Thursday, July 22, 2010

books

Hateship Friendship Courtship Loveship Marriage: Stories, by Alice Munro: Not bad, but just a mediocre, (annoyingly, at times)-feminine, and more romantically fanciful echo of John Updike. Don't bother. The hype about Munro being one of the greatest living writers is a misplaced desperate attempt to presciently identify a timeless artistic genius.

The Stargazing Year: A Backyard Astronomer's Journey Through the Seasons of the Night Sky by Charles Laird Calia - Very pleasant lyrical and personal story about returning to amateur astronomy in middle age, building a backyard observatory, and of course the mythology and beauty of the skies. I expect it's best appreciated by those who already are familiar with the skies and hobby, but would certainly inspire many people to look through some binoculars for the first time, too. I'm very ignorant about the mythology of the sky, so that was nice to have incorporated in the story.

Peace is Every Step, by Thich Naht Hanh - This guy is fantastic. Everything else related to Zen/Buddhism that I've read has been downright infuriatingly wrong, but I absolutely loved this one. It rejects the suffering-oriented approach to Zen, and the Buddhist rejection of the mental realm doesn't come up in the extreme way that it does in other Zen books, so it avoided the main sources of provocation. Instead he spoke of how to approach life to maximize peace and joy: instead of saying over and over "take a breath", he says "breathe and smile." It makes all the difference.

1 comment:

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