Book review: ‘Violations of Causality’ by Herb Guggenheim


51y1-3pkLiL._SX345_BO1,204,203,200_Usually I don’t do book reviews and I promise you that it will remain an exception on this blog, but the author is an old  friend of mine and I like what he has written.

I read the book in one afternoon, and I will read it again. And most likely a third time, still.  While reading I was smiling, laughing, grinning and now and then frowning. A murder occurs, but there is more to the story than just one mystery to be solved. There is Skip, a  a rather self-centered and awkward person, yearning to be recocgnised as an artist. He is also insecure, creative and gifted and not prepared to make a choice. There is his girlfriend Gudrun, whom he hangs on to even though he is not very attracted to her. She  personifies logic and reason, and while Skip enjoys her company he is drawn to to another woman, fun loving, dominant and erotic.

The novel will give you some insight into academic life and contraception methods in the 80ies and just when you think there will be no more surprises you will be drawn into science (fiction) and phantasy.

The end is touching and conciliatory and somehow very down to earth.

So, you will neither find a typical crime story, nor a thriller, but you will find a story with depth and humor. Herb’s language is precise and to the point, each word carefully chosen and delightful to read. If you have some spare time I recommend giving it a try, and if you like what you read, then you might also enjoy Herb’s poems, but that is a different matter.

Twinkle, twinkle, little star, how I wonder ….

Writing101 Day 7: Today, write a response to one of these tweets

Blu Mar Ten (@BlueMarTEn): “In our universe a star explodes and dies every single second and there’s you, worrying about work tomorrow”

When I was a child I sometimes tried to visualize the universe and wondered where it ended and what was behind it. I still do, sometimes and just as when I was a child I I still feel awed and somehow scared when I try to imagine infinity. It reminds me of death and I become aware that there are much bigger powers and that I have absolutely no control over them.

Sometimes I imagine our earth being something like an anthill in a much bigger world. Just like the ants we have a society with leaders, workers and soldiers, and by sharing the work we are keeping our society going. We are aware that there is a bigger world around us, but we don’t know much about it. We venture out to explore, but just like the ants we are only able to cover a small distance.

However, ants have an important function in keeping the ecological balance of the forest. I am not sure the ants themselves are aware of it, but if we destroyed their anthill it would have an impact on their bigger surrounding. Therefore, if our earth is like an anthill, it still has a function in the universe.

I imagine that our world is only a small jigsaw piece in a much bigger picture. We don’t even know what that picture really looks like. Still, if any of the jigsaw pieces was missing or destroyed the big picture would be disturbed. Therefore I conclude that our earth matters for the whole picture. The wellbeing of our earth, however, depends on how we treat our planet and how we organize our states and societies. And since everything that happens on this earth has an impact on something else, which in return influences something else, what happens at work does matter. Our job as human beings is to keep this earth intact and to turn it into a place worth living in. And how I do my daily job does matter. Just as it matters how I treat my neighbors and children. We might not be aware on how it matters, but it does, somehow. We are not always meant to know.

Just think of someone cleaning the street, having a bad day and overlooking the banana skin lying on the wet asphalt. 15 minutes later a young man slips and by bad luck permanently damages his ankle. Since he is not able to play football anymore he starts following local politics out of sheer boredom and discovers he likes it. He joins a party and gets involved.  30 years later as Germany’s youngest chancellor he prevents an economic crisis that might have led to poverty in Europe. How would things have developed if the guy cleaning the street had taken the banana peel away?

And what about the stars exploding every day? Who knows, maybe there were jigsaw pieces from another puzzle?  Or maybe the picture is changing all the time and therefore every star will have to leave to make space for a new one.

Writing101: write a list

Write a list??!!! There are already too many lists in my life.

Being slightly obsessive I have got lists for anything and everything:

  • what I want to do during the weekend
  • what I want to have achieved on my next birthday
  • which habits I should kick in order to stop gaining weights
  • which habits I should develop in order to start losing weight
  • how to spend my money
  • what I need to do in the house
  • what needs to be done in the garden
  • whom I should contact
  • what I shouldn’t forget
  • what I should remember
  • which books I want to read
  • which films I want to watch
  • which places I want to visit
  • etc. etc. and not to mention all the lists I keep at work.

So, there you have it: I like writing lists. I am doing it constantly. Each new list is full of promises of a life being perfected.

But so far I never ever  could cross off all the items on a list. Most of the things I wanted to plant in the garden I haven’t planted. I have neither gained nor lost a gram during the last year, I am just adding new titles to my book list and I still haven’t been in Tokyo.

So, this is what I have learned: no matter how many lists you write, don’t expect to cross off all the items on that list. There will always be something I forget, don’t get around to or simply can’t afford.

If I should ever manage to work off all the items on my lists, then I will live in the cleanest and  best organized household in Germany, have the most beautiful garden in the neighborhood,serve the most delicious food, never overdraw my account,  lead an always healthy, happy life, full of interesting, inspiring and enriching activities, keep in touch with most of the world, be the most attentive mother, friend, daughter, partner, neighbor, employee, succeed in anything I do and travel all over the world, and I will be the best read and most informed person walking the planet.

Should I really wish for that? No, I don’t think so. It wouldn’t leave me enough time to compile my daily, weekly, monthly, New Year’s resolution lists and that I would truly miss.