I enjoyed this book--the series is written for young people, so the symbolism and descriptions are sometimes a little obvious, but the rhythms of LeGuin's prose are wonderful to listen to.
The story is about a young priestess who has to cope with living in a world of women who serve the Dark Ones. She learns about herself when she learns her real name (LeGuin has a thing about names symbolizing essence). At a deeper level, it is about the structures of religious authority. Sparrowhawk from _A Wizard of Earthsea_ is one of her instructors.
The reader, like Harlan Ellison in _A Wizard of Earthsea_, may be described some one who enjoys the sound of her own voice ;) --a little overly self-conscious.
_Live in a Better Way_, _The Art of Happiness_, and _How to Practice_. And of the four, _Live in a Better Way_ and this one are my favourites.
This is book is a little deeper than _The Art of Happiness_ (which struck me as a little superficial) and goes into more detail and into the particularities of the Buddhist meaning of suffering, dharma, and the purposes of meditation, among other things. I am not a Buddhist (am in fact very new to it), but I find these books very soothing to listen to. This also gives some background on the Dalai Lama's history and experience at the beginning.
Some of this book is more explanation and analysis. Unlike _Live in a Better Way_, which focuses on compassion and the way we think about our experience and those we deal with, it gets a little esoteric, and I found myself wanting to read more about the philosophy and wanting more explanation of it.
This was an introduction to buddhism for me--I bought it out of curiosity along with The Open Heart. The reviewer who says that the book wants us to see things through a psychoanalytic lens didn't listen very closely. Really what the book wants to do is find points of both divergence and commonality with psychology to help a Western reader understand some of what the Dalai Lama has to say. The psychologist (perhaps deliberately so) comes across as the naive party who has something to learn here.
Although I had to struggle a little *not* to think of some of the principles as naive--I wish there were more philosophical depth in this rendering of Buddhism--I enjoyed listening to this book. It helps to know some of the background of the Dalai Lama's life and things he has suffered--this is in The Open Heart, which I also bought and enjoyed.
The voice of the psychologist is a little annoying at times--listen to the excerpt and see if it will bother you.
Wonderful narration--although I agree with others that the piano interferes a little with the flow of the story.
Middlemarch is one of my favourite books, and I jumped at the chance to listen to Eliot's prose read well. I'd listen to the whole thing if it were available. That's the only reason I'm giving it a 4.
It may not be for you if you don't like the style of 19th century novels.
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