Book Review: Siddharta

SiddhartaSiddharta by Hermann Hesse

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

** Spoiler alert ** Siddharta is an indian tale about a brahmin boy who follows his heart, leaving the place he was brought up in to become a Samana, fasting and meditating for extended periods in the forest and the mountains. Later on in the story he meets the Buddha, but not being satisfied with teachings in general, he also rejects Buddha’s teachings. Instead of becoming a monk and a follower of Buddha, he starts a totally different life. He becomes a rich merchant, a lover, later an ordinary ferryman and a father.

As soon as I started reading the words on the first page I fell in love with the simple prose the author used in writing this book. The easy to digest information made my read easy and quick, never losing the ability to grasp the authors profound messages. Also, like the writing style the plot is authentic and zen like.

I noticed that there is no antagonist in the story unlike in most other stories. Perhaps the only antagonist in the search to unveil the deepest secret and mystery is Siddharta himself.

I loved all the characters in the book, especially Siddharta. He is a lovely character. He is strong willed, and an intelligent seeker of truth. For a character of this proportion the author did an amazing job in discerning and discribing his psyche. I found it immensly interesting to learn about the main character; his thoughts, his feelings, his behavior, the choices he made and where those choices led him. His meeting with the Buddha was especially meaningful to me.

The themes in this tale, such as self discovery and spirituality are among my favorite ones. I can say that Hesse is a master in working with these themes. The messages in these book are deep and profound. Often I have admired how skillfull Hesse was in writing out the character of Siddharta, whom I could relate to so deeply. Hesse depicted the good heart of Siddharta and this man’s character so beautifully.

It is interesting to read this tale, that took place in the Indian sub continent. The author was able to explore its culture and philosophies very well, I think. I do wonder how Siddharta would have responded to a meeting with Jesus Christ and His gospel.

Siddharta’s childhood friend Govinda joined him and became a Samana as well, but down the road they parted ways. Govinda followed the Buddha, while Siddharta went an entirely different path, slowly becoming like the childlike people, following his passions and yearnings, nurturing love and attachment.

Yet at the end of their lives when they meet in Siddharta’s hut Govinda’s heart is not at peace and is still seeking while Siddharta has found peace of heart. This story made me think, that’s for sure.

I give this book a 9 out of 10 and recommend it to every seeker.

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Book Review: the Poet’s Companion

The Poet's Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing PoetryThe Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry by Kim Addonizio

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Poet’s Companion is a treasure to me. It is carefully filled with selected poems by contemporary poets to illustrate certain techniques and points the writers of this book are making.

The section about publishing in the digital age is a bit outdated by now since this book was published twenty one years ago. I just skipped that part.

Other than that, the exercises they provide are very helpful. I was excited reading the book without even doing the exercises. Now I can’t wait to give it a second read.

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Book Review: The Songs of You and Me

The Songs of You and MeThe Songs of You and Me by Mylissa Demeyere

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I decided to take this novel with me on my travel to NZ and I am happy I did.

The story of Jane and Jackson unfolds by going back and forth between the present and the past. This narrative got me instantly immersed in the story. The author reveals Jane and Jacksons’ love history in a way that the reader gets a good sense of who the characters are and why they act the way they do. They felt real to me as if they were real people.

The multiple story perspective which the author used, contributed to the depth and the dynamic of the story. I enjoyed this perspective especially in the moments when Jane and Jackson were together as it gave rise to a whole new dimension of emotion, which could be intense.

I was swept away on many levels by Mylissa’s story. The Songs of You and Me is an original piece of writing. I loved how each chapter refers to a song that fits with its mood.

I think Mylissa did a great job on writing her first novel. I definetly recommend it.