I am a fan of Simon Van Booy’s novels and short stories, so this book in his small series pondering the philosophical questions Why We Need Love, Why Our Decisions Don’t Matter and Why We Fight intrigued me.
“I believe that philosophy is a subject we have a natural gift for…….I am committed to the idea that these central questions of life are part of our everyday lives-we all possess the skill and agility to tackle them, and that by pondering them, we can experience more fulfillment in our relationships, in our work and in how we view ourselves.” – Preface to the series edited by Simon Van Booy
The material in this book was a surprisingly and satisfyingly varied treasure trove of stories, poems, quotes, paintings and discourses. Starting with an excerpt from Silas Marner by George Eliot, the book held stories by Willa Cather and O. Henry; a Buddhist story retold in Twenty Jataka Tales by Noor Inayat Khan; poetry by e.e. cummings, Matthew Arnold, William Butler Yeats; excerpts from the writings of Krishnamurti, Erich Fromm and Desmond Morris as well as art by Van Gogh, Marc Chagall and Katsushika Hokusai. And that’s just to name a very few. Many of the entries had short biographies or contextual information.
This book was my Emergency Backup Book, you know, the one you keep in your bag to read whenever you have a few spare minutes and haven’t carried your usual reading material along. Even though I have the Kindle app on my phone, with loads of titles, I still like to carry physical book around. I suppose it’s my version of a security blanket. Anyway. it was a perfect book to pick up and read in random intervals and provided boatload of food for thought and discussion. I will definitely be popping another book in the series into my bag.