Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"Without Conscience"

"Without Conscience-The Disturbing World of Psychopaths Among Us", by Robert D. Hare, PHD (1993) is a well written, easy to understand, quick read about psychopaths. The general thought is this: psychopaths are dangerous people who are not insane but very aware of what they are doing. Almost anyone can fall victim to them because of their charm, charisma and ability to talk their way out of stuff, even when the victim knows it does not all add up. Not all psychopaths are killers: many of them are con artists and people who can bilk people/businesses out of lots of $$$$$. Psychopaths exist in clergy, lawers and psychologists. And there is little know treatment for them.

Signs of a psychopath (page 34):
-egocentric and grandiose
-lack of remorse or guilt
-lack of empathy
-deceitful and manipulative
-shallow emotions
-poor social controls
-need for excitement
-lack of responsibility
-early behavior problems
adult antisocial behavior

and soulless eyes, almost reptilian, with a stare that can haunt one.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Old Man and the Sea

Just finished "Old Man and the Sea." Didn't care that much for it, and it took a week for me to finish. Some beautiful writing, but man did it drag on. Great shark attacks though.

Here's a bit of wisdom, from page 103:
"But man is not made for defeat," he said. "A man can be destroyed but not defeated."

Interesting thought from an author who committed suicide 9 years later.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"The Prada Paradox" by Julie Kenner

Just finished "The Prada Paradox", part three of the Givcenchy trilogy. Poor author Julie Kenner tries too hard and made the book too slow and boring and full of repeats. Cool concept: actress Devi is cast as Mel in the movie version of "The Givenchy Code." And the PlaySuriviveWin game begins. But Kenner tries for more, and ends up with less. And this book is darker: Devi is the victim of a brutal kidnap/rape by a crazed fan, Janus, that haunts her. But the rapist is now the one hunting her. And she is cast into a dark emotional place.

Kenner, as she did in "Manola Matrix" has a good insight into human psychology. When Devi is caught in the PSW game and Janus is the hunter she tries not to allow the situation to have control over her. She finds herself freaking out, and she allows the freak-out. On page 115 it goes:

I draw in a breath and start over. "I just needed to freak out for a few minutes. But I'm better now." When all else fails, try the truth.

By 299 Devi had a chance to kill Janus:

I don't hesitate. I pull the trigger, then watch as the red star-burst blooms on his forehead.
He's dead.
And. I'm glad.

Such simple prose but powerful. Oh, and Kenner finds a way to wrap up the trilogy that anyone can see coming. So, I enjoyed book 1 and 2, but 3 was a snooze.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Manolo Matrix

Just finished "The Manolo Matrix." It's part two of a trilogy by Julie Kenner, frivolous fun about a video-assassin game that comes to life and involves sharp women who love to shop. Book 1 was "The Givenchy Code."

Great, fast beach read. I did it in two days. This book involved aspiring actress Jennifer figuring out clues based on Broadway musicals. The clues were not easy to figure out, which detracts from the fun of the reader.

The second character, FBI agent Devlin is aware of what motivates people. Several times he talks of how when people are afraid they will often turn to the emotion of anger to release some of the stress, or that people will sometimes make love to alleviate feelings of fear or depression.

The spiritual essence of the book comes in page 292 when Julie gets into the shower (baptism) and realizes she has not been proactive in her life and career. Then she wonders why: "...what if I had a fear of success? Of not living up to my own hype? Or the hype I'd built up in my head?"