From Ellen Druda
Author: Jennifer Gargano
Title: 8:46 [videorecording DVD] : never forget
There are no surprises in a film about September 11th. We all know how it’s going to end. Filmmaker Jennifer Gargano imagines stories about some people caught in the event: the victims and their families, workmates, friends and lovers, and what was happening in their lives that day. The characters are fictional but possible amalgamations of stereotypes based on many real lives. The film spends most of the time leading up to the attacks in order for us to get to know the individuals. When the planes hit the buildings, we see the panic and heroics of these everyday people from inside the towers and those in the immediate area. Ms. Gargano has created a heartfelt, if a little clichéd, tribute to the casualties and heroes of 9/11, with a portion of the proceeds going to Tuesday’s Children, a charity for those impacted by the events.
From Alexus Haddad
Title: The Great Gatsby
Author: F. Scott Fitzgerald
A 1920s era setting in Long Island, NY. This is an amazing novel that tells of the corruption and looseness of the Roaring Twenties. Jay Gatsby wants to fall back in love with his one true love, Daisy Buchanan. However, Daisy is married to a Yale polo player. As time goes on, we find out about Daisy’s and Gatsby’s “adventures” together when they were young.
From Andrea Kalinowski
Author: Colin Evans
Title: Blood on the table : the greatest cases of New York City’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
Blood on the table: the greatest cases of New York’s Office of Chief Medical Examiner by Colin Evans echoes some of the history which I had already known through reading Arsenic and clam chowder: murder in Gilded Age New York by James D. Livingston. Colin Evans explores, in detail, the complex history and tumultuous beginnings of the Coroner’s Office, which was eventually renamed. “Of the sixty-five men who had held the office of coroner since consolidation, not one was thoroughly qualified, by training or experience, for the adequate performance of his duties. By occupation, nineteen were general physicians without any formal training in legal medicine, eight were undertakers, seven were politicians, six were real estate dealers, two were saloonkeepers, and two were plumbers; the rest were respectively, a lawyer, a printer, an auctioneer, a contractor, a carpenter, a painter, a dentist, a butcher ….” This book was an eye-opener regarding the politics and fiduciary issues plaguing the Coroner’s Office. The Coroner’s Office was eventually abolished in 1915. “The small print stated that the current holder of the positon would be replaced when their engagement ended on January 1, 1918. Beginning in January 1918, the city of New York, would have its first chief Medical Examiner. For anyone interested in forensics and history, this book is a perfect amalgamation of both. It is sprinkled throughout with true crime examples and the bitter rivalries engendered by the esteem attached to the office of Medical Examiner.
From Dawn Moore
Title: New York Dead
Author: Stuart Woods
The first in the Stone Barrington series, a cop who turns lawyer struggles to break a case of a woman that he sees fall off a balcony and then disappears into thin air. Lots of twists and turns, I’ll be reading some more of this series.
From Ellen Druda
Author: Amor Towles
Rules of Civility
If you’re a fan of movies from the 30’s and 40’s starring a wise-cracking and beautiful heroine who mingles with high-society New York, put this book on reserve now. Meet Katey Kontent and her best pal, the tragic Eve. Out celebrating the end of 1937 in a Village jazz joint, Katey and Eve meet wealthy Tinker Grey, and the three become fast friends. Tinker allows them into his world of the rich and very rich, and Katey impresses his associates enough to start her own ascent from legal secretary pool to glamorous publishing world. The writing has an elegance and style that perfectly mimics the New York City setting.
From Jackie Cantwell
Author: Jessica Dorfman Jones
Klonopin Lunch: a Memoir
What happens when a married lawyer with a hum-drum life gets a taste of Sex, Drugs, and Rock-n-Roll? Read this well-crafted memoir to find out. Jessica, a product of New York’s Upper East Side, always played by the rules, which included excelling at the finest schools and marrying her college boyfriend. Enter a handsome guitar teacher, and at the age of thirty, she forgets the life she knew. Their flirtation becomes a full-blown affair, and she starts to take illegal drugs, gets tattooed, and fancies herself a rock star. She writes songs with the guitar teacher’s pal, becomes the lead singer of a fledgling rock band, and stays out ‘til all hours of the night, thus testing the limits of her husband’s understanding and support. This tale of sexual obsession and codependency is painfully honest. She often doesn’t come across as very likeable or sympathetic. Yes, she’s selfish, and yes, she ought to know better. There are very funny sections, including the lunch with her gay pal, where the book gets its title. It could be said that New York City is another character in the book; the evocative descriptions of Manhattan are such that you can almost smell the spilled beer and cigarette smoke in the clubs. There are graphic depictions of sexual activity and drug use, so this book is not for the squeamish or the prudish.
From Andrea Kalinowski
Author: Deborah Blum
The poisoner’s handbook : murder and the birth of forensic medicine in jazz age New York
This was an informative read, especially for those of us into forensics and the history thereof. The dedication exhibited by the early pioneers in New York’s Medical Examiner’s Office was an example of what can be accomplished, even with little monetary funding. If there was no test for a particular lethal substance, the scientists kept chipping away at the problem, experimenting constantly until they arrived at the correct formula for determining toxicity. The leader of the Medical Examiner’s Office instituted reforms which streamlined recovery and handling of the deceased. This was a very informative and enlightening read.