Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Conscience & Consequences

Recently, a friend (we will call him Bob) told us a remarkable story of deceit, guilt, and atonement.
Walking with his wife on the main street of a small town, he was approached by a man who called him by name. Although he did not recognize the man by face, he did recognize his voice. The man asked him if he could talk to him for a few minutes, which they did.
More than 40 years ago, Bob had been in a car accident at night when another car with two male occupants came from a side street and they collided. No one was hurt, although the car was totalled. Bob turned off the ignition in the still running vehicle, turned off the lights, and got out to wait for the police.
The other driver was charged, and when it came to court, the other driver, and his passenger told the judge that Bob had been driving without lights. Their case was dismissed.
Several years later, Bob received $1,000.00 in his mailbox from an anonymous source, which he puzzled over for a long time and then forgot.
You have likely guessed by now that the person who stopped him on the street that day was the driver of that vehicle many years ago.
He told Bob that he had not had peace of mind in all those years. He was the source of the money left in Bob’s mailbox, but that had not eased his conscience. He is now a respected businessman in that community, and when he saw Bob on the street, he took the opportunity to make his confession. He also told Bob that because of the guilt he suffered he had worked extra hard to be a “good man” for all the following years.
There are lots of elements in this simple story.
Consequences of our actions - Guilt as a life spoiler - Conscience - Confession -Atonement.
I admit to an admiration and respect for this man who did wrong, suffered for it, and has spent his life trying to atone.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Notable Books of 2011

Come Read With Me
These are books I read in 2011, but not all were new in that year.
My library record shows that I borrowed 151 books during the year. Those listed below are books that stand out in my memory when I look at the whole list. I will not attempt to do any kind of extensive review of them – you can find reviews on line. There were many other fine books on the list, but these were the standouts.
I find that as time passes, I want fiction books that provide several things – noble heroes and heroines that win, bad people that lose, some poetic revenge is always good, and happy endings.
I want murder mysteries to define the chase – not the details of the atrocities.
I want authors that do not get in the way of the reader if you know what I mean.
I want to feel satisfied at the end.
1. The girl who kicked the hornet's nest -Stieg Larsson –so well known nothing needs be said
2. The friends of meagre fortune - David Adams Richards – a Canadian tale of lumbering and lumbermen in past days.
3. The confession - John Grisham – includes a powerful indictment of Texas for it’s record of executing murderers.
4. Paganini's ghost - Paul Adam .Lots of interesting information about violin making as well as a good mystery
5. Snakewoman of Little Egypt - Robert Hellenga. A rather bizarre story of snake handling sects in America – makes an interesting read
6. Revenge of the lobster lover - Hilary MacLeod .A lighthearted Canadian murder mystery set in PEI
7. The best laid plans -Terry Fallis. A hilarious account of a reluctant Canadian politician
8. Pacific glory - Peter T Deutermann. Historical fiction – the battle of Midway – terrific!
9. The high road - Terry Fallis. A sequal to “The Best Laid Plans” (above). Equally hilarious
10. Unbroken - Laura Hillenbrand. A non fiction account of a Unique American from WW11
11. From the far side of the river - Paul Quarrington. A Canadian author’s short stories of fishing. Quarrington is, surprisingly, not well known despite his many literature awards. Now deceased. Look him up on the net for his books (including Whale Music), and his music.
12. The Beothuk saga - Bernard Assiniwi. Historical fiction by a Native Canadian about the Beothuks (now extinct) of Newfoundland
13. The octave of all souls - Robert Eady. A story of a small Canadian town. Highly entertaining & nostalgic
14. The good son - Michael Gruber. A different viewpoint of split allegiances as well as terrorism. Worth the read
15. The evolution of Bruno Littlemore - Benjamin Hale. From ape to human – will disturb many readers, but probes deeply into what makes a “Human”
16. Thunderstruck - Erik Larson. Non fiction that reads like fiction - the stories of two men—Dr.Hawley Crippen, murderer, and Guglielmo Marconi, the obsessive creator of the wireless telegraph. Highly recommend!
17. Caleb's crossing - Geraldine Brooks. Historical fiction and well worth reading for the details of life in that era in America, and especially relating to Harvard University.
18. A lonely death Charles Todd. A murder mystery, but more compelling is the traumatic after affects of WW1 on the characters
19. Sailing alone around the room - Billy Collins. Poetry. Wonderful, glorious, riotous, humerous, nostalgic. A must for poetry lovers!
20. High plains tango - Robert JamesWaller. From “The Bridges of Madison County” author comes this book that got lots of bad reviews by critics. Still, I LOVED it! Hits all my buttons.
21. A Redbird Christmas - Fannie Flagg. A great way to end the reading year. Flagg never fails to picture small towns and small town people in a wonderfully warm way. This is a “feel good” book.
22. Miles To Go - Richard Paul Evans. While this is actually a sequel, it is a good stand alone read.

I am currently halfway through Bill Bryson’s book – At Home. Great so far, but that will have to wait for the 2012 review.