Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Books I Have Loved

Just some of the books I've read

I've loved the journey, and the people I've met, and had great joy in my children and loves. There even are so many pleasures I have had, art, and film, and food :) among many. But what comes back to me now, is the books I have read.

I was reminded of this because the 50th anniversary of Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird came up. I read it when I was 12, and it inspired me in so many ways. It was a book about America, not just the racism that permeated it but all the good that existed side by side with it. It had great characters, Scout, and Jem, and Boo, and humanity and decency were characters in the book too.

Scout was the main character, or so I thought at first. She's a tomboy growing up in the old South, and as she matures, you see that the South was changing too. There's a rape, and a black man falsely accused, and there's her father, Atticus Finch, a lawyer reluctantly agreeing to defend him, because he knows it will cause his neighbors to react, but also, because it's the right thing to do. Scout listens to him talking to people saying this was wrong, and one day it would come back to haunt them.

And the movie has the greatest role ever played, Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, for which he won an Oscar. He inspired me to want to defend people, and, in seeing his relationship with his children, he was the sort of man and father I wanted to be. I just ordered the book and movie to pass on to my children.

There is no list of best books I have read, of course. I've read thousands, I've got many more still to go.

But there's Orwell. 1984 was a dystopian view of the world, and I recommend that, and Animal Farm, and that you read this:"The Value of George Orwell"

Along with Orwell I hope you'll read Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Two writers, one who said we would be manipulated by propaganda and lies and torture, and the other who said we would be controlled through pleasure, sex and drugs.

P.G. Wodehouse was one of the finest, and funniest writers I have known. I think I've read more than 80 of his books,. Laughing Gas and Pigs Have Wings still makes me smile 50 years after I read them.

Anna Karenina by Tolstoy, and The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoevsky, and Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago, covers my gloomy Russians, I have not read Pushkin, alas. There is a part in The Brothers Karamazov where the village whore tells the priest a story. In it, a woman gives an onion to a poor person. That was all she had, but because of that one act of kindness, she is granted salvation. I think of it when reminded of the spirituality of the Russian people.

Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, A Farewell to Arms and lastly, The Old Man and the Sea, which taught me the endurance of the human spirit.

Leslie Charteris' The Saint Novels. Read the first, Enter the Saint, and you'll be hooked. I've read them all, about a gentleman thief and Robin Hood type character. There's a limerick of his I still remember:

"When Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden did sin,
Adam, instead of confessing to his deed like a man,
Cried "the woman tempted me"
And tried to hide behind the snake"

The Wheel of Time Novels by Robert Jordan. It is my ultimate fantasy series about the battle between good and evil. The writer passed away, but left notes to complete the series. The new writer's book, The Gathering Storm is quite good, and I look forward to the 13th of the series in November.

Cheiro's books on Palmistry and Numerology inspired me more than one could imagine, and I shall always be grateful.

Historical biographies and fiction; I've read ALL of Dorothy Dunnett, who is both literate and captures some very interesting characters and historical periods.

Harry Potter, and the Stephenie Meyer's Bella the Vampire books for not guilty at all pleasures.

Too many books on Science, Astrology, Maps, Art, Language, Music and Kabballah to mention.

The Gita, for its poetry.

I met a man in a bookstore once and we talked about the books we had in our libraries that we never had time to read and he said, "that's ok, I just sit and Breathe them in".

May you always breathe books.

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