Gareth has written two books which provide vivid personal examples of how adopting curiosity and intimacy can transform your life and fill it with balance and meaning. They are about the interfaith and intercultural experience of a person who was raised Christian and became a Buddhist immersing himself in Islam and in Judaism.
Up the Mountain – Over a period of two years Gareth J. Young, a Buddhist, became an explorer of Jewish faith and culture. “Up The Mountain” is the story of that journey – a pilgrimage that continues.
Gareth attended Shabbat at synagogues and in homes many times and was the recipient of extraordinary kindness and generosity. He was invited into the experience of the Jewish High Holidays, which was a transformational experience in his life. “Up The Mountain” describes the beauty and wisdom Gareth encountered and takes the reader into the connection he developed with Judaism and with the Jewish spirit. Written from the heart it is a deep expression of gratitude.
When he expressed regret that he had not been able to devote more time to his Jewish practice, a Jewish friend observed, “You must be doing something right: you’ve got the guilt thing down!”
The Straight Eightfold Path – As Gareth’s Buddhist practice matured he found himself drawn into the world of interfaith. This is a conversation between people whose superficial beliefs are radically different in which they come to understand that underneath it all we are all just human beings with the same hopes and fears, strengths and weaknesses, and the same basic needs. Almost fifteen years after starting a journey that led him to follow the Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism, the Straight Path of Islam beckoned and Gareth followed – not to depart from the experience of Buddhism, but to enrich and deepen it. This book is centered on the deepest part of that immersion, the month-long observation of Ramadan.
During an early period of intense personal transformation, Gareth wrote two intimate novels. The first is set in a radically fundamentalist small Christian community in the rural south and explores themes of exile and personal spiritual growth; the second is the tale of a man who gets caught, after his marriage falls apart, in the downward spiral of addiction to pleasures of the flesh.
The Grace of Guilt – When fifteen-year-old Jessica Jackson’s crush on her pastor’s son leads to rape, she finds herself pregnant and alone, rejected by both family and church as an unrepentant sinner. And when fellow-church member, Simon Cassell’s homosexual relationship with his high school friend is discovered, he is beaten by his father and ostracized. Meanwhile, middle-aged Dwight Cook is struggling with the economic failure of his business, the town hardware store, with estrangement from his wife and oldest son, and with uncontrollable lust for a female employee half his age.
The outcasts’ struggles with underserved guilt intensify when a lynching brings the FBI to the rural North Carolina town and both church and family members are implicated, and when a tormented loved one commits suicide.
The Grace of Guilt follows the destruction of three families and their quests for redemption, and examines the old prejudice of the new South.
An Unexamined Life – Gareth Young’s second novel spices up echoes of Kafka’s The Trial and Nabakov’s Lolita with a pinch of erotica as he crafts a compelling tale of the relentless and inevitable decline of a modern-day Don Giovanni.
Joe Kay is released from a career that had long since lost its meaning by inheritance and seeks solace in his marriage, but when he discovers that a decade of neglect had allowed his vows to drain away he allows his libido to lead him astray. He accumulates an online roster of virtual mistresses, starts sleeping with a stripper and plays strip-Twister with a neighbor. Eventually a high school girl who frequents his favorite coffee shop and his daily fantasies exploits his clumsy infatuation and seduces Joe. Has he finally found a home for his faithless heart or would his newfound loyalty falter and lead Joe and his lovers deeper into disaster?
Gareth has also been the contributing author for several books on faith and interfaith.