What Books Triggered You the Most?

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by In Trieste

Every week we interview one of our writers on what books have changed their lives. Today is Gary Brackett‘s turn- an actor, yogi, founder of Living Theatre Europa and Perform, a mind-body centre in Trieste where he teaches yoga and Chi-running. 

The book I am currently reading

Beethoven: Anguish and Triumph by Jan Swafford. An exhaustive and at times exhausting biographical study of genius: for musical experts and amateurs alike. Does genius need always suffer? Read it and weep! 

The book that changed my life

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx. I was a freshman in college, full of hope and angst when I read, “A specter is haunting Europe…” It opened my eyes to critical thinking and I became a Political Science major.

The book I wish I’d written

Fall or Dodge in Hell by Neal Town Stephenson. Elon Musk says it’s a billion in one chance that we are not living in a computer simulation. This novel makes it a real and provocative argument and truly sad if it comes to pass. Technologically visionary!

The book that had the greatest influence on me

The Diaries of Judith Malina. Judith (co-founder of The Living Theatre): my mentor, collaborator and friend. I read her diaries and ran away to work in her theater for thirty years!

The book I couldn’t finish

Finnegans Wake by James Joyce. Just bloody impossible…yuk!

The book I give as a gift

The Magic Ten and Beyond: Daily Spiritual Practice for Greater Peace and Well-Being by Sharon Gannon. Again, a mentor and friend, Sharon is the co-founder of the largest yoga school in New York, Jivamukti. Kick start and/or deepen your yoga practice: a practical manual yet rooted in esoteric ancient yogic traditions. 

My comfort read

Instant Enlightenment: Fast, Deep, and Sexy by David Deid. 

We like sexy and this book fulfills its title’s promise! A book of guided exercises – challenging, heart opening with even some practical sex techniques to boot! Mindfulness meets self-induced mysticism. Be here now, dammit!

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Gary Brackett is a native of Rocky Mount, North Carolina. (Birthplace of Thelonius Monk. He is the only one there that knows that!) He graduated from the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill in Political Science. He moved to Boston in 1982, where he painted and organised artist collectives and started his first theatrical endeavours as well as running in various radical, lefty political circles. He transferred to New York City in 1989 after he had met The Living Theatre and started a wild, adventurous journey with them that took him around the world and then some. He ended up eventually in Italy. Based in Napoli, he worked all over Italy, Europe and the Middle East teaching and producing theatre. He founded Living Theatre Europa and eventually opened Perform, a mind-body centre where he teaches yoga and Chirunning. He continues to write and produce original theatre pieces, poetry and social criticism and is an occasional Butoh dance performer.

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