The first is, at first read, an allegory. Written in 1914, just before the horrors of a Great War between the two most civilised peoples in the history of humanity. Obviously the translation lacks some of the flavour of the original, and is without the songs and dances (obligatory here with all theatre) which in many places, set the scene.
Russell once wrote - "the business of language is to assert or deny facts", which I think neatly encapsulates the difference between our cultures and yours. We feel rather, that the business of language is to conceal, conceal our most personal thoughts, and the search for precision of expression is almost certainly a mistake.
The second is one of my [url=http://www.amazon.com/Tibet-Personal-History-Lost-Land/dp/1400041007/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top]interpreters of ourselves to the world outside.[/URL] There is a considerable amount of literature on Tibet out there. This one is definitely well-written, but one that also falls into the trap of attempting to rationalise mysticism.
What's everyone else reading, and what are recommended good reads on a vacation?