Here’s a list of the books I read during my recent travels. Common theme seems to be journeys.
1) A Walk in the Woods- Bill Bryson- My friend Paul recommended this book about a 40 something guy who decides to hike the Appalachian Trail from end to end (Georgia to Maine). I thought the book was excellent. Very funny! There are not many books that make me laugh out loud and this is one of them. If you enjoy hiking, nature, history and laughing, you may be interested in this book.
2) What Makes You NOT a Buddhist- Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse- This was in several hotel rooms in Bhutan so I started it, then Chencho lent me his copy. As with all religions and philosophies (the author is quick to point out that Buddhism is not a religion) there are many different views and various groups usually emerge that interpret the teachings in a conservative, moderate or liberal manner. (They then very often argue over who it right, which is just silliness in my view). Anyway, I think it’s fair to say that this author takes the conservative path with Buddhism. A little too rigid for my tastes though. Interesting read if you want to get a quick understanding of Buddhism from a Buddhist scholar. I will just say that Buddhism in Bhutan looked nothing like what the author describes. Just goes to show you…
3) The Path to Buddhahood- Ringu Tulku- Chencho also lent this book to me. I think it represents the more liberal interpretation of Buddha’s teachings. Nice compliment to “What Makes You Not a Buddhist”. After reading both, you will have a flavor for the different views of Buddhism.
4) Life’s Operating Manual- Tom Shadyac- I had read this book a year or two ago and really found it thought provoking so I read it again. I enjoyed it just as much! Tom, who you may recognize from his directing work in films, seems to have given up Hollywood and materialism and is pursuing a different path. I can’t say he has a lot of concrete solutions for the ills of our society, but he raises some great questions and provides some high level concepts on where to go from here. All we need is love…
5) Lost in Shangri-La- Mitchell Zuckoff- During WW2, a military transport plane goes down in New Guinea in a place inhabited by tribes of fierce warriors and cannibals. Exciting real life story as well as an interesting study of culture and cultural differences. Joseph Campbell would be proud!
6) Life- Keith Richards- I tried for the 3rd time to pick this book up but I just find it so damn boring, concentrating on minutia that is of no interest to me. He’s still in the early years (after 330 pages!). Maybe when he gets to the sex, drugs and rock n roll it will get more interesting? Not sure I’m going to find out.