The Satanic Verses - Salman Rusdie

What is good? What is evil? This book explores those questions. I am not sure that I ever fully understood how the different stories lined up together, but there is a good message here.

Two men fall out of a highjacked plane. They are both transformed by the experience, both physically and mentally. One takes the form of a devil and decides to be a better human. The other takes the form of an angel and becomes psychotic. There are elements of mysticism for both, and I am not sure what was real and what was imagined. But in the end it is a story of redemption and hope. Nothing determines what a person is except that person.


Lord Jim - Joseph Conrad

This is the story of a man who makes a mistake early in life and then runs from the mistake and the notoriety, even the notoriety he made for himself. He eventually finds peace living among the native people on an island. However, the scars of that first mistake colors his life even on the island. He is driven by a need to not fail people again. Thi ultimately leads to him willingly going to his death. It was not a choice to go to his death, but determined by the life he had lead since his first mistake. However, he fails yet again. In his death, he fails those closest to him. And he fails to realize that his last act leads to a failure greater than any to that point.