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11 September 2017


I listened to Columbine on audio several years back. It made a lasting impression. Should I read Sue Klebold's book?

You know, the Klebold book. I don't know what to tell you. I actually didn't know that much about the Columbine shootings, even when it happened I think I mostly thought, well, yeah, we're a culture in love with guns, school shootings are going to happen. So I thought I should read something about it once.

If you're looking for more details or why Dylan Klebold (or Eric Harris, for that matter) did it, the Klebold memoir will not really provide that. It was more interesting from a parenting standpoint--Klebold really seemed to be honest about how Dylan seemed in the years before the event, his depression and anger and yes, happiness too--and what was chilling was actually how involved the Klebolds seemed and how very little they knew about what was going on in Dylan's psyche. She also talks a lot about suicide and what it does to families, and she provides a picture of what it was like (horrific) to try and mourn the baby and son she knew at the same time she had to mourn and feel guilt for all of his victims. I don't know that I'd say it was a must-read. But it's definitely worth a look at.

I'm sold. I'll scoot it higher on my TBR.

Eric was a monster, and I mean that literally, not figuratively. He was the nastiest type of psychopath and I really dgaf about him. If I'm supposed to feel compassion for him (and I suppose that's the godly thing to do), I feel sorry that he got saddled with such aloof parents.

But Dylan, you know, that's where my heart breaks. He and I are not so different, though fortunately my depression doesn't manifest in homicidal ways.

Did I miss something? The CSM article on cozy bakery mysteries seems really lacking in substance!

"The list of dessert-themed cozy mystery book series is in the baker’s dozens."

But there's no list or link, and only 3 series are mentioned in the article. That's an area where lots of our people read, so I was hoping for something a bit more useful ~ I was tempted to give them some less-than-flattering feedback, but figured I'd ask you first.

Well, the consensus does seem to be that Eric Harris displayed psychopathic tendencies. Even so...I don't know that I feel compassion for him, but I do wonder why humans have to have weaknesses like that. Something I don't understand.

Actually the Klebold book does have interesting things to say about how the boys "found each other" and what part they played for each other. Unnerving, but clearly it happens. On one hand, I think it was a good book for a parent (I worry about boys and anger, because I've got boys and I don't get anger, so would I see this sort of thing coming?), on the other hand, scary as hell. How much you could try and still miss things. Sigh.

Okay, you know, I read that article, and I thought, where is the list? And then I thought, well, I guess there is no list. I probably shouldn't have included it here, but it did include three or four names that I didn't know, so I thought it might still be helpful.

Disappointing, because I love the CSM and usually find their writing/articles to be the best. Any authors in that subgenre you particularly like? We should work up a list and post it here, then send the link to the CSM to show them how it's done. :)

I don't actually know that Eric Harris's parents were aloof. In the Cullen book, it sounds like his dad had a notebook going with notes for trying to help his son, or trying to figure out ways to discipline or work with him. That doesn't sound aloof to me. Stern, maybe, military maybe (which his dad was), but it does seem like he was paying attention. I just can't say anything with certainty about the Harrises--they have kept so quiet about everything it is hard to know where they're at. But I can't really fault them for that either. I understand the need for privacy and a desire not to explain one's self or one's children.

Mostly I just hope I never have to explain such a thing on my behalf or anyone else's. That's just an impossible situation. Watching Sue Klebold attempt it in her book was impressive, if nothing else.

Hmm, I think I got the "aloof" thing from the way they responded to the other parents, post-tragedy.

Eric Harris makes me wonder about psychopaths, and how much leniency we should grant them. It's not their fault they were born with weird brain stems (or whatever it is that causes them to be different from the rest of the population).

Columbine is the book that got me interested in psychopathy. Among other things, it's nice for me to be able to think about a psychological deviance and remind myself that, no matter what, at least I'm not a psychopath.

#NotAllPsycopaths, I know. Some of them are lovely people, but even the good ones have to struggle.

I get a lot of my author intel from http://www.mysteryloverskitchen.com which is a group of authors who write cozy food-related mysteries. Often they will have guests as well and then I will evaluate a sample of their stuff for purchase here.

I especially enjoy Cleo Coyle's Coffeehouse series, which interlaces desserts as well as main & side dishes (and of course, coffee-related drinks!) into the story and provides recipes at the end. Some of the bakery series put the recipes right in the middle of the text, which I find extremely distracting.

But CSM is right about one thing, there certainly are beaucoup food-centered series out there, and more all the time! Wine, cheese, bread, soup, candy, cupcake, general bakery, restaurant, diner, pub/bar ... the list goes on and on.

I'll see what other authors we can come up with here for a list ~ http://stopyourekillingme.com/GenreCats/Cozy_Traditional.html has a number of them listed, but under "traditional" so they're thrown together with non-food series. (They're a nice resource for all sorts of mystery info)

That link for books aimed at children reading above grade level seems like a great resource.

All the obituaries are sad, but I am particularly saddened to see that Jerry Pournelle has died. I read some of his science fiction when I was younger.

Thanks so much for those links. Mystery is one of my weakest genres, particularly all the food-related ones and most cozies. As much as I love BEING cozy, I have yet to make it through a cozy mystery. So I appreciate the help, and the reminder about stopyourekillingme.com!

Yes, I'd say the "reading materials appropriate for my child's reading level" was the most frequent question I got at the library. You can see why publishers who put lexiles and numbers on their books made a mint on it--people like the guidance.

My sympathy on Jerry Pournelle to you. I'm ashamed to admit I had never heard of him--should I still try some of his SF?

I was super interested in that book Blurred Lines, but it was reviewed in the New York Times today, and the reviewer was highlighting a bunch of really basic factual errors in the book? And it made me nervous about reading the book -- like if it can't get basic facts right, it sounds like maybe not something I can trust. :/

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