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BOOKS! - what are you reading?
I just read 'We need to talk about Kevin" which was based on a Columbine type school shooting. It sucked me in and I couldn't put it down, but the ending was terrible (for reasons I can't write without ruining it for anyone else who might read it).

I'm just starting 'Freedom', by Jonathan Kranzen.
I just finished "Heaven is for Real".....It's good, but not as good as I expected.
(05-23-2011, 06:39 AM)sdtay Wrote: I just finished "Heaven is for Real".....It's good, but not as good as I expected.

thankyou for that interesting book report.




ok....I guess it was interesting that I finished it on Doomsday. Can I try again, LC?
This is about a cute little boy that gets to see heaven, sit on Jesus' lap, has info that he could not have known any other way than being there...It is interesting, but I think the media built it up and gave all the juicy details - Kinda like a movie - you get all the good stuff to lure you in and then you leave a little disappointed. Not that I'm disappointed in the details of Heaven - sounds amazing, but they could have left something for me to actually read!

Can I please get a better grade than a D, now?
hah ok C+ Awink

i'd like to hear more about heaven.

i'm going to have to order this to add to my pile of unread books! hahaha i'll get to them sometime!
this is a well-known case, and Ruth Snyder was electrocuted. there is a famous pic that was taken of her in the chair (secretly)...i'll go find it. Smiley_emoticons_fies

NYTIMES book review
Before it became one of the most familiar premises for hard-boiled fiction and film noir, the tale of the wife who coaxed her lover into getting rid of her annoying husband and cashing in on his life insurance was an actual news event. As he writes in an essay called “Whence Novels Come” (posted on the Web site of Santa Clara University, where he teaches) Ron Hansen found this out only accidentally. But he has made it the basis for “A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion,” a novel that separates the mawkish tabloid murder case from its later, tougher incarnations.

By Ron Hansen
256 pages. Scribner. $25.

While teaching a seminar on film noir and its literary roots, Mr. Hansen researched James M. Cain’s novels “The Postman Always Rings Twice” and “Double Indemnity.” He found out that both were based on the case of a treacherous wife, Ruth Snyder, and a hapless corset salesman, Judd Gray. Ruth and Judd, as Mr. Hansen calls them, were both married when they began a torrid affair in 1925. “I knew you’d be a good kisser,” Mr. Hansen has Ruth say coyly. “You’re so gorgeous, Ruth,” Judd replies. “I hadn’t the daring to even dream — ” Then Ruth talks Judd into eliminating her husband, Albert Snyder, a k a “the Governor” and “the Old Crab,” from the equation.

When brought to trial for her husband’s murder, Ruth insisted that she had not instigated the crime, and that she had even tried to stop it. She claimed to have said, “Judd, you’ll do no such thing!” Upon being convicted and sentenced to death, she told the press: “This is just a formality. I have just as good a chance now of going free as I had before the trial started.” She was the rare liar who actually wound up with her hair on fire when she was electrocuted at Sing Sing in 1928.

Mr. Hansen, who has written about biographical characters like the James Gang (“The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford” in 1983) and Gerard Manley Hopkins (“Exiles” in 2008), had a lot of newspaper reporting and courtroom transcripts on which to base his book. He also made liberal use of “Doomed Ship,” Judd’s florid 1928 memoir, written in a style that’s a long way from James M. Cain’s. (Judd on his first encounter with Ruth: “I realized that a frank, sincere character lurked behind that radiant and healthy loveliness.”)

Still, there were many blanks for Mr. Hansen to fill in. One of the best things about “A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion” is its liberation from noir clichés; another is its seamless execution. The fiction works so well that the factual material is hard to find.

Mr. Hansen begins at the crime scene, with 9-year-old Lorraine Snyder finding her mother in the hallway outside her parents’ bedroom door. Ruth’s ankles and wrists have been tied with a clothesline. And she wants them to stay that way. “Don’t untie me yet,” she instructs. Instead, she tells Lorraine to go get witnesses from across the street.

