Beach Reads by Cindy Bilbao

beach books for staying at home

Saltwater Buddha book

Saltwater Buddha: A Surfer’s Quest To Find Zen On The Sea

By Jaimal Yogis

As a three-year-old, Jaimal and his family lived for a time on an island off the coast of Portugal, where he was surrounded by water and his father’s surfing stories. These early memories were the beginning of his love affair with the ocean and riding waves. When his family later moved to a home that was further away from water, he discovered that he really missed it, saying, “the sea never left me. I couldn’t let go.” At age 16, Jaimal ran off alone to Hawaii with no place to live and just enough money to buy a used surfboard. This is when he embarked on a journey to discover something profound within the ebb and flow of the tides. He spent his time teaching himself how to surf and studied the water and how it behaves.

He was also enamored with the idea of becoming a Buddhist monk and actually lived for a time in a monastery. This colored his perspective and created a philosophical viewpoint that’s so refreshing that the reader hangs on every word. It also helps that his writing is self-deprecating and honest when he laments about life’s universal struggles of ups and downs. It’s in these issues that we all struggle, and his unique perspective derived from his not-so-usual life is like the calm in between waves. Listen to his take on meditation for example: Jaimal says we are usually not content with what is, we always want more. Through meditation, we can learn patience. “We can gradually widen that space between our crazy thoughts and learn to be compassionate with ourselves.”

And then there’s the surfing! His writing is so good that if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to surf, this is the book to read. There’s surfing in Hawaii, in California, and even in Brooklyn, New York, in the winter!

This surfer’s tale is full of water metaphors that are resonant and entertaining. Read this book and then be ready—you’ll find yourself wanting to purchase a board and a plane ticket to Hawaii.

I devoured this book, and when it was finished I was crushed. I wanted to keep reading about Zen and surfing from Jaimal’s perspective. If you think they don’t have anything in common, you will be pleasantly surprised when you dig into this memoir.

the other story book

The Other Story

By Tatiana De Rosnay

Set on a luxurious island getaway resort off the Tuscan coast in Italy, an international best-selling author, Nicolas Kolt, wants to write his next big novel. He spends his vacation trying to avoid the severe writer’s block that is plaguing him, but he’s haunted with his troubled past and a carefully concealed secret that inspired his now famous novel. What will he do next? Will he ever find the inspiration to begin the next novel everyone is waiting for?

This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine September/October 2019 issue.

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