Those of you who follow the blog may have noticed that I never do book reviews. Check the archives. You won’t find one written by me. This is deliberate. Graduate school temporarily ruined my love of reading. A few semesters into my MFA found me work-shopping the books I was reading for pleasure. This is easily the worst feeling in the world. Against my will, I’d employ a critical lens that would ruin a perfectly mindless reading experience. My guilty pleasures became academic pursuits.
As a result, I vowed that I’d never do book reviews on this blog. I decided that reading would be, solely, for my enjoyment. I’m sticking to that, but I’m excited to introduce a compromise: When I find a book that I absolutely cannot live without, I’ll share it with you guys via giveaway!
So, on the week of Thanksgiving, I’m doing my first book giveaway with Shozan Jack Haubner’s Zen Confidential: Confessions of a Wayward Monk!!!
Zen Confidential is easily one of my favorite books of all-time. It’s a collection of spiritual essays written by a Zen monk, but that short description doesn’t really capture the brilliance of the book. He starts the book with a penis joke, but then follows it up with following passage,
“Put more modestly, all work that seeks that which is fresh and true is ‘dirty.’ And monastic work id dirty. And so I will try to undress before you in the pages to come. I will get shy and excited. It will get a little weird at times. I’m warning you. But I’m trying to bring us closer together, to remove artifice, to break down barriers: between you and me, the sacred and the profane. “
There are lots of stories — about sex, about anger, about love, about gay porn (among other things). But what I found most striking was the deep honesty in the prose. We all love a good spiritual hero, someone who is pristine and above the failings that are inherent in the human condition, but what I loved about Zen Confidential is that Haubner renders himself as beautifully and painfully human. His wit and his unflinching honesty allow us to see both the best and worst of ourselves. He does, indeed, bring us closer together. He does, indeed bring us closer to ourselves. He marries the sacred and the profane.
He also writes brilliantly about poop ; easily one of my most favorite topics.
Anywho, I feel sooo honored and blessed to be able to give away one of my favorite books on my blog! This must be what Oprah feels like, on a much much much smaller scale. In any case, for the next week, you can enter to win one of four copies autographed by Haubner (who was kind enough to send four autographed copies to share with you. I was kind enough not to keep one for myself).
I’d sign up if I were you; this book is absolutely awesome. I’ll announce the winners next week. If you don’t win, you should buy the book here.