All I need to be entertained are cats within ear-scratching distance and a good book . . .OK, maybe that's not ALL I need, but it's a good start.

I love to read. And I love to get recommendations for books to read.

I started Cats and a Book to share the books I read with others. Some I love, some I don't, but you may love the ones I don't, so you're welcome to post your own comments and suggestions.

To make it easier to purchase books you may read about on the blog, I've linked to Amazon.com through The Cats and a Book Bookstore, which is located on the bottom of this page. Your purchases are fulfilled and handled through Amazon. To assure your privacy, Cats and a Book doesn't handle any of your payment or contact information.

Happy reading!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Power of Place, by Winifred Gallagher


The Power of Place: How Our Surroundings Shape Our Thoughts, Emotions, and Actions by Winifred Gallagher is a study in science, geography, psychology, and mythology, with each chapter addressing a different way in which our physical location affects us. For example, in "The Climate Indoors," Gallagher describes the human need for sunlight, and how most "office-bound" Americans get less than a half hour of sunlight a day. She talks about the effect of long days of sunlight or darkness in the Arctic and Antarctic regions and the condition known as SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder.

In chapters entitled "Subtle Geophysical Energies" and "Sacred Places," Gallagher addresses shared mystical experiences and sudden revelations that some report at particular geographic locations. Whether they are due to electromagnetic field changes or "chronic environmental weirdness," the author doesn't discount the reports of the bizarre but chalks them up to possible "ghost in the machine" phenomena.

Gallagher's chapter on "Stimulation: Less is More, More or Less" focused on the concept of feng shui and the affect of noise on our environment. "Different People, Different Worlds" introduces the fascinating concept of "flow" best described in this quote from Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi:

"When we're in flow, whether while playing the violin or climbing a mountain, our actions merge with our awareness. We stop being spectators of our own experience, which eliminates that ruminative self-consciousness that's such a burden. We feel a sense of oneness with something larger than the self, whether it's a musical tradition or nature or a diety."

The Power of Place covers a broad range of topics Gallagher relates to physical place. The Power of Place was published by Poseidon Press in 1993. For more books on place, consider The Geography of Bliss, by Eric Weiner.

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