Sunday, December 21, 2014

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance - Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks - Week 52

This is the final book in the Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge for 2014: Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. I had hoped that it would be great ending to year of reading, but after about 150 pages into the 540-page book, I had to call it quits. It just wasn't engaging enough for me to want to trade my time for it.

Conceptually, the book is intriguing - a man, his son, and two friends go on a cross-country motorcycle trip. I had envisioned more descriptions of the scenery and the natural landscape that they seeing. Those descriptions were present in parts, but not nearly to the level I would have enjoyed.

The majority of what I read was a man free-writing his thoughts about life, philosophy, motorcycle maintenance, and mental illness (though the latter was done more "in code" than it was clearly articulated).

Apparently, the author suffered a nervous breakdown and spent time in and out of psychiatric hospitals in the early 1960s. He was diagnosed with clinical depression and paranoid schizophrenia as a result of an evaluation conducted by psychoanalysts, and was treated with electroconvulsive therapy on many occasions. He briefly refers to the treatment in the part of book that I read.

I would have been interested in hearing more about mental illness and the treatment he received rather than motorcycles. Yet, as I continued to read nothing more was mentioned about it.

Maybe Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was just too esoteric for me. At any rate, I felt like I gave the book a fair shot after reading 150 pages of it.

During 2015 I am hoping to read 52 books as well. I'm going to be doing a Spiritual Practices from A to Z (one spiritual practice per alphabet letter). Each spiritual practice will span two weeks and include two or more books to read.

It is a very different approach to the Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge than I've done in the past, but I'm really looking forward to it. I think the books will be very meaningful - and perhaps - life changing.

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