Team ALBTALBS TBR Challenge Review/Thoughts: Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu & Waking Up With the Duke by Lorraine Heath

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
4th Century BC Philosophical and Religious Text – this version released by Road to Success/De Marque on April 3, 2020

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu book coverLao Tzu’s “Tao Te Ching”, or Book of the Way, is the classic manual on the art of living and one of the wonders of the world. In eighty-one brief chapters, the “Tao Te Ching” llods at the basic predicatment of being alive and gives advice that imparts balance and perspective, a serene and generous spirit. This book is about wisdom in action. It teaches how wo work for the good with the efforless skill that comes from being in accord with the Tao (the basic principle of the universe) and applies equally to good government and sexual love, to childrearing, business, and ecology.

The Tao Te Ching is the most widely traslated book in world literature, after the Bible. Yet the gemlike lucidity of the original has eluded most previous translations, and they have obscured some of its central ideas.

Waking Up with the Duke by Lorraine Heath
Historical romance released by Harper Collins on June 28, 2011

Waking Up With the Duke by Lorraine Heath book coverThey are masters of seduction, London’s greatest lovers …
Renowned for his bedchamber prowess, Ransom Seymour, the Duke of Ainsley, owes a debt to a friend. But the payment expected is most shocking, even to an unrepentant rake—for he’s being asked to provide his friend’s exquisite wife with what she most dearly covets: a child.

Living for pleasure, they will give their hearts to no one …
Lady Jayne Seymour, Marchioness of Walfort, is furious that such a scandalous agreement would be made. If she acquiesces, there must be rules: no kissing . . . and, certainly, no pleasure.

Until love takes them by surprise.
But unexpected things occur with the surprisingly tender duke—especially once Lady Jayne discovers the rogue can make her dream again . . . and Ransom realizes he’s found the one woman he truly cannot live without.

The prompt for this month’s TBR challenge was “old school” which I think is usually meant to be “something published 10 or more years ago” and … I went really old school. All the way back to the 4th century BC so … here we are. I’d never read it before, and De Marque was offering all these classics and such free in kindle format, and I thought “why the hell not? I’ve never read it before and have always meant to …” I mean, we’re living through a pandemic. Everything is all over the place. Including my brain. (This did nothing to help reset it.)

Tao Te Ching is eminently quotable, but I didn’t care for it. The … honestly I kept wondering if the translation I was reading was terrible. It’s not just a lot of the “poems” at the beginning of chapters really didn’t read like something written in Chinese/they took major liberties, but that was definitely part of it. And I kept getting flashbacks to the classical Chinese course I took at university (which is more equivalent to ancient Greek or Latin … and/but the characters were more like traditional characters than pictographs…) So then I kept thinking about the importance of how works are translated. And of course I had also picked this book because it was short, so I didn’t bother researching it. I didn’t read the blurb until now, and I have to say it amused me/made me >.>. I don’t think I’m wrong about my “badly translated” guess, especially considering the typos in the blurb…

In taking a bunch of “cultural” classes as well as part of a major – I expected this to be much different. “The way” seems to be … a lot more focused on nature and … not exactly but some mysticism. This was … not even practical so much as a lot of nothing. There were equivalencies, a lot of secrecy about the study, and a lot of advice to keep the populace … frankly uneducated and dumb. (My god – are we living the way now? >.>)

Which also is why I’m kind of thinking and hoping the translation was terrible.

Otherwise … an older book I ~read (but it was published in 2011) was Waking Up With the Duke. I read it in print or e back in 2011, and this time I listened to the audiobook. I quite liked it because the incredibly unique premise. It’s something you might see in an erotic romance – the intentional cuckold (not that Walfort is in any way innocent at any time…) – but it’s a lot more complicated and explained because of course this book is a historical romance. The readership is often different, as is what people will expect.

I don’t know if it’s that I’ve grown up (into a hissing crone) – but a lot of what Jane did annoyed me. Her snap judgments and such – although she does figure her shit out. Her blaming Ainsley for things she ought to be blaming her husband – Walfort for … and more importantly, the importance of the narrator. Just … the way things were read or said made annoying things excruciating at times, although I did listen to all of it (I think) without tuning out. I didn’t remember that I’d read it in 2011 but kept thinking this is so familiar. And surprising perhaps myself most of all, I saw that I’d put it into my GR bookshelf in 2011.

So anyway … two entirely different books, both old. Tao Te Ching … I’d recommend reading if you know you’re reading a good translation. Because why not? And even with what I suspect to be in my junk translated version I posted a quote from it. Seriously – an eminently quotable book. And for the latter … glad to see Waking Up With the Duke stood up to time and a re-read.

I didn’t rate Tao Te Ching because I couldn’t focus on it and just … it was weird. Anyway, I didn’t feel I could properly rate it.. For Waking Up With the Duke I changed my 2011 5 star review to 4 stars, and jotted down more thoughts there, but let’s give it a…

Grade: B+

You can get the version of Tao Te Ching I read for free here.
And you can read an excerpt of Waking Up With the Duke here, and buy a copy here.

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