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 My personal book reviews.

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Lizpuff
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PostSubject: My personal book reviews.   Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:20 am

I wasn't sure if this is where this is supposed to go, but I wanted to put my own personal book reviews out there. Please move this if it is in the wrong spot.

So I thought I would do a multiple book review on some of the books I have read on Columbine. It goes without saying but these are all just my personal opinions.

First off...I am not going to review Cullen. I have never fully read his book and I think there is enough to be said about that.

A Mother's Reckoning - Sue Klebold

I had very high hopes for this book. Besides Brooks she is really the only one who has written anything that actually knew the boys and was directly involved. I thought her book was pretty good and I read it in like 2 days. She has a lot of nice stories and photos in the book. There were a lot of facts that she shared that I had no idea occurred. She is judged because some feel she is having a "Cullen" attitude and I somewhat agree but I do think a natural bias as a mother is just that...natural. She spends quite a bit of time talking about her working in the mental health aspect after the shootings but not so much time talking about the shooting itself which I actually liked because there are so many other books that go there. She gets into the last weekend of Dylan's life and I think it lasted just 1 page. Which is so sad to me. Reading this book alone just for the "Dylan stories" is worth it in my opinion. She does make some mistakes and I do not think she is right 100% of the time but I applaud her for putting her book out there and telling her story. And I also think it is great she is devoting her life to trying to help others. If one person is saved because of her than she is successful.


A Teenage Philosophy of Awareness and Existence - Mathijs Koenraadt

This book tries to delve into the journals of Eric and Dylan but in my opinion it fails. It reads like a poor College textbook. He talks about Eric's "awareness" and Dylan's "existence" but doesn't get very deep. The book has a ton of typos and grammatical errors. It was a very short read but I did not feel I really got much information out of it at all. True it is all just one man's opinion but there was really nothing new. Eric trying to tell people to think differently and Dylan thinking he is outside of the realm of life is nothing new. I wouldn't recommend this book as a first read. You can basically get all you need out of it by reading their journals but being only 116 pages with many of those being mostly blank or "notes" you can get thru this book in a very short amount of time.


Columbine a True Crime Story - Jeff Kass

Jeff Kass wrote for Rocky Mountain News in CO. So he has a lot of information from just being a reporter during this time. This book starts out about the massacre but then kind of starts over with talking about where Eric and Dylan came from. He dicusses the Harris and Klebold family history and how they grew up. I do feel he seems a bit bias toward Dylan (a common theme) as he has much more information on the Klebolds and the pages on Dylan are much more numerous than Eric but that may be just because the Klebolds have been more open in this whole thing as opposed to the Harrises. He doesn't talk much about the massacre itself so much but he talks a ton about the after effects on the community and how he as a reporter has tried to get info. He has a lot of good points about how JeffCo is failing and floundering and I found myself agreeing with him a lot. He also sheds what very little light he can on how the Klebolds and Harrises have been since 1999 up to the point of writing the book. Including people in the Pool family that he knew. He talks about trying to get information out of the FBI and how that seems futile as well. All in all I do think this is a good book and a good read. It was a fast read for my but at 443 pages it has quite a bit of information



Comprehending Columbine - Ralph Larkin

This book is all over the place. Larkin talks about the boys about Columbine and about things not really related at all. Typos galore it seems and he quotes a TCM webpage as belonging to Eric when it was realized that it did in fact not belong to Eric at all. Among other factual errors. He gets very deep into calling Eric a "skinhead" or a "Nazi" and keeps that stance. Talking about how Eric killed Isaiah because he was black and so forth. He also talks a ton about the whole Christian Martyrs thing. So much so I almost skipped the section. This book was actually very dry in my mind. I almost put it down and didn't finish it. It just goes on and on and on about nitpicky things that I don't even consider to be true. He also seems to have a hard on for DeAngelis. He talks about how Eric and Dylan wanted to be celebrities as well so that had a hand in the killings. In the end he talks about finding "peace" and how we can all help prevent future Columbines. This was a shorter book at 295 pages but it felt like so much more and that is not a good thing. Based on the dryness and factual errors I would not recommend this book.


Far from the Tree - Andrew Solomon

This is only a review on the Klebold chapter of the book not the entire book itself. Solomon was able to interview Sue and Tom so I think he got quite a bit of info there. This is all about the Klebolds though so you won't find any Eric information really in it. They talk about how they felt when they realized it was happening and the after effects for example like running into a cashier at a store that recognizes their name. They talk a bit about diversion and how they reacted to that. This is very very short at only 8 pages and I wish there was more. I enjoyed this read and this little snippet into the Klebolds' life. It may be a bit outdated now but if you want to read a little more into some of their thoughts this is a good read.


