Friday, December 30, 2011

2011 in Books

Ta dah!!! The obligatory annual book list! :) Titles in bold are highly recommended.

January 2011

1. Run To The Mountain: The Journals of Thomas Merton Vol. 1

February 2011

2. Running the Millionaire Lane: A Novice Runner's Spiritual Journey in the Material World by Ma.Leilani Andres Relucio
3. Soul Survivor by Philip Yancey
4. Surprised by Truth: Eleven Converts Give The Biblical and Historical Reasons for Becoming Catholic (ed. Patrick Madrid)
5. God Has Made A Bethlehem by Enrique Monasterio
6. Entering the Silence: The Journals of Thomas Merton Vol. 2

March 2011

7. The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood
8. Father Brown Stories by G.K. Chesterton
9. The Little Black Book of Style by Nina Garcia
10. Angelology: A Novel by Danielle Trussoni

April 2011

11. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson
12. Intellectuals: From Marx & Tolstoy to Sartre & Chomsky by Paul Johnson
13. The Sixteen Pleasures by Robert Hellenga
14. Gideon's Sword by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
15. A Search for Solitude: The Journals of Thomas Merton Vol. 3
16. Fever Dream by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
17. Dreams Made Flesh by Anne Bishop
18. The Invisible Ring by Anne Bishop

May 2011

19. Daughter of the Blood by Anne Bishop
20. The Shadow Queen by Anne Bishop
21. Who Are You, Filipino Youth? by William Henry Scott
22. Chips by William Henry Scott
23. Dinotopia: The World Beneath by James Gurney
24. The Playbook by Barney Stinson and Matt Kuhn
25. The Catholic Church by Hans Kung
26. Among Schoolchildren by Tracy Kidder
27. Catholics & Protestants: Separated Brothers by Leon Cristiani and Jean Pilliet

June 2011

28. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
29. A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

July 2011

30. Wild at Heart by John Eldredge
31. Mine Eyes Have Seen The Glory by R. balmer
32. My Dream of You by Nuala O' Faolain

August 2011

33. French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano

September 2011

34. The Thoughtful Dresser by Linda Grant
35. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
36. Almost Like Heaven by Julia Quinn
37. When Beauty Tamed the Beast by Eloisa James
38. Cold Vengeance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

October 2011

39. The Magician by Lev Grossman
40. The Codex by Lev Grossman
41. Waiting for God by Simone Weil
42. Diaries of A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke (Florence, Schmargendorf, and Worpswede Diaires)
43. Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World by Nicholas Basbanes

November 2011

44. Eon by Alison Goodman
45. Eona by Alison Goodman
46. Hagakure (Manga Edition) by Yamamoto Tsunemoto, illus. Chie Kutsuwada
47. Bushido: The Soul of Japan by Inazo Nitobe
48. Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro

December 2011

49. Oishinbo: A La Carte by Tetsu Kariya/ Akira Hanasaki
50. Unpacking my Library: Writers and their Books (ed. Leah Price)
51. Lafcadio Hearn's Japan: An Anthology of His Writings on the Country and its People
52. Rashomon and 17 Other Stories by Ryonosuke Akutagawa
53. The Monstrumologist: The Terror Beneath by Rick Yancey
54. The Monstrumologist: Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey
55. Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua
56. The Lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto by Pico Iyer
57. The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life by James Martin, SJ
58. A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony by Hector Garcia
59. Eating in Japan by Japan: Japan in Your Pocket Series No. 3 by Japan Travel Bureau (JTB)
60. Salaryman in Japan: Japan In Your Pocket Series Vol. 8 by JTB
61. Who's Who in Japan: Japan in Your Pocket Series Vol. 9 by JTB
62. Japanese Inn and Travel: Japan in Your Pocket Series No. 14 by JTB

Previous Years:

2010 in Books (Total = 53 titles)
2007 in Books (the last quarter = 29)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sojourn in Japan

(The Tres Muchachos and beautiful Hikone Castle)

“All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.” – Samuel Johnson

I've just come back from ten days in a country so different from my own... a country fascinating in its paradoxical existence, merging ancient tradition with cutting-edge technology, Asian values and Western modernity. The land of the rising sun. Japan.

I now understand why there are people who save up and live meagerly just so they can have the funds to travel. I now feel exactly the same way! It's not just about seeing the sights and meeting the people, though of course, I enjoyed all of it tremendously. It's about the self-growth, the self-knowledge that comes as a result of challenging experiences that are an integral part to any journey.

I've been reading about Bushido as a way of life, and it was just so fascinating to see it enacted even today! For instance, it is visible in the remarkable politeness, etiquette and grace of the Japanese as a manifestation of inner spiritual discipline.

Inazo Nitobe writes: "Look under the skin of a Japanese with the most advanced ideas and you will see a samurai... What Japan was she owed to the samurai."

(I'd like to think that if you look under the skin of any Filipino, you'd find a warrior-poet equal to the best of any other nation. We've just forgotten our own greatness, as a people.)

It was extremely humbling to compare myself to the Japanese. I thought I'd been hardworking before, that I was disciplined before... but dang! All my illusions of grandeur were dashed to pieces. Everywhere I looked, from the humblest waiter to the well-off "sarariman," I saw what Tom Cruise's character in The Last Samurai saw: "From the moment they wake they devote themselves to the perfection of whatever they pursue. I have never seem such discipline."

I could go on and on, but let this short entry suffice as a summary of what struck me the most about this great nation.

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