"The 2012 Story: The Myths, Fallacies, and Truth Behind the Most Intriguing Date in History"
By John Major Jenkins; Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 482 pages.
December 21, 2012 — It's either the first day of winter, or, according to some interpretations of the Mayan calendar, the last day of the world. Personally, I'm rooting for Old Man Winter because the alternative is a real downer. Doomsday scenarios have been around since humans first began contemplating life's intangibles, and so far, the human race has survived every apocalyptic prediction. I'm pretty sure we're all going to wake up on December 22 and find that we still have bills to pay and gifts to wrap, but in case the Mayan apocalypse happens and humanity gets wiped out on the 21st, this might be your last chance to read up on the potentially impending cataclysm.
To help explain the myths and truth surrounding the most talked about day of 2012, John Major Jenkins has written a detailed overview of Mayan history, cosmology and philosophy. Jenkins is an independent researcher who has spent many years studying Mayan culture, authoring several books on the subject of 2012ology (a term he uses in the book's introduction). He explains how the ancient Maya used a Mesoamerican long count calendar to calculate the occurrence of a "galactic alignment" — a rare astronomical event during which the sun will supposedly align with the Milky Way galaxy. It happens just once every 26,000 years, and 2012, according to Mayan calendars, is the big year. So, what does this mean exactly? Will there be mass destruction, global chaos, spiritual revelation, none of the above? There are lots of theories out there, and you may have your own, but read Jenkins' book to find out why he believes December 21, 2012 is not a day to dread.
Whether or not you believe in Mayan prophecies, there is no doubt that this coming Friday will generate all sorts of discussions about "end of the world" predictions. Some prognosticators may be disappointed when all the fuss turns out to be nothing, but I'll be relieved. After all, I still have lots of books I want to share with you. So, behave, Universe, behave.
Jan Johnston is the Collection Development Coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.