The Book of Qualities

The Book of Qualities

by J. Ruth Gendler

Paperback(1st Perennial Library ed)

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From Beauty to Compassion, from Pleasure to Terror, from Resignation to Joy — here is an insightful exploration of the rich diversity of human qualities. J. Ruth Gendler's evocative book has as its cast of familiar characters our own emotions, brought to life with a poet's wisdom and an artist's perceptive eye. In The Book of Qualities' magical community, Excitement wears orange socks, Faith lives in the same apartment building as Doubt, and Worry makes lists of everything that could go wrong while she is waiting for the train. In portraying the complexities of the psyche, Gendler uses the Qualities to bridge the distinctions between literature and psychology, and has created an original work that challenges us to look at our emotions in new and inspiring ways.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060962524
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/27/1988
Series: Harper Perennial
Edition description: 1st Perennial Library ed
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 98,239
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.28(d)

About the Author

Janet Ruth Gendler wears orange socks, arranges her clothes by color in the closet, keeps the herbs in alphabetical order, and doesn't understand the separation between work and play. Gendler was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska and received B.A.'s in English and Communication from Stanford University in 1977. She has written articles on the arts, health, and education. She works in publishing and teaches intuitive art classes. Gendler currently lives in Berkeley, California.

Read an Excerpt

The Wind

The Wind is a gossip. Not in a malicious way. She just likes to move around and stir things up. She runs through the fire barefoot and has no fear of heights. She carries big blue bowls of rain with her. She plays the flute and loves all kinds of sounds. Her laughter fills the sky. The Wind is a wonderful storyteller. I still remember how she introduced me to the Oualities when I was a child.

The Book of Qualities. Copyright © by J. Ruth Gendler. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Art Kliener

"A bright new talent whose work is at once reminiscent of James Thurber's drawings, Italo Calvino's Invisible Cities, Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene, and Zen koans."

George Leonard

"Ruth Gendler has discovered a way to give new meaning and immediacy to familiar words. Her brief meta-definitions sing, dance, and sometimes cry."

Jean Bolen

"The Qualities are wise and whimsical and express truth in a very personal way."

Customer Reviews

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Book of Qualities 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Marjjane1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of the books I kept from my mother's library after she passed away. I love reading the different qualities. The author is very insightful. This book is truly a keeper and I'm sure I'll come back to it often.
kayautic57 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have read from this book at a wedding, shared it with many friends, and relish re-reading the qualities now and again.
remikit on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book. She re-introduces us (if we hadn't already met them) to the qualities that come and go in our lives. Their personalities and quirks seem fresh, but in the end are as familiar to us as if they were old friends come to visit.
CassieM on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A beautiful and engaging way to use language.
LatebloomerPW More than 1 year ago
This little book is a real treasure especially for those who love both words and reflecting on the human psyche. Ms. Gendler creatively explores the depths of human emotions with wisdom and creativity by personification. We meet about 75 characters (Qualities)from Courage("she is not afraid to weep, and not afraid to pray, even when she is not sure who she is praying to")to Depression("the child of Lethargy and Despair")to Harmony ("Simply by being himself, he alters the current in the field around him"). The illustrations that accompany some of the Qualities are simple but captivating. The Book of Qualities is beautifully written and deeply insightful about the characteristics and range of emotions. As a result, it is thought-provoking and helps us reflect on our own emotions. It's a real keeper and also makes a thoughtful little gift for special people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
i enjoy this writing every time i pick it up. This year I am giving it to everyone for xmas. I hope they will enjoy it as much as I enjoy giving it .
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was given to me over 20 years ago. Since then I have purchased many many, and given to each person over the years near and dear to me. Ruth has a way of taking you thru the most difficult to navigate qualities of life...emotions. If you are new on the journey of self discovery, by all means purchase it. I have not seen anything like it before. Its a book you pick up year after year, to re-freshen or review 'Qualities' or emotions. The Qualities are written in brief, paragraph form. Easy to digest, easy to get. She uses metaphors to get you thinking in a fun, playful yet deep and in sync way with the emotion.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the best book that I have read in a long time, and I read A LOT. I liked how each quality had its' own separate personality. It made it a lot easier to see them in myself and other people without a negative feeling attached to it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Reading The Book of Qualities helps to uncover the hidden qualities in each of us. J. Ruth Gendler makes human qualities visible, viceral, real elements of mankind. As you read each quality you identify yourself and others in your life. The Book of Qualities is a great tour guide for exploring who you might be.....