I Read Books

Hey there, my Darling Devils, it’s me, ya girl, and I’m here to give you my book recommendations! This took me a LONG time because I have so many books that I adore for various different reasons. Somehow, I’ve got it down to my Top 5 with a few honorable mentions at the end because it was hard to pick. There are a wide variety of genres represented, so there should be something for everybody, and I will provide links to where you can purchase these.

NOTE: I have NOT included any of the Church of Satan’s book in this list because I plan to do a literary analysis on each of them later.

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Edwin with our books

So, without further ado, please put your hands together for…

Lauren’s List

5) Selected Writings of Ella Higginson: Inventing Pacific Northwest Literature 

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I love Laura

This book is dear to my heart because it is (mostly) about Bellingham, which is where I spend most of my days, as well as other parts of Washington, Alaska, and Diet Washington AKA Oregon. This is a collection of short stories, poems, fiction, and non-fictions from a woman who was absolutely amazing.

Ella Higginson was born in Kansas, moved to Oregon, and then moved to what was known was New Whatcom, Washington with her husband in 1885. She was chosen to be the very first Poet Laureate of Washgton State and was hugely popular. On the side of one of the buildings at my alma mater is the phrase “Here is the home of color and of light” which is attributed to nobody. This is one of Higginson’s lines from her poem “College by the Sea”, which is a poem about WWU back when it was a Normal School, which taught women how to be teachers. Her name isn’t under the quote because nobody at that time could imagine a world where people didn’t know Ella Higginson. Actually, I have a tattoo of that line!

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This was when it was brand new

Sadly, Ella was lost to history until one of my favorite people in the world, Laura Laffrado rediscovered her work in the State Archives. Seriously, what a character this woman is. I can’t put Laura into words, but there are interviews with her in various magazines. Just google her.

I really recommend this book if you want to see some amazing examples of poetry and prose writing. Ella Higginson was an accomplished poet with an unparalleled master of words.

Amazon Link

4) I am America (and So Can You!)  dictated by Stephen Colbert (Author of I am America (and So Can You!).

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As you can see from the cover, this book is hilarious! This is written by the character Stephen Colbert played on his Comedy Central show The Colbert Report, also named Stephen Colbert. Sadly, this character died after Stephen left The Colbert Report, but his identical twin cousin, Stephen Colbert, often makes appearances on Stephen’s current show, The Daily Show.

By the time you’re done reading this book, you’ll have a hole in the side of your cheek from how often your tongue has been shoved in there. It’s all about what is wrong with America and how Stephen knows how to fix it! If you’re a fan of Stephen it’s really easy to read in his voice, which adds to the hilarity of the entire thing.

Sections include “The Family: So help me God I will turn this book around right here”; “Class War: Let them buy cake for a change”; and “Homosexuals: Do not read by glow stick light”.

If these sound like really right-wing talking points, it’s because they are! That’s the whole point of the character of Stephen Colbert, the show he used to host, and the book I am recommending here.

Beyond this humor, the text pokes holes into all of the arguments often used by republicans to defend their views. This serves as a humorous way to point out the flaws of Uncle Gary the he starts going off about the Lesbians and the Mexicans after be’s had a few at Thanksgiving.

Seriously, I don’t laugh out loud at books often, but this one had me roaring!

Amazon Link

3) Man v. Nature stories by Diane Cook

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This book is interesting because it’s one of two on this list that I had to purchase for a class while I was at WWU. It’s a collection of short stories that pit humans against, not only nature, but their natural instincts. I’ve read the book through, but often come back for specific stories within the text, as they have the ability to stand alone.

A few of my favorites are It’s Coming, which is about a group of humans that are trying to escape from a monster that the readers never get a really good look at; Meteorologist Dave Santana, about a woman obsessed with a local weather man; and The Not-Needed Forest which takes us into a world where boys are sorted into “Needed” and “Not-Needed”.

What makes these stories so amazing is that they don’t explain everything. Allow me to explain. We as readers are shoved into the world where out characters live, but we don’t learn everything that they already know because, well, they already know it and have no reason to explain everything to an observer they as characters are unaware of. This is something that movies have a huge issue with, though the one movie I’ve recently seen that does it REALLY well is A Quiet Place.

Another interesting aspect of a lot of these stories is the perspective. Often times, the characters refer to themselves in first-person plural, using “we” instead of “he” or “I”. I was actually doing it in the last paragraph. This draws the reader into the story and makes it feel more personal; like it’s actually happening to them, too.

If you’re into some really fucked up stories written beautifully, check out this one for sure.

