My thoughts about this book varied widely as I read it. I alternately found it interesting and extrememly quotable, thought it was one big long rant,My thoughts about this book varied widely as I read it. I alternately found it interesting and extrememly quotable, thought it was one big long rant, and found it repeatitive. It was all, of course, "preaching to choir", so to speak, as I'm an atheist myself. (When the subject comes up at all, that is. Generally speaking, I'm unconcerned about what happens when I'm dead. I'd rather live for now, not for then. I'll find out what, if anything, happens when the time comes -- no point in dwelling on it now, in my opinion!) Hawkins does make very good points but, in my experience, once a person has accepted "faith", it is hard to get them to sway from that. I guess it was just refreshing to read such an educated person stand up and say, "it's okay to be an atheist and, in fact, I can write a big fat book that shows all the reasons it's crazy not to be one." I found that comforting....more
This is a truly brilliant, exhaustively researched, fascinating, easily-digestible piece of journalism. A five star book for me, for sure, and easilyThis is a truly brilliant, exhaustively researched, fascinating, easily-digestible piece of journalism. A five star book for me, for sure, and easily the best non-fiction I've read in quite some time. I'm currently having a hard time fully enjoying any of the five books I've got going now as they all pale in comparison. In the interest of full disclosure I should note that I do have a personal, albeit brief, connection to Columbine, having at one time been friends with the principal's son and having met Mr. D himself in his basement roughly six months after the massacre. That was definitely part of why I wanted to read this, but I also have a fascination with the human psyche and a intense desire to know what drives people to commit such heinous acts. I knew from the beginning that the idea of Dylan and Eric being "Gothic freaks seeking revenge" was ridiculous. I know too many freaks of all types, including Goth, for that to make any sense at all.
Considering the outpouring of immediate information (much, if not most of it false) concerning the massacre, I really appreciate Cullen's dedication in uncovering the truth. He put in ten years of research, coming through piles of evidence including journals, photos, videos, autopsy reports, etc. and interviewing anyone related to the event who would sit still long enough. (Most of his source information including crime scene photos, police documentation, and video clips can be seen at the book's related website.) He truly wanted to understand, to dispel rumors and myths, to present a fair, truthful, and mostly unopinionated account of what happened. (His own feelings on "why" are evident, but well supported and, really, I can't fault him for them leaking out, and not just because I happen to agree with him. I don't know that I'd want to read something someone researched for this long if they didn't have some kind of obvious emotional response.)
The format Cullen uses took a brief period of getting used to, but I really liked it in the end. He alternated chapter between those leading up to the massacre and those describing what happened after, including the investigation. It is carefully done so that it all comes to the same point by the end of the book. His writing style was excellent for me as well. I have read descriptions of the book that include he phrase "a non-fiction novel", and I think that is very apt. The story unfolds like fiction and is written so casually at times that it just flows along. Cullen utilities slang and casual structure to mirror that of the killers' own language, employing phases such as "this was going to be fucking bad-ass" (not an actual quote, but you get the idea). It gives the book a real human (and, at times, an appropriately teenage) voice that keeps it from being too stuffy or dry.
It is a size able book at over 400 pages, but I can't imagine anything being left out. Cullen investigates every aspect, including those victims the general public seems to have mostly ignored, including boys' parents and siblings, the principal, and the wife of the one teacher killed. He covers all the rumors, theories and myths, including the Trench Coat Mafia, the concept of the boys being vengeful losers, and the oft-heralded Cassie Bernall. He follows all the main characters up to the time of publication, leaving no one out.
This is an amazingly powerful book. It is no wonder Cullen is considered the foremost expert on the Columbine killings. I am very eager to see what he tackles next....more
Absolutely loved it. Robbins has an eloquence and a wit that even the luckiest reader only stumbles on (or is guided to) a handful of times in their bAbsolutely loved it. Robbins has an eloquence and a wit that even the luckiest reader only stumbles on (or is guided to) a handful of times in their book life. Very much looking forward to reading more by him....more
I heard about this book on NPR some time back and, once I purchased it I just couldn't hold off from reading it, it looked too good. I was definitely I heard about this book on NPR some time back and, once I purchased it I just couldn't hold off from reading it, it looked too good. I was definitely not disappointed. Donohue has painted a vivid world of changeling children that he compares with regular life. The book alternates chapters - one "written" by the changeling now living as a human, the next by the stolen child living with the faeries. The book involved many themes -- love, trust, loss, abandonment, solitute, difference, freedoms, friendship, memory. Though Donohue doesn't fully develop as many of the characters as one might like, the two main "boys" are rich and deep, offering an excellent opportunity for comparison/contrast which only makes for a more fullfilling read. I really, really enjoyed this, am very impressed that it is a debut novel, and am definitely looking forward to more works by this author.
