books I've read

Anne Hawn's books

Who Moved My Cheese?
If Democrats Had Any Brains, They'd Be Republicans
Scientific Secrets for Self-Control
Just One Damned Thing After Another
The Vanishing
Exercises in Knitting
The Good Dream
The Very Best of Edgar Allan Poe
The Chosen
BT-Kids' Knits
Talking God
The Professor
The Christmas Files
The Finisher
Home Decor for 18-Inch Dolls: Create 10 Room Settings with Furniture and 15 Outfits with Accessories
Dracula and Other Stories
A New Song
All Quiet on the Western Front
File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents

Anne Hawn Smith's favorite books »

I'm reading 150 Books

Thursday, September 30, 2010

At Mother's Request

At Mother's Request: A True Story of Money, Murder and BetrayalAt Mother's Request: A True Story of Money, Murder and Betrayal by Jonathan Coleman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book goes into much more detail in the life of Frances Schreuder. I had puzzled over the actions of her mother, Berenice. It was hard to understand why she was so connected to Frances, who was such a difficult child and who treated her so badly. This book did a much better job of exploring that relationship.

Frances was clearly sociopathic and it was fascinating reading about her view of the world through her own eyes. No matter how clever a sociopath is, they will never be able to cover their tracks completely because they will never be able to understand and copy ordinary people who can empathize with others or truly love them. In the book, her relationship with her son, Mark, whom she favored and could always control, was a clear example. However close he was to her and however much favored he was, she turned her back on him as soon as he was no longer useful to her. This was a fascinating study.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

Nutcracker - Money, Madness, Murder: A Family Album

Nutcracker - Money, Madness, Murder: A Family AlbumNutcracker - Money, Madness, Murder: A Family Album by Shana Alexander

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As I continue to explore the mind of the female sociopath this book provided an incredible multilayered example. I read the book years ago and it was so powerful, I remembered most of the story, but it was still fascinating. This time I tried to focus on the relationship of Berenice to her daughter, Frances. The story is about Frances Bradshaw Schreuder who contrives to get her son to murder her father. Aside from the sociopathy, there are other serious mental illnesses in this family of three generations.

Frances is clearly the most disturbed, but on this reading, I was more struck by the toxic relation between Frances and her mother, Berenice. At first, Berenice seems to be a good-hearted soul who is terribly abused by her daughter and bilked of hundreds of thousands of dollars. There is more than meets the eye. Berenice and Frances have a symbiotic and deeply pathological relationship. In the beginning chapter there is a description of the entire family standing around Frances' cradle singing to her all night long, night after night. Frances cries constantly and begins her life as the narcissistic center of this family and nothing changes through out her life. Berenice seems to demand that everyone in the family cater to Frances just to keep her from throwing a tantrum of epic proportions over the slightest thing.

I have to wonder at why Berenice turned her back on her husband and 3 other children in order to constantly placate Frances. The older daughters seemed sane and reasonable, but Berenice was always turned towards Frances. She allowed her to live a lavish lifestyle in New York and ended up paying for the legal defense of her grandson, Mark, and her daughter for the murder of her husband. That is almost more unbelievable than the fact that she focused all her love and attention on this one child to the detriment of everyone else in the family.

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Friday, September 17, 2010

Too Late to Say Goodbye: A True Story of Murder and Betrayal

Too Late to Say Goodbye: A True Story of Murder and BetrayalToo Late to Say Goodbye: A True Story of Murder and Betrayal by Ann Rule

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lovely Jenn Corbin seemed to have a perfect life. She was married to a handsome and successful dentist and had two beautiful boys. She had a lovely home and taught part time at a preschool. But there were numerous problems that she tried to conceal from her parents and sisters. Her husband was often critical and explosive and his practice was suffering because of the way he treated his staff. Jenn was miserable and she reached out to a person on the internet who seemed to be all the things that Bart was not.

