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

Monday, July 28, 2014

Peter Pan

Peter Pan (Annotated)Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Great classic that gets better with age!

This. book is for all ages. Unlike modern fairy tales, this none has some rough spots, but it is still a wonderful tale. I read it again because my granddaughter is going to play Tiger Lilly in December and it was like visiting with an old friend

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Of books, and warrens and forgiveness

This is something I wrote in a discussion group on The Catcher in the Rye .  Every time I go back to that book I see something new:

I just finished reading Phantom of the Opera and am amazed at what a compelling story it is. I know I read it years ago, but I don't think I was in the right frame of mind. You have to have the time to live through it instead of just reading it.

Like Dracula, the tension builds throughout the book until you are holding your breath, especially in the torture room. I was also intrigued by the descriptions of the vast underground warren and lake that exists under the Paris opera house. This underground world is also glimpsed in Les Miserables.

I recently read a popular novel that concerned the underground bone churches that was fascinating. and again was amazed at the vast underground world that ancient cities have.

All this is to say that many books like The Catcher in the Rye need to be read slowly and with your imagination as well as the literal part of your brain. Injecting yourself into CTTR evokes the confusion and inconsistency in the adolescent mind and it makes me think about various times in my life when I was trying to juggle a number of inconsistent, and largely unconscious thoughts in my life and how that led to some wildly embarrassing actions; something like that wonderful commercial where the woman says, "I wonder about other questionable decisions in my life." Then there is a video of her as a semi-hippie in 70's garb dancing wildly.

I looked at Holden's life and mine and thought that they were like an underground warren that exists under ancient cities, sometimes even including a "church of bones." The question then becomes how do you forgive yourself for actions in the past, some which have consequences in the present? Things like, "I lost that scholarship, just because I wanted to have a good time. What might my life be like now if I hadn't been so stupid?" Reading about Holden's world reminds us that he was just a kid making stupid decisions because of churning unconscious struggles that he was unaware of...just like most of us. It makes it easier to laugh at our early life and then bury those bones.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

The Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Sex Killer Ted Bundy

The Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Sex Killer Ted BundyThe Only Living Witness: The True Story of Serial Sex Killer Ted Bundy by Stephen G. Michaud
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having worked with the Dept. of Corrections as a teacher, I have always been fascinated by the workings of the criminal mind. I know from teaching that most criminals see the world differently from the ordinary citizen. In working with delinquents, I realized that "right and wrong" have different meaning to most of them; "right" is what I get by with, and "wrong" is what I get caught at. If I left my purse out unattended, it was my fault if someone stole from me. I didn't deserve to have my personal belongings unmolested because I had been stupid.

Most of those behaviors can be traced back to an environment that inadvertently taught those behaviors. The mind of a serial killer, however, is different, and yet we have very little information as to why. Because Bundy was intelligent and loved to talk about himself, we have the best glimpse into his incomprehensible mind. In listening to the stories of older inmates I taught, I began to see that, while there was there was little choice once a pattern of behavior was started, there was always a point where the person did have a choice. It was the snowball was hard to stop the snowball once it was rolling down the hill, but there was always a point back at the top of the hill when the snowball could have been stopped.

This book shows how that worked in the life of Ted Bundy. The authors used a third person device to get Bundy to talk about his crimes, enabling him to discuss what the "killer" might have been thinking and his motivation. In this way, Bundy could overcome his natural reluctance to expose his deviant behavior and to experience the horror in the interviewer's eyes. Bundy was able to discuss the extreme fantasy life he had, his ability to compartmentalize his mind and the creation of the "entity" which was his name for the part of his mind that was out of control. Bundy's response to some negative things in his early life always seemed extreme me, given the positive environment he was brought up in. In this book it became clear that Bundy chose to nurse these grievances, and at the same time he began an addiction to violent pornography, and the compartmentalization of his mind.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the OperaThe Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a wonderful book. It has a Ghost, a gothic setting, a heroine caught in the spell of a mysterious and tortured genius and a young lover who is trying to set her free. What more could you ask for?

The Paris Opera House has a ghost who makes demands on the managers. When the old owners get tired of his games and demands, the leave the opera house to two other men who ooze the hubris of the age. When mysterious things begin to happen when the opera ghost's demands are not met things begin to get uncomfortable.

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