Sunday, 25 September 2011

Colin, Pavlov, and the CBC

"Ding, ding, dong."

That's the three bell tone that rings the top of the hour on CBC news. Yesterday Colin was busy at the kitchen table, eating or playing (I don't remember), or otherwise distracted. I had CBC radio on to listen to the world news. Those three tones rang, and without even looking up Colin spake:

" CBC news."

Ha ha ha ha ha. That's me laughing like I laughed yesterday. We really do love the CBC in this house!

It was an especially endearing moment yesterday. I had a chance to read my uncle's eulogy of my grandfather who passed away at the beginning of this month. One of the paragraph's spoke of his great love of learning through books and radio:

"I think there was never a time when we didn’t see Dad (my grandpa) with his nose in a book. He was a consummate seeker of knowledge and took every opportunity he could to read, watch documentaries, listen to radio program to expand his knowledge. The walls of his study are lined with a huge library of books he has collected over the years and even more amazing is the fact that I’m pretty sure he has read most all of them. He’s always loved history and actually along with music once dreamed of being history professor. He loves Canadian history and in fact all things Canadian (he is very passionate about Canada and thinks it is the greatest country in the world, and I would have to agree). He was fascinated specifically with World War I & II, the great explorers and the great classics of fine literature. He always kept up with current events. At 10:00 at night us kids and Mom always knew where to find Dad, plunked down in front of the TV watching the National on CBC. In the car it was always CBC radio nothing else."

It was through my grandfather that I discovered the CBC. There was something so distinguished about him. He was so knowledgable, and I yearned to develop these qualities in myself. And so I grafted myself onto the CBC, feeling that that was a huge part of who he was.

He also left a list of 40 must read books. I always love to see lists like this; it is akin to my fascination of perusing people's bookshelves in their homes. I love to see the kinds of books people like; it is a window into their minds and souls. I'll include the list here. I hope to cross off many of them myself, in an effort to get to know my grandfather even more after his passing, and also in my effort to develop those qualities in him that I so admired. The amazing thing about this list is that this isn't something compiled by a group of literary experts whose job it is to read books like these, and it isn't a combined list of a couple of things read by many people. This is a genuine collection of one man's favourite books over the years. Once again, I think it shows why classic books really are classic. I've highlighted the books I've read so far - (21/40) but I still have a ways to go! Only three books on the list I had never heard of, so I'm interested in looking those up also.

David Martin's Top 40 books

Bible (God and his prophets)
Book of Mormon (God and his prophets)
Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)
David Copperfield (Charles Dickens)
War and Peace (Leo Tolstoy)
Great Expectations (Charles Dickens)
Animal Farm (George Orwell)
Complete Plays of William Shakespeare (William Shakespeare)
Doctrine and Covenants & Pearl of Great Price (God and his prophets)
Middlemarch (George Eliot)
The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame)
Tess of the d'Ubervilles (Thomas Hardy)
Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
The Jungle Book (Rudyard Kipling)
Treasure Island (Robert Louis Stevenson)
Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain)
Alice in Wonderland - Through the Looking Glass (Lewis Carroll)
Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle)
Dante's Inferno (Dante Alighieri)
Gulliver's Travels (Jonathan Swift)
The Life of Samuel Johnson (James Boswell)
Moby Dick (Herman Melville)
Robinson Crusoe (Daniel Dafoe)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Victor Hugo)
The Illiad (Homer)
Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
Les Miserables (Victor Hugo)
Pepys Diary (Samuel Pepys)
The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinback)
Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad)
Nostromo (Joseph Conrad)
Lord Jim (Joseph Conrad)
Vanity Fair (William Thackeray)
To Kill a Mocking Bird (Harper Lee)
Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy tales (Hans Christan Andersen)
Three Men in a Boat (Jerome K. Jerome)
A Tale of Two Cities (Charles Dickens)
The Travels of Marco Polo (Marco Polo)

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