Next, Ruth feigns surprise at the overkill inflicted on her husband. He was both bludgeoned and strangled with picture wire. Perhaps Mr. Hansen improvised when he had Ruth exclaim, “Oh no! Albert! Darling!” Whether it draws upon trial testimony or the author’s imagination, the book memorably points out that Lorraine had never heard her disagreeable father called “darling” before.

Mr. Hansen then backtracks to the story of Ruth and Judd’s romance, with enthusiastic emphasis on how the dapper Judd earned the nickname Loverboy. “He lifted Ruth to her feet so his clotheshorse hands could deftly undo and tease off a hushed waterfall of jeweled white evening gown,” Mr. Hansen writes, doing his most obvious embroidery when writing in torrid mode. He seems to hew closer to fact when he illustrates how Ruth, in her sympathy-mongering letters to Judd, could misspell neglect (“neglec”), cruelty (“cruellty”), unburden (“unburdun”), desperate (“desparate”) and destructive (“distructive”). She sweet-talked him into doing her bidding anyhow.

There are some cold, hard facts that this part of the book has to establish too: how Judd and Ruth had assignations at the Waldorf-Astoria (and at least once left Lorraine to wait in the lobby, which was the kind of thing witnesses would remember later); how they got to talking about Albert’s meager life insurance; how the double-indemnity insurance scheme was born. As soon as Albert became heavily insured, accidents started to happen. Mr. Hansen turns to black comedy as Albert gets trapped under a car and in a tree, and Ruth leaves the gas on in their house until she realizes this might kill the canary. She also experiments with poisoned prune whip, a toxic version of Albert’s favorite dessert.

The book then moves on to the actual crime. It was executed so clumsily that Damon Runyon, one of many writers who would cover the trial, nicknamed it the “Dumb-Bell Murder.” Here Mr. Hansen does some stumbling of his own: He provides not only a step-by-step account of the murder but also a second version as it played out in a courtroom. While those scenes have drama, the book loses momentum by rehashing details that have already been amply described.

When Mr. Hanson quotes a phrenologist who evaluated Judd, deeming him “a voluptuary, greedily drawing honey from the deep-throated calyx of illicit joy,” it’s easy to see how the language of the era was enticing to Mr. Hansen in its own right. The title “A Wild Surge of Guilty Passion” comes from an editorial in The New York Daily Mirror written by Cornelius Vanderbilt III, and it too is powerfully evocative of the overstatement that this murder case provoked. Mr. Hansen finds intriguing dissonance in the way such overwrought language is so far from lean, mean noir-speak yet can be used to tell a story that’s so noir at heart.

“There’s nothing worse than a full day of drinking, then waking up next to some guy and not being able to remember how you met,” Mr. Hansen’s Ruth complains, in a voice that would work in a steamy crime story of any era. “Or why he’s dead.” hah

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Knock yourselves out, there is this one and at least two dozen others that are in the series stream for me to read and collate together into a simple presentation.

I'm putting together a presentation for the big guys, I'm pushing for them to update and upgrade several key production machines, It's pretty exciting reading.

Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
John Adams

(05-23-2011, 08:10 AM)sdtay Wrote: This is about a cute little boy that gets to see heaven, sit on Jesus' lap

I think this is just a boy confusing Jebus with Santa Claus.
We need to punish the French, ignore the Germans and forgive the Russians - Condoleezza Rice.
this looks interesting~

Empire of The Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne

Cynthia Ann Parker, aged just nine, was abducted as her family were brutally slaughtered around her.

After her isolated Texan outpost was attacked by Comanche Indians, she was stripped from her mother and spirited away on horseback - brought up to live as one of the tribe.

For 24 years the blue-eyed captive remained with her abductors, marrying and bearing children - even forgetting her native English tongue.

But in an incredible quirk of fate, one of her sons - Quanah Parker - rose to become one the most feared Native American generals of the 1800's and the last of Comanche leader to finally surrender the tribe to a life on the reservations under U.S. authorities.

