Saturday, May 27, 2017

THE ROAD TO JONESTOWN: JIM JONES AND PEOPLES TEMPLE


THE ROAD TO JONESTOWN: JIM JONES AND PEOPLES TEMPLE
by Jeff Guinn
 
I think we have all heard the phrase "Don't drink the kool-aid."  This refers to the mass murder of over 900 members of the Peoples Temple in 1978.  Their leader Jim Jones instructed them to drink cyanide laced kool-aid, although babies and the unwilling were injected with the concoction.  How did this happen?  Jim Jones started as a minister in Indiana.  When he began preaching he really did care about the poor, down trodden, and forgotten Americans.  With his charismatic personality and flair for showmanship he eventually had a large following.  He moved his flock to California where they lived communally.  But, as Jim Jones began becoming more powerful he began to take drugs to keep himself going.  He rarely slept.  His drug use coupled with the adulation shown to him by his parishioners was his undoing.  Instead of preaching about God he began proclaiming he was God.  He began extramarital affairs and fathered two children outside of his marriage.  He became paranoid that the U.S. government was after him and that the end of the world was coming soon.  He decided he must move his congregation to a safer, remote location.  Guyana in South American, deep in the forests, was his choice.  Once he moved everyone there, he became even more paranoid and controlling.  No one was allowed to own anything.  He had control of all the money.  Even if someone wanted to leave, there was virtually no way to make that happen.  How could one make his/her way through the dense forest with no money or supplies?  Eventually some family members in the United States became suspicious and sent congressman Leo Ryan to investigate what was happening in Guyana.  Jim Jones' henchmen murdered Ryan and from there things went down hill quickly.  Rather than lose his followers, Jones ordered them all to drink the cyanide laced kool-aid.  The babies were injected first.  Anyone who didn't willingly drink the kool-aid was forcibly injected with it.  Jim Jones was the only one who didn't drink it.  He shot himself in the head instead.  This book is troubling but fascinating.  It's hard to believe one person could persuade so many to do his command.  It's truly a cautionary tale.
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library
 

Thursday, May 11, 2017

THE RADIUM GIRLS


THE RADIUM GIRLS
by Kate Moore
 
In New Jersey, everyone wanted one of the coveted jobs at the Radium Luminous Material Corporation.  It was a clean and high paying job.  The job consisted of painting watch dials with a luminous substance that made them visible in the dark.  These watches were especially important during WWI.  The wonder substance was radium.  Radium was a wonder element in the beginning of the twentieth century.  It was thought that Radium had many health benefits from curing cancer, hay fever, gout and constipation to adding vitality to the elderly.  You could purchase radium toothpaste, radium-laced makeup and even jars lined with radium to add radioactivity to water which was then drunk as a tonic.  The young women hired to paint the watch dials were trained to use camel-hair brushes which they put in their mouths, then dipped into the paint solution, and then painted the dial numerals.  They repeated this process over and over all day long.  The women were assured by management that Radium was completely safe.  As you can imagine, after a few years the women began to exhibit a multitude of various symptoms.  Eventually doctors and dentists connected the dots and realized the women were suffering from Radium poisoning.  This book is quite interesting and details how the mysterious illnesses were finally pinpointed and the arduous up hill battle the women had to fight to be compensated for their terrible health problems and deaths.
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Monday, May 8, 2017

A $500 HOUSE IN DETROIT


A $500 HOUSE IN DETROIT
by Drew Philp

After Drew Philp graduated from the University of Michigan he wanted to do something that would make a difference.  He ended up buying a $500 house in the east side of Detroit in an area called Poletown.  He also bought 2 vacant lots positioned on either side of the house.  His goal was to renovate the house and live in it.  Poletown is in an area that is an urban prairie (full of overgrown fields.)  Many of the homes in the area have been abandoned or have burnt down.  He bought the house in 2009 and is still working on it.    His story is fascinating.  He worked full time and then came back and worked on the house each night. The first year he couldn't live in it because it was so full of garbage.  By the second year, he lived in it but it had no furnace, electricity or running water.  He did have a small wood burning stove.  His tenacity is amazing.  He made a spot for himself in the neighborhood.  It is a close knit community with the neighbors helping one another and keeping an eye on each other's homes.  This book isn't just about his renovating the house but also a view of what went wrong in Detroit and how people can help cities like this with regard to racial tensions, urban renewal, and discrimination to certain groups of people.  This book is very enlightening and offers something to think about and discuss.
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Monday, April 24, 2017

LITTLE BOY BLUE



LITTLE BOY BLUE
by Kim Kavin

This non-fiction book investigates the world of rescue dogs.  When Kim Kavin rescued her dog, Blue, she immediately fell in love with him.  She noticed he displayed some behaviors that indicated he may have been abused in the past.  Wanting to find answers she followed the trail of where he started from to how he got to her.  She did uncover some troubling aspects of certain rescue groups during her investigation.  Kim also found out what a high kill rate many dog pounds have especially in the southern states.  This book was troubling in parts but also told about the good things happening for rescue animals.  I found this book very interesting partly because I am the owner of two rescue dogs myself. 
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

MY (PART-TIME) PARIS LIFE


MY (PART-TIME) PARIS LIFE
by Lisa Anselmo
 
I want Lisa Anselmo's life!  She splits her time between New York City and Paris, France.  She had traveled to Paris regularly beginning about ten years ago and at that time just lived in New York City.  Several years ago her mom died which hit her very hard.  Her mom had been her best friend and they spent a large amount of time together.  Without her mom she felt adrift.  Impulsively, she bought a small apartment in Paris.  As time went by and she spent more time in Paris, she found herself opening  up to new experiences and people.  Eventually she quit her job and now writes full time.  This is such an interesting book and really gives one the flavor of Paris!
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Saturday, April 15, 2017

WALKING TO LISTEN

WALKING TO LISTEN
by Andrew Forsthoefel
 
 
After Andrew Forsthoefel graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont, he felt he needed to do something to feel that he "came of age."  He decided to walk across America with a sign saying WALKING TO LISTEN. He was hoping to meet people along his travels who could explain how to become an adult.  He felt he could absorb some of their wisdom and make it his own and lead him on a straighter path through his life.  This book tells about the towns he walks through, the people he meets, the conversations he shares and most importantly, the hospitality and kindness people offered to him.  This book is a nice counterpart to all the negative things you hear on the news.  There really are a lot of kind people in the world and when you stop and listen to their stories, you both understand each other better.  This is a fascinating book.  I quite enjoyed it.
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

RAISING RYLAND

RAISING RYLAND
OUR STORY OF PARENTING A TRANSGENDER CHILD WITH NO STRINGS ATTACHED
By: Hillary Whittington with Kristine Gasbarre

Hillary and her husband Jeff's first child, daughter Ryland, was about 14 months old before they realized she was profoundly deaf.  Soon after, she had surgery to have cochlear implants which gave her the gift of sound.  Once she learned to speak she began telling her parents she wanted to wear boy clothes. She had always liked boys toys and her parents had always had  to struggle with her to wear dresses or anything feminine.  By age 3 she told her parents she was a boy and she wondered why God had made her look like a girl when she knew she was a boy.  What would you do?  Ryland's parents, especially her father, struggled to figure out what to do.  Hillary began researching and began to understand that their daughter was transgender.  One thing Hillary discovered through her research is the suicide rate among transgender people is 41%.  She and her husband did not want that to happen to Ryland so they made the difficult decision to let their daughter live as her true self which is male.  This book is very eye opening if you have questions about transgender people.
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library