Amazon Link 

2) Aristotle and Date Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz 

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Just as Stephen Colbert’s book made me laugh out loud, this book had me weeping. It may seem like it’s going to be a philosophical book, which it is in some ways, but this is actually a book about two boys growing up together and finding love.

As you can see from the cover, this book has won many awards, including an LGBTQ+ literature award, so you can kinda figure out how the story goes just by looking at it. This isn’t a bad thing at all since there are a lot of twists and turns that put you on edge as you’re reading.

I don’t want to go too far into the story or the characters because I really think you should read it! Actually, I have a second copy of this book, so if you really want it, shoot me a comment and I can send it to you at the end of July. I’ll even write you a little personalized note if you want!

Amazon Link

1) The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

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Holy, holy, holy I love this book! I read this book for the first time in 10th grade and I read the whole damn thing in one go because I couldn’t put it down!

This is the story of a family and how life takes you through crazy twists and turns, even when you’re already dealing with other issues. We follow a man through his life as he struggles to balance following his dreams and falling in love.

Oh, and the narrator is a dog. That’s right, folks, you get to hear about life through the best dog ever. Enzo is a wonderful pup with some wonderful views on life. This isn’t really a spoiler, but if you want to go in blind, don’t read the next sentence. Enzo believes that if he really tries, he can learn all he can during his time as a dog and then come back in the next life as a person. Also, since his human is a racer driver, he loves watching races and so there’s some really cool nods to real racing culture, if that’s your thing.

I’ve loaned out these books many time and have purchased it as gifts for people’s birthdays and weddings because I love it so much. I really, really recommend buying, borrowing, or checking out this book because it really fun and well-written.

Amazon Link

Honorable Mentions

I really, really wanted to put these books in the list, but I forced myself to only pick five.

1) Boxers and Saints, a graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang

2) The Dark Tower series by Stephen King

3) The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver. (Also her book The Poisonwood Bible)

4) Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson, which is a book about reaching rock bottom and getting back up again.

 

So, that’s all for this post, but if it goes well, I can do some more! I have many opinions on movies, shows… twitter profiles. Let me know in the comments what other lists you’d like.

I hope you enjoyed this post and, if you read or have read any of these, please let me know what you thought!

Have an amazing day, my Sweet Satans.

HS!

LH

I Read a Book (2/2)

Hey guys, I know I said I was going to give you my Top 5 favorite books, but I had something more exciting come in! Check it out.

If you have not read the first essay I wrote on a book this author sent me, I would go back and read that first.

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Wow, wow, wow! What a wonderful companion piece to Rascal! If the image above reminds you of the colors of the 70’s, there’s a reason for that. Drawing upon imagery of growing up in that era, the author muses over how these were the golden memories that stick out so starkly against the more common memories shrouded in darkness.

Read this book AFTER Rascal, for sure, as the first will give you a sense of what the author must have gone through, which makes The Corner Store Epiphany so powerful. It’s a story of learning to please yourself as doing what you need to do for yourself FIRST is the key to healing.

The book reminds you that the pleasures of childhood don’t need to be reserved for the early years of your life as they will always make you happy. Don’t miss out on the little joys in life, like a beautiful sunset or a particularly lovely afternoon, because you are trying to do what others tell you what they think you should be doing.

Logospilgrim once again demonstrates a mastery of words and sentence fluency that weaves between the worlds of poetry and prose that pulls you through the book at breakneck speeds.

I highly recommend reading both books in quick succession as to experience the gambit of emotions on display.

Now, join me as we sit down with the author in this edition of…

end of MY rope

Since I love this so much, I’m just going to quote for you what the About the Author section of the book says. It’s perfect.

“Logospilgrim is a writer, a secular humanist, and a gonzo maverick. These days, she writes mostly about joyful secular living and being a happy introverted tomboy. She has a degree in Religious Studies and a large toy collection. Shel;s leaning to play the ukulele, and she can juggle. She loves the 70s, making macrame, and drinking Jack Daniel’s. She’s also known as the Quiet Professor.”

You can learn more about Logospilgrim at Logospilgrim.com.

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Check out this cool cat

1) What is your relationship to the Church of Satan? 

I’ve officially been a member since the start of 2018. Incidentally, it’s been an excellent year for me so far, one of the best years of my life; thus it feels most appropriate that I became a member this year. In my active membership form, which I sent a few weeks ago, I wrote that “Being a member of the Church of Satan is like adorning the banquet table of one’s existence with a sumptuous, buttercream-laden cake (…) [It’s] a manifestation of the reverence I feel for my satanic self: my sweet, unabashed, and superbly devilish self-dedication.”

2) When did you first discover Satanism?

