What We Are Reading Today: On Understanding Japanese Religion

What We Are Reading Today: On Understanding Japanese Religion
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Updated 20 February 2021

What We Are Reading Today: On Understanding Japanese Religion

What We Are Reading Today: On Understanding Japanese Religion

Author: Joseph Mitsuo Kitagawa

Joseph Kitagawa, one of the founders of the field of history of religions and an eminent scholar of the religions of Japan, published his classic book Religion in Japanese History in 1966.
Since then, he has written a number of extremely influential essays that illustrate approaches to the study of Japanese religious phenomena. To date, these essays have remained scattered in various scholarly journals.
This book makes available 19 of these articles, important contributions to our understanding of Japan’s intricate combination of indigenous Shinto, Confucianism, Taoism, the Yin-Yang School, Buddhism, and folk religion, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.
In sections on prehistory, the historic development of Japanese religion, the Shinto tradition, the Buddhist tradition, and the modem phase of the Japanese religious tradition, the author develops several valuable methodological approaches. The volume also includes an appendix on Buddhism in America.
Asserting that the study of Japanese religion is more than an umbrella term covering investigations of separate traditions, Prof. Kitagawa approaches the subject from an interdisciplinary standpoint.


Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa’s ‘Against the Loveless World’ nominated for US literary award 

Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa’s ‘Against the Loveless World’ nominated for US literary award 
Updated 43 min 27 sec ago

Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa’s ‘Against the Loveless World’ nominated for US literary award 

Palestinian author Susan Abulhawa’s ‘Against the Loveless World’ nominated for US literary award 

DUBAI: US-Palestinian writer Susan Abulhawa’s book “Against the Loveless World” is among the finalists for the 2020 Athenaeum of Philadelphia Literary Award, organizers announced this week. 

Susan Abulhawa is a US-Palestinian writer. (Supplied)

The political activist’s book begins in the Hawalli neighborhood of Kuwait. It tells the story of a woman who has as many names as she has homes, moving from place to place as a child of exiles and becoming one herself during the Gulf War.

With her mother, brother, and grandmother Sitti Wasfiyeh, Nahr navigates a life through Kuwait, Jordan, Palestine, a home she knows so little of, and then an Israeli prison.

With dreams of marriage, of her own children and of freedom, Nahr’s fight to survive a world that is intent on testing her lands her in situations that could break the weak.

In an unthinkably harsh reality, and one that is a continuous experiment in resilience, Abulhawa pushes to the fore themes of identity and adaptability, posing the question: How can an oppressor know roots when they live by unearthing trees?

Read Arab News’ full review of “Against the Loveless World” here.

Abulhawa is competing against author Michele Harper for her book “The Beauty in Breaking” and writer Kiley Reid for her novel “Such a Fun Age.” 

The Athenaeum of Philadelphia museum established its literary award in 1950.

The last two winners for the award in 2019 were British author Edward Posnett and Canadian- American writer Witold Rybczynski for their books “Strange Harvests: The Hidden Histories of Seven Natural Objects” and “Charleston Fancy: Little Houses and Big Dreams in the Holy City” respectively.


What We Are Reading Today: Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod

What We Are Reading Today: Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod
Updated 03 March 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod

What We Are Reading Today: Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod

When Hugh MacLeod was a struggling young copywriter living in a YMCA, he started to doodle on the backs of business cards while sitting at a bar. 

Those cartoons eventually led to a popular blog — gapingvoid.com — and a reputation for pithy insight and humor, in both words and pictures.

MacLeod has opinions on everything from marketing to the meaning of life, but one of his main subjects is creativity. 

How do new ideas emerge in a cynical, risk-averse world? Where does inspiration come from? What does it take to make a living as a creative person?

Ignore Everybody expands on MacLeod’s sharpest insights, wittiest cartoons, and most useful advice. 

For example: Selling out is harder than it looks. Diluting your product to make it more commercial will just make people like it less. Don’t try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether. There’s no point trying to do the same thing as 250,000 other young hopefuls, waiting for a miracle. 

After learning MacLeod’s forty keys to creativity, you will be ready to unlock your own brilliance and unleash it on the world.


What We Are Reading Today: The Chief by David Nasaw

What We Are Reading Today: The Chief by David Nasaw
Updated 02 March 2021

What We Are Reading Today: The Chief by David Nasaw

What We Are Reading Today: The Chief by David Nasaw

David Nasaw’s magnificent, definitive biography of William Randolph Hearst is based on newly released private and business papers and interviews. 

For the first time, documentation of Hearst’s interactions with Hitler, Mussolini, Churchill, and every American president from Grover Cleveland to Franklin Roosevelt, as well as with movie giants Louis B. Mayer, Jack Warner, and Irving Thalberg, completes the picture of this colossal American. 

Hearst, known to his staff as the Chief, was a man of prodigious appetites. By the 1930s, he controlled the largest publishing empire in the country, including twenty-eight newspapers, the Cosmopolitan Picture Studio, radio stations, and thirteen magazines.  In Nasaw’s portrait, questions about Hearst’s relationships are addressed, including those about his mistress in his Harvard days, his legal wife, Millicent, ; and Marion Davies, his companion until death. 

Recently discovered correspondence with the architect of Hearst’s world-famous estate, San Simeon, is augmented by taped interviews with the people who worked there shed light on the private life of a very public man.


What We Are Reading Today: Raceless by Georgina Lawton

What We Are Reading Today: Raceless by Georgina Lawton
Updated 01 March 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Raceless by Georgina Lawton

What We Are Reading Today: Raceless by Georgina Lawton

Raceless is an exploration of a fundamental question: What constitutes our sense of self? 

Drawing on her personal experiences and the stories of others, British journalist Georgina Lawton grapples with difficult questions about love, shame, grief, and prejudice, and reveals the nuanced and emotional journey of forming one’s identity.

The book “is a must-read for any racially integrated family, especially with children,” said a review in goodreads.com.

“This is a book written fiercely, scorchingly, with evident painful honesty. It is extremely well written and thought provoking,” it added.

“Raised in sleepy English suburbia, Georgina Lawton was no stranger to homogeneity. Her parents were white; her friends were white; there was no reason for her to think she was any different. But over time her brown skin and dark, kinky hair frequently made her a target of prejudice,” said the review.

The author expresses her journey so well that others can relate and hopefully start their own if needed. “The combination of research and her personal journey, made this a fascinating read. Her story was very raw, and she held nothing back,” said the review.


What We Are Reading Today: Promoting Peace with Information by Dan Lindley

What We Are Reading Today: Promoting Peace with Information by Dan Lindley
Updated 28 February 2021

What We Are Reading Today: Promoting Peace with Information by Dan Lindley

What We Are Reading Today: Promoting Peace with Information by Dan Lindley

It is normally assumed that international security regimes such as the UN can reduce the risk of war by increasing transparency among adversarial nations. 

The more adversaries understand each other’s intentions and capabilities, the thinking goes, the less likely they are to be led to war by miscalculations and unwarranted fears. But how is transparency provided, how does it actually work, and how effective is it in preserving or restoring peace? 

In Promoting Peace with Information, Dan Lindley provides the first scholarly answer to these important questions, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

Lindley rigorously examines a wide range of cases, including UN peacekeeping operations in Cyprus, the Golan Heights, Namibia, and Cambodia; arms-control agreements, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty; and the historical example of the Concert of Europe, which sought to keep the peace following the defeat of Napoleon in 1815. 

Making nuanced arguments based on extensive use of primary sources, interviews, and field research, Lindley shows when transparency succeeds in promoting peace, and when it fails.