Monday, July 27, 2009

No Easy Answers: The Truth Behind Death at Columbine (Brooks Brown and Rob Merritt)

So I don't know if this book suffered unnecessarily because I read it right after Dave Cullen's or if I would have disliked it either way, but regardles I did. Dislike it I mean.

I didn't hate it. In fact I'd go so far as to say I'd recommend it, if only for the the indepth discussion of Dylan Klebold (who was kind of typecase as the depressed loser sidekick in Cullen's book IMHO). But Brooks' (and Merrit's - did he have much to do with this?) tone was grating. At several points in the book he deliberately tells parts of the story in such self-serving ways. I mean, lying to protet Fusselier's son? Am I really supposed to believe that happened?

The thing is, it's an easy read with a conversational (if annoying) style, and it's a nice counterweight to Cullen's book. The two definitely paint a portrait of a wildly incompetent police department, not surprising given the small town-ish nature of Jeffco.

I find Cullen's account (a sociopath and his hanger on) a little more plausible - I simply refuse to believe that Columbine was such a terrible place so full of bullies that these two were driven to murder. The real truth probably lies in between the two.

Am super curious about the principal... he was painted very generously in Cullen's book but almost villified in this one. Hard to know which is true, but I thought it was interesting nonetheless.

I will probably try to read one more Columbine book for good measure. See where the majority lies.

Overall, C+

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Testing Kate (Whitney Gaskell)

A fun, quick, chit lit read. About a woman who has terrible luck and her experience at law school.

What I liked:
The setting: New Orleans (and Tulane University)
The group of law students (though stereotypical, each one was well painted, I thought)
The tangential historian that Kate works for

What I didn't like:
The caricature of an evil law professor
The weird focus on her "bad luck"
Both of Kate's relationships.

Overall C

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Say When (Elizabeth Berg)

An OK book. I feel a little about Berg like I do about Piccoult. In her case she takes a domestic situation (usually a divorce or other problem) and tells a LONG story about it. I guess I am beginning to need something wtih more action? I don't know.

I did like the idea of the main character being male - interesting perspective on divorce, certainly. I didn't reallly like the portrayal of the wife. It seems like she was characterized as a little crazy or immature because she wanted more than monotony.

A little research reveals it was made into a TV movies, which I can totally see. Like the idea of the main character playing Santa, though it didn't really gel as an action he would take.

Overall: C.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Columbine (Dave Cullen)

I'm not a big non-fiction fan, but I really enjoyed this book. It's a factual account framed within a journalist's own account of telling the story of Columbine. It's an interesting take on how the media both reported and influenced the creation of the "story" of Columbine, with great accounts of how the individuals in the community experienced the shooting and its aftermath.

I was really surprised by how "wrong" I was about Columbine - that is how many of the myths I'd taken for granted as true. I remember watching it unfold on live TV - it's one of those "flashbulb" memories that I'm not entirely certain are accurate but that I hold just the same. I was babysitting at my early morning gig while a college student at OWU. Bizarrely, though that's the only moment I can remember. Weird. Plus I think it's incorrect because they would be EARLIER than us on time and I was only babysitting from like 6 - 9 am or something.

Anyway, the book is good and left me wanting more. I have reserved a few other books on the tragedy. Not sure what my fascination with it was.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Plain Truth (Jodi Piccoult)

Was OK. Not sure if I'm over Piccoult or audio books or both. Plus this was already made into a Lifetime movie that I saw years ago. More just recording this one than anything else.