Top 100 Non-Fiction Book Review: #70 – Seven Storey Mountain, Thomas Merton (1948)

Weird Weighting of Topics.

A book ostensibly about monastery spends very little time on it, but still a relatable and good book.

51si0tsTe7L.jpg 
The Greatest Book’s Ranking: #70/100
My Rating: cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586cropped-smooth-star-e1545863035586

I struggle with the idea of faith about every week or so. I yearn for a more mystical aspect of my life, but my rational mind can’t open up to stories that are literally false even if they may contain metaphorical truth.  Every few months, I open a bible and read some of the lines imbibing the feelings of meaning and purpose only an ancient text can satisfy. It starts to crumble soon, however, when I start realizing I’m trying to find solace in a 2000 year old book fraught with contradictions and inconsistencies authored by illiterate people who could not pass elementary science class.

Seven Story Mountain is a retelling of Thomas Merton’s spiritual journey which starts much like my own: yearning for that mystical meaning and direction, he tries to figure out himself. He tries a few different sources (politics, hedonism, intellectualism) but still finds an empty hole in his heart. He eventually fills it with Catholicism. My favorite quotes of the book echo my own sentiments about meaning in the modern world even if our solutions diverge quite drastically. There is much more to bring us together than separate us, though I’m not sure he would agree.

What I don’t understand is why this book is pegged as a look into Monastery life. This is a misleading focal point of the book cover, preface, and online commentary. Merton’s book is really one puff of air on being a monk and a full exhale on his life before hand. This did disappoint: his quotidian life as a youth overstayed its welcome while the exotic life of the monastery was never fully explored.

Continue reading “Top 100 Non-Fiction Book Review: #70 – Seven Storey Mountain, Thomas Merton (1948)”