Communicator (communicator) wrote,

What I read on my holidays

I had a good time, the weather got better as the week went on, but we went out every day. I also slept a lot. Between walking and sleeping I only read three books.

The complete idiot's guide to Buddhism by Gary Gach. You know the 'complete idiot's guide' format. I picked this one because it offered a broad overview of a range of different strands of Buddhism, including Pure Land and Tantric: most of the other general reader's overviews you might pick up are written from a single perspective, or deal with general concepts without going into the variations in actual practice. This is written by an American and therefore discusses the organisations and key figures of that country, which I don't criticise, but I probably would have found a European perspective more useful. I think Buddhism is very attractive, and this book did not change my mind. However, as a sceptical person I think many of the actual approaches that are available are not that suitable for me, as they include rituals, institutions and beliefs that I can't share.

Ghostwritten by David Mitchell. This is the first novel by the author of Cloud Atlas. It is just very, very similar to that book, so if you liked it you'll like this. It isn't as formally structured as Cloud Atlas, and it has a slightly stronger forward-causal plot tendency. However like Cloud Atlas it is humane, playful, open-minded and literate. The author includes SF and fantasy without inhibition. This story is like a daisy-chain of human lives, which don't link up into a single rope, but all relate to each other, and illuminate each other. Throw-away sentences in one story allow you to retrospectively understand what was happening in an earlier thread.

Which lie did I tell? by William Goldman. This is the sequal to Adventures in the screen trade, and gives an interesting overview of Goldman's life as a screenwriter; this one including the trials and tribulations that went into the deveopment of the scripts for 'Ghost and the Darkness', 'Misery' and 'Absolute Power' among others. I think Goldman is likeable, middle-brow, conventional, quite honest, and capable of an emotional bop outside of the norm from time to time. No wonder he is a good scriptwriter. An insight into the collaborative accidents and ego-clashes that lead to films being the way they are.
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