Tuesday, October 18, 2005

On The Nighstand

Just to show that I have loftier interests than internet porn or watching The Biggest Loser, here's a quick rundown of my current reading list:
  1. Re-reading Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I love this novel. I have a 'thing' for The Wizard of Oz and I love this imaginative re-telling of the events surrounding The Wizard of Oz, but told from the Wicked Witch of the West's point of view.
  2. All queued up and ready to go just this past weekend I received a copy of the sequel to Wicked, Son Of A Witch, as a belated birthday present. As soon as I finish Wicked I'll be diving right in.
  3. I've just started the biography "Tibet: My Story" by the sister of His Holiness the Dalai Lama Jetsun Pema. Amazing stuff.
  4. I saw the movie 'Serenity' again yesterday, and because I am nothing if not a fanboy, when I was in Galaxy Books and happened to spot the Serenity novelisation and just had to buy it. Looks like it'll be beach reading, but any Firefly stizz can't be half bad.

What's on your nightstand?


Michael said...

You KNOW I love "Wicked" as well. It spread like a viral infection through my population, and I was the vector. Don't you love it when I get all epidemiological on your ass?
I gave "Son of a Witch" to my sista for her birthday, but I have such a pile of unused books, so I've resisted for myself. Let me know how it is.
On my nightstand, still, is "The Power of Myth". It's wonderful. Joseph Campbell had some genius. Next in the queue is "The City of Falling Angels", the John Berendt book about his time in Venice. Ahhh, Venice. If we walk those streets one day, dear Andrew, PDA's will be required. Even if you're not my ass monkey at the time.
Amy Tan's new book, "Saving Fish From Drowning" (I think that's it) looks really good. I love a family story set against a historical backdrop and am fascinated by Burma, and horrified by the current government. One of the best books I've read in the last few years is "The Glass Palace" by Amitav Ghosh, which is another family story set against sweeping historical change. Check it out sometime.

The Other Andrew said...

"Even if you're not my ass monkey at the time."

Dude, I just laughed so hard I spat all over my monitor! You are one funny bastard, you know that?

If we are in Venice together, ever, a PDA will be the least you could do. :-)

I've been almost evangelical about 'Wicked' since I read it when it first came out, and I've devoured all his other books as they have been released. 'Wicked' is still my fave to date. I had this mania for Indian writers a few years back, and I think my favourite from my Sub Continental Period is 'A River Sutra' by Ghita Mehra. Lovely book. I adore 'A Suitable Boy' by Vikram Seth, and I might take a year off and read it again some time.

wingedman said...

I really, really struggled through Wicked. I just couldn't see what the fuss was about. But I did finish it, which is more than I can say about a lot of books on my nightstand.

Alan Hollinghurst's A Line of Beauty, for one. I bought the book for all the gay sex, certainly not the Thatcherian-era politics.

I'm discovering Bill Bryson explosively! I loved his "In A Sunburnt Land". MAN he can write. Can't wait to read the rest of his stuff.

And Terry Pratchett's Going Postal.

The Other Andrew said...

Wingedman, I'm sorry you didn't like 'Wicked'. Oh, and you're dead to me now, sorry. (I kid!! I heart you, really.)

I read "The Line of Beauty" too (and yes, with a chubby most of the time) and I had to smile at the thought of the Booker prize judges reading it. 'My word, is it warm in here all of a sudden?... Could someone get Mildred a glass of water please?'

Bodhi said...

"What's on your nightstand?"

As shocking as this may seem to you my literary friend, it would often not be unusual for there to be absolutely no reading material on my nightstand. I enjoy reading a good book as much as the next gay man, its just that there are other factors to consider.

I read three papers every weekday (Sydney Morning Herald, Daily Telegraph and Financial Review) does that count? And of course my monthly ritual of reading DNA Magazine. OK, yes, the boys are very hot in the later, but it has good articles too, m'kay.

It just seems these days that aside from retreats or holidays, I don't either get the time, or can find better things to do with my time, than read books. When alone in my room, I would much rather meditate silently in front of my shrine or watch DVD's from the comfort of my bed than read a book. (Stop rolling your eyes Andrew).

But anyways, the Buddhist Recovery website which I am involved in will be updating the site in November/December with a number of new links and some new books. And as I need to provide a review for each new book, I have therefore been doing some reading of late:

The Rocky Road, by Taranatha. We managed to get an advance copy of this book which will not be released till early next year by Windhorse Books. Its an autobiography from a NZ order member of my Buddhist sangha, and details, amongst other things, his battle and recovery from both active alcoholism and depression.

Street Zen, Life and Work of Issan Dorsey by David Schneider. What an incredible life Issan Dorsey lived. His story and life really moved me. From truly hellish addiction, drag acts and being HIV positive, to being Abbot of a San Fransico Zen Centre and a life committed to service and others.

At Hells Gate, A Soldiers Journey by Claude Anshin Thomas. Another moving account of a persons incredible life through the violence of Vietnam and addiction, to a life committed to discovering peace and healing others, becoming a Zen Monk in Thich Nhat Hanh's tradition.

So, three great but very different life stories that I am sure will be a great addition to the titles we already have. Hopefully they will motivate, inspire, teach and move others.

Now, has the latest DNA hit the newstands yet? ...

The Other Andrew said...

Hey Bodes, those books sound really interesting. You know I run the bookshop at my centre right? Got a recommended reading list of books about a recovery it might be worth my while stocking? Say, two or three really good titles?

We focus mostly on Tibetan traditions, but I'm open to books from other traditions as well.

Bodhi said...

Andrew, as I am sure you can appreciate and can see for yourself if you visit our site at Buddhist Recovery, the genre at the moment is quite limited, at least in regards to specific schools. I am not aware of any Tibetan books out there (though i know of some Tibetan recovery weblinks), but with increasing titles coming out now it hopefully won't be too far away.

As far as a recommended reading list for Buddhist Recovery titles, I would suggest the following:

One Breath at a Time, Kevin Griffin (Theravada)
Zen of Recovery, Mel Ash (Zen)
Cool Water, William Alexander (Zen)
Dharma Punx, Noah Levine (Theravada)

Kevins book would definately be number 1 on my list. Although they are Therevadan, both Kevin and Noah (who is a student of Jack Kornfield) writing style is very broad and would appeal across schools and even to non-Buddhists. Mel and Williams book are on the other hand quite Zen in their approach and writing style.

Bodhi said...

..by the way those first three titles are books specifically written about Buddhism, Addiction and Recovery in a broader sense, and the later is an autobiography of a now practising Buddhist who has recovered.

For a good mix, maybe you could choose two broad books (like Kevin and Mel), and two autobiographies (like Noah and say Claude)

Michael said...

Book talk! I can't believe I missed this thread getting so much action. If the wingedman is still around, you must pick up Bryson's "A Short History of Nearling Everything" right away, if you haven't. Or any of the rest of you. The man makes geology sublime. Need I say more? Oh, just read it!
Oh, and mentioning Terry Pratchett forces me to shill "Good Omens". He wrote it with Neil Gaiman and it is seriously one of the funniest things I've ever read.
Anyone still out there?

Bodhi said...

[Looking up briefly from the latest hotness in this months DNA Magazine. Hmmmmm .... hot..ness]

I'm sorry Mikey, you were saying something?


Michael said...

I make room for our DNA equivalents as well. It's not either/or, cuz if it was...