This book’s mix of personal text and well-chosen photos will make it a treasure for the author’s family.

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Catching A Glimpse

Davis’ slim debut collection contains a range of forms—haiku, lyrics, short stories, and memoir.

An author’s note calls this work “an array of glimpses,” and the friends, family, and pets that appear in these pages offer fragments of a full life. Photographs serve to illustrate the poems—a family dog, a family member, a landscape. The personal moments preserved in this book will ensure that it becomes a cherished family archive, but the lack of sustained attention to a particular theme or genre means that it will have less appeal for a general audience. The modest poems don’t reach for insight or prophecy, but they do treat everyday observations with care. Experimentation informs some content, as in the opening series of lettered haiku. After the “I.” poem about imagining (as well as unicorns, Dr. Seuss, and world peace), the “J.” poem, “What Next,” laughs at the folly of the aging self: “I dive in the pool / To retrieve phone and hair piece / Loose shorts fly away.” Such lighthearted play with syllable counts turns more serious in the second major entry, a personal piece of prose titled “Fatherless”: “Another Father’s Day went by yesterday and I’m feeling more fatherless than ever.” Relevant biographical information soon follows: “I am sad and feel kind of empty when I reflect how your life was cancelled by the rest of the family whenever I asked about you. Just because you left, you became a non-person.” Perhaps it takes until adulthood to mourn a “non-person,” especially one whose story has been withheld, as this missive pulses with deep sadness at the father’s long absence. Exploring imagery beyond the formal boundaries of haiku, the author indulges in sensuous fantasy in “One Last Dance”: “A single nymph revolves slowly around a spire. / A lush rainbow of silk / faithfully follows each move / of the soft, marble body.” The dissolution of images, however, makes for the best lines, as it allows a human vulnerability to emerge: “Night falls and beckons the final performance. / My fantasy of Eden dissolves, / save for a tatter of shimmering silk wrapped around my sagging shoulders.”

This book’s mix of personal text and well-chosen photos will make it a treasure for the author’s family.

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-5144-1561-0

Page Count: 38

Publisher: Xlibris

Review Posted Online: July 22, 2016

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THE ABOLITION OF MAN

The sub-title of this book is "Reflections on Education with Special Reference to the Teaching of English in the Upper Forms of Schools." But one finds in it little about education, and less about the teaching of English. Nor is this volume a defense of the Christian faith similar to other books from the pen of C. S. Lewis. The three lectures comprising the book are rather rambling talks about life and literature and philosophy. Those who have come to expect from Lewis penetrating satire and a subtle sense of humor, used to buttress a real Christian faith, will be disappointed.

Pub Date: April 8, 1947

ISBN: 1609421477

Page Count: -

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1947

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Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

COLUMBINE

Comprehensive, myth-busting examination of the Colorado high-school massacre.

“We remember Columbine as a pair of outcast Goths from the Trench Coat Mafia snapping and tearing through their high school hunting down jocks to settle a long-running feud. Almost none of that happened,” writes Cullen, a Denver-based journalist who has spent the past ten years investigating the 1999 attack. In fact, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold conceived of their act not as a targeted school shooting but as an elaborate three-part act of terrorism. First, propane bombs planted in the cafeteria would erupt during lunchtime, indiscriminately slaughtering hundreds of students. The killers, positioned outside the school’s main entrance, would then mow down fleeing survivors. Finally, after the media and rescue workers had arrived, timed bombs in the killers’ cars would explode, wiping out hundreds more. It was only when the bombs in the cafeteria failed to detonate that the killers entered the high school with sawed-off shotguns blazing. Drawing on a wealth of journals, videotapes, police reports and personal interviews, Cullen sketches multifaceted portraits of the killers and the surviving community. He portrays Harris as a calculating, egocentric psychopath, someone who labeled his journal “The Book of God” and harbored fantasies of exterminating the entire human race. In contrast, Klebold was a suicidal depressive, prone to fits of rage and extreme self-loathing. Together they forged a combustible and unequal alliance, with Harris channeling Klebold’s frustration and anger into his sadistic plans. The unnerving narrative is too often undermined by the author’s distracting tendency to weave the killers’ expressions into his sentences—for example, “The boys were shooting off their pipe bombs by then, and, man, were those things badass.” Cullen is better at depicting the attack’s aftermath. Poignant sections devoted to the survivors probe the myriad ways that individuals cope with grief and struggle to interpret and make sense of tragedy.

Carefully researched and chilling, if somewhat overwritten.

Pub Date: April 6, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-446-54693-5

Page Count: 406

Publisher: Twelve

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2009

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