Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A book meme -- and a question

I swore off memes a while back, except for Heads or Tails, but Shelby asked me to do this one -- a book meme -- that she got from Jeni.

Seems simple enough... and I do always have a book... or two... going. So here are the rules:

* Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more - No cheating.

* Turn to page 123 and find the first five sentences.

* Now post the next three sentences.

* The fun begins - - tag some people to play along.

Well, I won't tag anyone... but I can do the rest of it because it prompts a question that's been much on my mind of late.

I've just been reading Robert Cooley's book (with Hillel Levin), "When Corruption Was King." Cooley was a Chicago lawyer who got involved with the Outfit. He made money, and lots of it, but he finally got disgusted with what he was doing and for whom he was doing it. He got so disgusted that he one day walked into the U.S. Attorney's Office and offered to flip. He wore a wire for years and his testimony was instrumental in putting several gangsters and corrupt politicians and judges behind bars.

From page 123, sentences six, seven and eight: "For the crews, bar fights were just another part of nightlife, like someone else might think of playing pool or seeing a show. The mobsters weren't the only ones in a bar looking for trouble. I got in a lot of beefs myself."

Just before reading Cooley's book, I read "Double Deal: The Inside Story of Murder, Unbridled Corruption, and the Cop Who Was a Mobster," by Michael Corbitt and Sam Giancana. Corbitt was, at one time, the chief of a police department in a Chicago suburb. The other author is a nephew of the guy you're thinking of.

I found these books extremely frightening. The people about whom Corbitt and Cooley were writing are extremely frightening. They had creative ways of expressing their displeasure. And we're not talking TV shows or movies here -- although what happened to the Spilotro brothers, for example, has been used as source material for at least a couple of movies -- we're talking real life... and, frequently, the end thereof.

I read these books because I was curious -- I remember the trials, I remember the murders, I know people who have met either Corbitt or Cooley or both. But I did not read these books because I wanted to be entertained.

I see nothing 'entertaining' about these allegedly real accounts -- nor do I see anything entertaining about the unquestionably fictional accounts of similar persons -- the Godfather movies, for example, or the Sopranos. Which brings me to my question: Why do people find this stuff 'entertaining'?


Hilda said...

OK, I did the meme...but then, you knew I would didn't you? :)

Barb said...

I like to read courtroom books.. fiction and non-fiction :)

Shelby said...

Great job counselor.

As far as your question.. I don't think it's 'entertaining' so much. It's more 'I gotta know more about this from every angle.'

I really like knowing all the details and background of the cases.

Cathy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cathy said...

read true crime books (Ann Rule) I recently finsihed a book about 2 hunters that were murdered while on a trip in Michigan. I don't know why I read these books. Not long go I read "Bitter Almonds" for about the third time.

I certainly don't think they are entertaining, and many times they make me ill. I may be in awe that there can be so many people who can do such horible things.

Here is someone I cannot read. James Patterson. I use to, but he started freaking me out. I was having nightmares after reading his books. Even though his books are fiction, I wonder about someone who has such an imagination, to be able to write such horrible things.

I also read alot of other books as well, I actually think I just love to read, and will read whatever I find.

Cathy said...

My "I" at the very beginning didn't come through. I wasn't telling you to read true crime, but rather that I read them...:)

landgirl said...

I remembering reading the Valachi papers years ago and being quite scared then. I always say that your best hope is that people who choose to be violent criminals are also stupid. I think only the stupid ones get caught.
Recent reading has been on history of textiles: Women's Work the First 20,000 years-- a brilliant read even if you are not dead keen on textiles; Threading Time, another cultural history but a bit thin and today a very silly book from 1955 about a girl's boarding school in England, Claudine at St. Clare's. Blame it on my virus-soaked brain.