As a quick side note, just the other day my ex-boyfriend and I ran into each other online and he said how he had seen me at the zoo earlier that evening. I corrected him, telling him I had been at home all night (reading this very book, as a matter of fact). He swore up and down that he had seen me, sitting in a way I commonly do, holding my coffee cup the same way, wearing a leather jacket he recognized. I insited it wasn't me and we both agreed it was very, very strange. It's one thing to have someone who doesn't know you well think they see you, another when it is someone who knows you so intimately! Makes me wonder if there is changeling out there watching me -- or perhaps it is I who am the changeling and too much time in this human form has made me forget my roots! Strange coincidence, nonetheless....more
Wow. I mean really... wow. This is a simply incredible, powerful, wonderful book. It's like sushi --- raw, but fantastic in the small bites it is presWow. I mean really... wow. This is a simply incredible, powerful, wonderful book. It's like sushi --- raw, but fantastic in the small bites it is presented in. Yes, technically it is a book of poetry, but it is so very much more than that. It is her life, from childhood to adulthood, cut into small, strong snippets. I can't praise this highly enough. It is an absolute MUST READ. ...more
OMG! I totally forgot I had this book! Somehow, it was lost in the shuffle and I just (joyously) came across it the other day. I sat down and read itOMG! I totally forgot I had this book! Somehow, it was lost in the shuffle and I just (joyously) came across it the other day. I sat down and read it almost at once, smiling, laughing, and weeping the whole time. I found it beautiful and touching, heartbreaking and heartwarming. How hard the jobs of these vets and techs must be, to work with such sick animals, but how gratifying. Mooney really hits on some deeply true sentiments concerning life, cats, love, loss, and (especially) the special bond between people and pets. While the writing, overall, isn't astounding, her sentiments are and she has moments of such simple truths, words that strike such a resounding chord, that it is easy to overlook the "literary" faults.
In fact, I have to share my favorite quote, which struck me so deeply and made me think of all the cats I have met and loved, in my own home, others, and the sometimes heartbreakingly sad world of the local pound:
'I remember a doctor at the hospital asking me...what was so special about that cat. "She's only a little black cat," he said. As though there were millions, or even one, just like her.
One evening my mother called, and while we talked she asked me how my little black cat was doing. I tried to answer but could not. After a long pause she asked, "When did it happen?"
"Thanksgiving morning," I replied.
"I'm so sorry, dear. But you had a such nice vacation together, and she had a good life with you."
But it was not enough.
"And you have your others."
But it was not the same.
No, dear author, it is not the same, is it? No matter how much you love the others, even if you love them more, it is never the same, and it is never enough....more
I definitely enjoyed it; fascinating reading. The author is extremely talented; I was impressed at how she could make the book humorous while still prI definitely enjoyed it; fascinating reading. The author is extremely talented; I was impressed at how she could make the book humorous while still preserving the dignity and importance of the cadavers involved. And the book IS funny, there's no question about that. I had read a bit about the Body Farm before, as well as a book on gross anatomy class, but had no idea about some of the other uses for cadavers. I have always planned on donating my organs, body, whatever (heck, they can blow me up if they want to, I don't care) and this book just reinforced that desire....more
A fast a touching read with a happy ending (a rarity in memoirs about animals, I've found). Christian certainly was a lucky lion to wind up with Ace aA fast a touching read with a happy ending (a rarity in memoirs about animals, I've found). Christian certainly was a lucky lion to wind up with Ace and John and his luck continued on and on in ways that almost seem unlikely. (Another case of truth being stranger than fiction.) A story of a deep, true friendship that crossed species, this is as heartwarming as the YouTube video that prompted its re-release....more
Though not what I expected, I really enjoyed this. I thought it would be more about the class itself, or at least focus almost exclusively on the impaThough not what I expected, I really enjoyed this. I thought it would be more about the class itself, or at least focus almost exclusively on the impact the class has on the students. The author gives much more history of students, teachers, and the history of cadaver dissection than I was expecting. In spite, or perhaps because of, that, the book was been incredibly interesting. I think at least a passing interet in the medical field is required for real enjoyment -- passages would probably seem rather dry otherwise. It definitely made me seriously consider donating my body to a medical school, that's for sure! ...more
This was an extremely powerful read. It gives an excellent view of what desert crossing is really like, what the punishing environment of the SouthwesThis was an extremely powerful read. It gives an excellent view of what desert crossing is really like, what the punishing environment of the Southwest can do to a human. It is a story of human (and perhaps societal) betrayal and greed. It makes border crossers real people, not merely part of a statistic. While Urrea primrarily focuses on the details of one particular group, he also enables the reader to think of all those not mentioned, all the other crossers who fall prey to the desert. Very well written, very fluid, this is a fast paced (though not easy, emotionally) read.
Living, as I do, in Arizona, I know the desert, cities, roads and mountains of which Urrea writes. I travel into Mexico on little jaunts with friends, going into little beach towns for the weekend, thinking nothing of it. How easy it is to take for granted the ability to do that - to cross back and forth on a whim. On my next trip south, I know I will look at the desert a little differently. I won't be able to help but wonder how many are out there and what state they are in. This read will stay with me a long time....more