Zen: Beginner’s Guide — Ian Tuhovsky

I do like books about Zen and i’ve read a great many throughout my life: so where does this one stack up?

I really enjoyed it.   Ian has a very approachable style of writing and digs into all aspects of Zen, mostly for the beginning practitioner; but i would also suggest that this is a great book for the Zen curious who have no interest, whatsoever, in pursuing a practice; or for those who maybe just want to dabble a little and see if it’s for them.   And it’s also a good book for those of us who practice alone, either due to where we live or other circumstances, but need a little support and/or guidance occasionally.

It’s verily worth the 99p i paid in a Kindle sale.

My only criticism is that there’s a fair few typos that a bit of mindfulness in the proof reading would have prevented which, to be honest, i found rather amusing considering the topic of this book.

Ian’s Page

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The Sun Also Rises — Ernest Hemingway

My first taste of Hemingway and, honestly, i really have no idea what all the hype is about.

The Sun Also Rises is nothing but rich-alcoholics-get-bored-with-Paris-so-go-off-to-a-fiesta-in-Spain-for-a-week-to-get-drunk-there-instead.   They mostly do nothing but drink alcohol of various types and expenses of which Hemingway will inform you like any decent, decadent, wealthy alcoholic would.   They eat when they get hungry, sleep when they feel they need to and watch a few bull fights; about which, Hemingway is rather keen to portray to the world that the local Spanish know him to be an “officianado”, and that everyone must accept that it’s the height of art and wonder to brutalise animals for the entertainment of drunks.

Oh, and there’s lots of pathetic drunken arguments with pathetic drunken people arguing about other drunken people, or about people who won’t get drunk with them — with a good dose of antisemitism thrown in, which was only necessary if Hemingway was eager to portray his antisemitic credentials to the world as it bought absolutely nothing whatsoever to the actual story.

Blah, blah, blah…

…mostly, it’s all just typical drunken alcoholic boring twaddle written down through the haze of a hangover the next morning.

And now i can’t be bothered to write another word about Hemingway ever again, and i certainly won’t be reading any of his other books.   I gave him a chance and he failed miserably — but failing miserably is what alcoholics do best.

Ernest’s Page

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Wabi Sabi — Beth Kempton

I really enjoyed Andrew Juniper’s book, Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence so i thought i’d may as well give Beth’s book a read as well.

However, unlike Andrew’s book, which i seemed to remember focussed more on the actual aesthetics and the Zen side of Wabi Sabi, with Beth’s book we look deeper into the lifestyle and world view of this wonderful concept.

In reading this book you soon become aware that Beth really has done a lot of homework, lifework, career work and academic work on Japan, and she does a wonderful job of bringing another take on the concept of Wabi Sabi to us non-Japanese readers who are always eager to learn more.

When it all boils down to it, it’s essentially a self help book coming from a really interesting angle.   There’s plenty of food for thought in here for anyone looking to make their life even a little bit better tomorrow than it was yesterday.   I’m fairly certain that everyone could find at least one thing in here to help improve their own lives in a really good way.

Beth’s Page

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