mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Wednesday reading meme

What have you just finished?
Dirk Bogarde, West of Sunset. Quite apart from California Horrors, we have the Everywhere Hhorrors attached to being old and unneeded and unwanted and poor and infirm and unable to get about. To counteract which, we read

Pema Chodron, The Wisdom of No Escape. Time was, Buddhist books by westerners put me off. Was reading the wrong westerners, I suppose. Buddhism by easterners (Thich Nhat Hanh, the Dalai Lama, any Japanese zen master you can name) is-- I don't know how to say it, but remember Liza Dalby's account of learning to sing geisha songs that seemed to hit notes that lay *between* the western notes her ear was used to. I'm not on the right wavelength, and the words seem thin, pale, and not to be referring to anything I can imagine. Thus, some bread and butter Tibetan Buddhism is required, and Chodron is a pretty good place to start. Only don't start with Start Where You Are, which is running off Tibetan lojong teachings whose background you need to know something about. And don't start with Goodreads, because now Google has it, it wants to load stuff that won't load.

What are you reading now?
Okamoto Kidou, The Curious Casebook of Inspector Hanshichi. A marvellous book discovered from one of incandescens' links, these are detective stories written in Taishou and early Shouwa, but doubly backset: someone in late Meiji talks to a police inspector who relates cases that happened in Bakumatsu, just before the Restoration. Period detail and home-grown detectives and a very different society. Okamoto was in some ways writing his own rival of Sherlock Holmes: Meiji saw a wealth of translations of western detective fiction so that "...crime fiction itself was... seen as an exclusively modern genre derived from western fiction. Hanshichi forever changed this perception, becoming the first truly homegrown example of Japanese historical detective fiction and establishing an entirely new genre."

What will you read next?
The Quincunx, which I started but dropped when Hanshichi came in at the library.
Tags: history, japan, meme, reading_13, religion

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