Let's start the new year with a recommendation for a terrific book. Written by Solala Towler, who studied Taoism for many years, Tales from the Tao: The Wisdom of the Taoist Masters is a thoroughly beautiful book. First, it is beautifully bound, with crisp, soft pages and a lovely sense of quality. Well done, Watkins Press. Second, it has beautiful photographs in black and white by John Cleare. I wish it had said more about the photographer and where the photographs were taken, but they are lovely to contemplate.
But of course, the writing is what really captured me. They come in the form of short stories, most of them from the Taoist canon, such as those told by Chuang Tzu, but a few were written by Mr. Towler himself. Rather than the very brief, sometimes almost cryptic, versions told in the original Taoist writings, these are retold, fleshed out, and beautifully written. First, I read through the book in great gulps, then went right back and savored each story slowly. It's a terrific book. Highly recommended.