I occasionally like to read mysteries and even murder mysteries, but I had no idea I had read so many children's books that contained murder! My favorI occasionally like to read mysteries and even murder mysteries, but I had no idea I had read so many children's books that contained murder! My favorite part was the second half of the introductory chapter because that contained the type of content I expected to find in the book. The other chapters were interesting, but often veered off into subjects I wasn't quite as interested in reading about.
Then again, I learned some interesting yet unexpected facts. Did you know that during the Middle Ages in England, and even later in some of the American colonies, you could save yourself from hanging for a murder conviction just by proving you know how to read? I had never heard of that. It's called "benefit of clergy." It started as a protection for church officials, but eventually stretched to anyone who could read - or even those who could pretend to read because they had memorized the correct passage from the Bible. So then the question is, why were so many church officials committing murder, or being accused of it, that they needed a special protection for it?
Since there are no other reviews for this book here on Goodreads, I'm going to include a list of the chapter titles. I don't think I would have found this book quite as interesting if I hadn't already read most of the titles discussed before reading this book:
Intro: Once upon a crime: homicide in American culture and popular children's literature from "Bluebeard" to Harry Potter 1- "You must kill her and bring me her lungs and liver as proof": Snow White and the fact as well as fantasy of filicide 2- "The queen had only one way of settling all difficulties... 'off with his head!' ": Alice's adventures in Wonderland and the anti-gallows movement 3- "Swarthy, sun-tanned, villainous looking fellows": Tarzan of the apes and criminal anthropology 4- "A sixth sense seemed to tell her that she had encountered something unusual": psychic sleuthing in the Nancy Drew mystery series 5- "How'd you like that haircut to begin just below the chin?": juvenile delinquency, teenager killers and a pulp aesthetic in the Outsiders 6- "My job is... to make you a human being in the eyes of the jury": confronting the dramatization-and demonization-of murder in Walter Dean Myers' Monster Epilogue: "Just because you don't have a pulse doesn't mean you can't be perky": my so-called death, young adult zombie fiction and murder in the posthuman age. ...more
While this isn't the most well-written autobiography I've ever read, I did find the story very inspiring. I could definitely feel the bond between DicWhile this isn't the most well-written autobiography I've ever read, I did find the story very inspiring. I could definitely feel the bond between Dick and his son while reading this. And reading their story, as has happened to many other people, really makes me feel like I can do more! Can I get 10,000 steps in a day? Yes you can! Now I need to go find their videos on YouTube....more
I found this to be quite interesting, although I would have enjoyed it even more if he would have given more examples from contemporary children's litI found this to be quite interesting, although I would have enjoyed it even more if he would have given more examples from contemporary children's literature in addition to the classic stories he cites from. If I were teaching a children's literature class and having students read this, that would be a great assignment for them - to come up with examples in current children's literature of his five themes.
Another assignment would be to come up with another recurring theme in children's literature. My example would be something Jerry Griswold might call "aloneness." I've noticed that in many children's stories, especially adventure-type stories, the parents or adults in the child's life are absent for one reason or another. Many times the child is an orphan. Sometimes the parents are there, but they seem not to notice what the children are doing. This gives the child character a great deal of freedom - much more than most real children have. And thus, a fantastical adventure takes place that is exciting to read....more
Some parts of this were a 5-star book for me, and other parts were 3-star or even lower. I didn't enjoy the LONG stretches of info dumping and inner tSome parts of this were a 5-star book for me, and other parts were 3-star or even lower. I didn't enjoy the LONG stretches of info dumping and inner thoughts of our main character that seemed to go on and on. But when things were happening with the game, I was completely focused, interested, and wanted the story to continue on and on.
I enjoyed the many eighties references, especially when they were about movies and TV. I was never really much into video games, although I don't feel like that hindered my enjoyment of the story.
This reminded me a lot of Omnitopia: Dawn by Diane Duane, the only other book I've read like this - although I understand there are quite a few others. I enjoyed this just a bit more than that, I think because of all the memories brought back by the eighties references. I need to go watch War Games again!...more
This book grabbed me up and did not want to let go. I liked having the focus be split between the preparations for the fair and the serial killer becaThis book grabbed me up and did not want to let go. I liked having the focus be split between the preparations for the fair and the serial killer because a little bit of serial killer goes a long way for me. I loved how it read like a novel, yet was still meticulously researched and taught me all sorts of historical facts and details. Now I want to go ride a Ferris wheel!