The brutal tale of abduction, bloodshed and surrender is the subject of a new book, Empire of the Summer Moon.

Author S.C. Gwynne takes up the tale of Cynthia Parker - Nautdah to her adopted Comanche family - weaving her unlikely narrative into the violent sweep of scalpings, raiding parties and bloody revenge that punctuated frontier life in the mid 1800s.

He begins the story on May 19 1836.

A Comanche raiding party surrounded the Parker ranch in frontier Texas stormed the lightly manned station - demanding a cow to sacrifice and directions to the nearest watering hole.

Suspecting a trap, the women and children fled out the back door, into cornfields, a dried river bed or open country.

As the men walked towards the saddled Comanche, unarmed and offering food, they were brutally attacked, and dismembered before their shocked family members.

Fleeing with her mother Lucy and four siblings, Cynthia was run down by the pursuing Comanche, surrounded and torn away from her mother.

Gwynne writes: 'The Indians caught them... forced Lucy to surrender two of her children, then dragged her, the two remaining children and one of the men back to the fort.'

Meanwhile, those who remained inside to face the marauding Comanche suffered the same fate as many other frontier settlers of the time - an agonizing death.

'The logic of Comanche raids was straightforward: All the men were killed, and any men who were captured alive were tortured; the captive women were gang raped. Some were killed, some were tortured,' he wrote.

'Babies were invariably killed.'

The Parkers were no different - Four male family members were pinned to the ground with spears and forcibly scalped.

Others who tried to run were savagely attacked: 'Elder John Parker, his wife Sallie and her daughter Elizabeth Kellog ...were surrounded and stripped of all their clothing.

'The Indians went to work on them, attacking the old man with tomahawks...forcing Granny Parker to watch what they did to him.

'They scalped him, cut off his genitals and killed him.'

The violence was typical of that experienced in wild west America.

In unrelated episode, Gwynne describes a similar attack on another settler family.

After seizing a nine-month pregnant woman, the Comanche: 'Dragged her back to a point about two hundred yards from the cabin.

'There she was gang raped. When they were finished , they shot several arrows into her.

'They scalped her alive by making deep cuts below her ears and, in effect, peeling the top of her head entirely off. She lived for four days'

But despite her violent introduction to the tribe, Cynthia - now known as Nautdah or 'found one' - eventually married a Comanche leader Peta Nocona.

Over the next 24 years she became a fully integrated member of the tribe giving birth to three children including the infamous Quanah.

'The captive women were gang raped. Some were killed, some were tortured. Babies were invariably killed'

As the skirmishes between Texas Rangers and native Americans became more brutal, Washington took a firmer line on the raiding tribes, sending troops in ever greater numbers to hunt down the elusive master horsemen of the plains.

It was in one of these raids in 1860 that Cynthia,- barely recognizable as a white woman except for her blue eyes - was 're-captured'.

In fact, so integrated was Cynthia, that the only English words she could speak were: 'Me Cincee Ann'.

Despite her 'rescue', Cynthia did not feel at home with her American relatives and tried to escape several times.

By 1836 the Comanche empire numbered some 30-40,000 people.

A vast military machine, they had crushed around 20 other tribes in their relentless expansion with one American commander labelling their soldiers 'The finest light cavalry in the world'.

Highly skilled horsemen, individual soldiers could fire 20 arrows in the time it took one American soldier to load and fire a single shot.

This once great military power eventually succumbed to the ravages of disease, relentless settler expansion and more frequent attacks by government troops.

Heartbroken at never again seeing her two sons - who escaped in the 1860 raid - she grew more introvert and ill.

When her young daughter died at the age of five her health rapidly declined, and she died lonely and alone in 1870 aged 43.

Her son Quanah however went on to lead a Comanche tribe before he was even 20.

Unusually tall and athletic for the usually diminutive Comanche, Quanah sealed his reputation in a number of daring raids .

