I would maybe consider myself someone who is pretty open-minded, particularly culturally and spiritually, to ideas that are different than my own and different than those promoted in American culture but after reading the Tao of Pooh, I can say for sure that I will probably never be a taoist. The central ideas of taoism that the offer put forward were difficult for me to understand or relate to. Much of it was about being very calm, and that I can support. I like the idea of creating time in your day/week to have some calm time to do simple things like enjoy coffee and the crossword or cryptoquip. But the book also placed an emphasis on just leaving things alone, not creating change, and not having a drive for knowledge and to learn more. I simply can’t get behind those things. I am always making changes and always wanting to know more. And finally, I am not sure the book is really that well-written. Many of the comparisons seemed to be a stretch and it seemed as if the author was trying to find a creative way to introduce a somewhat boring philosophy (things are the way they are, deal with it) to the reader.
Happily, I followed up with The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time and this was a fantastic read. Written from the perspective of a 15 year old boy with an autism spectrum disorder, I recognized many of the behaviors and flighty thoughts from my days working with autistic and cognitively impaired children when I worked at a YMCA camp. The things that are most lovely about this book are the things that I cherished about each of my autistic campers: their creativity, their fascination on a single topic, their frankness. I am not sure it is an easy book to describe because it is a bit flighty and there are sections that seem entirely unrelated to the story (a murder mystery involving the neighbor’s dog), but it is an exciting read and I easily finished it in the span of one week, including over 100 pages on a flight.
Currently reading “off the list” Mennonite in a Little Black Dress (A Memoir of Going Home). Very great book (so far) about a woman’s return to her Mennonite family in her 40s after her husband left her from a man he met on gay.com. The author, Rhoda Janzen, manages to describe her family with great humor without ever making the reader doubt that she loves them very much and would never trade her Mennonite upbringing for anything, despite not maintaining that lifestyle. I have purchased myself a copy of the big, bad Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, so I think that will be next when I go back “on the list.”