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Short Takes: December 2008 

Gothic Lolita: A Mystical Thriller
words and photographs by Dakota Lane
Atheneum, 2008, $17.99

Miya lives in Tokyo, Chelsea in LA. Obsessed with manga and gothic/Victorian fashion, they become online soulmates, plunging deeper into the mystic than either expects. Woodstock author Lane’s haunting photos, cybercentric story, and life-or-death passions make Gothic Lolita an irresistible rush for teenage outsiders. Reading at Kingston Barnes & Noble, 12/7 at 2pm.

A Silent Ocean Away: Colette’s Dominion

DeVa Gantt
Avon, 2008, $13.95

How’s this for a backstory: Sisters Debra and Valerie Gantt melded first names (and, seemingly, minds) to self-publish a 700-page historical romance, which was snapped up by Avon for release as a trilogy. Book One, A Silent Ocean Away, whisks plucky servant Charmaine Ryan to a Caribbean mansion full of family intrigues.

Returning to My Mother’s House: Taking Back the Wisdom of the Feminine
Gail Straub
High Point, 2008, $21.95

In this intensely personal memoir, Empowerment Institute co-director and bestselling author Straub explores her complex relationship with her mother, a rebellious artist who lost her sense of self. She also examines her own life choices, including a conscious decision not to have children, channeling her maternal energies into other forms of nurture.

About Face: Women Write About What They See When They Look in the Mirror
edited by Anne Burt and Christina Baker Kline
Seal Press, 2008, $15.95

Twenty-three women, including Hudson Valley resident Dana Kinstler, reflect on their reflections, exploring issues of beauty, ethnicity, aging, scars, makeup, and more. Author photos, round as compact mirrors, accompany each essay. Strikingly few of the writers describe themselves as the camera sees them––perhaps that’s the point. A provocative read.

Winter Break: A Luminous Journey
into Wisdom and Love
Astrid Fitzgerald
A.R.K. Books, 2008, $22.00

On a school vacation in the snowy Swiss Alps, a teenage girl finds romance, adventure, and her true path. Your basic coming-of-age tale? Not quite. Fitzgerald’s previous books include Being Consciousness Bliss: A Seeker’s Guide and An Artist’s Book of Inspiration; her heroine’s path is lit by a wise-woman spiritual teacher named Luma.

Nile Night: Remembered Texts
from the Deep
Ione (includes CD recorded with Pauline Oliveros)
Deep Listening Publications, 2008, $27.50

Kingston Dream Festival high priestess Ione unspools a hypnotic cycle of poems “inspired by many numinous journeys to Egypt.” The accompanying CD, recorded live in Cassis, France, merges Ione’s trancelike spoken-word performances with exotic soundscapes by composer Oliveros, evoking water, birds, and Egyptian percussion.

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