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Short Takes for September 

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Rhinecliff: A Hudson River History
Cynthia Owen Philip
Black Dome, 2009, $24.95
The stubbornly independent riverfront sister of “upstreet” Rhinebeck gets her due in Philip’s vivid, lushly illustrated chronicle. The early Dutch settlement was transformed by transportation: the Salisbury Turnpike, Robert Fulton’s steamboat, the Hudson River Railroad, and the Rhinecliff-Kingston Bridge. Kingston Barnes & Noble celebrates Black Dome Press’s Focus on New York Award 9/17 at 6:30; Philip will read 10/16 at 7pm.

Blithewood: A History of Place
Bessina Harrar
Bluebird Press, 2009, $20
September 15-16 marks the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s anchorage at the future site of Bard College’s Blithewood estate. Bard graduate and master gardener Harrar delineates the history of this enchanting place with a feel for its meditative riches; here, she writes, “the heart and mind can open and the past, present, and future are all one.”
To order: blithewoodbook@yahoo.com.

Stories Done: Writings on the 1960s and Its Discontents
Mikal Gilmore
Free Press/Simon & Schuster, 2009, $16.00
Burned out on Woodstock Festival nostalgia? Award-winning memoirist and Rolling Stone writer Gilmore deepens the discussion with this collection of incisively written essays about such cultural icons as Allen Ginsberg, Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey, and a pantheon of musical legends including Jim Morrison, Jerry Garcia, Bob Marley, the Beatles, and Bob Dylan.

Rachel Pollack’s Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings & Their Deeper Meanings
Rachel Pollack
Llewellyn Worldwide, 2009, $21.95
Tarot Grandmaster and longtime Omega instructor Pollack has studied, practiced, and written about Tarot for nearly three decades since publishing her classic Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom. Accessible enough for newcomers and nuanced enough for experienced cartomancers, Tarot Wisdom explores the cards’ archetypal images as portrayed in seven different decks.

Pause Now: Handbook for a Spiritual Revolution
Lyla Yastion
Hamilton Books, 2009, $47.95
New Paltz author Yastion, an anthropologist and reiki master with shamanic training, offers a searching and practical approach to spiritual awakening through sensory attentiveness. Finding the spiritual element in such daily routines as movement, work, play, speech, thought, and relationship burnishes the simple and essential art of being present.

The Worst Book I Ever Read
The Unbearables

Unbearables Books/Autonomedia, 2009, $16.95
More than 70 writers, including iconoclastic Hudson Valley literati Sparrow, Luc Sante, Diane Spodarek, Mike Golden, and Carl Watson gleefully skewer a herd of sacred cattle, from Joyce Carol Oates to the Book of Genesis. Even James Joyce gets drubbed—in triplicate—and there’s an essay entitled “Fuck You, David Sedaris.” Who could resist?

Speaking of...

  • This month’s round-up of history and books for seekers.

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