Saturday, February 17, 2007

Alberto Manguel

Inspired by Alberto Manguel's A Reading Diary - a Year of Favourite Books I started my own reading diary. He kept a year-long record of the connections between the books we love and the lives we lead by revisiting a book each month. Delighted to discover that some of his favorites were the same as mine.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Drawn from Memory

In this autobiography, E.H. Shepard describes his Victoria childhood in St. John's Wood in the 1880's. Shephard illustrated Winnie the Pooh, Now We are Six and others by A.A. Milne ... also Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Manguel says, "The Wind in the Willows" is all about home".

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The Great Failure

Natalie Goldberg writes of her 'unexpected path to truth', her relationships with her father and with her teacher, Katagiri Roshi. Looking back now some years after their deaths, she remembers her father's word:

"You're here and then you're not. Don't worry about it. It's not a big deal."

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Wisdom of Solitude

Jane Dobisz is the guiding teacher of the Cambridge Zen Center in Massachusetts. She has practiced in various traditions of Buddhism for twenty-five years. Inspired by her Korean Zen master's discipline of long, solitary retreats, she strikes out to a lone cabin in the countryside of New England.

One Hundred Days - three months - alone in the wilderness and cold. In the middle of January, the ground is covered in a foot of snow.

Driftwood Valley - The Northern Frontier

This book was given to me by the wife of my Zen teacher, Anne Aitken, when I was living and working with Robert Aitken Roshi in Honolulu. In the heat and sweat of hard work in Hawaii, I particularly enjoyed finding the cool north of my home.
Published in 1946, One reviewer said, "Driftwood Valley is easily the best book written on an outdoor theme by a woman. Why it remains buried in obscurity is a wonder. Theodora Stanwell-Fletcher stands in company with Thoreau. In her depictions of winter life in particular she approaches the master. One is reminded constantly of "The Pond in Winter", "Brute Neighbors", and "Winter Animals". There is some of the grandeur of Thoreau's contemporary, Francis Parkman, in her prose, too, when she lifts her eye to sweep the horizons of the immense British Columbian landscape." Don't know why he qualified this as "written by a woman", but nevertheless there it is.

Ultimately, this is a big, confident, heroic book. She sees Heaven's glory shine, and revels in it.

Check out the price on the book jacket!

Friday, February 9, 2007

Little Things in a Big Country

Hannah Hinchman writes and illustrates her travels with her dog, Sisu, through the seasons of Montana's high-crowned prairie.

The text is almost as exquisite as the artwork done in pen-and-ink and watercolor. She hand lettered the entire book

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Seeds from a Birch Tree

Clark Strand, a Zen Buddhist monk and haiku teacher shows us a way through nature into the heart, weaving poetry, weather and Zen into a pathway for the practice of kindness and simplicity.

Most of the haiku were written by his students with a few by established poets and some of his own