I did not want to like this book. I wanted to leaf through it, tell myself, "yeah, she's just gotten too flaky and goofy. It was bound to happen." (I'm avoiding thinking about why I wanted it to be a bad book. Don't bother me about that right now, please.)
In Finding Your Own North Star, Martha Beck set down some of the most practical exercises and structures I have ever seen for getting self-awareness to come to a conscious level. I have used her exercises and techniques myself, I have explained these techniques to other people, and I have wondered about the many overlays I see in my head when I read her work. You know those old overlay pages in encyclopedias? The clear pages with one layer of the thing (like anatomy or botany) that you could put over the top of the other pages and see it in a way that put it all together? That's what I always do in my head with Martha Beck's writing. She's like a really cool overlay page. And now she's done it again. Steering by Starlight contains the next level of the same work, and I will go and buy this one too - for future reference - and for a little mile marker in the road.
I have a few of these mile marker books in my road. They are of different sorts - cookbooks, from which I still cook but which also speak to my first encounters with them and all the things that were in my life then ... novels, from childhood onward, with characters who are as much as part of my life as the flesh and blood people (more so, in some cases) ... and this list of books from various sorts of people, religious or not, who have articulated the human critter - how it thinks and moves and grows and changes - or refuses to do that. Steering by Starlight is going to have a place in this section of my shelves.