I read a lot of Buddhist books, and they all have value in one way or another. But never have I read a book that had ALL of the value of the other books between just one set of covers. This is that book.
Ajahn Chah of course was (and through his students still is) a marvelous teacher, with the gifts of humor and directness. Even in translation, you get a full feeling of what it must have been like to listen to this man talk. (Although, as Brahmavamso says, we laypeople get the jewels of sometimes all-night talks. Sorry, Ajahn Brahm!) This book is like having Luang Por speak directly to you, with kindness and toughness at the same time.
I "sipped" a chapter of this book a week, never wanting it to end. I have been reading it for six months now and finally finished it, and I will probably start over from the beginning and do it again. It is not overstating the point to say that this book is a gift to humanity.
Also, and this is less important but still nice, Food for the Heart is a truly handsome book. It's technically paperback, but with jacket tabs and a strong cover. The paper is thick and creamy--sorry if I'm enjoying my senses too much! :) And the typography is very pleasing. It's just a wonderful, wonderful book.
This collection of talks from Ajahn Chah is well done. His first book, "A Still Forest Pool" was a breath of fresh air. The 'chapters' we short, some just a few sentences long, and were filled with deep teachings. 'Food for the Heart" offers long chapters and the incredibleness that was Ajahn Chah seems to jump off the pages. These talks have been translated from Thai and whoever did the translation did such a great job that often I feel as though I am 'hearing' the teaching instead of reading it.
"If you want to know the Dhamma, where do you look? You must look within the body and the mind. You won't find it on a bookshelf. To really see the Dhamma you have to look within your own body and mind - there are only these two things. The mind is not visible to the physical eye, it must be seen with the "mind's eye." The Dhamma that is in the body must be seen in the body. And with what do we look at the body? We look at the body with the mind. You won't find the Dhamma by looking anywhere else, because both happiness and suffering arise right here. Or maybe you've seen happiness arising in the trees? Or from the rivers, or the weather? Happiness and suffering are feelings that arise in our own bodies and mind." From Food for the Heart - page 336
So direct! This is Ajahn Chah really teaching and encouraging us to practice the Dhamma. His style of teaching truly encourages me to get on the cushion, and also to practice when I'm not on the cushion. There is no 'down time.'
If you are new to Buddhism you might really enjoy his first offering, 'A Still Forest Pool' but if you have some background and are seeking a teacher who can inspire and really point the way to the Buddha's teachings, this is a wonderful book.