Tag Archives: personal

A Wretched Read and a Trip Where I Was Beat Over the Head With Jesus

24 Feb

Hello Gang!

So, I’m back from another visit to North Carolina where every time I turn around I see a new church and everyone I speak to “God Blesses” me. While it’s all very nice, I happen to be agnostic. Therefore, the multiple daily doses of Jesus tend to get my eyes rolling. Still, it’s more amusing to me than anything how people set so much store in a religion that is merely compromised of the stolen elements of several other older religions – including many of the Pagan beliefs. Just saying! However, I don’t want to start a holy war on my blog and I am open-minded enough to feel that people should believe what they want – just don’t try to shove it down my throat. ๐Ÿ™‚ That being said, the area and the people of North Carolina are simply beautiful and I look forward to moving there – churches and all. LOL!

While I was there, I took a book with me that I had just started to read. It is entitled “Comprehending Columbine” and it was really disappointing. I have read about Columbine extensively, books, the reports, the journals, websites, you name it. This book, which was supposed to be a scholarly research project was completely subjective and many liberties were taken so the author could support his own theories. It was a very irresponsible publication in some aspects if you want to be blunt about it. Anyway, here is the link, and here is my review. Do with it what you will!

Chasta Schneider’s review
Feb 24, 13 ยท
1 Star on Goodreads, 2 Stars on Amazon (due to the different meanings of the stars on each site)
Comprehending Columbine
by Ralph W. Larkin
Oh boy… This author is a bit confused as to what kind of project he was attempting to do. It is marketed as a researched, scholarly type of work, one based on research and facts. It ended up being more along the lines of Capote’s “In Cold Blood” genre in that the research was mixed with the author’s assumptions, opinions, omissions, and storytelling.

I am not an expert on Columbine, I am however, extremely well-read on the subject and I don’t just mean the books. I have read the boy’s journals, the police reports and thousands upon thousands of documents that go with them, studied the websites, have researched bullying, etc… That being said, this is why I have a lot of problems with this book. Not only are there inconsistencies, there seems to be a blatant disregard for facts. Some examples of this would be anything from the small details such as saying that Eric threw a rock at Brook’s windshield when in fact it was a snow/ice ball – not an important detail, but if you are going to report on something, be accurate. A more glaring example would be how Dylan is continuously portrayed as a bi-sexual simply because some reporter said he had met him on a chat room and Dylan had told him so. Really? You’re kidding me right? (Sigh) I did read about the claims the reporter made regarding having been chatting with Dylan in some random chat room where he told him he was bi-sexual – why the reporter would have even asked a teenage boy about his sexuality I don’t know (eyebrow raised). It was in one or two of the countless reports on this case – and may have been touched on in another book โ€“ I believe it was. Anyway, the story was discounted because there was no proof and they were unable to find any records of it ever happening. Also, as everyone knows, you could be talking to anyone in a chat room and they certainly don’t need to tell you the truth. The consensus was that the reporter was working an angle for his own glory and it was disregarded completely. The other half of that, that I find terribly troubling, Larkin was supposed to be researching, yet he latches on to a story that all involved agreed was fictitious and he says nothing about the actual things that Dylan was conflicted and depressed about that you can see all over in his journal. Dylan was in fact, rather girl crazy. Unfortunately, girls were not crazy about him and as the rejections piled up, you can literally see the steps of the changes he goes through from elation, to depression, to suicidal, back to elation(new girl), and so on, until he ultimately becomes hateful and bitter. While not as full as Eric’s, Dylan’s journal is extremely telling and should have been considered for this work. Larkin also makes some sort of statement about how once their planning had begun, they were determined to follow it through. He also calls Dylan nothing but Eric’s disciple. Again, not true. Dylan writes in his journal after being hurt and rejected once more that maybe going NBK with Eric is the only answer after all (implying by the context of the entry that he was not as serious about it as one would think when they were planning it). Immediately after that sentence, he wrote “Gawd” as if the thought of it was ridiculous. I would highly recommend that people read Dylan’s journal – especially since Larkin has completely ignored it in this book. Probably because it would greatly contradict his “confused about his sexuality” theory.

This book also offers up a lot of regurgitated material – constantly in fact. Not only was it the research of others, many instances were quoted repetitively throughout the book.

One thing I did like, were the student interviews. It was interesting to read their thoughts and experiences. Clearly, there was bullying that was rather brutal to a certain part of the population, but it seems that a large majority of the students were not subjected to how violent things could really get. While these interviews were interesting, Larkin takes a lot of liberties with them. He also seems to freely diagnose people and situations – enter the fiction.

