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The Art of Stillness : Adventures in Going Nowhere
by Pico Iyer


Overview - A follow up to Pico Iyer's essay "The Joy of Quiet," The Art of Stillness considers the unexpected adventure of staying put and reveals a counter-intuitive truth: The more ways we have to connect, the more we seem desperate to unplug.

Why would a man who seems able to go everywhere and do anything--like the international heartthrob and Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer Leonard Cohen--choose to spend years sitting still and going nowhere?  Read more...


 
Audio Compact Disc - Unabridged
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More About The Art of Stillness by Pico Iyer
 
 
 
Overview
A follow up to Pico Iyer's essay "The Joy of Quiet," The Art of Stillness considers the unexpected adventure of staying put and reveals a counter-intuitive truth: The more ways we have to connect, the more we seem desperate to unplug.

Why would a man who seems able to go everywhere and do anything--like the international heartthrob and Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer Leonard Cohen--choose to spend years sitting still and going nowhere? What can Nowhere offer that no Anywhere can match? And why might a lifelong traveler like Pico Iyer, who has journeyed from Easter Island to Ethiopia, Cuba to Kathmandu, think that sitting quietly in a room and getting to know the seasons and landscapes of Nowhere might be the ultimate adventure?

In The Art of Stillness, Iyer draws on the lives of well-known wanderer-monks like Cohen--as well as from his own experiences as a travel writer who chooses to spend most of his time in rural Japan--to explore why advances in technology are making us more likely to retreat. Iyer reflects that this is perhaps the reason why many people--even those with no religious commitment--seem to be turning to yoga, or meditation, or tai chi. These aren't New Age fads so much as ways to rediscover the wisdom of an earlier age. There is even a growing trend toward observing an "Internet sabbath" every week, turning off online connections from Friday night to Monday morning and reviving those ancient customs known as family meals and conversation.

In this age of constant movement and connectedness, perhaps staying in one place is a more exciting prospect, and a greater necessity than ever before. The Art of Stillness paints a picture of why so many have found richness in stillness and what--from Marcel Proust to Blaise Pascal to Phillipe Starck--they've gained there.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781442375840
  • ISBN-10: 1442375841
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Publish Date: November 2014
  • Page Count: 80
  • Dimensions: 5.8 x 5.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.25 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Body, Mind & Spirit > Mindfulness & Meditation
Books > Self-Help > Personal Growth - Happiness
Books > Health & Fitness > Healthy Living

 
BookPage Reviews

Audio: Going nowhere

My morning email from Orbitz screamed, “Never Stop Vacationing. Give in to your travel needs.” But, before you succumb to their pleas (and others like them) to go-go-go, I suggest you stop, sit quietly and listen to Pico Iyer read his short, cogent, elegantly argued The Art of Stillness. It may make a lasting difference, allowing you to step out of the fray, if only for 30 minutes a day, and let thoughts from the corners of your life come unbidden while your mind meanders. “In an age of speed . . . nothing can be more invigorating than going slow,” Iyer notes. “In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. In an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.” Maybe the “new you” in this New Year will go nowhere and be thrilled by the journey.

HEART OF DARKNESS
If you look for resolution and redemption in fiction, The Laughing Monsters, Denis Johnson’s latest walk on the wild side, is not for you. Living in various overheated, underserved, chaotic African countries, the novel’s edgy protagonists are always on the run, scheming for illicit wealth and avoiding getting caught—by whom and for reasons as elusive as their allegiances. Roland Nair, a white Danish-American who is ostensibly working for an obscure part of NATO, and Michael Adriko, a black African—likely Ugandan—and probable orphan, currently AWOL from U.S. Special Forces, do have a strange allegiance to each other, in an odd-couple way. On the surface, this is a tale of adventure gone awry, tinged with classic noir riffs. Underneath it all is a bleak, provocative look at our morally messy post-9/11 world, where there’s money galore for “snitching and spying” and buyers for all kinds of information, real or cleverly contrived. Scott Shepherd makes Nair’s first-person narration, mixed with bravado and despair, viscerally immediate.

TOP PICK IN AUDIO
David Nicholls’ Us is a charming, cringeworthy-moment-filled deconstruction of a marriage and a family. The story is told by Douglas Petersen, a middle-aged British biochemist, who is well-meaning yet clueless about himself. After almost 25 years of marriage, Connie, his adored, artistic, free-spirited wife, tells him that their marriage is over. Hoping to glue their lives back together, Douglas insists that Connie and their teenage son, Albie, with whom he has a strained relationship, join him on a long-planned European tour. As they wend their star-crossed way across the continent, Douglas alternates his account of the present with seamless flashbacks, so as things might be ending, you get to see how their romance began and how their marriage aged alongside them. Can this relationship be saved? Can father and son make peace? In getting to those answers, you’ll be wonderfully entertained. Witty, keenly observant Nicholls understands the stress and mess of marriage and the perennial problems of parenting. David Haig’s narration is so good that you begin to think Douglas is talking directly to you—and, perhaps, he is.

 

This article was originally published in the January 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews