Adventures in Reading

Revisited: Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom

While I seem terminally “unhip,” occasionally I do decide to slide back into a 21st Century experience. As it seems everyone and their grandmothers have read Tuesdays With Morrie, I thought, “Why not?” The book is terribly hokey and I must express my confusion at everyone raving about this but accusing The Secret of being nothing more than a book of quotes. After all, Tuesdays is really nothing more than a brief biography and quotes.

Morris Schwartz was a soc press diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and Mitch Albom was a student of his who comes back to spend time with Morrie during his final months. It’s a book about dying, coping with death, and a pinch and a dash of everything else: family, relationships, money, work, etc. It certainly has its good points, but it really is nothing more than a spoonful of common sense: slow down, smell the roses, be nice to other people.

Two cringe worthy parts of the book, for me, involved having children and getting married. I don’t want children and I’m undecided about marriage. And I completely agree that having children and getting married create huge changes in a person’s life but so does not doing those things. Also, the implication that only family will be there for you in a situation like Morrie’s seems a bit daft as Mitch – a friend – is recording all of this.

Can’t say I would have missed much if I had skipped this.

Tuesdays was definitely a book I could have done with out. In the same vein as books like The Secret or The Last Lecture, I muse mostly at the financial momentum pushing these books but do reserve some concern at how much of a con some of these books are. In fact, Tuesdays even showed up on the summer school reading list I have, which made me want to puke. Really? There’s nothing else you could have these kids read?

Looking back, it’s also interesting to see how a review reflects a reviewer’s life. When I originally wrote this review, I believe last summer, I was very much going through a period of stretching and self-discovery. Toddlers do it to test their parents and I suppose I was doing it to test my world. I had some surprising results. But yes, I became more confidant last year in my personal decisions not to have children and not to marry. This will become even more obvious in other revisited book posts.

Other opinions: Scathing Reviews, I Read…, Reading Room, SMS Book Reviews, Reading to Know.

Being Aware, Right Now, Every Day
August 15, 2007, 7:04 pm
Filed under: thoughtful | Tags: , , , ,

I started Buddhism Plain & Simple by Steve Hagen yesterday and am roughly a third of the way through the book. I must confess between this book and the Buddhist magazines I have been flipping through this week that I’m not particularly impressed with the representation of Buddhism. I have read disparaging and misrepresenting remarks about atheism, existentialism, and political correctness, which has started to cool me off on the topic of Buddhism but I will persevere. Atheism and existentialism are not nihilism and Buddhism and existentialism actually to seem to have some similar basic properties so I’m not sure what the keenness of separating the two are.

My favorite part of the book so far was a description of how Buddhism works compared to religions. Imagine this: my hand is closed into a fist and I tell you that within my hand is an acorn. At this point you have a variety of options: one, you believe the acorn exists; two, you remain skeptical about the existence of the acorn; three, you choose not to believe in the acorn; or four, as you can not see the acorn it does not exist in reality and you opt not to bother. As someone with a mixed religious background I can say this part of Buddhism intrigues me. The other part of the book I dislike is that it reads as a self-help manual (I’m assuming this as I’ve never read a self-help manual) and I often find my eyes glazing over in boredom and must reread passages.

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