I am also a beginner - I've read 2 books so far, none by Chodron. I don't think it matters where you start as long as you are happy to accept not always understanding straight away. I would really rate Ariel & Shya Kane's 'Working on Yourself Doesn't Work' as a first read. It is zenlike but without the jargon. I might try one of Chodron's books now. Cheers Deb
howdy I Wilson. all of these are good and clear guides - buddhism for dummies - by jonathan landaw and stephen bodian (ISBN 1559391537), and buddhism for beginners by thubten chodron (ISBN: 0764553593). a great one for zen buddhism in particular is jean smith's the beginner's guide to zen buddhism for beginners (ISBN:0609804669).
in related asian philosophies, taoism is fascinating, especially lao tzu (tao de ching, though i'd be surprised if you haven't read that already). i highly recommend the wonderful alan watts, who was and remains one of the best (clear, accessible and thought provoking) writers on taoism, with tao, the watercourse way (ISBN 0394733118). it's fab, as are many of his.