Previous to picking this up all I knew of Gary Gilmore had been gleaned from The Adverts' track, Gary Gilmore's Eyes. I now know everything I could poPrevious to picking this up all I knew of Gary Gilmore had been gleaned from The Adverts' track, Gary Gilmore's Eyes. I now know everything I could possibly want to know (and more) about Gilmore's life, crimes, trial and death and while I may not have looked through Gilmore's eyes, I've seen through those of virtually everyone associated with him and his case.
Based on what must be an absolutely breathtaking amount of research and interviews, this is a painstaking recreation of the nine months following Gilmore's release from prison in 1976 (after spending much of his life incarcerated) and leading up to his execution following the murders of two strangers.
Presented in two parts, the first deals with Gary's release and adjustment to normal life. Due to the level of detail it soon starts to feel as though you're living alongside him, which isn't exactly a pleasant experience. Aswell as being clearly intelligent, Gary is a real piece of work and his behaviour soon starts to alienate those around him, including Nicole - the young woman with whom he's become involved. Their initial break-up is especially significant as Gary will later claim that he committed the murders for which he was tried so that he wouldn't kill Nicole, a claim I'm not entirely convinced by as he seemed to be something of a timebomb even prior to their break-up, with his temper and law-breaking rapidly escalating.
Gilmore's crimes are not extraordinary, sadly, but what happens next is - sentenced to death for the murders and refusing to appeal, the media goes wild and lawyers are sent scrambling as they move to try and stay the execution or fight for it to go ahead. This second part of the book did a great job of piecing together the events and this very murky moral issue is seen from all sides. I'm still not entirely clear as to what my own position is - whilst strongly opposing the death penalty I also support an individual's right to die, and it did seem as though the ensuing legal fight added a layer of cruelty to the sentence.
In addition to this, we also get a very intimate look at the relationship between Gary and Nicole which resumed following his arrest, and his influence over her is very clear from his letters as he seeks to manipulate her into suicide so that no other man can have her following his death. Perhaps even more manipulative though are the movers and shakers in the field of the media, and the tactics of fighting for exclusives and the amount of money that was changing hands for the story (which would have been far less valuable if Gilmore had not been executed) left me feeling very uneasy.
While at times this did start to drag a little (perhaps a little too much detail was included in places, and with so many players I got a little waylaid with keeping track of everybody), I don't believe I'll be lucky enough to read as comprehensive a book on such a subject again....more
Fabulous, and a lot more layers than I expected having seen the movie aeons ago, Holly is far more flawed and real than I anticipated having grown upFabulous, and a lot more layers than I expected having seen the movie aeons ago, Holly is far more flawed and real than I anticipated having grown up with the image of Audrey firmly implanted in my brain....more
I found this book absolutely incredible. Capote paints so vivid a picture, of events both leading up to andWhat to say that hasn't already been said?
I found this book absolutely incredible. Capote paints so vivid a picture, of events both leading up to and following, the murders of the Clutter family, that you actually feel as though you know the Clutter family and their killers intimately, all whilst neatly avoiding the hysteria that could have so easily been introduced.
After doing nothing for a couple of days whilst I read this book, I can clearly see why this is feted as a masterpiece. Essential reading....more
Well...what to say? For a start I don't think I've ever taken so long to read a book, and it has nothing to do with its size. Clocking in at over 800Well...what to say? For a start I don't think I've ever taken so long to read a book, and it has nothing to do with its size. Clocking in at over 800 pages, I've devoured far bigger books far more eagerly, but then those were all books that managed to keep my interest and had actual plots and something to say.
A chronicle of the last half of the 20th century in America, working backwards, we see things from both a personal and cultural perspective as we flit through the lives of people that are connected, however tenuously, to each other and to the baseball from 'The Shot Heard Around The World' (is that the same world that takes part in the World Series?) Unfortunately, whilst large sections of this book and many characters were interesting, things started to go slowly downhill from the admittedly excellent and vivid opening.
Chiefly preoccupied with waste - not just the omnipresent garbage but wasted lives, bodies and potential - and paranoia of both the Cold War sort and the more small scale personal paranoia of people feeling they're missing a larger truth, this also kind of sums up my thoughts on the book; I'm sure I've missed part of the bigger picture if my opinion differs so greatly from all those who think this book is awesome, along with being host to a vague feeling of having wasted 2 weeks of reading time on a book I only intermittently enjoyed....more
Sweet and funny short tale of how Odd, a young boy, saves Asgard from the Frost Giants who have taken over thanks to a drunken mistake by Loki (who elSweet and funny short tale of how Odd, a young boy, saves Asgard from the Frost Giants who have taken over thanks to a drunken mistake by Loki (who else?)...more
Immensely gripping family drama in which runs two concurrent storylines - one the childhood Cornish holiday of Julian and his parents, joined by two eImmensely gripping family drama in which runs two concurrent storylines - one the childhood Cornish holiday of Julian and his parents, joined by two estranged American relatives, and the second a return to the holiday home as an adult, accompanied by his parents again (this time with mum suffering from early onset Alzheimers) and his brother-in-law...
All of the characters are incredibly well-drawn, and the pace was masterful - the reveal of what happened on the first holiday, along with the dramatic revelation of present day secrets kept me enthralled long past bed-time.
I don't want to say too much else for fear of spoiling what was a beautifully constructed plot, other than to say this was a fabulously written book about memories, intimacy and the fear of it, and the secrets that threaten to tear families apart, as well as bind them together....more
I loved this book, which is pretty much an overview of the Greek myths. I would have preferred a little more in depth in some places, but I guess thatI loved this book, which is pretty much an overview of the Greek myths. I would have preferred a little more in depth in some places, but I guess that's what Homer is for....more
Read for my GCSE's and, thanks to the witches, murder and all around unpleasantness, didn't get bored once. Instead it started my off on my reading ofRead for my GCSE's and, thanks to the witches, murder and all around unpleasantness, didn't get bored once. Instead it started my off on my reading of classics. So, thanks GCSE's!...more
Chief Investigator Arkady Renko isn't having a good time of it. His wife has left him taking everything, including the light bulbs, and he's having toChief Investigator Arkady Renko isn't having a good time of it. His wife has left him taking everything, including the light bulbs, and he's having to investigate the discovery of three bodies in Gorky Park, a case he's trying without success to get passed on to the KGB.
An excellent, labyrinthine and murky thriller where Renko's investigation opens up the complex idealogies, corruption and paranoia of the system in the Russia of the 80's, where no-one can be trusted and virtually everyone is out to get you, it only really became apparent to me just how good this was as we approached the end and the big picture emerged more clearly. This may have been down to the nature of the book (what with the details of the crime only revealed as they're solved) or my reading of it - I was having to read much of the first half in short bursts whenever I could grab the time so didn't find myself as engaged as I normally would be, but by the time I'd reached the second half I was able to immerse myself far more fully and then soon found myself sucked in. ...more