I have mixed feelings about Zen Rock Gardening by Abd Al-Hayy Moore. First, I adore Zen rock gardens. I have a mini garden on my desk that I love looking at and raking. I really enjoy going to locations that have a Zen rock garden and just sitting by it. To me there is great peace and beauty in this style of garden.
This book has numerous lovely photos of rock gardens, and describes the history and meaning behind them. It talks about styles of gardens and how they changed over the centuries. I find all of this quite fascinating.
But that being said, the layout of the book makes it hard to read and use. I imagine they were trying to be "artsy" or "zen" with this book - but I have *many* books on Zen and those are arranged so you can read them :). In this case they used a tall, narrow stripe of area for the text, and a large font, meaning you get maybe 3 or 4 words on a line before you go down to the next line. Imagine reading a book where you had to read:
This is the first
line and then
this is the
second line and
this is the
You can see how that would get to you pretty quickly! The entire book is strung together like that. If you want to go back to find ideas on rock placement, or on raking patterns, you can't. Everything is sort of jumbled together in the middle, and you have to read that three-words-at-a-time layout to track down an idea or two.
Also, while I do enjoy the photos, they are often small and very murky. This would have done MUCH better to have large size, clear, color photos to get ideas from and to understand what professionally done gardens look like in various parts of the world.
A great start - but I think if it was laid out better, with better photos, that it could be much more helpful and enjoyable to read. As it is now it's more of a "poem" celebrating rock gardens than a book of use either to someone who loves or who wants to create one.