Saturday, March 3, 2012

Nevermore February 21: Nazis, Sybil, Violence & Oscars!

Jud read the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows and liked it.   A young author seeking a subject for her next book starts a correspondence with the residents of Guernsey, in which she starts learning about events on the island during the German occupation.   The book is set in 1946, as everyone is starting to put their lives back together.  The book has delighted most readers, many of whom knew nothing about the occupation before reading this book.  (Note for Nevermore members:  the names “Guernsey” and “Jersey” are of uncertain origin; the “ey” ending is Old Norse for “island” but the first parts may be personal names or else derived from the Norse words for “green” in Guernsey’s case and “earl” or “earth” for Jersey.  Both islands were known for their cattle, and each gave its name to the resulting breeds.)
Sybil Exposed:  the story behind the famous multiple personality case by Debbie Nathan re-examines  the case, questioning how much was truth and how much was due to a suggestible patient, a sensation-seeking reporter and a psychiatrist who wanted to explore new theories about personality.  This is a fascinating book for anyone who ever read the book or saw the TV movie.
Death in the City of Light by David King is the true story of a serial killer in Paris during the Nazi occupation.  The police begin to suspect a charming physician of being a serial killer, but how can they prove it? Will justice become another causality of a society in chaos?
The Better Angels of Our Nature by Steven Pinker takes a look at the violence in human history and concludes that violence is actually on the decline.  He offers some theories as to the reasons why violence has become less acceptable as a solution to a problem.
Since the Oscars were due to air soon, the discussion turned to some of the nominated films.  While “The Tree of Life” wasn’t liked, “The Descendants” had some favorable comments.  The favorite film, however, was “The Artist.  Obviously, the Academy agreed!

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