Have you heard about “Seeds of Compassion” ?

dalai-lama-book-cover.jpgA historic five-day gathering to focus the world’s attention on the importance of nurturing kindness and compassion will take place at large-scale venues in Seattle from April 11 to 15, 2008. This spiritually-significant event will include public presentations by the Dalai Lama, as well as other luminaries. For a complete listing of events see Seeds of Compassion.

At the local level, the children’s, young adult and adult services librarians at Green Lake Branch are inspired to join forces and mount an interactive display, and to compile a list of suggested books for all age levels in the community. We invite you to visit our Branch to exchange seed packets in our “Sow Seeds of Compassion” display.

We also invite YOU, the reader, to contribute to and expand this list for our diverse communities in Seattle, and elsewhere. What books are you familiar with that signify compassion, or can help people become more compassionate by reading them? Feel free to provide your favorite author/title(s) and short comments at the end of this list. Let’s share our knowledge and awareness of compassion so that everyone can benefit!

Sow Seeds of Compassion:

Recommended Reading for adults, teens and children

 

ADULT BOOKS

Kindness in a Cruel World by Nigel Barber

Buddha Heart, Buddha Mind by Robert R. Barr

Ordinary Grace by Kathleen Brehony Continue reading “Have you heard about “Seeds of Compassion” ?”

(Reading About) The Great Outdoors

One of the things I love about living in Seattle is our proximity to the ocean and mountains and old-growth forests. Hey, occasionally you can even see the mountains (when it’s not overcast).  Alas, I don’t seem to get out into the great outdoors as often as I would like, but the next best thing to being there is reading about it.

For finding good Nature reads, one place to start is the National Outdoor Book Awards (“Honoring the best in outdoor writing and publishing”).

Following are some other books about the natural world that I’ve enjoyed:sandcountryalmanac.jpg

A Sand Country Almanac, and Sketches Here and There by Leopold Aldo

First published in 1949, this book by one of our country’s foremost conservationists was hailed by the New York Times as “full of beauty and vigor and bite.”

If you enjoy nature writing and personal accounts of extreme outdoor adventure, you can’t go wrong with the classic Continue reading “(Reading About) The Great Outdoors”

Synchronicity in the Backyard

Even with the gardening season right around the corner, the thoughtful gardener will still always find time to read, dream of and ponder the natural world around us.

After reading about global warming via the lengthy series of New Yorker articles exfield_notes_from_a_catastrophe.jpgcerpted from Elizabeth Kolbert’s acclaimed recent book Field Notes from a Catastrophe, documenting the progress of Global Warming, this gardener sought out a course of personal action via Sara Stein’s Noah’s Garden: noahs_garden.jpgRestoring the Ecology of our Own Back Yards, a book about turning away from the formalities of trying to force your garden into a “template” of the perfect English garden and learning to look at your yard as a small portion of a larger wildlife habitat and natural ecosystem.

 Start looking at your fences as hedgerows and your lawn as meadowlands. Your tree planted near your neighbor’s tree, becomes a miniature woodland, all places with their own long evolved natural balances. Of course I lack the square footage on my little piece of the city to really do it up in style, but my small lot does have its advantages. Less real estate means less mowing, less raking up, and less earth to turn and plant. More time to enjoy.

Another advantage of the small will soon coming our way via a change in the way the city assesses wastewater usage fees. Seattle Councilmember Richard Conlin’s enewsletter explains how drainage rates are headed up, with the city Continue reading “Synchronicity in the Backyard”

The Wire finale: now what? (A reading list).

image-of-woman-watching-the-wire-courtesy-of-locator.jpgOkay, so it is over.  Case closed. After five captivating years, HBO’s lauded series The Wire calls it a wrap. Now what do we do? Aside from chain-watching DVDs of the series (and its excellent Baltimore precursor, Homicide: Life on the Street), we’re seeing a lot of Wire fans in withdrawal are turning to books to prolong the feeling. This is hardly surprising given the series’ strong literary ties. Here are some of our favorite gritty tales of the street from Baltimore and beyond:

  • The Corner: A Year in the Life of an Inner City Neighborhood, by David Simon and Edward Burns. It all starts here, with this searing, compassionate account of the hard realities underlying America’s drug culture and its victims. Wire co-creators Simon and Burns refuse to oversimplify an intractable problem twisted up with issues of race, class and unbridled capitalism. See also Simon’s Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets.
  • The Night Gardener, by George Pelecanos
    This insightful story of an old unsolved crime and its lingering effects on three police is just the latest in a succession of outstanding novels stirring up the murky moral depths on both sides of the law, by a prolific Washington DC author and Wire contributor.
  • Mystic River, by Dennis LeHane
    After penning five terrific Boston-based hardboiled mysteries, Wire contributor Lehane had a major breakthrough with this richly textured, haunting psychological thriller about the hidden wellsprings and lasting effects of crime.
  • Lush Life, by Richard Price
    Another accomplished writer recruited into The Wire’s stellar stable, Price’s unflinching, morally-complex crime Continue reading “The Wire finale: now what? (A reading list).”

Spun to distraction – surviving life between the primaries and the general election

unspun This is probably the most exciting election year I’ve ever seen. It’s exhilarating and exhausting. Just keeping track of the code words and the spin cycles, not to mention the charges and counter-charges is enough to give even a committed political junky a headache. Enter unSpun: Finding Facts in a World of Disinformation. Written by the founders of FactCheck.org, this is your guide to separating fact from “disinformation.” While the authors briefly touch on unsavory tactics of consumer sales, the heart of the book is a primer on political deception and the complicity of the news media. If you are suffering from FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) page through unSpun. It’s a quick read filled with tips that will help you maintain your information sanity through the wild ride of the presidential election season.