Before I get into the review for today, which promises to be slightly depressing or at least not light-hearted, there’s two new websites I’ve discovered in the last week that are perfect for any bibliophile. (Love Latin, don’t you?)
First is Which Book. It’s a website designed to find new books that tailor to your interests using a convenient slidey-thing (technical term) that you move to choose your book desires. For instance, you can choose how happy or sad you want your book to be, or even how beautiful or disgusting. I’m not sure who decided to have “disgusting” be the opposite of “beautiful,” but I suppose it works. I would have chosen Extreme Makeover : Home Edition or Criminal Minds as two of my opposites, but I like to use cultural references.
The other website is goodreads. You can make “shelves” of books you’ve read, books you want to read and books you’re currently reading. You can also use it as a social network and add friends who can comment or review books you want to read. You can review books too! I just spent about 2 hours on it finding all the books I’ve read and rating them. It’s like Netflix, except they don’t ship you books every few days. Although…million dollar idea?
So when you’re OBVIOUSLY not getting all your book reviews and new ideas from my blog, you probably should check out those websites. After you read my blog thoroughly. Twice. Okay. Now you can go.
The book that I am reviewing today is Columbine by Dave Cullen.
I never used to be much of a non-fiction reader but this is one of the first books I read in recent years that changed that. I’ve always been intrigued by the Columbine massacre, from a Sociological standpoint (my degree makes some sense), but I only ever heard what the media has said about the shooting. The shooters were outcasts right? That girl was asked whether or not she believed in God and died a martyr right? The shooters targeted jocks, blacks and other specific groups right? Wrong.
Dave Cullen, a journalist, spent 10 years attempting to “debunk” myths about Columbine. This book is literally breathtaking. It is full of information that you never could have imagined you’d want to know and maybe you don’t, but I think it’s important to understand the truth behind the senseless tragedy. These two boys were not loners or goth freaks or in a “trenchcoat mafia.” They went to prom, in a limo, with a dozen others. They were well-liked. However, they were emotionally disturbed individuals, possibly one more than the other, and were not victims of bullying as so many thought. There may have been little anyone could have done to prevent this, which is terrifying.
One thing that struck me was the teacher who passed away, Dave Sanders. Long after the shooters died, he laid in the classroom, hurt but alive. He would have most likely lived had he not lain there for 3+ hours while the police tried to figure out what the hell to do. All of the students in the room with him who were trying to control his bleeding were evacuated, but not him. The author speaks to his wife and to me, it is one of the saddest stories in an already terribly sad book.
I am admittedly a person who, without questioning it, believed what was on the news. My parents used to tell me all the time, “You can’t believe everything you read or hear or even see.” I didn’t listen. I don’t think I realized I wasn’t listening. This book made me realize, possibly for the first time, how right they were. The media played up this story and made it sensational. People wanted to believe certain fallacies about the crime to make themselves feel better and they still do. It blows my mind to this day that journalism can be so biased and false.
Read this book. You’ll be glad you did, albeit maybe a little more depressed afterward. It’s worth it.