Good People from an Author's Life by Jon Hassler -- I was prepared to feel bored with this book.. anticipating Hassler's list of good people in his life: parents, friends, priests, colleagues. It was going to be something to read lazily to knock off some boring down time, with something sweet and not too thought-provoking.
I should have known better. Hassler is a better writer than that. (I've read and enjoyed some of his fiction in the past.) Yes, he starts first by describing his parents and his happy childhood. From there he branches out into a wide variety of good people: a childhood friend with a terminal illness, a colleague who talks endlessly and loudly yet teaches one of the most creative classes ever created at the college, a couple - both writers - who are glum and almost angry at the world yet produce admirable and artistically-created literature. The list of good people could not be more diverse and surprising. He even analyzes some of the fictional characters he himself created.
Hassler describes them all in a humorous and intelligent fashion, and delves into what gave birth to their goodness. The goodness may not even have been apparent to other observers.
This makes for a thought-provoking look at goodness itself and at how we accept, judge, or learn from those around us. There is probably some un-tapped goodness out there that we could all learn from if we open our hearts to it.