Sunday, January 26, 2020

1/27/20 @9:00am pst - RECLAIMING MY DECADE LOST IN SCIENTOLOGY by Sands Hall

LISTEN to today's show featuring Sands Hall.

SANDS HALL is the author of the memoir Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology, finalist for the Northern California Book Award, and a Publishers Weekly Best Book in Religion and Spirituality. She is also the author of the novel Catching Heaven, a Random House Reader’s Circle selection, and Tools of the Writer’s Craft. She teaches for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and for the Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, among other conferences. She lives in Nevada City, California. Find out more at

Named a Best Book in Religion and Spirituality by Publishers Weekly

Longlisted for NCIBA’s Golden Poppy Award in Nonfiction

A Finalist for the 2019 Northern California Book Award in Creative Nonfiction 

In Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology, Hall compellingly reveals what drew her into the religion—what she found intriguing and useful—and how she came to confront its darker sides and escape.


A Memoir by Sands Hall


“Like many former Scientologists, Hall is honest about the insidious ways it can capture and isolate its adherents. It’s a memoir of a life filled with joy and tragedy, and readers will appreciate the author’s candor.” —Booklist

“Hall is a true wordsmith, a verbal lapidarist for whom language is a laboratory, a factory, and an ‘audit’ process in its own right. The result is a piercing emotional honesty and adamant clarity, giving readers more than simply a memoir or a look into a corner of American culture that’s usually concealed from the uninitiated. This book, generous and penetrating, is a rather profound act of psychological inquiry.” —Northern California Book Awards

“It is no surprise when, after a few encounters with Scientology . . . Hall begins to feel its pull. And if it is Scientology’s offer of a life with meaning that hauls her in, alongside pressure from her new Scientologist husband, it is its approach to meaning that keeps her . . . Those sections of the memoir with ‘Study Tech’ as their focus are some of the most interesting: a misunderstood word can be ‘cleared’ using a dictionary, often with focus on etymology, and Hall’s fascination with this is palpable . . . Etymology lights a path deep into history, into the twists and turns of language, for both Sands Hall and the reader.” —Camille Ralphs, The Times Literary Supplement

“With its keen attention to the language and tactics of the church, Hall’s memoir is unique among the assortment of Scientology reports and exposĂ©s, offering insight into the certainties that its subjects gain . . . Hall’s focus on this ‘cobweb’ of intimate entanglement is what makes Flunk. Start. compelling—and different from other, more extraordinary accounts of abuse in Scientology’s upper echelons . . . Flunk. Start. is most revealing in its depiction of Scientology as just one of many expressions that the American search for selfhood can manifest.” —The Nation

In the secluded canyons of Hollywood, Sands Hall—a young woman from a literary family striving to forge her own way as an artist—finds herself increasingly drawn toward the certainty that Scientology appears to offer. Her time in the Church, the 1980s, includes the secretive illness and death of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, and the ascension of David Miscavige. In Reclaiming My Decade Lost in Scientology, Hall compellingly reveals what drew her into the religion—what she found intriguing and useful—and how she came to confront its darker sides and escape.


“Serves as a significant behind-the-scenes look at this cultlike religion. Frank and edifying . . . A good complement to Lawrence Wright’s Going Clear.” —Kirkus Reviews

“An intriguing, beautifully written memoir . . . She toggles between her family and the church, digging deeply into the dynamics of power and control, love and compassion, before coming to a surprising resolution.” —Literary Hub, 1 of 15 Books You Should Read This March

“Sands Hall is an experienced literary talent and writing teacher whose seven years in Scientology . . . provide some of the most penetrating, illuminating prose about how an educated and skeptical person could get so deeply into, and then struggle to escape, what everyone around her warned was a dangerous cult . . . Hall does a brilliant job.” —The Underground Bunker

“A wonderful memoir . . . As a memoir and a thoughtful exploration of faith and belief, Flunk. Start. has enormous objective power. I heartily recommend it.” —MorningNewsBeat

“[Hall] uses her impressive writing skills to convey her experiences during what she had once shamefully viewed as a squandered decade in her life . . . What makes her memoir most enjoyable and understandable is her decision to be honest about all the personal doubts she had during this time.” —Winnipeg Free Press

“Sands Hall’s transcendent memoir, Flunk. Start., describes, with precise and utterly absorbing detail, her experience in the world of Scientology. But this is also a story that explores so many issues—how language is used to both illuminate and obscure, how we long for connection and meaning; it’s also a vivid portrait of how we find a place in our family and find a path through chaos. I could not put down this book—it is a triumph, a work of great honesty and insight. It is a necessary book for our time.” —Karen E. Bender, author of Refund

Coming up 4/17 at 9:30am - CEO Glenn Gray and Dr. Alissa Deming, VP of Conservation Medicine & Science, sat down with me to talk about the Pacific Marine Mammal Center

Today’s show is a little different. If you think you hear strange noises during the show, well they are not actually strange at all. They ar...