Sunday, November 13, 2011

Shirley MacLaine's I'm Over All That


We continue our series on the ten most important books of the last ten years. Each is important for various, unique reasons. And you should be able to read them through your library system -- if your individual library does not have a copy, they should be able to get a copy via their ILL program.

Our pick this week was written by Shirley MacLaine who is many things: Academy Award winning actress, film director (Bruno), dancer, singer, activist, spiritualist, etc. She is also the author of thirteen books and it's her latest book, the best seller I'm Over All That And Other Confessions, which makes our list as one of the ten most important books of the last ten years.

Shirley MacLaine

Last April, Ava and C.I. praised the book "Books: One writes, the other types (Ava and C.I.)" and, since then, there's not been a week when someone hasn't written to say 'I just picked up the book and I loved it.' As Elaine noted of the book, "I read a lot for work -- journals and studies -- but for my own reading, I want to be taken away. I want to be caught up in the page. Shirley MacLaine's a powerful writer."

What is everyone responding to?

Among other things, actual thoughts. Such as this one:

Our brains detect magnetic changes because our brains contain millions of tiny magnetic particle. These particles connect us to the Earth's magnetic field in a powerful and intimate way which affects our consciousness profoundly. Our nervous systems are affected, our immune systems, and even our perceptions of reality. Our dreams, our thoughts, our emotions, and our understanding of time and space are thrown out of balance when the magnetic field is weaker.

Thinking, exploring. A lost art in a world where right-wingers can zone out on Fox News to be told what to think and left-wingers can zone out on MSNBC for the same. We're fed spin and not knowledge. The Iraq War is 'covered' by how it will effect Barack Obama's re-election chances, not by what's it doing to the Iraqi people. We are dumbed down and spoon fed. And we are starved for actual thought.

Shirley's not offering Chicken Soup For The Soul, she's offering a struggle, an examination and honesty. Equally important in this age of spin, she's not claiming to have all the answers. She's not telling you, "Here it is, stop thinking!"

As she writes:

One intelligent friend told me years ago that I shouldn't delve with too much curiosity into the "unanswerable" mysteries of life or it could lead to insanity. I really listened to what this friend was saying to me, but I just can't feel that having a strong sense of curiosity is a bad thing. I have always felt safe because I was curious.

At times, the book will make you smile and will make you laugh. That gift for storytelling shouldn't obscure the fact that this is a very deep book.

In this series of ten important books of the last ten years, we've also selected "CCR's Articles of Impeachment Against Bush," "Manal M. Omar's Barefoot in Baghdad," "Susan Faludi's The Terror Dream," "Joyce Murdoch and Deb Price's Courting Justice," "Anthony Arnove's Iraq: The Logic Of Withdrawal" and "Tori's Piece by Piece." Due to the Great Recession, your local libraries are both overtaxed (seeing more patrons than ever before) and underfunded. Make a point to check out your local library or local branch of your library and consider letting your local representatives know that you support increasing the budget for the library.
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