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Huston Smith's masterpiece explores the essential elements and teachings of the world's predominant faiths, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the native traditions of Australia, Africa, Oceania, and the Americas.

Emphasizing the inner—rather than the institutional—dimension of these religions, Smith devotes special attention to Zen and Tibetan Buddhism, Sufism, and the teachings of Jesus. He convincingly conveys the unique appeal and gifts of each of the traditions and reveals their hold on the human heart and imagination.

Topics: Spirituality , Islam, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity, Zen, Buddhism, Meditation, Informative, and Guides

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061763489
List price: $6.99
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I have really liked Allende in the past, but this book seems monumentally unspired in style. Everything is narrated, leaving nothing to the imagination. We are told, unimaginatively, what happens and what is said and what is thought and what happens next. Bleh.

Good premise... young man's mom is sick and has to undergo some hefty treatment, so young man goes to live with Gramma. Gramma just so happens to be an ascerbic, snarky (but warm-hearted (we are told, heavy-handedly)) adventurer about to embark on a trip to remotest jungle in search of a Bigfoot-like creatured rumored to be stomping around killing people.

Sadly, I just didn't care.more
Love the mix of mythology, fairytale, history, different cultures and adventure. The book is for teenagers, but I think many good fantasy books are made for teenagers and they are still very readable.more
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Reviews

I have really liked Allende in the past, but this book seems monumentally unspired in style. Everything is narrated, leaving nothing to the imagination. We are told, unimaginatively, what happens and what is said and what is thought and what happens next. Bleh.

Good premise... young man's mom is sick and has to undergo some hefty treatment, so young man goes to live with Gramma. Gramma just so happens to be an ascerbic, snarky (but warm-hearted (we are told, heavy-handedly)) adventurer about to embark on a trip to remotest jungle in search of a Bigfoot-like creatured rumored to be stomping around killing people.

Sadly, I just didn't care.more
Love the mix of mythology, fairytale, history, different cultures and adventure. The book is for teenagers, but I think many good fantasy books are made for teenagers and they are still very readable.more
I found City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende an absorbing read. Telling the story of Alexander, who is sent off to accompany his grandmother on an expedition to the Amazon. His family is in crisis, with his mother very ill with cancer. Alex and his sisters are to be farmed out to the grandparents. Alex thinks he has drawn the short straw by being sent to his decidedly eccentric grandmother, Kate.This coming-of-age tale was written beautifully, the South American jungle comes to life as do the inhabitants of the jungle. As the expedition travels deeper and deeper into the rainforest, civilization seems so very far away, and Alex comes into full contact with his spirituality. We are taken into the realms of a fantasy world as Alex and his friend Nadia are taken captive by the People of the Mist and eventually these two are taken to the City of the Beasts to meet the legendary creatures. They are given the tools they will need to ensure that the People of the Mist don’t come under the control of greedy entrepreneurs in the future.Isabel Allende manages to include both the topics of genocide and the exploitation of the Amazon Basin in her story, but first and foremost, she stays true to her younger audience and tells a wonderful fantasy adventure story about a boy coming to terms with his life and taking those first steps towards becoming a man.more
I haven't read any Isabel Allende before, so this, the first in a trilogy of adventure novels for YA readers may not exactly be representative of her work, but I was in the mood for a light read. Incidentally, I don't read much YA books either. I noticed many of the reviews tend to compare this, either favourably or unfavourably to Harry Potter. Not having read any of the Harry Potter books, I can't really comment on that either. What I can say is that this is an entertaining adventure story, packed with exotic locations and an exciting quest, which is engaging without really managing to be enthralling.The story follows young Alexander Cold, a 15 year old American boy whose mother has unfortunately contracted cancer. While his father looks after her, Alexander is sent to live with his grandmother, a tough, whiskey-swilling journalist for 'International Geographic' who wouldn't win any prizes for wise parenting. She drags Alexander off to a trip deep into the Amazon searching for a mythical Beast (sort of a Bigfoot like creature). This is an adventure story in the mould of Indiana Jones (though much more culturally sensitive, thank goodness). Probably the best parts of the book are when the expedition is making its way up the Amazon river where Allende's descriptions of the flora and fauna in all their wild abundance and variety are particularly effective.more
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