What We Are Reading Today: Laws of the Land

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Updated 08 December 2023
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What We Are Reading Today: Laws of the Land

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Author: Tristan G. Brown

Today the term fengshui, which literally means “wind and water,” is recognized around the world. Yet few know exactly what it means, let alone its fascinating history.
In “Laws of the Land,” Tristan Brown tells the story of the important roles — especially legal ones — played by fengshui in Chinese society during China’s last imperial dynasty, the Manchu Qing (1644–1912).
Employing archives from Mainland China and Taiwan that have only recently become available, this is the first book to document fengshui’s invocations in Chinese law during the Qing dynasty.
Facing a growing population, dwindling natural resources, and an overburdened rural government, judicial administrators across China grappled with disputes and petitions about fengshui in their efforts to sustain forestry, farming, mining, and city planning.
“Laws of the Land” offers a radically new interpretation of these legal arrangements:

 

 


What We Are Reading Today: Father Time

What We Are Reading Today: Father Time
Updated 19 May 2024
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What We Are Reading Today: Father Time

What We Are Reading Today: Father Time

Author: Sarah Blaffer Hrdy

It has long seemed self-evident that women care for babies and men do other things.

Puzzled and dazzled by the tender expertise of new fathers around the world— several in her own family—celebrated evolutionary anthropologist and primatologist Sarah Blaffer Hrdy set out to trace the deep history of male nurturing and explain a surprising departure from everything she had assumed to be “normal.”


What We Are Reading Today: ‘Breaking the Mold’

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Updated 18 May 2024
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What We Are Reading Today: ‘Breaking the Mold’

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Authors: RAGHURAM G. RAJAN AND ROHIT LAMBA

India’s economy has overtaken the United Kingdom’s to become the fifth-largest in the world, but it is still only one-fifth the size of China’s, and India’s economic growth is too slow to provide jobs for millions of its ambitious youth.

In “Breaking the Mold,” Raghuram Rajan and Rohit Lamba show why and how India needs to blaze a new path if it’s to succeed.

 


What We Are Reading Today: ‘The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down’

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Updated 18 May 2024
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What We Are Reading Today: ‘The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down’

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Author: Haemin Sunim

“The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to be Calm in a Busy World” offers advice on how to find inner peace in today’s busy world.

The 300-page book, published in 2017, was written by Haemin Sunim, a Korean Buddhist monk, and has sold more than 3 million copies.

The author underwent monastic training in South Korea before spending seven years teaching Asian religions at Hampshire College in the US. The book elaborates on the wisdom he gained from personal experiences as a Buddhist monk.

One of the book’s strengths is its simplicity. The author’s writing style is easy to understand as he presents his ideas in bite-sized chapters, each focusing on a different aspect of mindfulness.

Whether he is writing about the meaning of silence or of gratitude, Sunim’s words resonate with a quiet authority which prompts the reader to pause and reflect on their own lives.

In addition, the book is filled with amazing imagery that complements the stories. The beautiful drawings contribute to Sunim’s narrative and create a sense of serenity and peace.

The author emphasizes the concept of enjoying the little things in life to the fullest, such as drinking a cup of tea in the morning, taking a walk in nature, or having a thoughtful conversation with loved ones.

Slowing down allows people to notice the happiness hidden in even the simplest tasks and moments, he claims.

He also encourages readers to be kind to themselves and offers advice on how people can develop a deeper sense of self-acceptance and self-love, fostering emotional well-being and resilience.  

Sunim’s wisdom and compassion are clear. His words remind readers that despite the noise and distractions of the modern world, true happiness can be found when they slow down.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Out of One, Many

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Updated 17 May 2024
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What We Are Reading Today: Out of One, Many

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Author: Jennifer T. Roberts

Covering the whole of the ancient Greek experience from its beginnings late in the third millennium BCE to the Roman conquest in 30 BCE, “Out of One, Many” is an accessible and lively introduction to the Greeks and their ways of living and thinking. In this fresh and witty exploration of the thought, culture, society, and history of the Greeks, Jennifer Roberts traces not only the common values that united them across the seas and the centuries, but also the enormous diversity in their ideas and beliefs.

Examining the huge importance to the Greeks of religion, mythology, the Homeric epics, tragic and comic drama, philosophy, and the city-state, the book offers shifting perspectives on an extraordinary and astonishingly creative people.

Century after century, in one medium after another, the Greeks addressed big questions, many of which are still very much with us, from whether gods exist and what happens after we die to what political system is best and how we can know what is real. Yet for all their virtues, Greek men set themselves apart from women and foreigners and profited from the unpaid labor of enslaved workers, and the book also looks at the mixed legacy of the ancient Greeks today.

The result is a rich, wide-ranging, and compelling history of a fascinating and profoundly influential culture in all its complexity—and the myriad ways, good and bad, it continues to shape us today.

 


What We Are Reading Today: ‘If Cats Disappeared from the World’

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Updated 18 May 2024
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What We Are Reading Today: ‘If Cats Disappeared from the World’

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  • Beautifully written and emotionally moving, it is also a testament to the power of storytelling and reminds people of the deep impact of making personal choices and connections

Author: Genki Kawamura

“If Cats Disappeared from the World” is a novel written by Japanese author Genki Kawamura. The book was published in 2012 and was rated 4/5 by over 75,000 readers worldwide.

Kawamura is a worldwide bestselling author. “If Cats Disappeared from the World” was his first novel, which sold over 1 million copies in Japan and was translated into over 14 languages.

In this novel, Kawamura tells the story of a postman who is diagnosed with an uncurable illness. However, when he accepts his destiny, the Devil appears to him with an unusual proposal. The postman must choose one thing to eliminate from this world for him to live one more day. During his journey, the postman then starts examining the true value of everything he owns.

Kawamura’s writing style is simple yet evocative, inviting readers to dive deep into the layers of their own emotional journey with every page. The narrative provides a delicate balance between moments of happiness and sorrow, using cats as a symbol of companionship and joy.

Moreover, the book allows readers to reflect on the value of relationships and experiences. It raises questions regarding the decisions people make, the legacies they leave behind, and the core meaning of everyday moments, which eventually shape people’s characters and how they think.

The novel encourages people to take a deep breath and reflect on the blessings people have, yet neglect, due to their busy lives.

With Kawamura’s thoughtful message and memorable characters, this novel is a compelling exploration of the human experience, providing comfort and inspiration, and a new appreciation for the beauty and brevity of life.

Beautifully written and emotionally moving, it is also a testament to the power of storytelling and reminds people of the deep impact of making personal choices and connections.