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Sarah's Library

I read pretty much anything, from fantasy (City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett) to romance (Bared to You by Sylvia Day) to classics (Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad).  The only genres I don't read are self-help and comic books/graphic novels.

Currently reading

The Last Honeytrap
Louise Lee
Progress: 100/346 pages
Complete Works of William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare

The Mad Sculptor by Harold Schechter

The Mad Sculptor - Harold Schechter

6/2 - I read Schechter's The Devil's Gentleman some years ago and enjoyed it thoroughly, even with flow-breaking footnotes numbering in the hundreds. I had a quick flip through The Mad Sculptor and I'm pleased to see not a single footnote. While they do add extra information to some complicated points of the story, they also break the readers' concentration while they read through the sometimes copious subscript printing at the bottom of every page, trying to find the number that corresponds with the footnote they've just come across. I'm looking forward to reading this with more anticipation than before I knew about the lack of footnotes, and I'm not letting the low average rating dull my interest as these types of books rarely garner hundreds of four and five star reviews, so I was kind of expecting the lower than usual rating. To be continued...

Oh goodness!! That's a terrible editing mistake. I was wrong about the lack of notes, they're just not footnotes, they're back of the book notes (which would usually mean I'd be in for a lot of flicking back and forth, usually). I've just finished the first chapter and pretty much straight away I noticed something screwy with the notes. The notes at the back of the book didn't seem to make sense when linked with their corresponding number within the text. I thought it was me, just not really getting what the notes were trying to link to, but then I got to note #5. Unfortunately for Schechter it looks like he, or whoever edited this book, completely stuffed up the notes and their corresponding numbers. It became clear once I got to note #5 of chapter one because the note explanations at the back of the book didn't go past #4, and #5 matched up with the explanation for #4 better than the real #4 did. Once I realised this mistake I went back and looked at the other notes that I hadn't understood and figured out that none of them matched up correctly with the corresponding number. This leads me to think that none of the notes will be correct. Considering how many notes there are per chapter let alone throughout the whole book, that's a lot of badly matched notes that aren't going to explain anything and will in fact further confuse the reader. I never really liked the notes anyway, so I think I might skip the notes altogether, most of them are just giving bibliographic details or dates of newspaper articles from where he found the information he's quoting in the text. Unless you really want to do some 'further reading' they aren't that interesting, it's not like I'll lose all meaning to the book if I skip them. To be continued...


8/2 - Finally read enough to be able to comment on the book itself, rather than its editing problems. All I can say after 47 pages is that I'm glad we aren't living with the newspapers of 1935. The lengths they were prepared to go to to grab the public's attention is horrifying. Compared to these newspaper companies Fox news are saints. Almost everything they published was either a sensationalised version of the truth or an outright lie. It really has shocked me. The two competing newspapers attempting to outdo each other with their 'scandalous new revelations' regarding the murder victims that are being splashed across the front page of the daily newspapers, except that none of what they wrote was true, in any sense of the word. It was all a complete fabrication in order to attract readers. Thank goodness today's media have a bit more integrity and ethics, plus there are laws to help them stay within those lines. To be continued...


9/2 - I love the Kirk Douglas cameo! How weird that this kid, born to Jewish immigrants from the region now known as Belarus, whose father was the local ragman, should meet and actually become friends with a serial-killer-to-be, all because he was able to talk his way into St Lawrence University.

While a little slow at the beginning, The Mad Sculptor has really picked up and now I actually want to get back to reading it, rather than simply knowing I have to or that I should and I'll be sorry if I don't. To be continued...


10/2 - The one thing you can never say about Harold Schechter is that he doesn't do his research. This guy looked into the background of the most minor of players involved in this story, and then he gave us some details about the minor player's parents. I can't imagine how much work, how much reading and searching of the archives he would have to do to be able to include all those details into the books he writes. It's not just this one, of course, the previous Schechter book I read was equally as well researched as this. The number folders of research that he has on American murderers going back to 1900 must be more substantial than almost any other private citizen. Schechter, once again, makes what could be a dry statement of facts with no insight into the whys of the crime or the perpetrator, into a riveting tale of murder and insanity. Definitely going to read more of Schechter's excellent tales of murderers and their crimes.

Forgot to add that the story really only goes for 306 pages, the last 46 pages are acknowledgements, references for the notes scattered throughout the book, a bibliography, and an index.


PopSugar 2015 Reading Challenge: A Nonfiction Book