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Top 10 books about awakenings

These moments of precious fresh awareness can be found in authors from Oliver Sacks to Ottessa Moshfegh and Franz Kafka In Salvador Salvador Dalí’s painting Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening, a floating woman lies beneath a bayonet-wielding tiger who, along with its friend, has recently pounced from the mouth of a fish, which has itself just emerged from an exploding pomegranate. By the woman’s face, at the bottom of the painting, a tiny bee circles a smaller pomegranate. Her awakening will wrench the woman from one reality into another. The following books contain both literal and metaphorical awakenings. As well as the disparate states of dreaming and wakefulness, they also illuminate what connects the two. Laughter awakens the unconscious, music awakens history. From psychoactive drugs to linguistic invention to sheer rage, in literature it seems there are as many bees and pomegranates as there are dreamers. And reading offers its own awakening, too – you look up from the page, the words still buzzing, and the world seems new. It’s interesting how many of these books are also thinking about authenticity – how to be yourself, how to stay awake to the uniqueness of others and the world. Continue reading...

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