Madame L hasn't finished reading Joseph Campbell's "Myths to Live By" yet, and will probably not finish it for some time, because it is so packed with information and ideas to think about; she hopes that you, Dear Readers, will not take offense at her attempt to review the book before completing it.
It's a compilation of 13 of the 25 lectures given by Joseph Campbell at The Cooper Union Forum between 1958 and 1971; and a fine introduction to Campbell's conclusions about rites and myths from cultures all over the world.
It weighs in at less than 300 pages and less than a pound, but covers the impact of science on myth; the importance of rites; mythologies of love, war, and peace; yoga and Buddhism; Eastern vs. Western religious beliefs and practices; schizophrenia (an inward journey); and humankind's first walk on the moon (the outward journey).
Madame L has started reading the book from the beginning, but also finds it enlightening to open randomly to read about Native American myths, Sufi poets, German psychologists, the Buddha, Dante and his Beatrice, prophets and heroes of the Old and New Testaments, LSD experiments, ancient Roman architecture, and so on. You get the picture.
"Myths to Live By" is available in paperback from Amazon.com for $10.88.