Capital Region Reads: Psychedelics and a debut novel

Choices from Alison Starkey, an Adult Services librarian at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library

This edition of Capital Region Reads is written by Alison Starkey, an Adult Services Librarian at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, who recommends a debut novel and a book that dives into the research and changing thoughts on psychedelic drugs.

“America for Beginners: A Novel” by Leah Franqui (July 2018)

Leah Franqui’s charming debut novel centers on Pival Sengupta, an Indian widow, and her travels in America to find her treasured son Rahi. After the recent death of her overbearing husband, Pival begins to explore her new freedom by booking an American tour to take her from New York to California. 

Together with the newly-hired guide Satya and aspiring actress turned companion Rebecca, Pival learns to see her world and America with new eyes. At times touching and other times funny, this engaging novel explores the unlikely connections strangers can make. Recommended for fans of women’s fiction.

“How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence” by Michael Polan (May 2018)

Michael Pollan has written an outstanding book that focuses on the premise that psychedelics, once touted as an entrée into the mystery of consciousness, but traditionally taboo, may indeed hold benefits for people struggling with health issues like anxiety and addiction. The scientific research he presents illustrates that psychedelic drugs allow the brain to communicate with itself in liberating and permanent ways.  Pollan covers the history of psychedelic drug research in America, shares his own experimental use, and presents the view scientists and healthcare practitioners are currently taking to understand how these remarkable substances can improve mental health. Recommended for fans of books on body, mind and spirit.

Categories: Entertainment

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