Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Books: A Personal Top Ten

Lately, I've been re-reading Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking, by David Bayles and Ted Orland. This wonderful book got me thinking of all the other books that have really made an impact on my thinking, on my aesthetic sensibility or have been just thoroughly and repeatedly entertaining.

What follows is a quick list of my "top ten." These are pretty much the first ten books I thought of, without regard to genre and listed without ranking.

  1. Art and Fear, Bayles and Orland. (Obviously, since reading this is what got me going on this topic.)
  2. The Zen of Creativity, by John Daido Loori
  3. The Artist's Way, by Julia Cameron
  4. The Ambassadors, by Henry James
  5. The Lord of the Rings trilogy, by J.R.R. Tolkien (I've read it clear through 4 times in my life, so far.)
  6. The Shobogenzo, by Eihei Dogen. (I've hardly read all of this masterwork of the 13th century Zen Master, but certain essays, particularly "Instructions to the Cook" and "The Bodhisattva's Four Methods of Guidance" have been particularly moving.)
  7. Process and Reality, by Alfred North Whitehead. (Purportedly, I am writing about this. Someday.)
  8. The Varieties of Religious Experience, by William James
  9. Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki
  10. Walden, by Henry David Thoreau

What's your top ten?

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