Thursday, June 02, 2005

I have been Tagged by Greg at Sinister Thoughts...

My turn to Blog about Books:

Number of Books I own: Hundreds, in varying conditions and in varying places around the house. Paper backs, hardcovers, text books, self-help, technical manuals and kids books...Oh man, loads of kids books (it pays off of course - my son who just turned 4 can read on his own).

Last Book I Bought: Can We Be Good Without God? by Robert Buckman and Zen Keys by Thich Nhat Hahn, both purchased Monday at lunch. Buckman is the Toronto oncologist and Secular Humanist that appears regularly on TVO and CBC Radio here in Ontario. He is a brilliant man and this book is a study of the biological and evolutionary origins of morality and religion. I'm half done and it's a great book (spoiler: the answer is yes). I got Thich Nhat Hahn because, like Greg at Sinister Thoughts, I'm a big fan.

Last Book I Read: Hominids by Robert J Sawyer. It was the last book in a jag about a month ago. I read Red Harvest and The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammet right before - all three books in one week. All are incredible books with great stories. If you think the movie version of Hammet were good, the books will blow you away (BTW Red Harvest == Fist Full of Dollars and Last Man Standing).

5 Books that Mean a lot to Me:

1. Shake Hands With the Devil by Lt. Gen. Romeo Dalliare - You should not be allowed to hold office in this country without having read this book. It is a detailed account of the failure of the US, the UN and the rest of the world during the Rawandan Genocide. Very powerful. Dallaire dares us to take on a manifesto that destroys the idea that some humans are more human than others.

2. What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula. I had an instruction book on Kung Fu that had a chapter on the philosophy of Kung Fu. This book explained in very basic terms Ch'an or Zen Buddhism. Curious, I bought Rahula's book and discovered that everything I had come to believe and choose to live by, through science, logic and experience since age 15 were actually the tenets of Buddhism - I was a Buddhist and didn't know it! This book is the classic text introducing Buddhism to the West. Even if you are not a Buddhist, or don't want to be one, you should read this for it's insights into the human mind and an understanding of Buddhism.

3. The Art of War by Sun Tzu. As a guide to both business, military and personal conflict, you can't beat Sun Tzu. This guide to ancient battle can easily be used in our daily life to both avoid conflict we are sure to lose and to engage in conflict in a constructive way. Fully understanding the phrase "Know your enemy, know yourself and in a hundred battles you shall not lose" is worth the price of the book by itself.

4. On the Road by Jack Kerouac. This book is like your favourite dinner - no matter how many times you eat it, it tastes as good as the first time. There is nothing better in the summer than to chill around the camp fire and devour a Kerouac classic. The Dharma Bums, is another good Kerouac choice.

5. Oh the Places You Will Go by Dr. Suess. Yes, you read that right, Dr. Suess. If you've never read this, or perhaps have forgotten it, pick it up and read it again. Ted Giesel has, in a story that runs for about 10 minutes, captured the best advice for life anyone can know. I love this story and my kids love this story. I read it to them every chance I get. I think this one story, if read enough, can prepare a child for life better than any crap Dr. Phil can dish out.

I think that last bit needs repeating. If you want intelligent, well-rounded children that will do alright in this world, read to them. Read to your kids every day, at least once a day if not more. Read to them whenever they have the chance. You can't give you kids a better gift than your time, your voice and a good story.

Soooo, now that I'm done I tag Accidental Deliberations (welcome to the Dippers ;) ), Paranoid Left-Wing Ranting, politicagrll, The Green Lantern and The Hive.


At 12:10 PM, Blogger Greg said...

Wow. We must be related.

At 12:21 PM, Blogger Declan said...

Interesting. Over the last year or two I've developed the habit of opening up 'The Places You'll Go' to a random point for inspiration when faced with indecision.

You'd be amazed how negative that book is when you just pick a line or two at random (or maybe it's jsut trying to send me a message).

At 1:02 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

I agree regarding On the Road I've read that book now at least 20 times in three different languages and it gets better with each reading. The same is true of Dharma Bums.

-Socialist Swine


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