Thursday, July 30, 2009

Finding Faith & Learning Lessons

For those of you who have been keeping up with TWM's summer book club, you know it's about time again to announce the next selection. The details for the meet-up itself are still in the works, but we want to make sure you have plenty of time to get your reading done so we're posting the book info now and will update you all on the rest later. The details for the meet-up have been added below. We hope you enjoy this month's pick!

TWM'S SIZZLING SUMMER BOOK CLUB!
Tuesday, August 18th 6:30pm-8pm

Two down, one to go! Read our last book club selection and then join TWM Members and guests to discuss it over classic Italian cookies & pastries at Veniero's in the East Village!

COST: $20; $15 for TWM Members
LOCATION: Veniero's 342 East 11th Street
Includes coffee, tea or soda and an assortment of Italian pastries and cookies!

AUGUST'S BOOK SELECTION:

book cover artMeeting Faith: The Forest Journals of a Black Buddhist Nun by Faith Adiele
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Co.
ISBN-13: 978-0393326734

Jan Willis meets Anne Lamott in this funny, observant memoir by Adiele, an English professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Burned out by the pressure of undergraduate studies at Harvard, Adiele took a year off to get her head together and do field research in Thailand, where she had once spent time as a Rotary exchange student. She became fascinated with Buddhist nuns and began soliciting their stories, a process that led to her rather impulsive decision to seek "temporary ordination" as a nun herself. The nominal-Unitarian-turned-Buddhist is humble about her spiritual insights: "Where I should be ├╝ber-nun, I'm not even what is perceived as a practicing Buddhist. I don't meditate regularly; I nurse anger; I despise tofu. Dammit, I don't appear to have learned anything! So how can anyone learn from me?" But readers can and will learn from Adiele, who parses out her second stay in Thailand with a comic's timing, a novelist's keen observations about human idiosyncrasies and an anthropologist's sensitivity to issues of race and culture. Her main narrative is almost talmudically surrounded by commentary: all along the outer margins of the book, quotes from Buddhist luminaries mingle with excerpts from her own very raw journals from that year. As she admits her fear of the rats that infested her meditation cave or chronicles her pride in gradually increasing her meditation hours, we are privileged to see an unvarnished vulnerability.

1 comment:

KellieS said...

That sounds like a candidly brilliant book. I've haven't read that much about Buddhism, but I'd like to understand the basic culture and beliefs. Thanks for posting about it.







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