustainability, and determination. It's about life and death, predator and prey. O'Brien has brought a sustainable agribusiness to the Great Plains, you can read more about it at wild idea buffalo. This was my favorite book of the year.

The second pick was "The Unquiet Grave: The FBI and the Struggle for the Soul of Indian Country" by Steve Hendricks. At times this book made me sick to my stomach. It took me several months to finish it. There were times when I was so angry that I couldn't continue reading. Hendricks does a brilliant job digging through FBI and Department of Justice files and pieces together a revealing look at the political struggles on indian reservations, mainly in South Dakota. It's a story of bad government and even worse law enforcement. The names the pop up in investigations are amazing. I could never quite figure out why the FBI, ATF, CIA, (oh, yes the CIA and the Army were all involved with Wounded Knee II) and other government law enforcement agencies would bother native people. I still don't know. Although there is a great deal of blame to go around on both sides of the issue, it still amazes me what the government and their thugs got a way with. People should be in prison over many of the things found by Hendricks during his investigation.

Finally, a book that came out several years ago by Richard Louv entitled "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder". Louv does an excellent job linking a number of childhood trends: increases in obesity, depression, and ADD to a shift from nature-based play to a sedentary life-style. It is incredibly well researched and not only does Louv outline the problem well, he offers up solutions to getting kids back outside and active. There's a substantial section on "The Spiritual Necessity of Nature for the Young" that I wish were expanded. We all need to be reminded that we are God's creatures, we come from the Earth, return to the Earth and are integral the the well-being of God's creation.

That's the list for 2007. For those of you that happen upon my little blog I hope that your new year is full of good health, laughter, joy and blessings that are yet unseen.


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