“If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break: Field Notes from a Zen Life” is now being shipped

It appears that my book If You’re Lucky, Your Heart Will Break has been shipped to those who’ve pre-ordered it.

To you all, thanks!

This is my fourth book, or by another counting, my fifth (For the “first” I was the third editor of an anthology of talks associated with a Unitarian Universalist minister’s conference, long out of print. When listed, I’m usually reduced to “et al” (“and others” for those without a Latin background). The next was a general introduction to Zen Buddhism aimed at Unitarian Universalists and later re-issued under a slightly different tile as a general market introduction to Zen. This was followed by a history of Zen Buddhism come West, with a principal focus on North America, and then an anthology of writings on aspects of a critical koan in Zen training, edited collaboratively with Melissa Myozen Blacker.

With all these books, once done with the final editing, I’ve pretty much let go. I’m not a person inclined to carry copies in the trunk of my car, or who sets up a display at every event I go to. I have no brief against that, it just isn’t who I am.

Or, maybe who I’ve been.

I find how deeply invested I am in this book, and in getting the word out about it. I’ve done various things to help support this, including creating a special Facebook page and sending little notes off to people I think might be in a position to share that word.

So far the reviews have been good, with one exception. I find I brood over that exception and have comforted myself with the possibly accurate thought it wasn’t really read, just skimmed.

I’m honored that the good folk at the UU World have thought highly enough of the book that an excerpt will be published in the next issue. I’m trying to make myself available to those who want to do book readings, etc. Although the two months I’ve been advised this is critical for, September and October are very, very difficult for me with my obligations at my church at the beginning of the church year.

I think in part the reason I’m so committed to this book is that my earlier work has all been semi-academic. A basic introduction, a history, a detailed study of an aspect of Zen training. This one is the distillation of my forty-plus year investigation of the great matter, the fruit of my years as a student and then teacher of Zen. It has been called both a “memoir of sorts” and a “very different kind of self-help book.” For good or ill it is the Dharma I have to present.

So, again, for those of you who have advance ordered the book, thank you!

I hope you like it. And if you do, please consider telling your friends about it. More specifically, you might consider writing a review at Amazon. A “real” review would be much more valuable than just a vague endorsement…

And if you haven’t ordered it, I hope you will consider doing so.

From Amazon is great. But if you go to your local bookstore, even your local Barnes & Noble, and order it through them, it would be even better. That sort of ordering inclines them to pick up a copy or two for the store…

And if you think it worthy, perhaps you would mention it to a friend.

Thank you!

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  • http://www.seattleitefromsyracuse.com/blog Chris


    Is there an e-book version by chance? I plan to read it anyway, but figured I’d ask before ordering.


  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind James

    Not now. I have a note out to the publisher asking if and when. I’ll report back, hopefully at the beginning of the week…

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind James

    I’ve been told by the publisher that the e-book will be available in September. There isn’t a specific date yet.

  • John Tarpey

    To the post asking for an e-book in my opinion James latest is a beautiful construct unique in style and quality crafted with a sensational cover art and ROUNDED edges!
    I read the book in three sittings and have been compelled to begin practice once again as I’ve fallen away far too long . . .
    I appreciate the time and effort it took to produce this provocative gem.
    The flame has been reignited in my heart.

    All the best,

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/monkeymind James

    Thank you, John, very much. If you had the time and inclination, a review at Amazon could be helpful for those who stumble on it at the website there. I gather honest, with your sense of both its strengths & weaknesses is the best sort of review… James

  • Desiree

    Upon reading, an unprecedented weaving of inner and outer worlds. I must read it again. A courageous touch upon the koan of God. The pages flew past, sometimes furiously and other times painstakingly slow – as I imagine your voice to be when you slow down to one or a few words per line. Most appreciated are the personal anecdotes, the stories of which take up questions that are also dear to my heart. A presentation of unfliching surety and convicition. A calling card for generations to come. Thank you very, very much.