A Biography of Anaïs Nin by Deirdre Bair

Anais Nin A Biography Review by Ned Tobin

I became interested in Anaïs Nin through a few exotic and sensual friends of mine. When I stumbled upon her large Biography, it was practically calling my name. With this approach, I expected to find scandal, sensuality, and allure with exotic escapades in foreign countries with smoke hovering in the air.

Instead, what I found in this biography was Deirdre Bair deep understanding and investigation into who is commonly known as the biggest minor author who lived. Nin lived her whole life exhausting her efforts to get published and recognized as an author, and it was only in the later part of her life that she did manage to find this success, enough so to support herself and the people who had supported her for so long.

Bair did a really great job of fully researching Nin’s life, dissecting her famous diaries and those notes from Nin’s friends she could find, a very complex puzzle given Nin’s affinity to make the truths she wanted. It turns out that Bair is one of the only persons alive who was allowed to see the original diaries in their full, fresh out of the safe they have always been stored in.

If you’re looking to learn about the infamous Anaïs Nin, the real Nin, not the highly curated Nin of her own books and diaries, this book is for you. Bair dives deep into a rather unbiased exposé of her life, her heart, her troubles, her grand illusion, and her many affairs (that reach a dizzying height at times)…. There were many times when reading I had to put down the book (a bit angry) because sometimes the truth is just a little bit too much for my mind to comprehend. At times I found the decisions Anaïs Nin was making were causing me to feel the same anxiety I would feel reading a book and pausing on a cliffhanger! What an exotic life she lead!

But, all of this makes for an exciting biography of a very extraordinary woman who, even to this day, lived her life by a very different and progressive note.

Anais Nin A Biography Review

 

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear how you liked it in the comments below.

 

Book Review: With Mystics and Magicians in Tibet by Alexandra David-Neel

book cover of With Mystics and Magicians in Tibet by Alexandra David-Neel

With Mystics and Magicians in Tibet by Alexandra David-Neel is truly an enlightening read. It takes you through a very Western and rather scientific minded investigation into the many facets of Tibetan Buddhism.

In the time this book was written, the early 1900s, Tibet had a very strict policy not allowing foreigners and especially women foreigners into the country. It is understood that David-Neel was perhaps one of the first ever foreign women to enter the very spiritual land of Tibet. Quite a remarkable feat.

Author, and also spiritual seeker David-Neel spent approximately 15 years wandering through the land of Tibet in various caravans and locations. At one point, she lived for two years in a remote gompa (monastery) studying under a Lama in deep meditation, so remote that for all winter, they were cut off from any visitors or food supply.

In her journeys, David-Neel regularly becomes a guest of Lamas, in Northern India in parts of Western Asia. We learn the difference between Tibetan Buddhism, compared to the Indian and Chinese alternatives. Along the borders of Tibet, however, many Lamas, Tulkas, rnal hoyorpas (Naljorpas), or trapas (students) of some sort that find there ways to the gompas she spent her time at and was guest in.

In great detail, David-Neel discusses the entire hierarchy of a typical gompa, from the richer Tulkas to the poorest trapas. She also dissects and teaches the reader about psychic sports (as she calls them) that the trapas undertake to become enlightened. This also involves many of the spiritual training practices and plentiful mystical theories that echo throughout the land.

And as one would expect, she spends a lot of time talking about ghosts, demons, and the dead, considering how much Tibetan Buddhism revolves around this.

One particular fact I found fascinating was that in the most remote locations of Tibet, it was considered an honour to, after one has passed on, to sacrifice the body to the animals of the mountains. So, after death and proper ceremony was performed, the body would be brought to a rocky outcropping, and left for the animals. This was an honourable offering. It was also convenient on account of the rocky ground and nearly always freezing temperatures.

If you’re looking for insight into much Tibetan spiritual terminology, if you’re looking for an account of the truth of Tibetan Buddhism, debunking many of the modern misunderstanding about it, if you’re looking for a fascinating journey in a time before auto cars and televisions ruled our minds, this is a read for you.

On The Road by Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac is one of those American Legends, one of those legendary writers you say you wish you had read by now, and take note of the recommended books of his.

I got my hands on On the Road when I was staying on the road, spending the week at a cousins house. It seems I slip all my Kerouac books from houses I’m staying at, on the road. I’m fairly certain my cousin’s wife got the book in a college class as prescribed reading.

Source: beatbookcover.com

1st USA Viking Press Book Cover | Source: beatbookcover.com

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LULU by Lou Reed and Metallica

When LULU first came out all the Metallica junkies hated it. The mainstream music heroes said it was a huge flop. Social media made fun of it.

