Summary of “Michael Pollan: Can Psychedelics Save the World?”

In his new book, How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence, Pollan shifts his lens away from food and onto the world of hallucinogenic medicines, in which people are tripping – both legally and illegally – on LSD, psilocybin mushrooms and other psychedelics in order to heal mental and emotional afflictions.
A solid quarter of the book is devoted to the complicated past of psychedelic research in the mental health community, while a considerable number of pages are spent describing various brain functions, and how certain psychedelics interact with our minds to enhance our thinking, and possibly improve our lives.
We met on a Sunday morning in a Manhattan apartment to discuss the new book, and what Western culture might stand to learn from a larger conversation around psychedelics.
I’m curious why you didn’t make the subtitle longer?[Laughing] Ran out of space! I’m trying to get across that this is not simply a book about psychedelics.
It’s a book about what psychedelics teach us about the mind.
The fact is by looking at the effect of psychedelics on the mind you learn a lot about the mind and you learn about depression and you learn about dying and about addiction and transcendence.
Psychedelics came to Western culture shorn of all that thousands of years of wisdom, and that’s why we got into trouble in the Sixties with it, to the extent we got to trouble.
So I’m curious how can psychedelics help us unlearn things that hold us back in our lives?It allows you to sneak up on your life and see it from a different perspective.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The high-stakes race to stop the trafficking of priceless artefacts”

Hidalgo’s source suspected that the painting had been stolen.
In October 2016, Hidalgo and his team, frustrated by the continuing trafficking of his country’s cultural patrimony, launched Memoria Robada, the first big-data investigation into the trafficking of artefacts from Latin America.
“Some pieces which were probably stolen that night, or soon after that night, are still on the market,” says Hidalgo.
According to Hidalgo, it was taken down when a group of lawyers tried to sue the church, which they claimed was involved in trafficking.
“If you steal a book from the 16th century and that book has not been officially declared part of cultural patrimony, you could only be charged with theft like if you have stolen a present-day pair of shoes, or a lamp, or any book,” Hidalgo says.
Hidalgo traced the photograph of the Virgen de Guadalupe in the screenshot back to Fred Truslow, a US lawyer who had taken it in the 80s while compiling a catalogue of more than 2,000 paintings in Peru’s churches.
There is always a way to justify owning a stolen artefact, Hidalgo says.
“Private owners might say, ‘Well, I bought it 30 years ago and I had no clue that it was a stolen piece,’ or, ‘It was in the will of my grandfather and I received it as a gift.'” Hidalgo does not believe that the Diocese were complicit in the trafficking, but he does believe they are in possession of a stolen painting.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Amazon’s control over ebook sales data should upset everyone in publishing”

Many of their authors are writing and publishing books, and finding massive audiences, without being actively tracked by the publishing industry.
According to one estimate, last year 2,500 self-published authors made at least $50,000 in book sales across self-publishing platforms, before the platforms’ cuts.
The information asymmetry between Amazon and the rest of the book industry-publishers, brick-and-mortar stores, industry analysts, aspiring writers-means that only the Seattle company has deeply detailed information, down to the page, on what people want to read. So an industry that’s never been particularly data-savvy increasingly works in the dark: Authors lose negotiating power, and publishers lose the ability to compete on pricing or even, on a basic level, to understand what’s selling.
Amazon doesn’t report its ebook sales to any of the major industry data sources, and it doesn’t give authors more than their own personal slice of data.
A spokesperson from Amazon writes by email that “Hundreds of thousands of authors self-publish their books today with Kindle Direct Publishing,” but declined to provide a number, or any sales data.
“NPD PubTrack Digital tracks ebook sales but because it is a publisher data-share model, the data does not include self-published ebooks,” writes NPD’s Allison Risbridger by email.
Bookstat extrapolates sales data from book rankings and sales history, provided by authors, and estimates sales per author and book throughout the day, with a self-reported margin of error of 5%. Bookstat estimates that in 2017, there were half a million self-published authors who sold at least one book, and a total of 240 million self-published ebook units sold.
As the founder, who still asks to remain anonymous, notes, “There’s really no way to wrap your arms around how many authors there are, including the ones who are not selling, including the ones who are out of print on the traditional publishing side.” By his estimate, self-published books in the US were worth $875 million last year, about $700 million of which was ebooks.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Profile: Maira Kalman, Author and Illustrator”

