reviews

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    Books in Brief Summer 2014 Paid Member

    Buddhist writer Clark Strand is disillusioned with American Buddhism. That is, he avows, with the exception of Soka Gakkai International (SGI), the world’s largest lay Buddhist institution, whose presence has been steadily growing on American shores as well as abroad. Founded in Japan in 1930, the organization now boasts 12 million members in 192 countries. In Waking the Buddha (Middleway Press, May 2014, $14.95, 192 pp., paper), Strand suggests SGI as a role model for any religious institution seeking to thrive in the 21st century. More »
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    Dharma Drunks Paid Member

      Refuge Recovery: A Buddhist Path to Recovering from AddictionNoah LevineHarperOne, June 2014 288 pp.; $16.99 cloth More »
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    Only Fiction Paid Member

    In Paradise: A NovelBy Peter MatthiessenRiverhead Books, 2014256 pp.; $27.95 cloth More »
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    Books in Brief Spring 2014 Paid Member

    In Search of the Christian Buddha: How an Asian Sage Became a Medieval Saint (W. W. Norton, April 2014, $24.95, 224 pp., cloth), by Donald S. Lopez, Jr. and Peggy McCracken, traces the Buddha’s story as it came to be rewritten by Muslim, Jewish, and Christian authors. As the tale was translated from Sanskrit (or another Indian language) into Middle Persian, then into Arabic, then by the Christians into Georgian and, not long after, into Greek, its most salient cross-cultural tropes—prophecy of a prince’s future, encounter with the world beyond the palace walls, and renunciation of worldly pleasures—were reinterpreted according to each author's religion and cultural concerns. The various iterations, therefore, offered very different lessons. More »
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    Mind Matters Paid Member

    One Simple Idea: How Positive Thinking Reshaped Modern LifeBy Mitch HorowitzCrown Publishing, 2014352 pp.; $24 cloth More »
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    Romance Rehab Paid Member

    Sex Is Forbidden: A NovelBy Tim ParksArcade Publishing, 2013304 pp.; $24.95 cloth While sitting a traditional Vipassana retreat at an ancient hillside monastery in Italy, the British author Tim Parks found himself unable to silence the internal monologue of his mind. Inevitably, his self-mocking thoughts turned from sitting to writing: Of course I then imagined writing about this meaningless chatter and how brilliantly I could deconstruct myself, or someone like me (very like me), in a novel perhaps. I could very cleverly show how useless I was. Should I write a novel or should I make it nonfiction? Which would seem more necessary? More »