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February 11, 2016

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PQ Book Club: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Who killed Wellington, the neighborhood’s beloved poodle? That’s the question Christopher John Francis Boone, a 15-year-old autistic teen decides he must answer in Mark Haddon’s book “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.” The hunt for the truth takes him on a journey full of struggles, questions and triumphs in this coming-of-age tale suitable for teens and young adults.

A Peek into Another Mind

Presented as a detective mystery, the book is told through the protagonist’s eyes, feelings and thoughts. As the reader grows more in-tune with Christopher Boone’s mind, the perception on what is socially “normal” is turned upside down. Because Christopher has Asperger’s syndrome (although this is never overtly stated in the book), he experiences difficulties with new experiences, environments and people, as well as going places alone. However, despite everything, he remains a teenager who craves, not surprisingly, independence.

Universal Feelings

In the novel, Haddon is able to use Boone as a mechanism to explain feelings everyone experiences, and he succeeds at operating on multiple levels. It’s this unique perspective (unconditionally literal and logical), paired with common ponderings, that bring the reader closer to understanding Christopher, and themselves, at the same time. Below are just a few of the many themes touched upon in the novel.

  • Sadness“Sometimes we get sad about things and we don’t like to tell other people that we are sad about them. We like to keep it a secret. Or sometimes, we are sad but we really don’t know why we are sad, so we say we aren’t sad but we really are.”
  • Indecision“But in life you have to take lots of decisions and if you don’t take decisions you would never do anything because you would spend all your time choosing between things you could do. So it is good to have a reason why you hate some things and you like others.”
  • Mindfulness“Also people think they’re not computers because they have feelings and computers don’t have feelings. But feeling are just having a picture on the screen in your head of what is going to happen tomorrow or next year, or what might have happened instead of what did happened, and if it is a happy picture they smile and if it is a sad picture they cry.”
  • Life“Mr. Jeavons said that I liked maths because it was safe. He said I liked maths because it meant solving problems, and these problems were difficult and interesting but there was always a straightforward answer at the end. And what he meant was that maths wasn’t like life because in life there are no straightforward answers at the end.”
  • The Unknown“Lots of things are mysteries. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an answer to them. It’s just that scientists haven’t found the answer yet.”
  • Self-worth“And I know I can do this because I went to London on my own, and because I solved the mystery…and I was brave and I wrote a book and that means I can do anything.”

Learning as a Lifelong Journey

In life, we are not only tasked with getting to know others, but ourselves as well. At Pacific Quest, we encourage these discoveries to be a part of a lifelong learning process to whole person understanding and wellness.

“Reading is a conversation. All books talk. But a good book listens as well.”

This book does just that, and that is why it is our latest PQ Book Club selection. Interested in joining the PQ Book Club? It’s simple! Click the button below to sign up.
PQ Book Club

January 5, 2016

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PQ Book Club: A Book That Changes Lives

“Now I realize that I had, in a sense, been sleeping all those years and just dreaming I was awake—until I met Socrates, who came to be my mentor and friend. Before that time, I’d always believed that a life of quality, enjoyment, and wisdom were my human birthright and would be automatically bestowed upon me as time passed. I never suspected that I would have to learn how to live—that there were specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple happy, uncomplicated life.”

This best-selling novel by Dan Millman, Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives, is part fiction, part autobiographical and can be touted as a book that reminds us that we deserve to be happy. This classic tale of a spiritual saga offers the reader the possibility to make connections. It speaks to the peaceful warrior in each of us—and that’s why it made the cut for this month’s PQ Book Club.

The story is set in the 1960s and describes the journey toward enlightenment by Dan, a college student and world-class gymnast at the University of California – Berkeley. Despite his many friends and large social circle, his accomplished schoolwork and his world-champion athletic pursuits, Dan is troubled by the sense that something is missing from his life.

Awakened one night by bad dreams, Dan goes out into the night and stumbles upon an old gas station manned by an eccentric, elderly man. Eventually, the two become friends and Dan nicknames him Socrates, partly because the old man refuses to reveal his name and partly because he ends up serving as Dan’s mentor and spiritual guide.

As Socrates works with Dan, he teaches him that the way of the peaceful warrior “is not about invulnerability but absolute vulnerability – to the world, to life… (A) warrior’s life is not about imagined perfection or victory; it is about love. Love is a warrior’s sword; wherever it cuts it gives life, not death.”

As Dan learns to be present and to experience him self as connected to the world and not apart from it, he begins to journey into the realms of light and shadow. And as Socrates presents Dan with a series of challenges, Dan is thrust into self-awareness, whether he is prepared and willing, or not.

The magical aspects of the tale, such as time travel, are told with heart and humor. And the journey itself leads the reader down the path and toward a final confrontation with one’s own spirituality and the timeless quest for finding purpose in life.

Way of the Peaceful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives should be read for its message, particularly if you are seeking direction in your own life. We all have work to do, and we all need guidance. Discovering (or rediscovering) your purpose in life… changes your life.

PQ Book Club