Monday, November 8, 2010

Essays In Idleness

This book is one where the title is deceptive, it has nothing to do with being idle. But, it's still a really cool book. The Japanese title of this is つれずれ草(つれぐれぐさ), the romaji being Tsureguregusa, which even my Japanese class finds hard to pronounce. And sensei took one look at this book and told me to return it because it is "too hard",  although I think he's thinking of the Japanese version.

The book is really random (which fits my thought patterns), but this makes it easy to read a few books at a time (I brought this book to read in school because The 13 1/2 lives of Captain Bluebear is way too heavy). And although there are buddhist themes inside, it's not very prominent.

It does have, however, really penetrating insight into human nature, with his many ancedotes about the lives of his circle of peers. And it provides a good explanation of the Japanese culture, explaining why they love the cherry blossoms (because of their impermeance). And I think he articulates it in a really poetic manner, although that could be cause of Keene's translation.

The amazon link is here.

And my favourite quote in the book? "The pleasantest of all diversions is to sit alone under the lamp, a book spread out before you, and to make friends with people of a distant past you have never known" from Chapter 13. ^_^

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