Tag Archive: eastern-philosophy



Apsara by Pearl Whitfield

Apsara by Pearl Whitfield

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I don’t often share the blurb, but since it isn’t on GoodReads, this is the one I found on Amazon:

“Apsara is the story of a young girl in a remote village in 12th century Cambodia who loves to dance. She is chosen to train as an Apsara for King Jayavarman VII. Apsaras dance to bring heaven to earth, blessing the land with prosperity. Bopha walks from her home to Angkor Wat, and begins a life she could never have imagined.”

I was so happy to pick this book up on Kindle Unlimited. That way, I could listen to the story in text-to-speech. As the author was writing it, I heard parts of the story. I often missed the chance to listen to more. That broke my heart. Still, I could hear the author’s voice in my head as I listened to the British representative of TTS. I would love to have this story on Audible so that the pronunciations of non-English words and names would be proper.

The story itself is so riveting. I had a hard time putting it down when it was time to sleep. Ms. Whitfield managed to keep the story interesting while throwing in the history, culture, language, religion, and dance of the people of 12th century Cambodia. I loved the main character, Bopha, and wish there was more. I’d love to know more about the teen twins and the daughter.



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A Tale for the Time BeingA Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Over a decade ago, I met an online friend that would change or at least, modify my life. I met Judith on LiveJournal, you remember that old site, better than MySpace but not quite as social as FaceBook. Judith was chatting in her journal about Chris Baty and the NaNoWriMo scene (Which resulted in my first novel being written between the Ides of March and the Ides of April. I didn’t finish the novel then as we had to move to a new city and I just couldn’t stay with it. But I added more than enough wordage to that novel in November 2002 to “win”. (First of 10 or 11 novels since.)

The other thing Judith introduced me to was BookCrossing.com. The concept that grabbed me with BC was how my read book could be recycled to others and then the new reader and the old could discuss this story. The book could travel even when I couldn’t, so it felt like a message in a bottle thrown out to sea. It is fun to see where your book could end up and the friendships that develop over said book. I still belong but since my eyes aren’t what they used to be, I am happy for the invention of Kindle and other e-readers. So I release far fewer books nowadays.

Besides Judith, what do the above paragraphs have in common, and what do they have to do with ‘A Tale for the Time Being’? The art of writing and the art of reading. Both concepts play strong in this story. Rather than a message in a bottle, this message floats ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox in layers of freezer bags. The writer was in Tokyo, the reader/finder in Canada. Years separate the two. Yet a bond is formed. Oh, yeah, Judith read and reviewed this and hooked me in. I think she didn’t like the Zen parts of the book. I found that part delightful. I have to admit that most of the book is believable whereas the Zen bits are a little more ‘magical’. But the title twinkles with that magic. If you read it right.

Anyway, I HIGHLY recommend this book. I actually read it one and a third times. I borrowed the Kindle version from the library. Between reading it on my Kindle app on my Tablet and listening on my old Kindle text-to-speech, I managed to get to about 36% in. Then I found that my library also had the OverDrive version. So I restarted reading the book with the author’s voice. That pumped up my ratings for this wonderful tale. Each layer of depth into the story has its own built-in amazements. Level one, tree book, and the Kindle version, there are many footnotes and definitions to help with a deeper understanding of that time in history or that country, language. But the narration includes minor helps. Hearing a voice say the Japanese names or words adds to the believability of the whole story. Ms. Ruth Ozeki has an impeccable voice and narration, her variations of voices for each character supreme! I enjoyed rereading the first third with her help. I felt I gained deeper understanding just by hearing her. Please, if you get the chance to pair both versions, go for it!

By the way, I want to thank Jonelle Patrick and her Mysteries and website: http://jonellepatrick.me/ for introducing me to many contemporary Japanese subjects presented in A Tale for the Time Being. At least I was forewarned.

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Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book started out so funny that I couldn’t read it as my quiet-down-to-sleep-book. But that didn’t last long. I can’t remember why I felt bored but I did. Finally the book started moving and the humor was back. Of course, the ending was bittersweet.

For someone raised in church, a Christian who read the whole Bible, I found this book very well done, very well, researched, and though it is based on serious issues, Christopher Moore was able to lighten it up and insert one possibility in the life of Christ. Hey, he could’ve had a friend. That friend could’ve been named Levi or Biff. We don’t really know about the years from infancy to 30, do we? Sure there is the occasional story. But there is a huge gap.

At one time I read The Lost Books of the Bible and the Forgotten Books of Eden, but not the whole book. I do remember a part where Jesus went to the riverside to make bird of clay and then blew life into the creatures and they would fly away. So the bit about the lizard in Lamb cracked me up.

Because of the boring parts I nearly rated this book four stars. But I know I will remember this book for quite a while with fondness. So five stars it is. I believe that Moore did the impossible. He took sacred writings and lightened them up and yet never got too far from the actual messages of love and redemption.

Registered my paperback copy with BookCrossing.com BCID: 927-12455390

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