Alexander is a recent addition to Kards Unlimited, but we’re super glad to have his talents on our team. His resume includes Pro-Shark wrestling and a brief stint as a ninja, and you know, those are super helpful skills here at this particular book/gift/card store.
Alexander’s list is pretty intense, I’m not going to lie. But if you read all of these books this summer you’ll probably end up feeling like you could be a ninja too.
Food of the Gods by Terence McKenna
For serious seekers only. McKenna’s radical hypothesis on the origins of human consciousness is the only Creation Myth that has ever made any sense to me, and has the unignorable characteristic of being concurrent with both scientific data and personal experience. If any element of it approaches the truth, the ramifications are as daming as they are potentially salvific.
The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
I’ve read a lot of holy books, but this absurdist’s bible is undeniably my favorite and has guided my life more than any other. Whenever I find myself taking life too seriously (my cardinal sin), I know that it is time to reread the Guide, laugh at life, and thumb my way into a new adventure.
Civilization and Its Discontents by Sigmund Freud
If you find yourself questioning the therapeutic validity of your psych meds and suspect that your therapist may simply be adjusting you to a deeply pathological culture instead of helping heal you, this book, from the Father of Psychoanalysis himself, may fuel your paranoia and catalyze a self-realization-or-bust journey of transformation. At least, it did for me.
The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell
This book is an introduction to that lost continent in the Western psyche, the world of mythos. If you’re looking for something to help you pass the time while you wait to die, this isn’t it. But if you’re hungry for a life of adventure imbued with self-generated meaning, this is a good place to start.
Demon Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan
A whetstone for the intellect. Internalizing the logical razors Sagan presents in this field guide to truth-seeking has been of incalculable benefit to me in my life for avoiding a whole lot of bullshit while investigating the lunatic fringe and the varieties of weird experiences. I reread it every so often to keep my wits sharp.
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
For all that I knew about psychological conditioning and the massive social engineering projects undertaken in the 20th century, this book was the boot in the ass that I needed to rip myself out of my culture and begin the painful process of unlearning the insanity that I had assimilated to. Nothing like a good story to render a body of facts into impetus for action.
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert Heinlein
Inspire your inner revolutionary with this underdog tale of Libertarian rebellion on the Moon. Featuring my favorite weapon in all of science fiction for its engineering simplicity and my favorite familial social organization for its communal strength.
Paradise Lost by John Milton
No other intellectual endeavor has carried out so thorough a meditation on Evil over the centuries as Christianity has. Paradise Lost is the crowning jewel of that investigation into the personality of Evil. It has helped me understand the path that people like Eric Harris to Adolph Hitler have walked down, and helped me avoid that path myself.
Valis and Later Novels by Philip K. Dick
All of Dicks’ works render opaque the dubious wall of separation between fact and fiction, reality and delusion, and your life and the character’s, but the VALIS series is a mind bender for mind-benders on a bender. Historians should keep tabs on this book, because it will likely become incorporated into some future religion’s canon of revelatory literature.
Here are three more books to try as well!