No Easy Answers - Brooks Brown

This is another book I was particularly excited for because it was an "insider" writing about Columbine. I think this is a pretty good book. It reads like a teenager writing and Brooks gets some facts wrong that I think he meant to get wrong. Such as the timeline of the fight with Eric and the subsequent reforming of their friendship but all in all I think it is good. Brooks is obviously on bullying train. If you do not believe bullying went on at Columbine you will not agree with him but personally I do agree with it. He gives inside info on what it was like to go to school there and what it was like to deal with Eric and Dylan. He does give some insight into the boys especially Dylan growing up and how they started to change. He also talks a TON about the police report on Eric that they filed and how the whole thing could have been preventable had JeffCo listened to them. He repeats this over and over and over. I do agree though that they did drop that ball there. He talks about how he was accused of being an accomplice and how he lost his reputation as well. The book was written not too long after Columbine and is a bit dated now but I think it is an essential Columbine read just for all the personal info he has.



Why Kids Kill - Peter Langman

Langman is one of those writers I scratch my head at sometimes. At times I agree with him and others I do not. This book is about many school shooters not just Eric and Dylan so if you are interested in other school shootings and want to learn more this is a good place to start. Langman is trying to decode Eric and Dylan's brains. He is one of those men that is trying to diagnose them after they have been dead with is questionable but I will say I do agree with him on some points he has. He puts Eric in the "psychopath" category which I do not agree with at all but his breakdown on Eric is interesting. He puts Dylan into the "schizotypal" profile. Basically he goes on rants talking about how Eric wants to be God but thinks he isn't and that makes him mad and how Dylan thinks he is God but that he is a god of sadness and it makes him depressed. The names though he gives Eric....sadistic, psycho, narcissistic...He punches him over and over and over with these terms and although I did sort of like his writing style I simply cannot agree with this. He does think that one excerpt from Eric for example is about rape. And says this proves he was sadistic because he wanted this control over women. (insert eye roll) He talks about how Dylan could not deal with other people because he was too afraid of rejection. And how his misuse of language means he was not in the right mind. He talks about how Dylan needed to "depend" on someone. First it was Zach then when Zach disappeared it was Eric (remind you of anyone?) In any case this was an interesting read. I would hesitantly recommend this. I do not recommend this based on factual information per say but I do think it is a good book to read to get discussion material. And I do enjoy his writing style.
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PostSubject: Re: My personal book reviews.   Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:24 am

Thank you! [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. I'll be bookmarking this to keep in mind for the next book hunt study

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PostSubject: Re: My personal book reviews.   Mon Jul 11, 2016 9:32 am

ultraviolencelv wrote:
Thank you! [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]. I'll be bookmarking this to keep in mind for the next book hunt study

If you want any of these or others LMK I have most of the Columbine books in PDF
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PostSubject: Re: My personal book reviews.   Mon Jul 11, 2016 10:55 am

I've been thinking about reading Brooks Brown's book. But is it really worth it?

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PostSubject: Re: My personal book reviews.   Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:01 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
I've been thinking about reading Brooks Brown's book. But is it really worth it?

I would say so. It is a bit outdated and Brooks isn't the best writer but if you can get it free I would say it's worth it for sure.
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PostSubject: Re: My personal book reviews.   Mon Jul 11, 2016 11:43 am

I have read Brooks' book and of course it is presented in the usual sarcastic almost know-it-all Brooks tone which started to grate me after awhile. But that's just me. Sometimes I'm okay with the way he speaks but sometimes I'm not.

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PostSubject: Re: My personal book reviews.   Mon Aug 29, 2016 6:47 pm

Thank you for the reviews! It seems as though most books focus on poor-ol'-innocent Dylan and no-good-very-bad Eric. I hope there's something released that moves away from that profiling, as it seems a bit 2 dimensional. There seems to be a lack of unbiased Columbine books.
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PostSubject: Re: My personal book reviews.   Mon Aug 29, 2016 9:14 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Thank you for the reviews! It seems as though most books focus on poor-ol'-innocent Dylan and no-good-very-bad Eric.  I hope there's something released that moves away from that profiling, as it seems a bit 2 dimensional. There seems to be a lack of unbiased Columbine books.


Unfortunately,Dylan's Moms book fits perfectly in that category too.

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PostSubject: Re: My personal book reviews.   Tue Aug 30, 2016 1:29 pm

I'm currently reading Dave Cullen's book on Columbine and I'm not gonna lie some parts of it made me puke.

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PostSubject: Re: My personal book reviews.   Tue Aug 30, 2016 8:52 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
I'm currently reading Dave Cullen's book on Columbine and I'm not gonna like some parts of it made me puke.


It should be classified as fiction.

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PostSubject: Re: My personal book reviews.   Wed Aug 31, 2016 4:14 pm

I'm not really a book person. The only Columbine book I've read was Dave Cullen, and that was an audiobook. I would love to get my hands on a digital copy or audiobook of "A Mother's Reckoning" tho.

