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So far martin has created 2 blog entries.

Fear by Thich Nhat Hahn

What a great title. This previous one was called Anger. No flaffing around with the ‘pathologically positive’ that sometimes dominates the self-improvement world. This one is about overcoming fear by mindfulness; being present, in the moment, accepting and enjoying what is and letting go of everything that isn’t. It’s wise, practical, compassionate, and recognises the realities of being human.

I’ve previously read his best seller ‘The Miracle of Mindfulness’, and a simple observation would be that both books have a very simple message: notice your breathing, and wherever you are, be there. And yet…TNH writes in a way that has a beguiling magic about it. In this one he makes a big point of walking meditation, as well as the familiar sitting meditation. And he offers a number of thoughts to link to your breathing. Now, walking in nature and getting regular exercise have been daily habits for me recently, so this fitted beautifully. I adapted my routine and where the schedule allows I now go for a 1 hour early morning walk. And this book has transformed the experience. Taking the basic structure of some his meditations, and ‘riffing’ with things that feel important for me to notice and accept and be at ease with has somehow gently but powerfully transformed how I feel inside. Several times recently I noticed being in situations that could have easily have been tense and inhibiting, and instead feeling really peaceful. As I reflected during a very special recent conversation, it feels as though I’m letting go of the person I thought I wanted to be, and have begun accepting simply who I am. There’s the paradox that so often happens with acceptance – that something fully accepted for […]

By |April 3rd, 2013|Book reviews|0 Comments

Half a Life by V S Naipaul

The quotes from the papers, all over the front and back of this one (another charity shop find), are scattered with ‘brilliant…best novel this year…masterpiece…etc’ So I began with high expectations. Made higher by the gold banner across the front announcing ‘Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature’. What unfolds is the story of a mixed caste boy growing up in India, studying in London and moving to a Portuguese colony in Africa, with all sorts of relationships along the way. And mixed is a key word here. Many characters are mixed race, or moving across social boundaries, or living in places that are part one thing, part something else. And the book itself is mixed – starting as a 3rd person narrative, ending with 86 pages of a first person letter to his sister and finishing the story, well, about halfway through a life.

Having read it, and it was a pleasantly enjoyable read, I feel as though I ought to know more about what it is to be ‘betwixt and between’ as the characters’ lives in the book are lived. But I don’t think I do. ‘Never been funnier’ reviews the Independent on Sunday on the front cover. I don’t recall laughing once. Then one of those strange syncronicities – in a freebie London paper on a train home I came across an article about author and Orange Prize winner Chinamanda Ngozi Adichie with the column title ‘Another dig at Naipaul from a literary peer’. “I’ve become very tired of this nonsense that he’s supposed to be the best writer in the world…I wish him well, but just because you’re an old man who’s nasty doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t actually take your work apart”. […]

By |April 3rd, 2013|Book reviews|0 Comments