Living Zen, by Harvey Daiho Hilbert Roshi. Just finished. Daiho is a Zen teacher and Vietnam veteran who lives in New Mexico and self-identifies as a Jewish Buddhist, or “JuBu.” (Website here.) This book is his diary for the year 2007. He examines his own, rather troubled life through a lens of peace and forgiveness. Though I don’t agree with everything he says – and the copyediting is nothing short of atrocious – nevertheless it’s an engaging little book.
The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. Just finished. I’m not ashamed to say I cried over this book. The characters are funny, human, and unflinchingly honest. It’s a quick read, and despite the aforementioned weeping, it’s not all sad – the first few chapters actually made me laugh more than any book in recent memory. Give it a shot.
The Lotus Sutra, translated by Gene Reeves. Still reading. Buddhist scripture, written about two thousand years ago. Out of respect for those who consider it sacred, I won’t be rude here, but let’s just say it doesn’t resonate with me – and that’s putting it mildly. Endless repetition, endless obsession with categorizing and numbering, and a degree of self-praise that puts Pitbull to shame. Not for everyone.
The Seven-Storey Mountain, by Thomas Merton. Just started. (Yes, that’s “storey” with an “e.”) Merton was a Catholic monk, prolific writer, and well-known theologian. He also reached a level of spiritual attainment that Zen folks might call enlightenment. This is his autobiography. About eighty pages in, very interesting so far.
The Star-Spangled Buddhist, by Jeff Ourvan. Just started. The author takes a look at Buddhism in America, especially the three most popular sects – Zen, Tibetan, and Soka Gakkai. I had never even heard of that last one. I’m learning a lot so far.
Letters to a Young Mathematician, by Ian Stewart. Ordered, haven’t received yet. I’ve been getting back into math lately (planning to start tutoring high school and college math again) and this is supposed to provide a good look at what it’s like to be a mathematician. Who knows? Sounds interesting, anyway.
What are you reading these days?
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo — After 18 months of obsession with the musical (I have four different versions of the score on my tablet, and I have a couple of others here and there), plus watching the movie version from the 1990s (which was an adaptation of the book, not the musical), I thought it was time to read the darn thing already.
The Plague Court Murders by John Dickson Carr — I was sure I’d read this. It was the first Sir Henry Merrivale mystery, so of course I’d read it. Only it turns out that I hadn’t. Until now.
The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day — A mystery by one of my blog buddies. Just came out, and it’s supposed to be really good.
Various X-Men books — A really mixed bag these days. The “Scott, Emma and Illiyana go rogue” storyline is very interesting, The “original X-Men from 1963 are brought forward in time” storyline is very good (hey, I remember when X-Men #1 came out — it’s likes seeing old friends). The X-Men and Brotherhood from the future, though, are completely tedious, confusing and forgettable.
Captain Marvel and Ms. Marvel — Now this is more like it. Carol kicks ass in outer space (hampered, as usual, by her rather sketchy grasp of diplomacy). Kamala learns about her powers (hampered by her parents, who think she’s out of control and should spend more time at the mosque).
I’ve never read Les Mis. Hunchback of Notre Dame is on my “someday” list, though.