Thursday, April 5, 2012

Books for Provo

This story is from when I was stationed in Rota, Spain but was sent to a three month seminar at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. It covers the two weeks from one week before I left until one week after I arrived in Utah.

As I packed for the trip, obviously, I went to the book store. About a week before I left, I went to the bookstore to get books to take with me. I had no idea what the place I was going to would be like so I thought I would stock up. I found a pile of books and checked out. $200.

The day of my flight, I stopped in to the bookstore to grab something extra. I'm not sure how I did it or how I had room for all the books in my bags but total price, $200.

One day, in the first week of the seminar, the instructor was showing us around the BYU campus and we stopped in to my first ever college book store. I rummaged around, found books, of course, and checked out. $200.

Yep, that is right. In under 2 weeks, I spent $600, just on books. Surprisingly, when I left Provo, there was only one book I hadn't finished.

This was when I first read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" and it's sequel, "Lila." Both books are extraordinary. But, whatever you do, don't read them back to back if it is the first time you are reading them. The primary thesis of the first seems to be that quality is indivisible. Along the way, you read a touching and heartbreaking story of a man and his son, but the main treatise is philosophical. By the end, you should be fairly convinced he is right and quality is indivisible. Unfortunately, the first thing he does in Lila is divide quality. With no warning or preparation or even chance to do my own thinking in between, it is a bit like being slapped in the face with a cold fish. Still, "Lila" was nearly as good to read as "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."

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