Holiday Reading List

This past holiday season I got to catch up on some books I have been having in my bookshelf for some time.

SeinLanguage, Jerry Seinfeld
All I have to say is this book is full of Yadda Yadda. Seinfeld is truly the master of his domain with this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The comedy of Seinfeld is full of observations of human nature and relationships. For example he writes, “One of the great mysteries to me is the fact that a woman could pour hot wax on her legs, rip the hair out by the roots, and still be afraid of a spider.” Its funny ’cause its true.

Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun, Wess Roberts
This is a really short and insightful read. In this short book you follow the career of Attila who unified and modernized his people at the expense of other nations including Rome and Constantinople. The leadership lessons are demonstrated by Attila by his example. Attila first learned about diplomacy and military strategy as a hostage in Rome. He then proceeded to unite and consolidate the Hun tribes into a single force. Attila won the honor of his allies and the fear of his enemies. There definitely is a lot to learn from the life of such a man, for there are few like him in the records of history.

Spilling the Beans: Loteria Chicana, Jose Antonio Burciaga
Burciaga is one of my favorite Chicano writers, so of course I enjoyed reading Spilling the Beans, a collection of essays. Reading from another Chicano’s perspective I learn more about myself since I easily relate to what he is describing in his essays. As a veterano Chicano he has a lot of wisdom which he makes available in Spilling the Beans. I passed the book along to my dad for his personal enjoyment since he too is growing up Chicano.

Life of Pi, Yann Martel
I bought this book because I heard nothing but good things about it. Then I opened the cover and was turned off by all the glowing praised from numerous financial, times, economist and literary newspapers. The Life of Pi waited in my To Be Read pile for months. In fact, I gave the book away to a friend from Tamil Nadu, I knew the main character was from that state. I lost track of my friend and wanted to find her again so I bought the Life of Pi again in hopes that I would find her there in those pages. This is what I found.
The chapters in the Life of Pi is written within numerous chapters, most the size of a page or two. In one day’s worth of reading I have already reached chapter 41. The book is written in the reminiscing voice of Pi, but there are small chapters where the Yann describes his meetings with the subject of the story. I like the structure of the book, as one likes the layout of a house. But I also like the landscape of the book, as one likes the pictures on the walls of such a house.
I especially like the description of the tourist village of Munnar, in the state of Kerala, with its three hills. One hill crowned with a Hindu temple, another hill topped off with a mosque, and yet the third hill radiating with a church. Pi was raised to a Hindu family and was filled with stories of the many gods and all there avatars, the multiple personalities of the Hindu pantheon. Interested in the Christianity, Pi, say “I knew very little about the religion. It had a reputation for few gods and great violence. But good schools.” Later on Pi was to say about that “Islam had a reputation worse than Christianity’s – fewer gods, greater violence, and I had never heard anyone say good thigns about Muslim schools.” Pi would later be a practicing Hindu, Christian, and Muslim receiving communion, reciting the Quran, and performing puja.
There is a funny episode when Pi’s priest, imam, and pandit discover the extent of his religious convictions and curiosity.

“Can this be true?” asked the imam earnestly. “Hindus and Christians are idolaters. They have many gods.”
“And Muslims have many wives,” responded the pandit.

I personally would be happy with many gods and many wives. And that is why I, like Pi, feel that I am a Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Taoist. Well, I feel like that because are religions are true, as Gandhi said, and because all religions are expressions of faith of what can only be attained by faith.

Leave a Reply, Join the Conversation