5 Books I Enjoyed in 2010: Torrey Dixon

Posted on December 17, 2010

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1.

Not Without Laughter by Langston HughesLangston Hughes - WorldView Booksellers

Self-liberation is a much stronger force than oppressive legal institutions and social constructs. Hughes shows that prejudice can come in many colors and forms, but that even in the midst of such problems a strong artistic culture may be born. He depicts the black world of his time as one bound by the evil grips of poverty and prejudice that perseveres to finds within itself a musical and comical freedom. Still, this world is not too optimistic to be realistic. The struggles and hardships of poverty and racial oppression are real. What makes Hughes a unique writer of the Harlem Renaissance is his ability to add flavor to a black experience in white society that is, in reality, both bitter and painful. It is painful, but bearable. It is bearable because in the midst of all the hate and impoverishment, the characters find (within themselves) the inspiration to sing, the motivation to dance, and most importantly the healing power of laughter.

2.

The Stranger by Albert Camus

Albert Camus - WorldView Booksellers

Each human must make sense of an absurd world on her own. Perhaps, Camus was largely influenced by the writings of the father of atheistic existentialism, Paul Sartre, in creating the not too unfamiliar world of The Stranger. As a response to Christians and all of the other various believers in a meaningful and purposeful life, Sartre contends that there is no predetermined human nature or rule of life. Meursault lives in such a world. This world is much like our own, where sometimes humans do not feel what they should feel in expected situations, or make the wisest of choices. The important question is whether each of us, like Meursault, will be able to accept the consequences of our actions.

3.

Billy Budd by Herman MelvilleHerman Melville - WorldView Booksellers

What exactly is morality, and what is its relationship with legality? Perhaps, both are relative. What a person deems and understands as just is rooted in the person’s culture and atmosphere. This problem is discovered when the person steps outside of their environment and tries to survive in a different world. Of course, different societies are ruled by different laws, but inner moral principles are deeper than accepted laws. Laws are not universal. Is morality universal? Can we condemn a person for violation of the laws of another land? These are very complex issues. The only conclusion is that humans must do the best they can with the knowledge and values they possess.

4.

Brave New World by Aldous HuxleyAldous Huxley - WorldView Booksellers

This world is terrifyingly similar to our own. I can only hope that our world does not become the scientifically materialistic society that we are presented with here. If Huxley was indeed predicting the future, he got some things right, but hopefully he exaggerates in some areas.

5.

What is Christianity? by Adolf HarnackAdolf Harnack - WorldView Booksellers

What Christianity is and what it is not is the central question of this treatise. After looking past theological distortions and inaccurate portrayals of Jesus’ life and ministry, Harnack finds the essence of Christianity to be Jesus’ message of inner kingdom building, self-denial, harmony with the Creator, love of neighbor, and his message’s impact on his disciples’ lives.


Torrey Dixon is a young attorney from Danville, Virginia who lives in Raleigh, North Carolina and works for the North Carolina Department of Justice.