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Reading Zen in the Rocks: The Japanese Dry Landscape Garden

Reading Zen in the Rocks: The Japanese Dry Landscape Garden
François Berthier
Chicago: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: 

cloth, 166 p., $20

This excellent little book is an eye-opening and rich explanation of Japanese gardens, with special emphasis on their delightful dry landscapes of stone, gravel and rocks. Anyone with a modest curiosity about this type of landscaping, which has invaded interiors in miniature, will find much here to explain the history and philosophy of these highly meditative spaces.

Like the gardens it features, the book's text and illustrations draw you into another world, one where concepts like gardens and landscaping are refreshingly different. Central to this book's discussion is the long history of these gardens; in the middle of the text is a chronology, starting in the fourth century and ending in 1960. Highly recommended, this wonderful book is the best place to start to understand a completely different and captivating way of looking at the world and our place in it.

— Edward J. Valauskas, Manager, Library, Chicago Botanic Garden.