Random Thoughts or It’s All About Me!
Books: If you followed the travail of the young American girl from Seattle Washington, Amanda Knox, who spent six years in an Italian prison after being convicted of murdering her British roommate, you were greatly relieved to learn that just recently she was finally declared innocent of the crime by the Supreme Court of Italy. Both Amanda and her victim roommate, Meredith Kercher, were first year college exchange students, in Perugia, Italy, a well-known educational, cultural, and artistic center of Italy, when a lowlife intruder broke into the girls’ apartment, and finding Meredith alone, he stabbed her to death. In the USA this crime would have been quick to wrap up as the guilty individual left a trail as wide as the Missouri River. But not so in Italy. Somehow, two key Italian officials – one, an investigator and the other, a prosecutor, immediately saw the crime as an inside job involving Amanda, her Italian boyfriend, and a third individual – all acting out of a satanic sex orgy.
I recommend two very captivating books that shed a bright light on the strange and incoherent Italian justice system and how this all played out in Amanda Knox’s eight year nightmare. The first book, Murder in Italy, covers the murder story ending with Amanda’s conviction in 2009 sentenced to serve 26 years for her alleged crime. The second book, The Monster of Florence, tracks a strange tale of the murders in Italy of 14 people – a set of seven young couples, spread over a period of several years in the 1980’s. After reading these two books, you will not even dare to spit on a sidewalk in Italy. You can buy these books for 99 cents plus $3 postage from Amazon if your library doesn’t have them.
Musical DVDs: If you like dramatic stories put to music such as The Phantom of the Opera or Carousel, try to get your hands on the 10th Anniversary Concert of Les Miserables (The Royal Albert Hall 1995). It doesn’t get any better than this!
TV: On PBS, Mr. Selfridge, Doc Martin, and, of course, Downton Abbey! The sets, the characters, the stories, and the lack of commercials! make for excellent viewing.
Newspaper columns: In the Arkansas Democrat Gazette every Monday, you will find the work of Bradley Gitz, a political science professor at Lyon College, and a column by Charles Krauthammer, well-known commentator of Fox News. Both men bring readable rationality to their analyses. Other worthy columns in this newspaper are Janet Carson and Car Talk. Less worthy is the annoying liberal leaning John Brummett. Mike Masterson is OK but a little too local for my taste. Philip Martin is not too bad for an agnostic but still he is a little too terrestrial for me. Finally, Paul Greenberg writes well on many though-provoking subjects.
Reading Out of Bounds and reading in general: From time to time, I am criticized by a few readers (of the very few that do read my column), complaining that “it takes too long to read!” I have addressed this complaint previously but I’ll try again here. First of all, after mulling over in my head ideas for a column for weeks, I usually spend three days writing and re-writing it over and over, often spending up to six to ten hours. All this because I want my readers to be amused, entertained, challenged, and above all – I want them to understand what I am trying to say. Nothing is more satisfying to me than to run into a person who says they like my stuff.
So why do some folks – including relatives!- tell me “It’s too long!”? For the most part, I believe that over the last fifty years people have become so conditioned by hurry-up, instantaneous visual modes – TV, INTERNET, Smart Phones, etc. – that they end up with only a superficial understanding of what they heard.
In short, the art of reading has faded. And this to the loss of the benefits of reading which allow for reflection and a deepening understanding of life with all its nuances and interesting twists and turns. So read me!