Friday, December 20, 2013

Booknote: An Illustrated Outline of Buddhism

William Stoddart, An Illustrated Outline of Buddhism: the Essentials of Buddhist Spirituality. Bloomington, IN: World Wisdom, 2013. ISBN: 9781936597260.

The book is exactly what the title says: it is an outline, and it does work well as a reference book. The book is organized into chapters that cover definitions, concepts, the different schools of Buddhism, and history of the religion among other topics. I did find some topic treatments a bit superficial, and others seemed a little too technical. I kept in mind as a I read that the book is an outline, but the treatment of topics did vary in terms of depth, and at times did not seem totally consistent.

A strength of the book is in the visuals. The charts are good and easy to read. Additionally, the book features very good color photography of Buddhist art that does make the book a pleasure to browse. This is in the end a book to consult and browse rather than read cover to cover. Overall, as a librarian, I think it is a good reference source, and I might consider adding it to our collections. It can provide students a good basic overview of Buddhism.

Overall, I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars.

Disclosure note: In order to keep The Man happy this is where I tell you that I read this book as an e-book galley from the publisher via NetGalley. It was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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