Books show us what community means

January 23, 2013

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“Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”

-Anne Lamont, Author

“Burning Bright”

Fiction

Audio format

It’s 18th century London, and the Kellaways are newly arrived following the accidental death of their older son. Thomas, the father, immediately finds work with a circus impresario whose trademark is fabulous fireworks. All kinds of relationships begin to develop and soon younger son Jem Kallaway and his friend, a poor girl named Maggie, become acquainted with the neighborhood outcast William Blake. Blake, who would eventually become a renowned poet, guides the youngsters through the messy entanglements of everyday life while they influence his poetry. This slice of life story will capture your reading time. It’s available in unabridged audio format.

“Light Between the Oceans”

Fiction

Justice can be a wiggly thing. Tom Sherbourne, a World War I veteran, is a lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, a tiny island a half day’s boat journey from the coast of western Australia. When a baby washes up on the shore in a row boat, Tom and his young wife Isabel decide to raise the child as their own.

The baby seems like a gift from God, and the couple’s reasoning for keeping her steer us – and Tom and Isabel – right into the waters of treacherous morality. When little Lucy is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world and one of them has experienced the devastation of losing a child. Where is the right answer and where is justice? This one is definitely a page-turner.

“The World Until Yesterday”

Nonfiction

Diamond, a professor of geography at UCLA, poses the question, “What can we learn from traditional societies?”In the past 11,000 years of societal evolution, we’ve changed the ways we resolve disputes, raise children, care for the old, practice faith, nourish ourselves, and communicate. Basing his writing on his fieldwork in New Guinea, the Amazon, and Kalahari to compare the best and most questionable customs and practices of societies past and present, Diamond highlights the many lessons to be gleaned from cultures of long ago.

“Bernie”

DVD format

“What you’re fixin’ to see is a true story.” Thus begins the charming, if somewhat gruesome story of an East Texas funeral director named Bernie Tiede, whose sociable selflessness and guileless personality won him the friendship of the whole town of Carthage, Texas. He even captivated the good graces of the meanest and richest old lady of them all, Marjorie Nugent. When Marjorie is found murdered and stored in a freezer, Bernie is arrested and brought to trial. The movie is interspersed with interviews with characters who knew the real Bernie.

This film stars Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, and Matthew McConaughey. You’ll like this one…it’s available in DVD format and runs for about 99 minutes.

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Category: Life Archived