recommended reading

I like to keep a list of the books I’ve read. I’m strange that way. I have a little black Moleskine notebook where, if I can remember to, I record books I’ve either finished reading, or would like to read sometime in the future. I don’t really know why I keep this list. I’m not trying to make myself look smart. I’m not going to pull it out at a party and show people. Maybe I hope to pass it on to my children someday, wishfully thinking that they might like to read some of the books their dad read. Who knows. So this a roundabout way of saying that I have a long list of books I could recommend to you, but for today, I’ll just mention a few. The first is a series of three children’s books written by DB Johnson. They are: Henry Hikes to Fitchburg, Henry Builds a Cabin, and Henry Climbs a Mountain. The main character in all three is a bear named Henry, modeled after you-know-who; Henry David Thoreau. Each book, through its wonderful illustrations and simple story, illuminates an aspect of Thoreau’s life and writing. I won’t say too much more. Seek them out and discover them for yourself. I’ve read them to my own children many times, and they never fail to entertain and inspire me. The other set of books I’d like to recommend is something completely different. If you’ve read even some of this blog, you can probably tell that I have a deep interest in Buddhism. I may even call myself a Buddhist, whatever that might mean, but I don’t sport a shaved head or wear robes. I live an ordinary life, doing what’s required, trying to live mindfully. So I’ve read quite a few books on Buddhism, but I came across something I thought I’d never see. It is an eight-volume manga-biography of the Buddha by an artist named Osamu Tezuka. Manga is a Japanese form of comic book. So it’s actually a comic book version of the life of the Buddha. The books show an amazing humanism, slapstick humor, bawdiness, and violence. But this only serves to bring the story to life. If you approach them with an open mind, you won’t be disappointed. You may even be moved.

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