Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Working on the List.

As I mentioned in my first blog post of 2013, the closest I'll come to making a New Year's resolution for this year will be to read as many books as I can from Deal Hudson's list of 100 Best Catholic Novels. Of course, there's no way I'll even pretend to try and read the entire list in one year. With my schedule, reading two books every week for 50 weeks would be impossible. I also decided that, rather than read the novels in the order listed, I would read whichever book caught my fancy.

The first on my list is Watcher From the Shore by Ayako Sono. I have a soft spot in my heart for all things Japanese and I was intrigued by the idea of seeing inside the mind of a Japanese Roman Catholic.

The book centers around Sadaharu Nobeji, a Japanese gynecologist who operates his own clinic in a semi-rural area on the west side of the Miura Peninsula . Sadaharu reminds me of many among my generation; not exactly "totally" evil - he may have some good qualities - but he lives his life according to his own moral standards (which aren't necessarily consistent) and he is all too willing to overlook the evil of abortion. A thoroughly modern individual, Sadaharu is head over heels in love with cynicism and alcohol.

I know quite a few wanna-be Buddhists who might benefit from reading this book. Many of the people I grew up with have spend a good deal of time reading books on Japanese Zen Buddhism. Perhaps reading a different sort of Japanese writer could certainly be enlightening. The main character of Watcher From the Shore doesn't pretend to be Buddhist (as many American Liberals do) but the similarities between the American wannabe Buddhists and Sadaharu are striking.

The next book on my list is another novel by Ayako Sono; No Reason for Murder. Where I'll go after that is anybody's guess.

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