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PostSubject: Re: My personal book reviews.   Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:31 pm

Hey Lizpuff,

Can you send me, "Why Kids Kill" (If you have it on PDF. Smile )

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Also, Great reviews!
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PostSubject: Re: My personal book reviews.   Wed Sep 14, 2016 5:50 am

I have the Peter Langman book based on a recommendation that Randy Brown gave me.

There was another book he suggested that would give me the answers I searched for. That one blamed the parents. Make of that what you will.
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PostSubject: Re: My personal book reviews.   Wed Sep 14, 2016 8:40 am

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Hey Lizpuff,

Can you send me, "Why Kids Kill" (If you have it on PDF. Smile )

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Also, Great reviews!

I have it and will send it now!
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PostSubject: Re: My personal book reviews.   Wed Sep 14, 2016 9:28 am

Oh and CVA, my email is screwy this morning so if you get multiple copies of the email sorry in advance

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PostSubject: Re: My personal book reviews.   Mon Sep 19, 2016 4:58 pm

This is a review on Bullet Riddled by Grant Whitus. I listened to an audiobook instead of actually reading the book so this is a bit long and discombobulated. Sorry for that.

First few chapters deal with his life growing up and the starts of his career. He says he was a rebellious teen and got into a ton of trouble. Was also an athlete. Being arrested led him to become a cop. He had a life changing experience in 1995 when in a shootout at Albertsons left his partner dead. This led him eventually to join the task force. Over the first 4 chapters I felt like this man is really full of himself. He liked to tease others as a child, and then tease fellow cops as an adult. He says no one else can handle the job he does like himself. He even makes a racist comment.

Columbine talk starts at Chapter 5. Goes into the general traditional timeline. He thinks the bombs could have brought down the library. Feels there were no targets. Calls the act pure evil. Thinks Eric and Dylan were in the Trench coat Mafia. He thinks the Rachel mentioned in the BT is Rachel Scott.

He Quotes the mistaken 1 2 3 before the suicide shots. He is very wordy. He talked for a long time about how they entered the school and their advancements. They thought there was up to 9 gunmen. They ran on gossip and poor reports. They assumed all doors were booby trapped. Took until 1:09pm when he entered the building in the teacher's lounge. Talks about clearing the rooms.

Took them an hour to get to Sanders because of how slow it was to clear rooms. Talked about finding Sanders. Described taking care of Sanders. Sanders was talking and concious when they arrived. 1 and a half hours went by until a single young medic with no medical kit arrived. He was alone with no gear. This was something not mentioned in the 11k. Whitus did not know if Sanders was dead but the medic kept saying that Sanders was dead and he did not believe it. He got verbally aggressive with the medic and left. This was also not something mentioned in the 11k. No more mention of Sanders after that.

Talks about looking around the library. Talks about finding Dylan and Eric. He wishes he would have been able to kill them. Thinks their suicide was unfair. Says killing them would be justice. He was outraged that they were dead. He almost shot a woman who ran to them for help. That woman was Patti Nielson.

He then talks about the aftermath. Talks about Rachel's Challenge. When he talks about the crosses, he mistakenly names Brian Rorhbough as Daniel's son. Now I only listened to the audiobook, so I am unsure if this is a mistake in the actual book or if it is just the audiobook that is incorrect. I guess a small mistake but it should have been caught. He compares Columbine to Pearl Harbor....a comparison I do not agree with.

He says everyone in law enforcement afterward decided to not talk about what they saw that day. He thinks this was a mistake due to rumors. He has so much anger. Threw his food at his TV when the medic who came for Sanders got an award. He thinks the man does not deserve that. Talks about other mistakes they made that day. Addresses rumors.
Talks about the depositions. He talks poorly about Keith who was a cop that was supposed to cover Whitus in the library but did not instead choosing to stay with Lisa. Whitus still sounds so upset about this. Keith also did the same for Whitus. He doesn't seem to have many friends. He is confrontational and agressive. He attacked Keith in a van. He was suspended and written up again...sent to a psychologist again....However he kept his job and Keith was demoted...Whitus was instead promoted. He blames Columbine for his broken marriage and blames 99.7% of his divorce on his wife. Says he changed and got angry after Columbine but his wife should have stuck it out with him. He sounds like a real peach.

He then turned into a vigilante type cop running into danger without backup etc. Got promoted again and thinks this made him "normal" again. Started following the rules. Starts talking about the remainder of his career and his new marriage. How he has grown... He decended into alcoholism. He is very prideful and not much is mentioned about Columbine after chapter 6 or 7

Overall Whitus does not sound like a nice guy. He sounds mean, combative, aggressive, and too proud. This book was not so much about Columbine but about Whitus himself. Columbine is such a small part of this book it feels like he just used the word Columbine to be able to get more sales for his autobiography. Which I guess that is what this is supposed to be....but if you were looking to read this book to get more insights on Columbine this isn't quite it.

I do still have a very small section of the book left but the ending is starting to become very stale and dry. I will update this when I finish but overall I am not impressed.






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