December 5, 2011


One of the great frustrations in my life is that too many books are being published that I’d like to read but don’t have the time. My refrigerator door is dotted with lists of titles I intend to buy, so many of them that they blot out the underlying surface. Nonetheless, I continue to read reviews to see what’s new or I browse the bookstores in search of some special find. 

Recently, I ran across two new titles that sounded fascinating and have already wedged a space for them on the refrigerator, hoping that one day they’ll make it to my bookshelf.


My first choice has a jawbreaker title: “Sleep Paralysis: Nightmares, Nocebos and the Mind-Body Connection” by Shelley Adler. Adler has made a study of the phenomenon of sleep paralysis and the nightmares that sometimes accompany it.   Normally, the dream cycle and the paralysis cycle do not intersect. When they do the dreamer imagines he is awake but unable to move. The experience is usually accompanied by an overwhelming sense of fear and is prevalent across all societies. Adler explores the myths that arise from these events and notes that a culture’s belief system can affect how people react. If the phenomenon is interpreted to be a visitation of evil, it can lead to death  — a discovery which leads Adler to conclude that biology is local. 

Another book just out is a memoir, Yangzom Brauen’s, “Across Many Mountains.”  The story begins just prior to China’s invasion of Tibet and is about the hardships of a Buddhist nun as she follows her spiritual leader out of the country. Her turmoil ends in triumph both for herself and the two generations of women that follow.   Brauen is one of them. She now anchors the Los Angeles radio show, “Tibet Connection” and is currently producing a film about her grandmother’s miraculous journey.

When I purchase these two books, I will be able to clear a little space on my refrigerator door. But that poses another dilemma. Where will I find the space for these tomes in my library?