Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Debra Bokur

Debra Bokur is the author of The Fire Thief and The Bone Field (Dark Paradise Mysteries, Kensington). She’s traveled the world as a writer, journalist and staff editor for various national media outlets, with more than 2,000 print pieces carrying her byline to date. Her work has garnered multiple awards, including a 2015 Lowell Thomas Award for Travel Journalism. For more than a decade, she served as the poetry editor at a national literary journal, and her poetry and short fiction have been widely published. Among her favorite writing credits are a series of original literary essays commissioned by the Celestial Seasonings tea company that appeared on the artfully illustrated boxes of ten separate tea flavors. She continues to travel in her capacity as the Global Researcher and Writer for the Association for Safe International Road Travel, and as a monthly columnist for Global Traveler Magazine.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
Einstein’s Dreams by Alan Lightman

My husband gave me a copy of this book as a gift years ago, following a long discussion about how the perception of time can be highly subjective: Not to discount the veracity of clocks, of course, but how an actual segment of time—like a minute or an hour—can seem to pass at a different speed for different people. This can be heightened by the season, with winter seeming to last forever for everyone except me; or how summer may appear to be fleeting. The speed of time might even depend upon what you’re doing. For me, no matter how long I try to linger over a slice of apple cake, it seems like time flies by and the cake is gone before I know it. Lightman, who is both an author and a physicist, takes this thought and presents it in a series of chapter-stories; each of which presents the passage of time in a different way using Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity as context. This theory suggests that the passage of time, or the discernment of it, is relative to the lens through which it is perceived. Context becomes everything, and in this small book, Lightman treats the topic with brilliance and imagination. The writing is consistently lyrical and mesmerizing, and I pick it up every so often to enjoy again, always discovering something new and beautiful in each reading. It’s become one of my favorite books to gift to others.

Call this Room a Station by John Willson

I’ve long been a fan of the compelling poetry created by poet John Willson, and was pleased to discover that he’d published a collection. In Call This Room a Station, Willson has assembled his poems in a way that reflects a journey through joy, loss, and a return from despair while employing imagery from an actual expedition across the world as framework and setting. Nature is one of the recurring themes in Willson’s moving poems, and I find myself repeatedly returning to specific pieces, including “Eagle, Border Waters,” and “Morning,” which ranks as one of the most beautiful poems I’ve ever read.

How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan

As a rule, I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, but anything by author Michael Pollan is an absolute exception. Pollan teaches writing at Harvard and the University of California, and readers of The New York Times Magazine will be familiar with his byline. I’ve found his previous works on plant life, the human relationship with food, and how we experience the natural world to have been exceptionally enthralling. Right now, I’m in the middle of one his latest works, How to Change Your Mind, which explores the human fascination with psychoactive plants and delves deeply into ongoing clinical and scientific research into psychedelic drugs including LSD, psilocybin, Ayahuasca, and 5-MeO-DMT. Pollan details research being conducted at Harbor UCLA Medical Center, Johns Hopkins, Imperial College in London, the University of Zurich, and NYU, all of which is seriously examining how even a single psychedelic experience may offer curative benefits for numerous conditions including depression and addiction—while also providing perspective and comfort to patients with terminal illnesses regarding suffering, death, and the very nature of existence. It’s a truly compelling read.
Visit Debra Bokur's website.

Q&A with Debra Bokur.

The Page 69 Test: The Fire Thief.

My Book, The Movie: The Fire Thief.

--Marshal Zeringue