His greatest victory came in 1871 when he outwitted a government force of 600 soldiers, successfully attacking their camp at night while leading an entire village to safety.

But by the mid 1870s life was becoming impossible for the nomadic Comanche, and on June 2, 1875 Quanah led his village into captivity, the last Comanche commander to do so.

In his remaining years Quanah enjoyed a certain celebrity and became a successful cattle rancher as the remains of the once proud Comanche empire collapsed around him.

Quanah Parker
Cynthia Ann Parker

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I'm reading Unbroken. Not my usual cup of tea but I can't put it down.

Commando Cunt Queen
(07-17-2011, 07:06 PM)username Wrote: I'm reading Unbroken. Not my usual cup of tea but I can't put it down.


i had to look that up. it sounds riveting. movie material i am sure.

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Thanks for finding the thread for me, LC. I wasn't sure my post "took". It's a great book. Definitely movie material.
Commando Cunt Queen
this is new, i just ordered it since it's a well-known case here on Cape Cod. i am familiar with a couple of the principals.
i disagree that McCowen is innocent.
(Dateline did a program on this case.)

Amazon review:
In January 2002, forty-six-year-old Christa Worthington was found stabbed to death in the kitchen of her Truro, Cape Cod, cottage, her curly-haired toddler clutching her body. A former Vassar girl and scion of a prominent local family, Christa had abandoned a glamorous career as a fashion writer for a simpler life on the Cape, where she had an affair with a married fisherman and had his child. After her murder, evidence pointed toward several local men who had known her.
Yet in 2005, investigators arrested Christopher McCowen, a thirty-four-year-old African-American garbage collector with an IQ of 76. The local headlines screamed, “Black Trash Hauler Ruins Beautiful White Family” and “Black Murderer Apprehended in Fashion Writer Slaying,” while the sole evidence against McCowen was a DNA match showing that he’d had sex with Worthington prior to her murder. There were no fingerprints, no witnesses, and although the state medical examiner acknowledged there was no evidence of rape, the defendant was convicted after a five-week trial replete with conflicting testimony, accusations of crime scene contamination, and police misconduct—and was condemned to three lifetime sentences in prison with no parole.

Rarely has a homicide trial been refracted so clearly through the prism of those who engineered it, and in Reasonable Doubt, bestselling author and biographer Peter Manso is determined to rectify what has become one of the most grossly unjust verdicts in modern trial history. In his riveting new book he bares the anatomy of a horrific murder—as well as the political corruption and racism that appear to be endemic in one of America’s most privileged playgrounds, Cape Cod.

Exhaustively researched and vividly accessible, Reasonable Doubt is a no-holds-barred account of not only Christa Worthington’s murder but also of a botched investigation and a trial that was rife with bias. Manso dug deep into the case, and the results were explosive. The Cape DA indicted the author, threatening him with fifty years in prison.

The trial and conviction of Christopher McCowen for rape and murder should worry American citizens, and should prompt us to truly examine the lip service we pay to the presumption of innocence . . . and to reasonable doubt. With this explosive and challenging book Manso does just that.

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married boyfriend & baby daddy tony jackett

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LC, this one is right up your alley in that it takes place right in your back yard...sorta. It is a novel set in Salem, Mass. A murder mystery with a nice witchy back drop. I have only just started it, but it has hooked me already. Again, it is a NOVEL..but here is a plot line:
Some deaths live on forever
For as long as it has stood overlooking New England's jagged coastline, Lexington House has been the witness to madness…and murder. But in recent years the inexplicable malice that once tormented so many has lain as silent as its victims. Until now…

A member of the nation's foremost paranormal forensic team, Jenna Duffy has made a career out of investigating the inexplicable. Yet nothing could prepare her for the string of slayings once again plaguing Lexington House—or for the chief suspect, a boy barely old enough to drive, much less kill.

With the young man's life on the line, Jenna must team up with attorney Samuel Hall to pinpoint who—or what—is taking the lives of those who get too close to the past. But everything they learn brings them closer to the forces of evil stalking this tortured ground.

