Reader Bob writes in:
I read your posting on Gut Check with a great deal of interest.
Does it happen with a particular book/artwork or with a type of book, such as religious or spiritual books? So in a bookstore that is full of life, does a particular book grab you or do you naturally feel better in a certain section?
Ever since your awakening, has some of the books that you were passionate about no longer or vice versa?
I know that it's impossible to come up with top 10 books or anything, for how can anyone just select top 10 books/artworks/science discoveries, for every little item that we were conscious and unconscious of left a footprint in our growth [I say that's very true], but given your current state, using your gut check, could you recommend top 10 books or things that pull you up or resonate strongly with you?
I hope you answer appears as an entry in your blog!
Well a lot has stabilized since that post. Yet I've never ever been an advocate of step-by-step formulas or how-tos or do-this-and-be-happy-lists or the ever-popular umpteen keys to a successful life. There is no "TOP 10 DEFINITIVE LIST". I've no formula. Truth is a pathless land, as J. Krishnamurti reminds. (There is a path clearly before you, but it's yours alone.)
Life is dynamic. Life is growth. If there were a top 10 list this moment, it'd flow into yet another top 10 list tomorrow. If you're growing, The List evolves. So the trick is to learn to flow with Life yourself.
Rather pay attention to what books leap off the bookshelves for you. What strikes a deep chord with you. Pay attention, period. Spend less time in books (the map) and more time directly experiencing and perceiving (the territory) with your senses.
I can tell you what the very last ten books I bought are, though, for whatever that's worth. I buy books mostly for pure enjoyment these days.
- The Sex Life of Food: When Body and Soul Meet to Eat, by Bunny Crumpacker
- The Agony & The Ecstasy: A Biographical Novel of Michelangelo, by Irving Stone
- Bread and Wine, by Ignazio Silone
- The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
- The Red and the Black, by Stendahl
- Four Seasons in Five Senses: Things Worth Savoring, by David Mas Masumoto (author of Epitaph for a Peach)
And the coming number 11 will be: The Accidental Masterpiece: On the Art of Life and Vice Versa, by Michael Kimmelman.
p.s. The cover of Home is Where the Heart Is is sensual red velvet. I opened the book first to the section on the relevancy of the boudoir in this day and age (image above is on front cover). Next I randomly flipped to the section on bread making. I closed the book shut and bought it on the spot at Anthropologie.
Now those symbols mean something to me -- Life will whisper in signs that are intimate and personal and relevant to you. The key is to be present to them.
p.p.s. My other (neglected) blog, Pointing to the Moon, has a list of spiritual books I would recommend.