Thursday, November 30, 2006

This I Believe (Jay Allison and Dan Gediman)

This I Believe: The Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women caught my eye on the new book shelf because of three little letters at the bottom of the cover: npr. I love those letters and the many wonderful things in life they bring me, most especially This American Life. (I am very pleased to pass along the news, which was rumored by my dad-in-law and confirmed by Jim, that This American Life is indeed offering free podcasts of their current shows.)

This I Believe was a radio program originally started in the 1950s and revived after 9/11 with the idea that people would state their personal beliefs in a couple hundred words. The book includes selections from both the original series (Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson) and the more-recent one (Bill Gates, Gloria Steinem, Errol Morris), and it also includes nonfamous people, including one woman who wrote an essay for the original series at age 16 and an updated one for the more-recent series.

I started reading this book a couple essays at a time in the evenings before I went to bed. In that way (and at the pace), I found it to be very inspiring and calming. However, because I am now spending this week and the next or so fulfilling my civic duty in jury duty, I went through the bulk of the book in a day, which I'm guessing is not the best way to read it, and that experience left me much less excited about it.

Am I glad I read it? Yes. Do I have enough enthusiasm to recommend it to others? I don't know. But again, that could be situational (see above). I'd say if it crossed your path, you should pick it up, but I'm not sure about searching it out.

Next book up: Chocolate: A Bittersweet Saga of Dark and Light by Mort Rosenblum

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