Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.
It’s a phrase that has permanently entered the American consciousness, but it always surprises me when people don’t know that it is a reference to the infamous Jonestown Massacre in Guyana in 1978, especially when it is used flippantly. (I once had a very awkward conversation with a college classmate about that.) Because even though we may laugh at the phrase now, there’s really nothing funny about mass suicide. (Never mind that at Jonestown they were actually drinking mostly Flavor Aid, not Kool-Aid, but that’s a different topic for another day.)
I first heard of Jonestown when I was maybe about 10, 11, 12. There was a documentary commemorating the anniversary of it on PBS, and I remember being riveted by it in absolute horror. In the years since then, I’d read some about the story and also watched on several occasions the famous 1980 miniseries Guyana Tragedy, which stars the late Powers Boothe as Jones in what has to be one of the most chilling performances ever recorded on film.
So, just in general, a recently released book promising to be the most authoritative take on the story yet would have grabbed my attention. But I was specifically compelled to read this one, which was released last month to great acclaim, because its author is rapidly becoming one of my favorite writers.
Continue reading “Jeff Guinn’s The Road to Jonestown”
Hope you were able to join us at Books in Bloom this weekend! I had a great time–got to hear some wonderful talks from talented authors and even acquired a few signed books. I’m already looking forward to next year!
On that note, last week, when we were chatting about authors we’d like to see at Books in Bloom in the future, I promised to unveil two of my picks over the next couple of weeks.
One author I would love to meet and listen to is Nicholas Pileggi. He was a crime reporter in New York City for 30 years, with a special focus on the Mafia. But most people, myself included, are most familiar with him through his books about the Mafia, Wiseguys and Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas. He adapted both of them into Martin Scorsese movies in the 1990s, Goodfellas and Casino, respectively.
I’ve been a Scorsese fan since I was a teenager, and though my personal favorites of his movies is probably a tie between Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, I really do enjoy both Goodfellas and Casino.
And because I’ve also found organized crime interesting since I was a child–it’s a little embarrassing how many books I own about the mob–when I found out those movies were based on nonfiction books, I read Pileggi’s books and quickly became a fan of his work in its own right.
Honestly, I’d like to meet and talk to Pileggi just because I’d like to his pick his brain and hear inside stories from his days as a reporter, his research for his books, and his experiences in Hollywood. I’d love to hear his thoughts on what it is like to be both the writer of the original source and the adaptation.
And to that end, I thought we might as well compare his book and his movie about the mob’s fall from power in Las Vegas.
Continue reading “From Page to Screen: Casino”
My love for Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood (which some ungenerous souls might call an obsession) has been well documented on this blog.
But my interest in the story transcends the book. The 1967 film adaptation is one of my favorite movies and is one of the examples I always point to when people claim that a movie can never be as good as the book.
A few months ago, I watched the 1996 miniseries adaptation of the story with my coworker Jen. If the 1967 version is one of the best adaptations I’ve ever seen, the 1996 version is easily one of the absolute worst.
Usually the “From Page to Screen” series is a venue for me to compare and contrast books with their adaptations. But this is my series and my rules, and I’ve decided to bend the rules for this one. So, this month we’re comparing and contrasting two adaptations and exploring why one is considered a masterpiece and the other, well, isn’t. Let’s just call it Screen vs. Screen for this month.
Continue reading “From Page to Screen: In Cold Blood (1967) and In Cold Blood (1996)”
The need to find balance in all aspects of your life is much touted these days. We at the Berryville Library want to do our part to help you in this quest. So, after a February full of hearts, love and chocolate, we thought March was a perfect time to feature true tales of love gone wrong! 🙂
Of course, said love gone wrong doesn’t necessarily have to be romantic love. . . .
Continue reading “Oddly-Specific Genres: Love Gone Wrong”
Not in the mood for a novel but still want something to read?
Looking for a book that qualifies as “nonfiction” for the library challenge?
Love nonfiction but unsure of what’s been recently released?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then this post is for you!
Continue reading “2016 Library Challenge: A Nonfiction Book”
Here at the Berryville Library we’re looking forward to the 11th annual Books in Bloom Literary Festival on May 15th. You’ll get to mingle with famous authors and fellow book lovers. To prepare for Books in Bloom, we’ll be running teasers about the authors who will be giving talks. We also have works by all of this year’s Books in Bloom authors on display at the library. Read them now–meet them on the 15th!
Do you like true crime? Mysteries? Suspense thrillers? If so, you’re in luck because Books in Blooms will be featuring a few authors who publish in those genres. If you’ve read the blog for any length of time, you know that I really enjoy crime fiction, and I’m really looking forward to attending some of these sessions. We might run into each other!
Continue reading “Books in Bloom Preview–Crime Time”
We’ve been talking about the upcoming Books in Bloom Festival the past couple of weeks. As part of my preparation for attending, I started reading a book that will be the subject of one of the featured talks–Brooks Blevins’s Ghost of the Ozarks: Murder and Memory in the Upland South.
This books tells the strange story of Connie Francis, a drifter who was murdered in Stone County, Arkansas, in the spring of 1929 by several local men. That anecdote in and of itself doesn’t really stand out in the annals of true crime, but the fact that several months later Francis testified at his own murder trial does. (No, you didn’t read that wrong. The murder victim testified at his killers’ trial.)
Continue reading “2016 Library Challenge: An Author You’ve Never Read Before (Brooks Blevins)”