Friday, January 29, 2010

So Many Books, So Little Time

The holidays are over and all the bacteria are dead.  Yay!  Now if only my ears and nose would drain so I could hear and smell again.

Here's my dilemma: what should I read next?  This is the eternal struggle of the bibliophile.  I'm not talking about novels.  I read novels like most people eat candy.  I'm talking about the hard, demanding books that require patience and attention.  

Contender #1 is Carl Jung's Red Book.  It looks like a medieval illuminated manuscript, but really it's Jung's account of a series of mystical experiences he had using a technique called guided imagination (or something like that).  It's extremely personal, and, in the end, the reader might not be able to take anything from it.

Contender #2 is The Zohar: Volume 1 trans. Daniel Matt.  This is the book about Kabbalah.  This not only contains the text but also extensive commentary so you can understand what you're reading.  It's a difficult book and note taking is required.  I'll probably never understand it completely unless I learn Hebrew, Aramaic, and study the Talmud (and I'm not even Jewish).  Still, having just read the very beginning, I've already taken a lot of notes.  And yes, I did say volume #1.  So far, there are five of a planned ten or twelve volumes.  I'll have to take this volume by volume.

As an aside, the great thing about Kabbalah is that it's like software.  It describes the universe.  You can use it when you need it.  There are other mystical and magical systems, other software, you can switch to if need be.  Kabbalah is just one, and it's a good one.

Okay, I think Kabbalah wins.  First, volume #1 of The Zohar.  Then, Jung's Red Book.  This might take awhile.