Thanks QB...sounds good!

being a devoted Dickens fan, i liked this's being restored now.

nicked from the daily fail.

The discovery of a room-dividing screen decorated by Charles Dickens with 800 images of the great and the good of the day has stunned historians.

It is believed to have been created in 1850 by Victorian novelist Dickens and his actor friend William Macready to educate the thespian's children and is a Who's Who of famous people from the 19th century.

It includes images of the Duke of Wellington, Napoleon, Isaac Newton, Admiral Nelson, William Blake, Mozart, George III, Byron, John Swift, Samuel Butler, William Hogarth and George Washington.

Scenes from Shakespeare plays like Henry VIII were also stuck onto the screen by the two friends who spent hours gluing etchings and prints to the 7ft tall divider at the actor's home

A burn hole caused by a candle shows how someone in the past had been closely looking at it during the night.

'It is canvas on a wood frame and the pictures are probably from periodicals and have been stuck on with glue in a large collage.

'The pictures include the names of the day as well as Shakespeare and classical history - things Macready would want his children to know.'

The 10ft wide screen was found among the possessions of Sir Neville Macready's late mother and was bequeathed to the Friends of Sherborne House.

Sherborne House, was built in 1740, and is currently being sold by Dorset County Council which used to run it as a school.

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A close up of images on the screen show The Duke of Wellington who served as Commander-in-Chief of the British Army until his death and Lord Nelson who died during the Battle of Trafalgar

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On closer investigation, playwright William Shakespeare is also seen as well as a portrait believed to be that of Henry VIII who became King of England in 1509

a delicate restoration

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Texas death row

has a brief on their crimes, their sentance and thier last meals an statements and such 450+ profiles.

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(08-08-2010, 06:37 PM)Maggot Wrote: May your ears turn into arseholes and shit on your shoulders......Smiley_emoticons_smile

i'll buy this book. [Image: reading_by_fire.gif]

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Reading anything by or about Charles Dickens is a year-round pleasure for many readers, but it's especially difficult not to associate him and his world with the holidays thanks to "A Christmas Carol." In Claire Tomalin's new biography, "Charles Dickens: A Life," the author (whose other books include lives of Thomas Hardy and Jane Austen) suggests, in the following excerpt adapted from "Prologue: The Inimitable 1840," why Dickens the man — not just his books — presents such a feast for any biographer.

Charles Dickens had been observing the world about him since he was a child, and reporting on what he saw as a journalist and then as a novelist. Much of it amused him, but more of it upset him: the poverty, the hunger, the ignorance and squalor he saw in London, and the indifference of the rich and powerful to the condition of the poor and ignorant. Through his own energy and exceptional gifts he had raised himself out of poverty. But he neither forgot it, nor turned aside from the poverty about him.

Dickens was twenty-eight in February 1840, and had another thirty years ahead of him. He was living in a country that had been at peace for a quarter of a century. Dickens was still a young man. His grammar could be shaky, his clothes too flamboyant — "geraniums and ringlets" mocked Thackeray — his hospitality too splendid, his temper fierce, but his friends — mostly artists, writers and actors — loved him, and their love was reciprocated. When he went out of London in order to have peace to write, he would within days summon troops of friends to join him. He was a giver of celebratory parties, a player of charades, a dancer of quadrilles and Sir Roger de Coverleys. He suffered from terrible colds and made them into jokes: "Bisery, bisery," he complained, or "I have been crying all day … my nose is an inch shorter than it was last Tuesday, from constant friction." He worked furiously fast to give himself free time. He lived hard and took hard exercise. His day began with a cold shower, and he walked or rode every day if he could, arduous expeditions of twelve, fifteen or twenty miles out of town, often summoning a friend to go with him. He might be in his study from ten at night until one in the morning, or up early to be at his desk by 8:30, writing with a quill pen he sharpened himself and favoring dark blue ink. He was taking French lessons from a serious teacher. He was also doing his best to help a poor carpenter with literary ambitions, reading what he had written and finding him work.

