Have been enjoying a poetry anthology & John Updike’s Hugging the Shore this week.  I think I read a true crime book, too.  What was it?  Oh, yeah, Jack Olsen’s Cold Kill.  He’s a favorite of mine, as you know if you’ve read my previous accolades about him and Updike, too.

Needed some more nonfiction.  So Better World Books was having an Earth Day sale & I ordered 3.  When they arrived, my husband told me he and Barrett were joking about the titles of the books–“A True Crime Interpreted via Documentary”, or some such thing.    I love documentaries, too.  If there is a Hollywood film out about a true story, I’ll check to see if there is a documentary on the same subject.  If there is, I watch that instead.

The titles are actually a little morbid than usual.  These are the books I ordered:  Nazi Doctors, Medical Killing & the Psychology of Genocide by Robert Jay Lifton.  I’ve started this very thorough book first.  I hadn’t studied the holocaust for a long time, and I’ve never studied Nazi ideology before.  I’m finding it interesting.  He interviewed many doctors who were Nazis and prisoners.  I also ordered Stiff-The Curious Life of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach.  She is a science writer, and the book is macabre, but humorous, according to the reviews.  A Twitter friend said it was excellent.  The last book I ordered was Bad Blood-A Family Murder in Marin County, by Richard Levine.  It’s one of those I may have read before, but don’t remember.  I’ll may remember when I read it.  I needed a straight true crime story.  Something about them interests me.  I think it is “what happens to bring people to a point where they kill or are killed?”  I’m interested from both a psychological & a sociological standpoint. 

I think the Lifton book may be slow going.  Stiff appears to be a quick read.  The Levine book appears thorough.  I always respect true crime books that don’t have pictures, although, the pictures fascinate me.  It’s helpful to have a face to place with a name in the book.  However, if it doesn’t have pictures it seems a little more credible, and it usually is, and better written.

So, off to bed to read awhile, and I’ll keep you posted!



Did I tell you about reading The Man with the Candy by Jack Olsen?  It is about a serial killer in Houston, TX, in the 70’s.  He was an old school investigative reporter.  He wrote for many good magazines and also wrote 32 books.  I’ve read 5 of his nonfiction books.  All but 1 of them is about crime.  Have I mentioned I like true crime?  I’m picky, though.  I don’t want to read true crime that isn’t well written.  Oh I think I have written about some of my favorites-James Ellroy, Lorenzo Carcaterra, and more! I don’t  know if I mentioned Jack Olsen.  His books are well-researched and objective.  He passed on in 2002.  He was 77.  He is very underappreciated, I believe.  Before Into Thin Air, there was Olsen’s 1962 account of a mountain climbing tragedy,  The Climb Up To Hell.

Anywho, I highly recommend Mr. Olsen.  A lot of his books are available used on Amazon & Better World Books.

Better World Books


Here is some information from my favorite bookseller, Better World Books.  http://view.exacttarget.com/?j=fe9112727762017b76&m=fef21d74726207&ls=fe2711717d60027d751d77&l=fec015757c6c027f&s=fe121779736c0174721c76&jb=ffcf14&ju=fe50127971640c7a7d11&r=0

I can’t say enough about this organization.  You know how I feel!  Go buy a book!

I’m reading..


Still the large tome about the history of missing people.  Started a good fluff novel by Dominick Dunne, A Season in Purgatory.  It’s main character sound like he is based on a young Teddy Kennedy, and the family described sounds very much like Kennedy’s.  Won’t take me long to read.  I ordered a couple of books recommended by one of  my birth pod members  (born 11/23, like me!-younger though!) Kim, and a couple I’d been saving w/ a 15% discount from, who else? Better World Books.  Here they are:

The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron (which I have somewhere in storage but I’ve no idea when I’ll see it again and must read now!) Me, compulsive?  Why, I …..

The Creative Habit, by Twyla Tharp (Excitation!  Not a painter, etc., but a dancer/choreographer!!)

Disobedience: A Novel, by Jane Hamilton (have read 2 other of her fabulous novels; so very interesting!)

Thunderstuck, by Erik Larsen (who wrote Isaac’s Storm, an account of the Galveston storm of the early 1900’s that took many lives and really destroyed Galveston Island.  It is an excellent book and I highly recommend it.) 

