Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Nevermore: Pres. Garfield, Atticus Finch, photography, introverts, and presidental elections

Reported by Ambrea

In a recent Nevermore meeting, our readers broached a variety of subjects—James A. Garfield, introverts, photography, and presidential campaigns—and even investigated some new fiction with Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman and Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.

First, our readers jumped back into Gone Girl.  After Amy Dunne disappears from her home in North Carthage, Missouri, her husband, Nick, is put under close scrutiny as the media and the police start to dig into his life to find out whether he really is a killer.  Filled with suspense and mystery—and, more importantly, sociopaths (a favorite subject for our Nevermore readers)—Gone Girl was definitely a treat for our latest reader.  According to her it was “wonderful, a great book.”

Next, our readers looked at Into the Kill Zone:  A Cop’s Eye View of Deadly Force by David Klinger.  As a former police officer and a university professor, Klinger has interviewed dozens of officers who have used deadly force in criminal encounters.  He presents an in-depth look at the way officers are trained, the conditions they face and the violence they experience on the job, and the effects of deadly force in the lives of American police officers.  For our Nevermore reader, who has friends working on the police force, Into the Kill Zone was an excellent depiction of on-the-job hazards that police officers face every single day.

Our reader also discussed Destiny of the Republic:  A Tale of Madness, Medicine, and the Murder of a President by Candice Miller.  James Garfield was born into poverty, but he became a scholar, a Civil War hero, a renowned congressman, and a presidential candidate; however, after four months in office, an assassination attempt and botched medical treatment resulted in his death.  Our Nevermore reader said Destiny of a Republic was “a fabulous book”—and what made the novel even more fascinating were the interviews with the author on CSPAN.  Miller explores all the different facets of Garfield’s presidency and demise:  his administration, his assassin, and his doctors.

Continuing the exploration of the American presidency, one of our readers discussed Believer:  My Forty Years in Politics by David Axelrod.  Axelrod, a journalist and political strategist, has spent years in politics and cultivated a twenty-year friendship with President Barack Obama, even contributing to his elections in 2008 and 2012.  His memoir provides an in-depth look at politics and presidential campaigns.  Although our Nevermore reader had only read two-thirds of the memoir so far, she thought it was an intriguing book.  “It’s fascinating to realize what goes into a presidential campaign, [specifically] Obama’s first presidential campaign,” she said.

Quiet:  The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain followed.  Cain, a corporate lawyer, explores the qualities of introverts and extroverts throughout the world, exploring the repression of introversion in the United States—how extroverts are rewarded more readily in society and the workplace—and nature versus nurture in the development of introverts.  Cain makes a very careful, very accurate depiction of information and possesses a textbook-like depth, presenting facts with clarity and accumulating knowledge which our Nevermore reader found absolutely fascinating.

Additionally, our readers looked at a brand new book to the library:  Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee.  Continuing from Lee’s original classic, Go Set a Watchman follows the return of Jean Louise Finch (Scout) to Maycomb County from New York and chronicles her emotional turmoil as she’s confronted by changes in her hometown that changes how she sees everything and everyone—including her father, Atticus.  For our Nevermore readers, Lee’s new novel seemed typical of any book done in the south during this time; however, it was definitely a shock to see Atticus in a brand new light, because, like Scout, our readers were given a new perspective on Atticus Finch, “[he] was letting you reduce him to the status of a human being.”

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