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Lions Roar : November 2016
REVIEWS EXPERIENCE Thinking, Writing, Language, and Religion By Norman Fischer University Alabama Press 2015; 327 pp., $39.95 (paper) As a prolific poet and writer, Nor- man Fischer has spent a lifetime working with and being fascinated by words. But he is also a Zen Bud- dhist priest, a former co-abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center, and the founder of the Everyday Zen Foundation, and Zen is famously wary of words. Words, after all, have a tendency to eclipse direct experience. In Experience, his magnum opus, Fischer delves deeply into language, spirituality, and the ways they connect with and contradict each other. “Language is, on the one hand, a prison,” he says. “We’re locked inside it, created by, defined by, it, and can only see as far as we can say. On the other hand, language frees us: it unlocks our imagination, allowing us to reach out to our world and to fly beyond it.” Fischer is a frequent contributor to Lion’s Roar, and several of the essays in this collection were originally published on our pages. MY NEW BEST FRIEND By Sara Marlowe Wisdom Publications 2016; 32 pp., $15.95 (cloth) Mostofustrytobeniceto other people, but often, we don’t offer that consideration to ourselves. My New Best Friend is a charming picture book that aims to teach kids age four and up how they can be kind and patient with themselves. The book’s protagonist, a little girl with pigtails and red glasses, has known her new best friend all her life—but they’ve only recently become friends. The best friend is the little girl herself! She com- forts herself when she feels sad, encourages herself when she’s feel- ing frustrated, and offers herself compassionate words and warm wishes every day. The little girl knows herself better than anyone else knows her and she will always be there for herself. A KINDER VOICE Releasing Your Inner Critics with Mindfulness Slogans By Thérèse Jacobs-Stewart Hazelden 2016; 120 pp., $15.95 (paper) LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2016 78