Close To Home


Red Campion flowering on the verge of the lane, opposite our house.

Loren of In A Dark Time recently posted some quotations from the Vietnamese poet and philosopher Thich Nhat Hanh which really struck a chord with me. His message is a simple one and the things he has to say are hardly ground-breaking, perhaps even truisms which could be summarised with homilies: smile and the world smiles with you, wake up and smell the flowers, etc – but despite, or perhaps because of, the simplicity of the message, I found myself wanting to read more and posted a comment which ended: “I intend to seek this book out.”

I checked it out on Amazon and quite naturally looked at some of his other books whilst I was there. The odd thing was that some of them seemed familiar: ironically Angela has read many of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books, they have sat on our bookshelves and I have had ample opportunity to read them.

My books and Angela’s books share shelves, but on the whole they don’t intermingle. The same can be said of our CDs: Nina Simone and Louis Jordan have been allowed slip in amongst some of my favourites, but the likes of George Michael are not allowed to contamination my superior collection. Well now I shall pay for my snobbery: the Thich Nhat Hanh books – which I will have incuriously filed away in a section of books notionally labelled ‘Self-Help’ (i.e. beneath my consideration) – have been passed on. (Angela is averse to ‘clutter’).

My blog purports to be about the local and intimate and yet apparently I’m more likely to accept a reading recommendation from half-way around the world than from my own wife.

Close To Home

3 thoughts on “Close To Home

  1. loren says:

    Isn’t there some famous saying about a prophet is never accepted in his own land?

    At least Angela will have something to remind you of for quite awhile. By the way, i’m reading Hanh’s “Anger” and though I find the message appealing I don’t like the way it’s said nearly as well.

  2. When you are finished reading Thich Nhat Hanh, try Pema Chodron’s book “When Things Fall Apart.” Another philosopher/monk whose lessons are simple yet profound. I hope you’ll accept my suggestion as I, too, live half-way around the world.

    Blather From Brooklyn

  3. beatingthebounds says:

    Thank you for you comments. I will certainly add ‘When Things Fall Apart’ to my ever growing list of books to catch up on!
    I looked for it in Lancaster Library today and it wasn’t there. They did have ‘The Places That Scare You’ by the same author, but I decided not to borrow it because I’m not aware that I am particularly scared. Anyway, I’m very comfortable here with my head in the sand….

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