This is a troubling book in that it is inconsistent, subjective, and in some cases fictitious. Larkin seemed to be focused on Eric only, and ran rampant with his personal assumptions. If he wanted to write a subjective book regarding his assumptions regarding Columbine, perhaps he should have chosen a different title, perhaps something like, “My Assumptions Regarding Columbine.โ€ I could offer a lot more as to why I have issues with this one, however, you get the gist and I’m ready to shelve it. Be careful here if it’s your first read on Columbine – it’s not the most accurate information and there is way too much omitted in order to benefit the author’s own theories. It’s rather misleading.

When I returned home from my trip, I decided to take it easy and finish some of the other stories I’ve been trying to get through. I finished the prequel named Final Destiny by V.K. Ramsey finally. I think this series has a lot of potential. I’ve truly never read anything like it. It could use some editing, but the story is compelling. Here is the link and the review.

Final Destiny: (GUARDING THE LIGHT Part 2.)
by V.K. Ramsey
Chasta Schneider’s review
Feb 24, 13 ยท
4 Stars
Read from February 03 to 24, 2013

I really like the overall concept of this story as a whole. It is very complex and contains elements of spiritualism, martial arts, paranormal, and teen angst. You find yourself more wrapped up in this one as opposed to The Third Key, probably because you get to meet Jason as teenager and you get to know his character much more intimately.

The scope of the story is infinite. It has endless possibilities and has the potential to be an incredible series, full of adventure and nail-biting suspense. My only suggestion to the author would be that when writing about teenagers in America, it would be better to research how they talk – especially in Jersey. Through all of Jason’s dialogue, I felt that he was foreign. I feel that this book would really gain a following with the benefit of a bit more editing.

The Guarding the Light series is an original, action-packed, good vs. evil, spiritual, paranormal, push-the-limits-of-the-imagination, James Bond meets Pin Head (Hellraiser) type of story. It has so many elements to it that I’m not sure exactly how to categorize it. If you are looking for a read that is any genre except romance – this one’s for you! I look forward to seeing this series mature.

Well, I’m back to taking it easy and reading some more. I’ll check back soon!

Chasta

A New Review and a New Read

1 Feb

I have just finished reading “Beyond John Dann” and I found that it made me recall things from my past – both good and bad, that I had completely forgotten about!ย  So many memories came flooding back.ย  It was more like remembering old times with friends than reading a book written by Thurman Banks Jr.ย  Allow me to share my review with you.

Chasta Schneider’s review 5 Stars

If you were born in the 70’s, you need to read this – that is definitely the target audience for this story. So many memories have come flooding back to me – even ones that I don’t care to remember – but quite honestly, I’m simply ecstatic over the fact that I am able to recall so much. Remember when having HBO was a social status? My family was very poor and boy let me tell you, when my single mother was able to shave our budget enough to get the HBO I had been begging for, it was HUGE! Even the dialogue of the times brought me back – like how if you were headed to a friend’s house, you would say, “I’m goin over John’s house” instead of “I’m going over to John’s house”. I recalled the joy of going everywhere on my bike. Our parents never knew exactly where we were but all of us neighborhood kids were always somewhere together so, they weren’t worried because they knew we’d be home before the streetlights came on. I remember spending lots of time at local bars BEFORE I was 21, because it wasn’t nearly as big of a deal then to the hometown establishments. Most of all, I am relieved after reading “Beyond John Dann” because I realize that my family is not the only one who puts the FUNC in dysfunctional.

This is an amazing tale that isn’t about anyone famous or extraordinary – they are real people with depth and imperfections and it is so easy to substitute yourself into the story because it seems so familiar throughout the entire telling. There are no heroes, only realistic and imperfect people living their day to day lives, narrated by thought provoking and beautiful writing. One of my favorite passages in the story is when John is describing the death of Maggie and how her eyes looked when she settled them on him before taking her last breath. It went: “It was heaven, and it was hell. It was everything, and it was nothing. It was the infinite magnitude of the stars, and the infinitesimal seeds of life unseen. In all that is considered good or bad, from beginning to end, from the end to the beginning, her eyes held it all.”

You will laugh, you will cry, you will remember. You will love “Beyond John Dann”.

Here’s a link so you can check out this fantastic story for yourself.

I am now reading a fantasy story by V. K. Ramsey entitled “The Third Key”, which is part one of his “Guarding the Light” series. I’m only about 23% through but so far so good! It’s very original – and disturbing (in a good story way). I will keep you posted! Here is the link if you want to check it out before my review.

On a personal note. Things are hectic as ever at the day job however, I must be doing something right because my role was re-evaluated and I was given a very nice raise. My best friend said that was good because now I can have more money to promote my books. I laughed at that. My response was that, no, I would have more money to pay off student loans from my Master’s Degree. I hate having debt. My boss also told me to start thinking about making the move to North Carolina in order to advance in my company. Looks like I may be coming south in the next year and a half. I love the south so it will probably happen. ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s all for now. Thanks for reading!

Chasta

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