While not a work of travel literature in a strict sense, Iyer nevertheless infuses the story of the quiet, compassionate Buddhist monk with vivid descriptions of the many places he takes his message of peace and understanding, particularly his headquarters-in-exile, in Dharamsala, India.
In Iyer’s first interview about the work, I talked with him by phone Monday from Santa Barbara, where he lives three months out of the year….
Whatever attitude comes through — and it is almost always fraught with ambiguity — religion suffuses Mr. Clarke’s realm. He demands the canvas of Genesis and upon it he enacts experiments in thought. All science fiction does this to a certain extent, trying to imagine alternative universes in which one factor or another is slightly different. What if carbon were not the fundamental element in life forms? What if a society existed that never experienced nighttime?
Mr. Clarke’s enterprise, though, is at the edges of the frame: trying to examine the moments when things come to be and when they come to an end….
In my eight years working at an independent bookstore, I lost count of how many shoplifters I chased through the streets of Seattle while shouting “Drop the book!” I chased them down crowded pedestrian plazas in the afternoon, I chased them through alleys at night, I even chased one into a train tunnel. I chased a book thief to the waterfront, where he shouted, “Here are your fucking books!” and threw a half-dozen paperbacks, including Bomb the Suburbs and A People’s History of the United States, into Puget Sound, preferring to watch them slowly sink into the muck rather than hand them back to the bookseller they were stolen from. He had that ferocious, orgasmic gleam in his eye of somebody who was living in the climax of his own movie: I suppose he felt like he was liberating them somehow.
How well is Amazon doing? Well enough to spend millions on a publicity stunt: Yesterday the company paid $3.98 million for a single copy of “The Tales of Beedle the Bard,” written by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling.
OK. Let’s see a Christian author do the same thing — and donate all the proceeds to charity. Hmmmm….?
Harry Potter And The $4 Million Book (AMZN) – Silicon Alley Insider
When he flies to Beijing after winning a grocery-store raffle, Nan recalls his first flight to the States, during which confused new travelers like himself carefully wiped and saved their plastic tableware from their meals, unable to imagine that such valuable utensils could possibly be disposable. “They had no idea what kind of plentitude and waste they were going to encounter in this new land.”
…and I’ll be taking the day off. But, in the spirit of the season, please accept this greeting.
Covering religion may be harmful to your faith. Two leading religion journalists — one in Britain, one in the United States — have quit the beat in recent months, saying they had acquired such a close look at such scandalous behaviour by Christians that they lost their faith and had to leave.
Pertinent quote: Bates, who says he still regards himself as a Catholic, said he was turned off by the intolerance he saw towards gays and the self-righteousness of Christians who “pick and choose the sins that are acceptable and condemn those – always committed by other, lesser people – that are not.”