Not all her fans think of Maira Kalman primarily as a writer, but that’s how she described herself to me when we met last month.
My excuse for writing about Kalman is the reissue of several stories for children that she published in the 1990s, starring a dog called Max.
In those texts, her other work for children, and her work for adults, Kalman is the remix artist she describes above, one for whom image and word are intertwined and of equal importance.
In her work for adults, Kalman is almost a diarist, which breeds a certain deceptive sense of familiarity.
The bare bones of her life, gleaned from our conversation and her books: Kalman was born in Israel, in 1949, and her family relocated to the States when she was still a toddler.
In Thomas Jefferson: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Everything, a children’s biography of the statesman, Kalman writes candidly about the man.
The book succeeds because Kalman is so forthright, the rare adult willing to admit to kids that scary things happen.
In My Favorite Things, Kalman writes, “The artist Charlotte Salomon lived in this room in Berlin in the 1930s. She painted and wrote about her family in a book called ‘Opera or Life.’ People were always coming and going and dying. She was killed in the Holocaust. Which brings us inevitably to sorrow.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “5 Books To Read When You’re Considering Making A Big Change”

Reading books helped me push past that fear, and also gave me some much needed perspective.
If you’re thinking about changing careers, here are a few books you might want to read to help you figure out what to do next.
If you have a crazy dream but don’t know how to start, this book can help you identify your next steps and the level of risk that’s appropriate for you based on your personal circumstances.
Making a career change involves making decisions when we don’t know what’s going to happen.
While Lewis’s book can help you outline and execute your next steps, Duke’s book can help you decide whether that next step is the right one to take in the first place.
Even if you’re not interested in being an entrepreneur, this book offers plenty of lessons on taking on “Risky” endeavors.
If nothing else, this book reinforces that the cliché, “Everything has a silver lining,” really does apply in life.
What if you don’t know what that work should be? This book is a great place to start.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Can’t sleep? Tell yourself it’s not a big deal”

Note to publishers: in my view, there’s an unfilled gap in the “Wellness” market for a book on how sleep isn’t really that important.
In contrast to the message relentlessly promoted by lifestyle gurus these days, this book would argue that four hours a night is probably fine, that caffeine before bed is no big deal, and that even severe sleep deprivation poses no real risk of poor performance, health troubles or early death.
Actually, the ironies of insomnia are even worse than that, because there’s growing evidence that thinking of yourself as an insomniac – having an “Insomnia identity”, in the coinage of the sleep researcher Kenneth Lichstein – is a major part of the problem.
It’s not just that such a self-image makes it harder to sleep, though doubtless that’s the case.
In a review of the research published last year, Lichstein concluded that “Non-complaining poor sleepers” – who sleep badly but don’t define themselves as insomniacs – don’t suffer the high blood pressure commonly associated with severe sleeplessness.
“Complaining good sleepers” – who get enough shut-eye, but are heavily invested in their alleged insomnia – were essentially as tired, anxious and depressed as those who genuinely didn’t sleep.
Drag your weary bones to the doctor and she may be willing to prescribe sleeping pills.
The root of the problem, as Sasha Stephens explains in her book The Effortless Sleep Method, is that any external crutch on which you lean – not just pills, but herbal remedies and elaborate bedtime rituals, too – risks further eroding your trust in your ability to fall asleep on your own, and it’s that lack of self-trust that is insomnia’s main cause.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Ready Player One is the roadmap to digital dystopia”

As the novel’s world descends into chaos and poverty, thanks to climate change and a fossil-fuel crisis, most of its citizens spend their days traversing the OASIS, a virtual reality world created by an “Eccentric” ’80s kid named James Halliday.
Ready Player One is also worse than that, in quietly unexamined ways that speak to the internet’s original sin.
The internet ethos of the ’80s and ’90s was rooted in an insidious brand of optimism best represented by the 1994 “Hacker” episode of Ghostwriter, in which a teenaged Julia Stiles lovingly caressed a computer monitor and declared the internet “a world where you’re judged by what you say and think, not by what you look like. A world where curiosity and imagination equals power.”
It has done so in part because of one of the internet’s core values, which also lies at the heart of Ready Player One: the belief that the right to anonymously do as you please is in fact a right, and one that is “De facto good” – at least for a certain class of people.
“Bullies couldn’t pelt me with spitballs, give me atomic wedgies, or pummel me by the bike rack after school. No one could even touch me. In here, I was safe.” The idea of the internet as a safe place – one where you can be untouchable, immune to abuse – is Ready Player One’s most anachronistic and privileged idea, one shared by many of the people who built its platforms.
There is no sign of these dangers in the text of Ready Player One; while the world outside of the OASIS is falling apart, the virtual world remains – yup – an oasis, a utopian expanse where anything is possible and everyone is emancipated by their online presence.
We don’t need to create fantasy worlds where nerds are some of the most powerful people in the world and their predilections are constantly catered to – they already are.
Their problem is the same problem that haunts Ready Player One from its first page to its last, like a vengeful poltergeist: the desire to indulge in playful, optimistic nostalgia about your favorite things while the world falls down around you.

