Sunday, June 21, 2009

Books to love

Just an update on my cold and then we'll move on; the cold is only an ominous memory. Hooray for antibiotics! Been reading quite a bit since my last post and today I'm going to talk about two books I've read. If this post goes on rather long, I apologize. First off, I finished reading that Matthew Arnold book I mentioned in my last post. It's called 'Schools and universities on the Continent', and was edited by R.H. Super. Super's a guy who has to have some high respect for Arnold, for he released several volumes of the man's work in the 70's and not all the material is easy reading. In fact, much of it could be considered boring. Still, this book I read, while it might be considered boring, shows that Arnold was a man who really loved his job. It comes through in the writing, which is concise and laden with information. He inspected schools in Prussia, Switzerland, Germany, and France; I cannot imagine what sort of experiences he had that did not come up in this book.
Either he knew several languages or he had a good translator with him. Nothing like this is mentioned, but he comes across as a man who loved his job. Does the job of 'school inspector' still exist? It probably does, but I don't think it's any more glamourous than Arnold's job was. Really, Arnold was just looking at these schools to see how they compared with English schools. I don't know if one can do that any longer. Darn homogenous world!!! Anyway, onto the second book.
I read Kapleau's 'Awakening to Zen' last year and I admit that I felt like I was walking onto uncertain ground. There was something in that book that really unsettled me. I will have to check last year's entries to see what it was that so unsettled me. I returned to it recently and I have to admit; I did not feel at all unsettled this time. Actually, I enjoyed revisiting it.
Maybe I was in a state of turmoil last year and reading this book didn't help me any. I enjoyed coming back to the lectures documented in this book. I won't be returning to it in two years, but it is a good book. For the intermediate traveller, one might say. That's all I can say about it. It's well-travelled ground.
One last note. I'm reading 'Everyday life through the ages'. I like looking through this gem from Reader's Digest every now and again. Chock-full of information. That's all. BYE.

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