Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Herb's First 100 Years and The Book of Truths

Back in July, I listed 100 of my favorite books in honor of my 200th post. I had some wonderful reading suggestions in the comment section, one of which was from Lori, an anonymous reader. She recommended that since I loved Time Traveler's Wife and Tuesdays With Morrie, I should read Herb's First 100 Years
by Randy Perkins. So I attempted to find it at the library, but to no avail. I even made a little reference to it on the Book Meme that I did a few weeks later.

Imagine my surprise when I received an email from Randy Perkins himself, asking if I would like to have a copy of his book. All he asked in return was that I give my opinion about it. I was delighted and then took it one step further. I asked if I could interview him afterwards and post it. Much to my delight and surprise, he readily agreed.

So to complete my end of the bargain, let me tell you about a lovely, terribly overlooked book that you should add to your reading list.

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The first section of the book is a mere 147 pages. It is an easy read, not a “See Jane run” easy, but the words flow smoothly and capture your attention immediately. The characters are likable and honest. There is no stretch to make them seem real. Herb himself is the most endearing character. He’s penned in such a way that you wish that you had a Herb in your life. He’s optimistic, lively and has the idea that life is worth living to its fullest, despite the hardships and “evidence” to the contrary. His life is hard, but his outlook is bright. The narrative on his previous 98 years of living are lovely, heart-breaking and full of wisdom and humor.

Over the course of his history, Herb discovers some of life’s Truths – Truths that are universal, real and applicable to anyone in a situation. In his waning years, he compiles a printed Book of Truths and sets out to see that the Truths are “put into the hands” of those who can appreciate and further them. The Truths are there to help anyone who will open his mind to their wisdom.

What follows after his trip to publisher after publisher after publisher is a revelation of how one person’s zest for life made a difference in the lives of those around him, whether Herb knew the people intimately or from a passing chance. His Book of Truth begins to set into the heart of those who know him.

One of the interesting qualities of the book was that each chapter is prefaced with a Truth. They are not all covered in the story, but the ones that apply to that chapter fit so perfectly into the story. It really gave a rounded, complete feeling to the actual story and the Truths listed therein.

The latter half of the book, the remaining 134 pages, are the compiled 132 Truths. This unique placement of the Truths draws the reader into the wisdom of their meaning. I found myself closing my eyes, clearing my head and opening the book at random. This very act made me feel as if I too can contribute to the learning of universal Truths.

The book was charming, entertaining and had more substance than the average read. I was left with the feeling that I needed to read it again to discover things that I might have missed the first time. I have it sitting on the shelf, ready to be consumed again after I have finished savoring it. The taste of its sweetness is still in my mouth this long after my first impressions.

Get it on Amazon or petition your library to purchase a copy of it. This little gem deserves to shine in the light a lot more than it is right now.

Join me tomorrow to read the interview with the author Randy Perkins. He’s as amiable as the characters in the book… Wait a minute… He IS a character in the book! No wonder I like him already.

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