When LULU first came out, I watched a video interviewing the boys of Metallica and Lou and they were saying how it’s probably their greatest effort to date.

And still the critics yelled for it to be silenced.

I’m in the sixteenth minute of Lou Reed & Metallica performing the album live in Köln, and bloody hell it’s good.

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Book Review | Linchpin by Seth Godin

Seth Godin is what you might call a motivator. You may also call him an identifier. I’d say he is also a wise man, who’s done a lot of research on an alternative method of thought.

He talks about shifting away from being a cog in the wheel, a productive yet zombie-like member of the assembly line, in to the realm of artistry; in short, becoming a Linchpin.

Seth Godin - Linchpin

A very suiting title for this book, and to be perfectly honest, a great read. 5 stars, thumbs, whatever…

“What will make a Linchpin is not a shortcut. It’s the understanding of which hard work is worth doing. The only thing that separates great artists from the mediocre ones is their ability to push through the dip. Some people decide that their art is important that they out to overcome the resistance they face in doing their work. Those people become Linchpins.”

To understand this as Seth would like you to – aside from reading the book – the reader must be aware of two things. The first is that Godin describes how “art is the intentional act of using your humanity to create a change in another person.” Not just the artist with a paintbrush or camera, but the person with the willingness to put in the effort. The second is that this book is not about creating the next best thing, it’s about becoming indispensable; becoming a Linchpin.

To cheat Godin out of a book sale (in all likelihood it will make you want to read the entire book multiple times) he’s described what makes you indispensable:

  • provide a unique interface between members of the organization,
  • delivering unique creativity,
  • managing a situation or organization of great complexity,
  • leading customers,
  • inspiring staff,
  • providing deep domain knowledge,
  • possessing a unique talent.

Rest assured, if you think you know what all these points mean – and that you possess (some of) them – and/or you believe even just one of these qualities does indeed make the artist valuable, this book will be worth your read.

I would highly suggest taking notes of every single point Seth Godin makes that sticks out to you.

If you have read this book, I’d love to hear some points you’ve taken from this book that have changed your life.

 


Monthly Joint Series by Amon Tobin

Amon Tobin released an album called Monthly Joint Series, which was made in the year 2009 from the bastard children of his then current album he had underway. Each song stands on its own, as a valiant soldier marching forth into the industrial wreckage ready to reek salvation upon the land. I guess, as legend has it, Amon released a song a month digitally, which fans ate up ravenously.

It’s what you’d come to expect from Amon Tobin, filled with futuristic sounds, traditional beats, and much bass.

delpher

delpher

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Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

charles dickens

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is a classic book. Correction: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is a great classic book.

great expectations by charles dickens

Great Expectations takes the reader through the life of Mr. Pip, starting out in his small town outside of London, England “in the marsh country down by the river, twenty miles of the sea.” and through his acquiring great expectations. The story takes place in what I would guess to be late 19th century England.

Let me clarify what great expectations are: a lot of wealth. Pip comes into a lot of wealth. Continue Reading →

Movie Review: Warrior [2011]

Warrior is a bloody emotional movie (pun intended); two brothers, MMA fighters, with a drunk (recovering) father. The plot comes together as they train for the big event Sparta: 16 fighters, 2 nights, winner takes $5.000.000.

215px-Warrior_Poster

To be honest, at the start, the plot is a bit confusing. However, I love that The National both lead in the movie, and close out the movie; a great, dramatic band. I think it’s actually a bit exciting as all the different stories tie in together as the movie progresses. It’s an example of some great screenwriting. Continue Reading →

Triggerfinger by Triggerfinger

Triggerfinger is on board to be one of my favorite bands of 2013. They’ve been around since 1998, but this album, their debut album was only released in 2004. Apparently they weren’t picked up on and enjoyed in Belgium… I just got hooked on them from this song, which also was their first song to hit the Dutch charts:

However, they’re not really an acoustic band, though some of their top tracks on YouTube may convince you differently, being that they seem to all be acoustic performaces. In fact, they’re dubbed as Antwerp’s loudest band. Read their bio on their website, that’ll get the hairs raised on the back of your neck.

Triggerfinger’s self titled album, Triggerfinger, is fairly raw. Raw as in awesome. Raw as in fat guitar with sizzling lines that jump out of the speakers at you being pushed forth with that solid bass rock solid drum kit.

The band is three members from Belgium, Ruben Block plays guitar and sings, Paul Van Bruystegem who plays bass, and
Mario Goossens on the drums.

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