I knew about the existence of Satanism when I was in my late teens. I spent a great deal of time browsing in bookstores, and The Satanic Bible was always available in the Occult or New Age sections. Due to my complex life circumstances back then, I didn’t pick up the book, though I’d been interested in “dark” things since I was a child: horror movies, monsters, the mysterious, and so on. I did finally read The Satanic Bible when I was in my mid-twenties, and its philosophy strongly resonated with me, but it would take many more years before I completely emancipated myself from Judeo-Christian notions that were bound up in affective/relational issues and the legacy of a childhood marked by domestic violence; I wrote about this in my Satan Superstar article, “Golden Idol.” I recently wrote that I’ve never been on the “right side” of anything, and it’s one of the multitude of reasons Satanism suits me as it does. In the opening sequence of Aeon Flux (the animated series), the two main characters have the following exchange:

Trevor Goodchild: Whose side are you on?

Aeon Flux: I take no side.

Trevor Goodchild: You’re skating the edge.

Aeon Flux: I am the edge.

Those last words, “I am the edge,” the state of being unclassifiable, of being your own agent, this is and has always been at the core of my being. It’s been the key to my endurance and survival; it’s thanks to this that I’ve prevailed, over and over, against whatever would have extinguished my flame. I’m now at a point in my life when this flame has never burned brighter, and I have all the means I require to fully satisfy my satanic nature, to exist in accordance with my desires. Being a Satanist is a triumph of my self. One of my favorite aspects of Satanism is its “take bold delight in living your own life, on your terms” stance.

3) What item in your house brings you the most joy?

I’m a passionate collector, and love to display objects that give me pleasure. So many of my treasures bring me joy, it’s difficult to single one of them out! I love vintage toys, especially from the 1970s. My most recent acquisition is a 1975 Weebles tree house, in fantastic shape, a complete set that even includes the box; I managed to snag it for thirty bucks. This collection, to me, is Lesser Magic in action, because of the powerful effect it has on me: the process of acquiring it, and enjoying it, is a reclaiming of my own happiness, a scavenging operation wherein I’ve gone back to the past, extracted from a painful, damaging environment all that gave me joy and enabled me to survive, and in the present time these objects are imbued with added significance. They resonate with my strength and ingenuity, my determination to carve a potent lair, a free-zone for myself in the midst of a world that thrives on uniformity. On the Weebles tree house box, the toy is described as a “secret retreat,” and this is precisely what I learned to create for myself, in the far reaches of my mind, when having one’s place was forbidden. My collection is a statement: I have prevailed, and will continue doing so. To name one favorite item: I have a little vintage Avon snowman necklace hanging near my computer. Its milky-white body, like a moonstone almost, delights me to no end. When a small object like this can give you such pleasure, you are powerful indeed. It reminds me that no one could, no one can ultimately take my joy away; it’s mine, it’s self-generated, and the means I choose for attaining it are uncommon.

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4) Would you rather never have to pay for food again or get $100,000,000 per year for life?

I’d say that the $100,000,000 per annum would provide for all my needs, including dietary ones, quite nicely *laughs*

5) Tell me about your last really good day.

You know, I have really good days just about every week! Anytime I’m in my lair is a really good day. For instance, only last Saturday, another vintage treasure reached my doorstep, a rare Bert and Ernie toy (a soft buggy that looks like the inventive pair fashioned it out of whatever they could find, a garbage can, pieces of wood, old hinges, bits and bobs, rope, and I think this is hilarious, but then I have a predilection for “garbage” and junk toys), and that day I cleaned up the house a little—caring for my lair, making it comfortable, is extremely important to me—then I spent time writing, and later my spouse and I ate juicy hamburgers in our respective Total Environment havens, surrounded by what we love: a perfect day. On a day when I ventured out recently, I went to a small German restaurant to eat Viennese schnitzel with spätzle and sauerkraut (I’d never had proper German food and wanted to eat some because of a story I’m working on) and oh, that was glorious.

6) How do you like to celebrate your birthday?

Basically, I treat myself in the ways I enjoy most. This means a quiet day, because I’m an introvert and love seclusion and tranquility, and I unwrap gifts I got for myself (toys, books, films, music). Never underestimate the joy of unwrapping presents! This year was the first year I officially celebrated my birthday as the most important Satanic holiday of the year, and it was wonderful; it stretched out over a few days. I took glamorous self-portraits to highlight the occasion, savored rich pieces of cake (chocolate with a lot of buttercream), and my partner made me fine meals.

7) How did you come up with the name Logospilgrim?

