Thursday, March 3, 2011

Books I've Read In March 2011

1) Long Goodbye:The Deaths Of Nancy Cruzan, by William H. Colby...completed 3/2/11
In 1987, as a young lawyer, Colby took as his first case what appeared to be a simple probate issue--guardianship rights of the parents of a young woman who was in a persistent vegetative state after being severely injured in a car accident. Because the Cruzans wanted to remove their daughter's feeding tube, the case generated a firestorm of publicity and protests from right-to-lifers. Drawing on the taped recollections of Cruzan's father and his own records, Colby chronicles the stark human drama of a family forced to live its most intimate moments in the courts and the media. He tracks the case from its beginning in probate court in a small town in Missouri to the U.S. Supreme Court. After three years of litigation and seven years spent in a vegetative state, Cruzan was finally permitted to die. This is a truly riveting look at the case that sharpened public debate about the medical and legal issues surrounding brain death and the right to die with dignity.

2) Blockade Billy, by Stephen King...completed 3/4/11
A quirky baseball player with a past shrouded in secrecy is the tragic hero of this macabre tale from the dark side of the all-American sport. In the voice of George Granny Grantham, retired third-base coach of the New Jersey Titans, King recalls the spring of 1957, when Billy Blakely, a catcher called up from the Titans' Iowa farm system, helped to boost the team out of the basement and add some excitement to the national pastime. Billy hits with such power and guards the plate with such determination (hence his eponymous nickname) that teammates are willing to forgive such eccentricities as his frequently addressing himself in the third person, or bloodying runners who collide with him. Of course, these kinks are clues to a shocking pathology that King coaxes out in a narrative steeped so perfectly in the argot of the game and the behavior of its players and fans that readers will willingly suspend their disbelief. As King's fiction goes, this suspenseful short is a deftly executed suicide squeeze, with sharp spikes hoisted high and aimed at the jugular on the slide home.

3) Ghost Shadow (The Bone Island Trilogy), by Heather Graham...completed 3/14/11
There are those who walk among us who are no longer alive, but not yet crossed over. They seek retribution…vengeance…to warn. Among the living, few intuit their presence.

Katie O'Hara is one who can.

As she's drawn deeper and deeper into a gruesome years-old murder, whispered warnings from a spectral friend become more and more insistent. But Katie must uncover the truth: could David Beckett really be guilty of his fiancée's murder?

Worse—the body count's rising on the Island of Bones, andthe dead seem to be reenacting some macabre tableaux from history. The danger is increasing by the moment—especially as Katie finds herself irresistibly drawn to David, who may be responsible for more than just one killing….

Total YTD: 14

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