|The "I Ching" sitting in all its glory on a table.|
I do not like the actual book much, so I was pondering why I keep checking it out. Here are the reasons I came up with.
- The actual title just begs respect for its simultaneous antiquity and epical nature: "The Original I Ching Oracle: The Pure and Complete Texts with Concordance, Translated under the auspices of the Eranos Foundation". How can I resist a title with "oracle," "concordances" AND "auspices" in it?
- The sheer thickness of the book. While Amazon.com reports an original copy to be 2.5 inches thick, I think the library copy has matured to a full 3 inches. A book that thick demands the respect of everyone in the vicinity.
- The giant Chinese character on the front. I generally get two reactions from people after they have comprehended the thickness of the book and the prominent Chinese characters on the front: "I am so sorry that you have to read that. What class are you reading it for so I can make sure to never take it?" or "Are you learning Chinese?" Sometimes when I get the first response, if I am feeling particularly mischievous, I tell them it is for the Capstone class (a class that, in theory, each graduate has to take after the first two years of schooling).
- The inside is filled with even more Chinese characters.
- Running through an I Ching with someone is fun, if not informative. (For those who do not know, as I did not know when I first checked the book out: you roll three coins, or other two sided objects, three times and based on the combination of heads and tails the I Ching gives a fortune. You can read more about it on Wikipedia.)
- I Ching fortunes can be fun to read and piece together. Fortune may be too strong of a word, they are more of guiding phrases and less of "fortunes" in the Fortune Cookie sense.
- Reading a lot of wise I Ching phrases allows one to then spout those exact or similar phrases back like, "white noise can bring both clarity and confusion" or "feed to hungry tiger before it finds a new master", thus sounding both profound and wise while not actually having said anything of substance.
- The I Ching brings me a bit of culture that I rather enjoy.
While I would not recommend this book for reading, I would suggest it for browsing. It is fun to flip through its pages and read the bits of wisdom scatter throughout it.
* On having bought Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life by Todd Oldham: I was going to include this in the body, but it got way too long. I guess it shows, in part, how much I love this book: I actually bought a slightly smaller copy, 12 inches by 8.5 inches by 1.5 inches, which i deemed more reasonable for the portability my nearby transient lifestyle currently requires. I bought it shortly before graduation, before I knew where I would be living after I graduated and after realizing that I did not know if my next library would have a copy of this amazing book and noting that I had nearly, single handedly, filled up the return date card.