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Discussion in 'Books' started by The Village Idiot, Apr 1, 2015.
Ok, folks, have at it. Siddhartha by Herman Hesse, which I daresay is considered a classic.
Just finished it. Short, short read. If I didn't have crap to do, could have knocked it out in a day. So even if you think it sucks, you won't be out much time. It's a classic, sure. Worth a read.
I'm not sure what there is to discuss as far as the merits of the story goes. The story itself is unremarkable, though written well. Which is probably the point as the book's premise is to absorb things as a whole. It's about ideas, not plot. It's less a historical fiction account of a guy's life traveling towards enlightenment, more an accessible medium to present Buddhist philosophy. Which, is kind of groovy. It's a pleasant outlook on life, a rich mental/spiritual life, albeit one of physical inaction. Pacifism. Ideally.
Reading the wiki page, the hippies were fond of the novel. Does not surprise me. Several times I caught myself muttering, "Goddamn hippies." What is interesting is Hesse's own reverence for Buddhist philosophy. Particularly after his wife went batshit. So, that this book comes out on the heels of that episode is nifty. We see the author personalizing his character. Which is nice. The last bit of Hesse's wiki says he won total consciousness on his deathbed after a round of golf in the Himalayas with The Dali Lama himself, the flowing robes, the grace, bald... striking. Big hitter the Lama, knocked the ball right into a 10,000 foot crevasse, at the base of this glacier. Gunga-galunga.
I have been revisiting books I read in high school to see if I feel differently about them now, 25 years later. 'Tropic of Cancer' was one such book, and I hated it even more this time around. I'm pleased to say I liked 'Siddhartha' much more this time. I think I needed the life experience to appreciate it. I definitely understood it much better this time around. It's actually a pretty wonderful book, and I'm shocked it was written in 1922. Pretty amazing.
Yeah, I got the same impression. I think it is boring as a story, but interesting as a life lessons/philosophy work. Helps that it is maybe 100 standard pages. Kind of like, actually very similar to, Coelho's The Alchemist. Except, I hated everything about that book.
Funny mentioning you needed life experience to appreciate it, as that's one of the core themes. Agreed. As a teen I would have been bored by the message. Or misunderstood it.
I read this book as a teenager and I loved it. It was a time in my life when I was splitting from the faith of my family and was intrigued by alternatives.
Upon reading it a second time as an adult I still enjoyed it, but it lacked the raw impact it had on my when I was younger. That's probably because I understood so little of Eastern philosophy the first time I picked up a copy whereas now it's a subject I'm fairly well versed in.