Chris Angelini (frobozz) wrote,
Chris Angelini


One of the (few) nice things about having a commute to work that doesn't involve a bicycle is that I'm getting to listen to my audiobooks in bigger chunks. I've been able to go through a couple of very interesting books in the last few weeks (adjusted for vacation).

The first was Furiously Happy, by Jenny Lawson. Jenny is a person who has led a life in which she's had to deal with a panoply of mental health issues like anxiety, depression, the urge to pull out her own hair, etc. She has taken the incidents of her life and rather than hide them, put them together in an amazingly funny and often touching series of anecdotes, which in turn help other people who have some of these issues know that they're not alone. This is the furthest thing possible from a 'tell all' book... this is a comedian mining her personal pain to deliver a series of amazing punchlines. I also highly recommend her first book, Let's Pretend This Never Happened; I even more highly recommend reading both as audiobooks, as they're narrated by Jenny herself and thus contain an amazing amount of subtext and emotional resonance.

The second of my sojourn books was Scientology: Abuse at the Top, by Amy Scobee. Now I 'love' insider looks at Scientology (love is in scare quotes because the actual melange of emotions that I feel while reading or listening to these books is one of horror, sympathy and fascination... none of which is really anything close to love) because the religion does a whole lot of harm and I want to help stop it doing that harm, if only by passing on some of the human rights violations going on within the church. I've read several insider's looks at the religion over the years, but Scobee's was a very different take from what I was used to. She made it to the upper echelons of Scientology while relatively young.. and discovered that she had landed herself in a culture of fear, lies, random punishment and lost dignity (hey, just like my former place of work over the last couple of years!). Whereas you'd think that the top Scientologists would be the best off as they dined on the profits accrued by the faithful's donations, you'd be wrong. The only person at the top who enjoys any of the withered fruits of Scientology's labours is the Miscavage Patch Kid himself, David Miscavage. With a sociopath's flair, he's taken something wrong, dishonest and harmful and has made it bad! Its really hard not to wonder just how much more future damage the church is going to do under this man's leadership.

I really should get back to listening to some more Great Courses; but lately I've been in the mood for something with a bit more of a human touch.
Tags: books
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