I will definitely read more by Erik Larson in the near future! This is a great way for a fiction-lover like me to get in some nonfiction....more
Beautiful illustrations with a story meant to teach a lesson, this feels to me like a picture book meant more for adults than children. I thought thisBeautiful illustrations with a story meant to teach a lesson, this feels to me like a picture book meant more for adults than children. I thought this was just okay. Don't confuse this with The Christmas Candle by Max Lucado. The stories have some similarities, but are not the same....more
This is going to be one of those reviews where I enjoyed the book too much to have much more than glowing praise to say about it. A review full of thiThis is going to be one of those reviews where I enjoyed the book too much to have much more than glowing praise to say about it. A review full of things like, "amazing, engrossing, inspiring, informative and entertaining at the same time" just isn't very interesting. But there you have it! That's how I feel about this book. I highly recommend it for anyone who enjoys nonfiction, history, biography, inspiring sports stories, the Olympics, or even just a well-written, well-researched true story!
I don't think it hurt that I listened to this as an audiobook narrated by Edward Herrmann. I could listen to him all day long! Although that means I missed the pictures, so I'll have to find a print copy sometime to see those. This is a book I wouldn't mind listening to again - in fact, I wouldn't have minded starting it over again right when I finished. But I think I'll wait until I'm going on a trip to listen to it again....more
I've been wishing that this hadn't won so many awards - specifically the Sibert Honor and the Printz Honor - because I really didn't want to read it.I've been wishing that this hadn't won so many awards - specifically the Sibert Honor and the Printz Honor - because I really didn't want to read it. The cover screamed out to me, "Not your type of book!" and I just felt like it was going to be a chore to get through. If my library hadn't had it just sitting here on the shelf, I'm not sure I ever would have gotten to it. (Although I am really close to finishing the Sibert Honor list!)
So I was pleasantly surprised to find myself drawn into the story of young Jack Gantos as he completely messes up his life. This truly wasn't my type of book with so many stories of drug use and some real unpleasant details of life in prison, but I mostly didn't hate it while I was reading it. And now I'm very glad to be able to check it off of my list!
I do wonder why this won so many awards usually given to books for children and young adults. I don't see this as a book appropriate for any but the oldest of young adults - and even then it's questionable. I'm wondering if it's just because Jack Gantos usually writes books for children? I don't see that this as a book written for children at all. This is an adult book, and it details some not very pleasant things. I didn't hate it, but I can't really recommend it, either....more
I can't really recommend this, which makes me sad. I really enjoyed the TV show and thought reading the book would be a nice way to learn more about tI can't really recommend this, which makes me sad. I really enjoyed the TV show and thought reading the book would be a nice way to learn more about those characters. If I had read this first, though, I don't think I would have been much interested in watching the TV show. The characters and the stories are there, but the way they are portrayed is just a bit too much. I didn't completely dislike most of it, but I felt time and again that I didn't need to be told all the details in such graphic detail. I especially didn't want to learn about all the nitty gritty details of the prositution trade in London in that time period! Yuck and yuck! The book would be MUCH better without those chapters, and they really don't fit in with the rest of the content. There are some amazing stories here, but in the end I can't say that this was worth my time. I won't be reading or listening to any others in the series. ...more
Dan Brown always takes me to places I've never been and will most likely never go. He also always teaches me things about various works of art that IDan Brown always takes me to places I've never been and will most likely never go. He also always teaches me things about various works of art that I find very interesting - all while delivering an adventure that keeps me on the edge of my seat, reading as quickly as possible to the end to see how it all turns out. Because of all that, it surprises me at how reluctant I was to start reading this. I think Dan Brown's books are the kind I enjoy while I'm reading them, but wonder later why I enjoyed them quite that much. Still, it was worth reading. Before reading this, I only knew the basics about Dante and his Divine Comedy, but now I know at least a little bit more than that. 3.5 stars....more
It's been so long since I've read a John Grisham mystery! (Although I did enjoy revisiting Skipping Christmas on audio this past Christmas.) This wasIt's been so long since I've read a John Grisham mystery! (Although I did enjoy revisiting Skipping Christmas on audio this past Christmas.) This was an enjoyable read, but I agree with others that it wasn't up to Grisham's usual standard. Reading this did make me want to go back and catch up on the few other Grisham mysteries I see I've missed over the past few years.
The author's note at the end was a disappointment. I didn't want to know that research wasn't a priority and accuracy wasn't crucial. It just sounds lazy when he says "long paragraphs of fiction were used to avoid looking up facts." What? Don't tell me that. It brings the whole book down a notch for me. 2.5 stars....more