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Reading Series Maintains Zen
The latest Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma book discussion series at Oklahoma City University is taking participants on literary explorations with the theme “Journey Stories.” The series continues at 7 p.m. Feb. 23 with Robert Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” A father and son’s summer motorcycle trip from the Twin Cities to San Francisco becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey or, as the subtitle indicates, an “Inquiry into Values.” Celebrating the immediacy of their experience, they focus more on traveling than arriving anywhere. “Stories of journeys are found in the myths, religions, literature and history of every culture,” said Harbour Winn, director of OCU’s Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film & Literature. “Some journey stories explain the origin of a people as they emerge from the underground to live on the Earth. Physical journeys are often taken to facilitate a spiritual journey inward, as in the vision quests of many cultures, or to symbolize a transition in status. Underlying all of these stories is the conception of life as a journey.” The book discussion series opened with Homer’s “The Odyssey,” which is considered the grandfather of all journey stories in the Western literary tradition. The series will continue with different books on alternating Tuesdays through March 9. The sessions begin at 7 p.m. in OCU’s Walker Center room 151. During each session, a humanities scholar makes a presentation in the context of the book’s theme. Small group discussions follow. Those who are interested in participating are encouraged to pre-register and borrow the reading selections and theme brochure by calling Winn at (405) 208-5472, e-mailing him at hwinn@okcu.edu or visiting the Dulaney-Browne Library room 211. Books, services and other materials for the series are provided by Let's Talk About It, Oklahoma, a project of the Oklahoma Humanities Council with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Visit www.okcu.edu/film-lit/ for more information. The final Let's Talk About It, Oklahoma session of the series will be March 9 with Yann Martel’s “The Life of Pi.” Winner of the Man Booker Prize for fiction in 2002, Martel’s international bestseller is told from the point of view of a young man on the cusp of adulthood. Shipwrecked, he spends 227 days adrift on the Pacific Ocean in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. With some parallels to “The Odyssey,” the narrator faces a test of not only survival, but also the nature of truth itself.