Thursday, November 29, 2012

Lunch with Buddha: Review and Giveaway

By the time On the Road (a novel based on the travels of writer Jack Keroauc and his friends across the United States) was published in 1957, countless Americans have been captivated by road trips.  Road trips provide a vast opportunity for adventure, and seem to be a rite of passage for many people. Over the years, I've taken numerous road trips. When I was first married, my husband and I shared the driving in a long road trip from the Midwest to San Diego, stopping in many different states along the way.  I experienced a real sense of freedom and possibility--along with contemplative moments about my new status--as we drove through the changing landscape and arrived at our new home.

Published in 2012, Lunch with Buddha by Roland Merullo is the sequel to Breakfast with Buddha, and features the same main characters as the first book, Otto Ringling (and his family), and Volya Rinpoche and Cecelia (Otto's sister), who now have a daughter, Shelsa.  Like its prequel, it's a road trip book; this appealed to my bohemian side, which relishes the thought of getting into a car or truck with just a few things and going on a true, unscripted adventure.  In Lunch with Buddha, the road trip is from Seattle, Washington to Dickenson, North Dakota.  Otto and Rinpoche (everyone calls him by his last name) drive through Washington State, across the Idaho Panhandle, across Montana, and into North Dakota, and experience a myriad of fun adventures.

"There were cherries by the pound and salmon jerky for sale in roadside stands, a small white chapel to the left, closed up.  We passed another sign for espresso--they were everywhere in this state; perhaps people slept so deeply in the wonderful air that they needed help waking up--and then Bubba's Road House, wiith a sign that read, EAT BIG FOOD."
~Lunch with Buddha, Roland Merullo

Lunch with Buddha focuses on a spiritual quest or journey as well. Many of their adventures involve water of some sort (Old Faithful, Boiling River), which may symbolize the desire for renewal as well as the need to be fluid and flexible in life, to "go with the flow".  Otto, the protagonist and narrator of this novel,  is presently in need of some answers and comfort in his life, and although he's analytical and skeptical, he senses (and hopes) that his brother-in-law Rinpoche, who's a spiritual guru to many, may possess the wisdom and peace he seeks.  On this road trip, Otto, who's  both a "foodie" and an editor of food books, is searching not only for culinary bliss but also for internal sustenance and meaning, and answers to some of life's most profound and perplexing questions.

I found myself marveling over Roland Merullo's appealing, lucid, insightful, and, yes, "enlightened" writing, which is equally sensitive and humorous.  The idea of the physical, external journey being connected to the inner, spiritual journey is endearingly presented in this novel, with ample humor and grace.  Lunch with Buddha is a delicious and divine novel, and although it stands alone quite well, I cannot wait to also read Breakfast with Buddha.

Would you like to win a copy of Lunch with Buddha?  The publisher, AJAR Contemporaries, is generously offering a copy of Lunch with Buddha to one of my readers (U.S./Canada only).

  • To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment.
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower.
  • For an additional chance, post about this contest on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.
  • For one more chance, leave a brief comment about a road trip you enjoyed. 

Enter by 5 PM PST on Monday, December 10.  One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, December 11.  

Special thanks to Lisa from TLC for sending me this book.  To read more reviews of this novel, please visit the other stops on TLC's book tour for Lunch with Buddha.


  1. What a nice review of the book. I'm not interested in winning the book, but in 2001, hubby and I traveled to Yellowstone and other interesting places in that area. We didn't have a camper at the time, but we had a pick-up with a cab on the back. So we got an air mattress put it in the back with our sleeping bags and our toy poodle, and stayed at the KOA camp sites. They were always kind and parked us beside the showers and bathroom. It was a trip we will never forget. But until the next year we had a camper we take our trips in now.

    Thanks for the visit today.

  2. This sounds good to me! The author also wrote American Savior which I recommend. It was thought provoking.

  3. Replies
    1. Love that you shared your thoughts. I like the sound of this one and do have a copy. Good Luck Bloggers.

  4. Thanks for this interesting giveaway. Would enjoy this story. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. Your wonderful review peaked my interest. Many thanks. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  6. Yet to read the first book, its on my TBR mountain, I really like the sound of this second book as well. Great review as always, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Have a great weekend.

  7. This sounds like a lovely book..I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it so much!

  8. This sounds great Suko. I agree, roadtrips can be a wonderful adventure.
    I hope you enjoy Breakfast with Buddha just as much. I like the photo of the laughing Buddha and the lunch bag :)

  9. THANKS for the giveaway. I itemized your requests below.

    To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment.

    This sounds very interesting.

    For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower.

    I am an old follower.

    For an additional chance, post about this contest on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.

    I will post on Twitter.

    For one more chance, leave a brief comment about a road trip you enjoyed.

    Oh...I went on a road trip to Portree, Scotland, on a tour bus. That was the best vacation I ever had. Portree is my header on my blog and is the cutest place I have ever visited. The weather has something to be desired, though. COLD and rainy, but the scenery makes up for it.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog

  10. This book sounds great - thanks for the great review! Summer before last my husband and 3 sons took a road trip to west virginia to visit my daughter, who was working with a construction mission project. It was a fabulous trip, in part because it was somewhere we would never have gone otherwise - also because it was cool and green at a time when it was hot and dry in Texas,,.where we live.


  11. The book sounds like an interesting journey. As I was reading your review my mind went back to the road trip I took many years ago when a friend and I threw a few things in my car and headed from Chicago to Florida for a few weeks. No plans, no hotel reservations, just drive there and figure it out along the way. Ah, those were the good old days!

  12. I love your review. I want to read this book. I live in Wyoming and have been to Dickinson ND. In fact I have a a friend who lives there. My husband and I have traveled on a motorcycle from our home in Wyoming, into Montana, through Idaho and Washington and back again. It was a great trip and we ate pounds of cherries too.

    Judy B

  13. Thanks for all the comments. I especially enjoy reading about the various road trips; each seems to have been a unique adventure!

  14. Love the giveaway!

    shankyouverymuch11 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  15. I enjoyed a trip with my parents through the new england coast. Beautiful views, wonderful food, and great memories.

  16. I'd like a shot at this. I read a book by Roland Merullo before, In Revere, in Those Days, and I found it beautiful, so have high hopes for this one.

    My most memorable road trip was the one our whole family took (dad, mom, two sisters, brother, and me) through the Philippines. We started from our city (the southernmost edge) and drove our way up north for three days. We passed through a whole island that was completely dark at night and the only lights we saw were balls of gold that were actually fireflies covering up whole trees. We saw a couple of famous volcanoes and many other sights. We didn't stop to sleep anywhere, only slept in the van, as mom and dad took turns driving even at night. I only remember us stopping for a shower at a friend's house in the middle of the journey. Good ol' days.

    Thanks for hosting the giveaway! (I follow you on Google Reader.)

    1. Thank you for sharing the wonderful description of your road trip. I will keep an eye out for the book you mention, In Revere, In Those Days.


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