My Winter Reading List

Yes, it's Winter in Sydney.
And quite a chilly one at that.
Though I'm booked solid till at least the end of November, I am hopeful about getting to some must-read books.
Here is my eclectic list:





Making the List: A Cultural History of the American Bestseller by Michael Korda - My doctoral thesis is on self-help books, and I am very interested in what makes them so popular, and such consistent bestsellers. I've seen this book referenced frequently, though it is long out of print. I got a copy from the States, and look forward to studying the lists of American bestsellers and how they have changed over the years.




Venerable Father: A Life With Ajahn Chah by Paul Breiter - Published in Thailand, this is an intimate look at one of the most legendary Thai meditation masters, Ajahn Chah. In the past I have spent a lot of time exploring the meditative traditions of Thailand, including periods on retreat in monasteries in Thailand. Ajahn Chah has long been one of my heroes, and I love the stories of his naughty humour and irascible common sense. And biographical books about Buddhist monks are really quite rare in English.




Tales My Father Taught Me: An Evocation of Extravagant Episodes by Osbert Sitwell - I adore the Sitwells, and often wonder if I'm not one of them reincarnated (it would definitely be Edith). All of them wrote beautifully, and I could easily spend my life in a locked room with the collected works of the Sitwells. Such elegant devotion to matters frivolous really strikes a chord deep within me. I discovered at Berkelouw's in Berrima an exquisite and pristine hardcover copy of this one, complete with dustjacket.




The Naked Buddha by Eric Harrison - Having recently read and enjoyed Stephen Batchelor's Confession of a Buddhist Atheist, I was interested in this much earlier Australian effort to de-mythologise the Buddha's life and teachings. I must state clearly and up-front that in general I find myself bewildered by this effort to remove all of the elements of religion that I actually find attractive (mystery, magic, ritual, wonder, faith and grace), but nonetheless I like to be challenged.




Focal Point by Brian Tracy - Now what would any list be without a good, solid self-help book to get you through the wintry days? Tracy is one of my favourites, with his simple prose and constant injunctions to return to your goals and always keep them in mind. I am going to be focused this Winter, dammit!

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