Mushrooms, Myth & Mithras: The Drug Cult That Civilized Europe
Ruck, Hoffman, Celdrán
City Lights Pubblishers
Street: 07.26.11
Ever wonder if the present is messed up because of all the drugs we do? Turns out we wouldn’t be here except for those drugs––In this book’s case, specifically magic mushroom, boomers, psilocybin. Now don’t expect that psychedelic subject matter creates psychedelic reading. This is academic research, straight up. I’ve always been a big proponent of the idea that history––the specific events, places, people and dates etc.––was never as important as understanding the larger picture of cultural shifts, movements, and trends. Like sure, Julius Caesar was an important guy, but the average Roman and why they did what they did is the real history. This book is all about the evolution of European culture, from ancient times right up through the advent and dominance of Christianity––and how it all started with and depended on shrooms. A little dry for a recreational read, but if you’re the mood for something harder, try this. I feel like I took a class on the subject. –Rio Connelly

Trust Me, I’m Dr. Ozzy: Advice from Rock’s Ultimate Survivor
Ozzy Osbourne
Grand Central Publishing
Street: 11.11.11
I never really thought that I would find myself believing that Ozzy Osbourne actually has much to say that I would care about. Sure, some of his lyrics and music have moved me, and my Paranoid LP is a coveted item, but would I take advice from the guy on life? Ehhh… Surprisingly, yes… maybe. Based on Osbourne’s advice columns in The Sunday Times and Rolling Stone, this book comes with a disclosure warning readers that the Prince of Darkness is not in any way an actual doctor of any kind, and any advice that is given should be received with extreme caution. This is especially true of the section where people actually wrote Ozzy with questions about honest medical ailments. I guess that anyone who can bite the head off a bat and live might have some something up their sleeve. The part that really threw me for a loop is that Osbourne actually gives pretty reasonable responses to questions and concerns about family issues and qualms. He manages to sound like a reasonably levelheaded guy and a half decent parent. Despite a few bits of good and hilarious advice, I would still suggest that you contact an actual doctor in the event of an actual emergency. –Ben Trentelman