Currently Reading

  • 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
  • Patience & Fortitude by Nicholas A Basbanes
  • Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling by Richard Lyman Bushman
  • a People's History of the United States: 1492-Present by Howard Zinn

Friday, June 19, 2009

Turtle Feet by Nikolai Grozni

Turtle Feet Chronicles Nikolai Grozni's experiences studying Tibetan Buddhism as an ordained monk in Dharamsala, India. While we see a bit of his life as a monk, the book focuses to a disappointing degree on his eccentric friend Tsar, a Bosnian ex-patriot, ex-monk.

This book is amazing. While I wish it had spent more time on the monastic life and significantly less on his friends exploits, it does do a good job of showing how messed up living a completely cloistered life can make people. Fair warning however, do not read this book if you're into political correctness, uber-liberal, or any such thing. Grozni doesn't sugar coat his experiences, and he runs into some pretty stupid out of touch people. A primary example being one of his teachers, Geshe Yama Tseten, who looks up the identity of an animal he claims attacked him on a mountain top in a book about sea life, and is a vitriolic xenophobe when it comes to westerners, calling them fools, and putting them on the same level as domesticated animals in intelligence.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tuesday Thingers: Because I'm Bored

Ok, I should probably be vacuuming before my mom's friends (including a couple mutual ones) get here for her Tuesday knitting circle. Instead, because I haven't been at this for a while, I'm going to do this week's Tuesday Thinger, followed by one or two old ones.

Have you explored the new Collections feature? Do you plan to use the new Collections? Are you going to add any special collections? If so, what are they?

I'll admit it, I've been waiting for Collections functionality ever since I joined and heard rumors about it, sometime back in 06 or 07 if memory serves. I don't plan to use them, I use them, all the preconfigured ones, as well as a couple I made myself. With the advent of collections I took my "Religion & Spirituality Library" tag and converted it into a collection. Its sort of the focus of my whole collection, so I thought it deserved its own. Someone's probably achieved more complete collection of this sort of literature, but mine is still growing, and it is rather specialized. I also created a collection for all the books I read last year, and for the ones I'm reading this year. I've considered converting my fiction and non-fiction tags to collections, but I'm a bit on the fence about it.

What other weekly memes or round robins do you participate in? Is this the only one? Why Tuesday Thingers and not some other weekly Tuesday meme? Or do you do more than one?

In addition to Tuesday Thingers, I do the Sunday Salon, Booking Through Thursday, and am planning to add Musing Mondays to the list. If anyone knows of a weekly meme for Wednesday let me know at romartin at linfield dot edu. I got into Tuesday Thinger because it was started at Librarything, which I absolutely love, and is quite honestly an avid reader/bibliophile's dream come true in some ways

Cataloging sources. What cataloging sources do you use most? Any particular reason? Any idiosyncratic choices, or foreign sources, or sources you like better than others? Are you able to find most things through LT’s almost 700 sources?

I try to use the Library of Congress as much as I can. No reason really, just my own little idiosyncratic habit i guess. When I can't find records for a book in the LoC I usually use

Sorry for the weird formatting on this post. Just getting back into the groove and finding I have to relearn some of this stuff.


Found this meme and I figured I'd get things going again:

What's your favorite bookstore?
I'd have to say Quest Bookshop in Seattle. Its a metaphysical bookstore that is run by the Theosophical society. The Seattle branch's lending library is in a big back room and open to the public (although there's a membership fee to actually borrow books you can literally sit there and read the whole couple thousand book collection if you wanted). You could find just about any book you could possibly want to read about western or eastern religion and spirituality in the store or library, its incredible. Its just a little hole in the wall store, but I've literally gotten lost in there!

Have you ever traveled out of state or out of the country, just to visit a particular bookstore?
No, I can honestly say I haven't. I've gone to Powell's in Portland a number of times, but I was always in Portland to visit friends anyway. I would love to go to the Strand, however, and my well see about going to visit a cousin who lives there just to have an excuse.

Have you ever gone on a date to a bookstore? Would you consider a bookstore to be a romantic place?
I wouldn't exactly consider a bookstore romantic, although I have ended up at the local Indie shop in the town where I go to college.

What's the latest you've stayed out at night at a bookstore?
I can honestly say I've never stayed that late at any bookstore. Usually I'm there during the day.

Do you like to go with friends or by yourself?
If its someone thats willing to be on their own and dialogue a bit, but doesn't mind me not following them around all the time, book shopping with someone can be kind of fun. Mostly when I shop I tend to browse, picking up interesting looking books and reading pages at a time, so I really prefer to be on my own.

What would your dream bookstore be like?
I've come close to it with Quest (see first question). It'd be a place that specializes in Eastern Religion, Metaphysics, spirituality, etc, with big comfy chairs for reading (which Quest has in the lending library, the retail store in the front is too small, and its pretty packed with shelves). I'd be on a first name basis with everyone working there, I'd be able to mention some obscure teacher no one's heard of, and they'd know who they were right off the bat and be able to tell me if there was anything in stock (somehow Indies especially don't really sit with me well when the people who work there don't even know their own stock.) It'd be well lit, mostly by big windows that let lots of light in during the summer, and good quality lamps (not those horrid halogen atrocities) in the summer.

What's your favorite specialty bookstore and what does it specialize in?
See the first question.

Have you ever worked at a bookstore or wanted to? Do people ever mistake you for a bookstore employee and ask you questions as you browse? 
Never worked in a bookstore, but would like to. However, I'd go for a job in an independent or used store before something like B&N, although I wouldn't pass up a job and Barnes and Noble were it offered, especially in this economy (employee discount DROOL). I can honestly say i've never been mistaken for an employee. However, at least in the religion area of the Barnes and Noble at the University District in Seattle I could probably do a better job of locating a book for someone than most of the staff. I've certainly spent enough time in that nook to know the stock pretty intimately.

Do you like bookstore cafes? Would you consider a bookstore a social destination as opposed to strictly a retail destination?
Honestly I'm not a big fan. People tend to bring stock up there before they've bought it from what I've seen. This usually results in the book getting damaged or food smudged on it, and when I go to a bookstore I usually expect to find the stock in good condition, minor shelf wear excepted. Shelf wear, however, does not and has never included food stains water marks, or any of a number of things I've found in books in some stores (not naming names).

What's the silliest thing you've ever done in a bookstore? Ever been kicked out of one?
I've been known to take books on Buddhism and Hinduism and mix them into the Christianity section. Christians do it all the time, so I figure its only fair. *evil grin* Never been kicked out of a bookstore though.
Somehow I let this drop by the wayside and haven't written anything in a number of months. I'll try to get things back on track over the rest of the summer, although I'm not sure how much longer I'm going to be able to pull it off as I'll probably have to take a break for the first half of the coming academic year as I'll be writing my Capstone Thesis.