The orginal article.

Summary of “21 books you should read this spring”

With so many great books coming out in 2018, it can be hard to figure out just which ones you should pick up.
This week on the MashReads Podcast, we are joined by Cristina Arreola, books editor at Bustle, to chat about spring reading.
Join us in the episode below as we talk about the books we’ve read recently, the books that’ve been on our spring reading wishlist, the classic books we’ve been revisiting, and the upcoming books you need to know about.
Here’s the podcast – read on for our list of 21 books you should check out this spring further down the page.
Be sure to check out more of Cristina’s work by checking out Bustle’s books coverage.
If you’re looking to revisit a book this spring, check out James Baldwin’s portrait of New Yorkers in the ’50s Another Country.
If you’re looking for a deep dive into love this spring, make sure to revisit Maggie Nelson’s 2015 book, The Argonauts.
Recommended by: MJ. “He has an essay called ‘After Peter,’ and it is easily one of the most affecting essays I’ve ever read in my life. I read this book a little while ago and I’ve just been waiting for it to come out so I can talk to people about it. It’s so good.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “J.R.R. Tolkien book The Fall of Gondolin coming in August”

J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings, died in 1973.
Fans will get the chance to read a new book by the author this August.
HarperCollins will publish The Fall of Gondolin on Aug. 30, the publishing company announced Tuesday.
The book was edited by Tolkien’s son Christopher, 93, and illustrated by Alan Lee.
The book tells of the founding of the Elven city of Gondolin, and is considered one of Tolkien’s Lost Tales.
“We never dared to dream that we would see this published,” said Shaun Gunner, chair of the Tolkien Society, on the group’s webpage.
“The Fall of Gondolin is, to many in the Tolkien community, the Holy Grail of Tolkien texts as one of Tolkien’s three Great Tales alongside The Children of Húrin and Beren and Lúthien. This beautiful story captures the rise and fall of a great Elven kingdom, taking place millennia before the events of The Lord of the Rings. This book brings all the existing work together in one place to present the story in full.”
Tolkien is believed to have started writing the story in 1917 while recovering from trench fever he contracted during World War I. It follows another posthumously published Lost Tale, The Tale of Beren and Lúthien, which came out in 2017.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The 50 Best Fantasy Books of the 21st Century :: Books :: Lists :: fantasy books :: Page 1 :: Paste”

The 21st century has been a particularly fruitful time of fantasy literature, with J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series ushering in an era of both publishers willing to take a chance on new fantasy writers and readers opening themselves up to worlds of magic.
Many readers have worked their way back from movies like the Lord of the Rings franchise or TV series like Game of Thrones to their fantasy novel origins, seeking out new authors after devouring J.R.R. Tolkien and G.R.R. Martin’s books.
We’ve gathered Paste editors and writers to compile a list of our favorite books in the genre, ranging from high fantasy worlds with distinct systems of magic to simple fantastical fables to urban fantasies filled with characters ripped right out of own realities.
Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett The Discworld books manage to satirize nearly every topic under the sun while also presenting a fully formed and innovative fantasy world la Middle Earth or Westeros.
“If one believes there is truth in art-and I do-then it’s troubling how similar the skill of performing is to lying. Maybe lying is itself a kind of art. I think about that more than I should.” Dragons are a mainstay of fantasy as a genre, but rarely as complex, thinking beings integral to a story’s interpersonal dramas, which is how Rachel Hartman frames her coolly calculating shape-shifting dragons in Seraphina and its companion books.
Want to read about a grand scheme, involving magic, fighting, and all the joys of fantasy? These books are for you.
Grace of Kings by Ken Liu Game of Thrones comparisons abound in epic fantasy, and are often more burden than boon, but Ken Liu’s Grace of Kings may be one of the few fantasy tomes to earn that comparison favorably.
Joe Abercrombie’s fantasy world may feel like an amalgamation of places you’ve visited in your reading before, but the characters feel fully realized and the storytelling is taut, avoiding an over-reliance on fantasy trappings and delivering a gritty, gripping tale.

The orginal article.