He was an obsessive organizer of his surroundings, even rearranging the furniture in hotel rooms. He smoked cigars, and often mentions his wine-dealers in letters, and the brandy, gin, port, sherry, champagne, claret and Sauternes delivered and enjoyed; and although he was very rarely the worse for drink, he sometimes confessed to feeling bad in the mornings after overindulging the night before. Raspberries were his favorite fruit, served without cream, and he was very fond of dates in boxes. He belonged to the Garrick Club and the Athenaeum, and he knew and frequented all the theatres in London and could ask any of their managers for a box when he wanted one. Eating out, going to the theatre, adventuring through the rough areas of London with a friend or two were habitual ways of spending his evening. He also walked the streets by himself, observing and thinking. He was passionately interested in prisons and in asylums, the places where society's rejects are kept.

He saw the world more vividly than other people, and reacted to what he saw with laughter, horror, indignation — and sometimes sobs. He stored up his experiences and reactions as raw material to transform and use in his novels, and was so charged with imaginative energy that he rendered nineteenth-century England crackling, full of truth and life, with his laughter, horror and indignation — and sentimentality. Even one of his most hostile critics acknowledged that he described London "like a special correspondent for posterity." Early in his writing career he started to call himself "the inimitable": it was partly a joke with him, but not entirely, because he could see that there was no other writer at work who could surpass him, and that no one among his friends or family could even begin to match his energy and ambition. He could make people laugh and cry, and arouse anger, and he meant to amuse and to make the world a better place. And wherever he went he produced what, much later, an observant girl described as "a sort of brilliance in the room, mysteriously dominant and formless. I remember how everyone lighted up when he entered."

From "Charles Dickens: A Life" by Claire Tomalin.

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Almost a century after Captain Scott and his team perished on a polar expedition, new details of their ill-fated adventure described in letters and journals are to be displayed for he first time.

New artifacts include the last letter written by Scott’s closest comrade Dr Edward Wilson before he died on the return from the South Pole.

Addressed to publisher Reginald Smith, the letter - which reflects on the crew’s struggle - had remained undiscovered since 1913 until an archivist returned to inspect a box of documents.

The story of the Terra Nova expedition is explored in a mixture of newly discovered and rarely seen letters, diaries and photographs of its members, in an exhibition at Cambridge University’s Polar Museum.

The exhibition tells the full story of the fateful expedition, not just through the famous journals and letters of Scott, Bowers, Evans, Oates and Wilson, who died on their way back from the Pole, but through other members of the ship’s crew and shore party.

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daily mail

i almost never read fiction. but after reading some glowing reviews, and because it's a Mass. locale, i bought it. i'm only on chapter 3, but i'm into it. it's a courthouse thing and legal thriller, and having once worked in a Mass. courthouse it intrigued me. i still prefer non-fiction.
for mystery fans, blurb below--->

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Andy Barber has been an assistant district attorney in his suburban Massachusetts county for more than twenty years. He is respected in his community, tenacious in the courtroom, and happy at home with his wife, Laurie, and son, Jacob. But when a shocking crime shatters their New England town, Andy is blindsided by what happens next: His fourteen-year-old son is charged with the murder of a fellow student.

Every parental instinct Andy has rallies to protect his boy. Jacob insists that he is innocent, and Andy believes him. Andy must. He’s his father. But as damning facts and shocking revelations surface, as a marriage threatens to crumble and the trial intensifies, as the crisis reveals how little a father knows about his son, Andy will face a trial of his own—between loyalty and justice, between truth and allegation, between a past he’s tried to bury and a future he cannot conceive.

Award-winning author William Landay has written the consummate novel of an embattled family in crisis—a suspenseful, character-driven mystery that is also a spellbinding tale of guilt, betrayal, and the terrifying speed at which our lives can spin out of control.