Sunday, September 05, 2010

What book to read next?

The dilemma in choosing a book as the year comes to a close becomes more significant.  My goal for 2011 is to read only books written by women.  As a result, I need to choose a book for my morning reading that will easily be finished by the end of the year.  (Or I could compromise my commitment by finishing whatever book I started.)

There is no ideal answer to this, as you will soon see.  Here are the books that are currently on the table for choosing.  There is a poll at the bottom of this blog page (scroll all the way down) and the poll ends on Wednesday because that's the day I finish reading the book I am currently reading.

This one is an obvious choice but it is not long enough to carry me through the rest of the year.  In fact, I'll probably finish it before October ends which would leave me having to choose yet another morning book to read.  I try to keep the books I read in the morning somewhat on the spiritual side.  Of course, I translate this rather loosely.  A "spiritual" text can include a book on atheism as much as it could a sacred text and I have read spiritual memoirs and philosophy books as part of my morning meditative reading.  So there are no hard and fast rules about this.

From the amazon website:
While Buddhism has no central text comparable to the Bible or Koran, there is a powerful body of scripture from across Asia that encompasses the dharma, or the teachings of the Buddha. In this rich anthology, eminent scholar Donald S. Lopez, Jr., brings together works from a broad historical and geographical range, and from such languages as Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, and Japanese. There are tales of the Buddha’s past lives, a discussion of qualities and qualifications for a monk, and an exploration of the many meanings of enlightenment. Together they provide a vivid picture of the Buddha and of the vast and profound nature of the Buddhist tradition.

This is a surprise addition to the list because it is probably more about "making a living" than it is about Zen Buddhism.  Nevertheless, I have been wanting to read this book for a while and I have a feeling that now is as good a time as any.  The book is rather thick and could carry me through to the end of the year, depending upon how dense the text itself is.  (Just because a book has a lot of pages doesn't mean that the content will keep me from reading through it quickly.)

Obviously, this is also a good example of a book that is "loosely" spiritual but it may be the perfect text for me to read at the end of another unemployed year.

From the amazon website:

With today's economic uncertainties, millions of Americans realize they must seize control over their own career paths. They want work that not only pays the bills but also allows them to pursue their real passions. In this revised edition, Laurence Boldt updates and revises his revolutionary guide to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century workplace. The first part of this book helps readers to identify the work that they really want to do, while the second provides practical, active steps to finding or creating that work. Zen and the Art of Making a Living goes beyond inspiration, providing a proven formula for bringing creativity, dignity, and meaning to every aspect of the work experience.

And last but certainly not least is Osho's book that merges various schools of spirituality, including yoga and Buddhism, into a practical guide.  I started reading this once before and stopped for various reasons.  The text is dense.  No doubt it will carry me through to the end of the year.  It includes meditation practices, including pranayama (breath work).

This is the only one that has 5 stars on amazon . . . out of 80 reviews, 72 are 5 stars.  The rest are 3-4 stars, 1-3 stars, 1-3 stars, and 3-1 star.  (One of the 1 star reviews says this is a book of Satan which would almost commend the book to me at this point.  Albeit, the review this same person wrote is barely comprehensible so perhaps he/she is not literate enough to assess the demonic.)

From the amazon website:

In this comprehensive and practical guide, the secrets of the ancient science of Tantra become available to a contemporary audience for the first time. Confined to small, hidden mystery schools for centuries, and often misunderstood and misinterpreted today, Tantra is not just a collection of techniques to enhance sexual experience. As Osho shows in these pages, it is a complete science of self-realization, based on the cumulative wisdom of centuries of exploration into the meaning of life and consciousness. Tantra-the very word means "technique"-is a set of powerful, transformative tools that can be used to bring new meaning andjoy to every aspect of our daily lives.

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