Bart was also dissatisfied, but he could not let go of Jenn even though he had a mistress. Years ago, a girl he loved had broken up with him and he would not let another woman leave him. Just a few weeks before Christmas, Jenn was found dead from a gunshot wound to her head while she was lying on her bed. At first it seemed to be a suicide, but Jenn’s family said that it wasn’t possible. She loved her boys too much to leave them and especially for them to find her. Even her 7 years old son didn’t believe it and on the morning he found her, he told the neighbors that his daddy had killed his mother.

Detectives soon came to believe that the scene was staged and that Bart was acting in a very strange manner showing no concern at all about his sons. Soon they were informed that a woman Bart had been involved with in dental school, Dolly Hearn, had died in the same manner and Bart was the only suspect in that murder. Officials from both counties began talking and Dolly Hearn’s case was reopened.

One of the things I found fascinating was Bart’s personality. It was obvious that he was a sociopath. He did things that were so bizarre and didn’t seem to understand how they would appear to others. For example, he didn’t even contact his sons or make any provision for them after his wife was murdered. He refused to come to the house and pick them up, or be questioned by the police. He even went so far as to refuse to let Jenn’s family get clothing for the boys or collect the Christmas presents Jenn had bought for them. When his father-in-law took matters into his own hands and entered the home, he tried to have him charged with burglary. His incredibly suspicious actions let the police to consider him the only suspect.

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Never Enough

Never EnoughNever Enough by Joe McGinniss

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book because I was interested in the characteristics of the female sociopath. I found it fascinating and it was hard to put down. This is the story of Rob and Nancy Kissel. Rob, who was an investment banker for Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong. He work and traveled all the time earning a huge that includes a $15 million bonus at times if that gives you the idea, and was rarely home, but who does seem to love his wife and children.

The fascinating one in this book is Nancy. To me it was like reading a text book description of a female sociopath and then having someone turn those traits into a person. One of the things I found interesting was her inability to see how many of her actions were totally inappropriate. In many ways, she was trying to function in a society that was from a different universe, which is exactly the problem with sociopaths. Her total lack of empathy led her to do things that were bizarre and treat her children in ways that showed that they were only things to her. She lived in a universe in which she was alone and everything and everyone were props for her pleasure.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls

Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in GirlsOdd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was excellent. Rachel Simmons has done an astounding job of looking at the cliques of girls and the devastating effect they have on girls…those in the clique and those who are rejected. With the rise of the phenomena of girls committing suicide because of harassment over the Internet and the number of adults who are participating, this study is extremely important. We hear so much of boys bullying, but little thought has been given to the girls who bully and why.

Rachel Simmons conducted this study by interviewing girls from both sides of the issue and recorded what they said. The root of this behavior, she believes, is hidden aggression. Girls in our society are not allowed to express their aggressions and thus turn them inward. Anger is built up and rejecting other girls helps to displace this aggression. The problem has gotten worse and worse and the consequences have been robbing individuals of their self-esteem and natural development. Interestingly, those who are in the “in group” often suffer as much as the girls who are excluded. One little “un-cool” action and they find themselves on the outside. Even if that never happens, they often find in later years that they have buried themselves and their uniqueness under the burden of being popular.

Not only has the problem been growing, but it has also begun cropping up at an increasingly early age. My granddaughter experienced it in nursery school. One of the girls would turn to a classmate and say, “You’re invited to my birthday party…not!” Granted the child had several older sisters, but this behavior would have been unheard of even 15 years ago. This book should be required reading for anyone who is involved with girls and at the expense of adding more non academic tasks on over burdened schools, there must be an attempt to address this issue.

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Friday, September 03, 2010

A Killer Stitch (A Knitting Mystery, # 4

A Killer Stitch (A Knitting Mystery, # 4)A Killer Stitch by Maggie Sefton

This was a cute cozy mystery revolving around a knitting shop in a small Colorodo town. The characters get more interesting in each book in the series. The plot is not too taxing and the character's names are different enough to keep them separated in the reader's mind.

If you want a cozy mystery and love knitting, this is for you!

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