It was the name I chose for myself back when I was undergoing a vital transformation inside a cocoon of sorts, around fifteen years ago. In the beginning, it had Orthodox connotations, and then, as I laboriously emerged from the now useless shell with my dazzling wings, I kept this name. I love the way it looks and sounds, but I gave it new meaning. I took it back to its roots. “Logos” comes from the Greek lógos—a word, saying, speech, discourse, thought, proportion, ratio, reckoning, akin to légein, to choose, gather, recount, tell over, speak: I’ve always been a communicator, words have always been important to me, especially the written word. “Pilgrim” is most apt as well; I’m a wanderer, but of the mind. As a writer, I spend a lot of time thinking and letting my mind wander. I’m very curious, always eager to perfect my knowledge, to learn about a variety of topics. And there is something deliciously unexpected about being a Satanist with such an incongruous name. “In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with god, and the Logos was god”—I have been in my own company from the start, and I am my god. Lucifer is the true Logos.

8) Do you have any pets?

I have a cherished cat named Potion, which is a tribute to Severus Snape. I love cats because they’re both affectionate and independent. They’re excellent pets for introverts. Potion, like me, doesn’t like commotion or intrusion. He has the perfect calm environment in my home.

9) What kind of laundry detergent do you use?

My partner and I have sensitive skin, so I use a fragrance free detergent. On the other hand, we enjoy scents; a lot of incense is burned in this house, fragrant candles, and I use an oil diffuser on a regular basis. I love rich, earthy perfumes that include scents like vanilla, frankincense and myrrh, clove, spices… I recently got a sample of a perfume called Lavs Unum (worn by two popes), and it’s exquisitely decadent.

10) What is your favorite of the Seven Deadly Sins?

Pride, definitely. One must possess intelligent pride, not counterproductive pride, obviously, but when someone had to deal with abusive situations, emotional vampires, psychological damage, filling one’s chalice to the brim with pride is a fierce and most effective cure. Pride is the foundation of all other “Deadly Sins”—of humanity at its most primal, and at its most sophisticated. Pride is the root of self-preservation; it’s an inner friend that lets us know what’s right for us, what we should pursue, what we should walk away from; if we’re the sort of individuals who are capable of and profit from sound introspection, its instruction heightens our self-awareness. Pride is what connects us to self-respect; it’s a crown, a sword, and a shield; it inspires us to be the utmost of what we can be.

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That’s all today, folks! Take some time to check out these books and I promise my list is coming. I must say it’s REALLY hard to pick only five.

Have a wonderful day, my Darling Devils!

HS!

LH

I Read a Book (Part 1/2)

So, I was sent two books and I was going to cover both in one post, but I just finished the first and I HAVE to talk about it RIGHT NOW.

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Read it. Now.

I loved this book for so, so many reasons and I tried to keep track of it all as I was reading in my little bits of spare time. Unholy crap it is wonderful.

Just a little background: This was sent to me by Logospilgrim, a writer with a degree in Religious Studies, which sounds like a really interesting field. If you want to pick up this book and others, check out her website Logospilgrim.com.

So, to be honest, I went into this blind and couldn’t tell right away if this was fiction or nonfiction. The reason why I thought it might be fiction was because it almost read as if it were an account of an angel of God who had escaped and turned towards Satan. Seriously, it’s really good.

It became clear to me quickly that this was not a work of fiction and then I fell in love with the text in a whole new way. First off, it reads more as Prose Poetry than anything else, which I love because it allows the words to take on new power. In the areas of self-acceptance, the words are pleasing in mouth feel and are sonically kind.  They tend to lean towards the multi-sylballic romantic. When talking about religions and abuse, the words become sharp and hard, living in the short, Anglo-Saxon area of the vocabulary.

The book speaks on behalf in the necessity of the Seven Deadly Sins in life and how allowing yourself to indulge in each is the key to feeling free to be yourself. It blurs the lines between abuse and religions, drawing comparisons between God and a person who is mentally, emotionally, and physically abusive. Also a perfect Alien reference thrown in there, which is great.

The influence of Anton LaVey can’t be denied as one reads through a beautiful account of learning to re-accept and love yourself. If you’re playing with the idea of Satanism or are a Satanist and you’re also dealing with abuse or learning to heal now that you’re free, I recommend this book with all my heart. As I have said in previous posts, I was abused, and I see my story, like I know so many others will, as I read this books. I also see my healing and my path to becoming even more whole.

So, thank you, Logos, for sharing this story with me. I can’t wait to get to the next one. Her Infernal Interview will accompany the next review.

To Vital Existence.

HS!

LH

 

IMPORTANT EDIT: If you are in an abusive relationship or need help of ANY KIND, you can probably find a service on this List of Hotlines. It may be scary or hard, but the first step in these situations are always hard, but the first step needs to happen.