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Book Review: MOVIE STAR BY LIZZIE PEPPER by Hilary Liftin

August 31, 2015 – 8:11 pm | 6 Comments

Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper is not actually by Lizzie Pepper, who’s a fictional celebrity, but by Hilary Liftin, a ghostwriter who has collaborated on bestselling celebrity memoirs. But Movie Star is a novel. Confused …

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Shock vs. Sensitivity

August 26, 2015 – 9:30 pm | 7 Comments
Alison-and-Adam

Photo: WDBJ7.com

Like most people, I was shocked by the on-air shooting of WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward. As I tried to learn more about what happened after first seeing only a tweet about the incident, my shock turned first to horror and then anger.

This isn’t a post about stricter gun-control laws. I fervently, deeply support that, but my friends Lauren and Chris Holm have already covered that in posts more eloquent and effective than anything I could write (click on their names to read them).

What I want to talk about is, why did some news outlets post the videos of Parker and Ward being murdered? The first site I visited was CNN, and though it posted a warning about graphic content, a freeze frame/screen grab of the video was visible and I felt sick after catching a brief glimpse of it.

I quickly scrolled past it, like a person trying to get rid of porn on the computer when someone else enters the room, but I was still shaking. I don’t need to see the final moments of Parker’s and Ward’s lives to understand how horrific their deaths were. I imagine Parker’s and Ward’s loved ones don’t want to watch them being killed, either. The shooting occurred during WDBJ’s morning broadcast so the station can’t be faulted for what went live, but other news outlets had no good reason to show the gruesome images after the fact.

The press exists because the public has the right to know, but did it need to witness Parker’s and Ward’s dying gasps? If the gunman (I refuse to write his name) were still at large and Ward’s footage contained the only lead to his identity, then I could understand it being shown with a plea to help identify the shooter.

But that’s not the case. Therefore I can only assume the video was shown for ratings or clicks. Which means it’s exploitation of a double murder.

I was once like Parker, a young TV news reporter at a small station in Virginia. Occasionally a cameraman would return from location with raw footage of a tragedy, the aftermath of a drunk driver colliding with another car or a child flipping an ATV.

Without being told by our news director, my colleagues and I always knew to edit out the bloody parts and air only enough footage to indicate a tragedy had occurred, never anything that might upset the general public or, worse, the victims’ families. It’s been many years since I worked in TV news and the world has changed drastically, but is it too much to ask for a certain level of sensitivity and a professional standard of decency?

How do you feel about the graphic footage being on air and online? Should it be shown because it’s “part of the story”?

Book Review: WHAT DOESN’T KILL HER by Carla Norton

August 16, 2015 – 9:43 pm | One Comment
what doesnt kill her

It’s been seven years since Reeve LeClaire, the heroine in Carla Norton’s What Doesn’t Kill Her, was rescued after being held prisoner as a teen by Daryl Wayne Flint, who’s serving time at a psychiatric …

Book Review: HOSTILE TAKEOVER by Shane Kuhn

July 19, 2015 – 5:49 pm | 6 Comments
hostile takeover

Shane Kuhn shot onto the crime fiction scene last year with The Intern’s Handbook (movie rights were snapped up), and now his assassin John Lago is back in Hostile Takeover with more explosive action.
At the …

Nerdy Special List July 2015

July 2, 2015 – 12:08 am | 10 Comments
signal

We have a long weekend ahead! Hope you have fun plans for the Fourth of July, if you celebrate it. After a rough week, I hope to commence Operation Couch Potato.
This month, I’m very excited …

Movie Review: INSIDE OUT

June 21, 2015 – 5:45 pm | 4 Comments
Disney•Pixar's "Inside Out" takes us to the most extraordinary location yet - inside the mind of Riley. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions - Anger (voiced by Lewis Black), Disgust (voiced by Mindy Kaling), Joy (voiced by Amy Poehler), Fear (voiced by Bill Hader) and Sadness (voiced by Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley's mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. Directed by Pete Docter and produced by Jonas Rivera, "Inside Out" is in theaters June 19, 2015.

I’m going to start this review by saying if you haven’t seen Inside Out and have any reservations about seeing it, thinking it’s only for kids or girls or whatever, just throw those doubts out …

Book Review: DISCLAIMER by Renée Knight

June 18, 2015 – 6:14 pm | 4 Comments

Imagine reading a thriller and suddenly realizing the much-hated main character is you. And the disclaimer about resemblances to real people being coincidental has been crossed out. This is the premise of first-time novelist Renée …

Guest Book Review: PARADISE SKY by Joe R. Lansdale

June 14, 2015 – 9:35 pm | One Comment

When a copy of this novel first appeared on my doorstep, Mr. PCN, being a big Joe R. Lansdale fan, immediately snatched it up and claimed it for himself. After he tore through it in about two blinks, …

Nerdy Special List June 2015

June 4, 2015 – 7:59 pm | 4 Comments
little paris bookshop

Summer starts in June, so I’m looking forward to more time for pleasure reading. Oh, who am I kidding? I’m self-employed and make myself work every day.
But for those who do get to take summer vacations, here are …

May 2015 Pop Culture Consumption

June 3, 2015 – 9:08 pm | 5 Comments
schumer

While I didn’t review everything I read and watched last month, I consumed a lot of pop culture. Much of it was unexceptional, but there were a couple of gems. I’ll write more about some of these in …

Big Bear Adventure

May 25, 2015 – 6:11 pm | 7 Comments
IMG_2021

Since we had a long weekend, Mr. PCN and I decided to run away from civilization and the noisy neighbors with their chainsaws and leaf blowers and constantly barking dogs.
We rented a cabin in the mountains near Big …

Guest Book Review: HOLD STILL by Sally Mann

May 17, 2015 – 10:57 pm | 2 Comments
Photo by Liz Liguori

This review is by contributor Thuy Dinh, editor of Da Mau Magazine.
The cover photograph of Sally Mann’s memoir, Hold Still, shows the author as a prepubescent tomboy, airborne against a gray expanse of sky. She …

When Is a Spoiler a Spoiler?

May 14, 2015 – 10:47 pm | 12 Comments
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I had two extremely annoying reading experiences recently and it brought to mind a question I’ve had for a while so I thought I’d seek outside opinions.
Here’s what happened, with two books in a row. I was reading …

Nerdy Special List May 2015

May 4, 2015 – 7:38 pm | 4 Comments
disclaimer

Happy Cinco de Mayo!
We have a full list this month. After a couple of lackluster reading months, I was happy to read some strong books in April and to see my blogging friends did, too. Hope …