Speaking of birth pod members–what do I call them?  Well, Michael Mouskos is closest to cosmic twin because he was born a mere 5 hours after me.  One of my bestest friends, Amanda V.M., born 1966, Kim, born 1966 (I think), Ashtoreth, born 1967, I get confused, Mandy, Kim & Ashtoreth born around the same time,   Amanda’s Dad, Billy, RIP, not sure what year, probably late 20’s or early 30’s.  And RIP, Denise, my sons’ birth mother and Tim’s first wife.  She had the same birthday, born 1962.  I was born 1963.   So, anyone else born 11/23?  Isn’t it wild Denise and I have the same birthday?

Ta Ta, had to write something uplifting after my moribund poems.  Not sure if I used moribund in its appropriate context, but it sounded nice, don’t you think?



And this evening I started reading Class Trip by Emmanuel Carrere.  It is a quick read; I’m about 2/3 of the way through it, and I’ll probably finish it.  He is a French writer.  I just read his wiki profile and several of his books have been adapted to film.  I’m looking forward to checking them out.  Class Trip is written from the standpoint of a young man, Nicholas, who is about 12.   I’m impressed with Carrere’s finesse in capturing the boy’s adolescent self absorption and visceral angst.  I’m sure I will finish this book before I go to sleep tonight.  I’m delighted these books were translated to English! 

I talked about Carrere earlier when I read his book, The Adversary, which was nonfiction.  He’s also written a biography of the science fiction writer, Philip Dick.  I don’t have that one, but I do have an earlier work, The Mustache, which came with this order from my favorite booksellers–Better World Books.  I told you all about Better World Books here.

So, I’ve had a little cereal, and I’m back to Class Trip.  Ta Ta!

It dragged a little toward the end because the author was copiously attempting to describe a feeling one could only realize if one were in the place in which he had found himself–abducted, completely powerless depending upon the completely powerful.  I plan to do more research on Jan Philipp Reemtsma and his writings.  I found something where he talks about hero/hero-worship, and narcissism.  The memoir seemed quite ego centric, but I suppose this is necessary, because the situation was singularly personal.  Is that a redundant term-singularly personal?

I started a cute tome called The Sweet Potato Queens Book of Love.  Written by Jill Conner Browne, its byline is “A Fallen Southern Belle’s Look at Love, Life, Men, Marriage and Being Prepared.  I can’t tell you the genre.  Humor, comedy, perhaps?  It is amusing, the characters, particularly Jill, are audacious and adorable.  It’s also a quick read.   I’m about 1/4 through it, and I didn’t start it until after I finished the other book around 11:30-12:00 last night.  It’s a nice, light read after the heaviness of the other book. 

Now, my order from Better World Books must arrive today because I know I will finish the Sweet Potato Queens and I need something else to read.  I have Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking here which I WILL read.  I haven’t yet, and I don’t know why.  I know it’s intense.  Maybe that is why. 

Grief is a common theme for me, although I haven’t experienced the loss yet of someone very close to me.  I suppose it is because those closest to me (Tim and the boys) have experienced the loss of their wife and mother, and I have been along for much of that ride.  Plus I’m not uncomfortable with people who are grieving.  I know from Tim some people are very uncomfortable around that, but I am not.  I think it’s one of those things that comes from having a very large heart (metaphorically speaking), and usually a general ease with people in general.  I understand what they are experiencing, although I haven’t experienced it myself.  I also know what not to say, which in most situations is anathema to me, and what enters my mind goes directly out of my mouth without any filter at all.  The old Sagittariun foot in mouth disease.  Grief situations are the exception.  Sometimes the best thing is to be present and say nothing.

Lastly, if I may, (which I may, because it is my blog) plug Better World Books again?  Buying from Better World Books is a win-win-win (that’s right, a 3-way win) for the buyer (me), the environment (recycled books), and literacy.  Proceeds go to literacy organizations.  Another thing I like is how they package the books.  5 or 6 books will be in a box about 6x8x8″, with very little, if any, padding.  And you only pay the carbon offset for postage.  Whoever thought of it is a genius.  I’ll have to do a little research and find out!!  Tell you later!

Off to work now!

Just ordered….


these books from Better World Books.  5 books for $15.

They are:

The Molineaux Affair by Jane Pejsa

The Mustache by Emmanuel Carrere

Class Trip by Emmanuel Carrere

We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates

Dreaming War: Blood for Oil & the Cheney Bush Junta by Gore Vidal