I didn’t do much reading this week comparatively speaking. I am still doing my deep dive into Buddhist thought and philosophy, something I have been interested in since my teenage years when I read Jack Kerouac’s Dharma Bums for the first time.  You’d think I’d be an expert at this point, but sadly no, I’m still learning and trying to understand. Speaking of learning and trying to understand, I’m reading more manga. As a comic book fan, this is a subject I am seriously lacking in, so I am working my way through some of the horror titles and authors, and it’s been…interesting. And finally, just for fun, I have returned to an old favorite of mine, 70s/80s goofy comics.

As always, if you want to share what you’re reading or give me suggestions please leave a comment or tweet at me: @DaddyElk

Here is the list for the week of 1/24 thru 1/31 2021:

Secular Buddhism by Stephen Batchelor

Steven Batchelor writes about Buddhism from a “western” point of view. He attempts to convey the philosophy and practice of Buddism in a contemporary way, showing how these ideas can be put to use in modern society. His first book, Buddhism Without Beliefs, was a real eye-opener for me, showing how the practice of mindfulness can be adapted into everyday life and not be overwhelmed by the religious aspects of it all. Secular Buddism continues this through stories, personal experience, and history all conveyed in a casual, straightforward style of writing.

Remina by Junji Ito

Okay, this one is weird. Remina is a Japanese horror manga by legendary artist/writer Junji Ito. And it is bizarre and dark. So, the plot is that a new planet has emerged from a wormhole and is hurtling toward Earth. The scientist who discovered the planet has named it “Remina” after his daughter. As the planet approaches it is then discovered that the planet is sentient and wants to devour the Earth. Then a mad cult develops that wants to capture the real Remina (the girl that the planet is named after) in order to sacrifice her to appease the “god” planet. And then it gets strange. Yeah, this one is weird, like I said, and might not be for everyone – to be honest, I’m not really sure if it’s for me. But the art from Junji Ito is stunning and horrifying, and beautiful in a disturbing way. And there is no doubt that Junji Ito is telling stories that no one else is.

Weirdworld by Doug Moench and Mike Ploog/John Buscema/others

Comics are great. Just want to get that out there right upfront. Weirdworld was a series that attempted to capitalize on the Lord of the Rings/Conan the Barbarian fantasy crazy of the 1970s. It struggled to find a footing and was eventually scrapped only to be revived in the 1980s. It follows the adventures of two elves, Tyndall and Velanna, as they make their way through the titular Weirdworld in search of – well all kinds of things really. They just quest, it’s what they do. It is simple, fun fantasy fare with some really great art from Mike Ploog and John Buscema, and others. A little disjointed from time to time because of the series being cancelled and restarted at various points but overall just a blast to read.