Books Books Books and Reading


The read through of the Fulton County Public Library continues and now the adventure is taking me to the 380’s section which focuses on Commerce, Communications, and Transportation. The first books I have encountered are books about books!

Books are so important and useful. They help us to communicate with each other. They are a source of sharing and receiving information. Books also go way beyond the basic function of communication. Books are most useful if we can read. Reading is akin to a car key. To get the full benefit of a car, one needs to have the key. To get the full benefit of books, one needs to read–and read a lot!

It's Called Reading

Most of us have learned to read through one (or some combination) of the following methods: self taught, learned to read by being read to, taught by a teacher, a librarian, or a literacy director. Some people seem to need a little bit more time to learn to read. For this reason, the Fulton County Public Library offers a Literacy Service under the leadership of Ezra Eagle.

eagle no hat

A few of the functions of the Literacy Department are to teach adults to read, to help patrons of any age to read better, and to help those whose second language is English learn to read and write in English. For other functions of the Literacy Department, follow the link above.

The following photos are of the Literacy Department at the Fulton County Public Library:

Lit Department

Literacy Office

Lit 2

Lit 1

The last two photos are tutoring rooms located in the Literacy Department. These rooms are used for Literacy Department services and also double as small space meeting rooms. One room holds 4 people, the other 10 people. When our regular Meeting Rooms (a topic for another post) are filled, small groups may be assigned to one of these two rooms. Additionally patrons are allowed to sign themselves up for either of these two rooms. Individual patron usage has included things like test taking (and being proctored), a quiet place just to study or read, family meetings, would be entrepreneurs strategy sessions, and home schooling activities just to mention a few. Some groups are repeating but may be very small so those groups have been assigned to these rooms by library staff (usually me).

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention therapy dogs used in connection with the Fulton County Public Library Literacy Department. In the last several years, we have had two therapy dogs working at all three locations of our library. Allow me to introduce to you Samantha and Oliver:

Samantha and Oliver

Samantha is a  black Newfoundland. Samantha loves working with her Dad, Ron, at the library as well as in schools and hospitals.

Samantha at work in School

Samanthat at work in Hospital Samanthat and Nurses Samantha at FCPLR





Samantha has her own Facebook page and would love to be your friend. In her free time, Samantha enjoys spending time with her family. Samantha lives in another city and recently has decided to start working closer to her home.

Oliver is a chocolate Australian Labradoodle. He is the MDIC (Main Dog In Charge) here at the library. Oliver lives locally and he also works with his dad, Ezra Eagle.

eagle no hatOliver is quite busy with his duties and responsibilities as the MDIC here at the library. Besides having such an important job, Oliver is also a library patron. Oliver agreed to be interviewed to answer some of the most common questions people may have about him either as a therapy dog or a patron. Oliver is a people dog and he regrets that he is unable to personally answer questions at this time. The interview was done last summer, but the information given by Oliver about himself is timeless. Follow the link if you would like to read Oliver’s Interview.

Oliver’s job seems to be something new everyday. Below is a recent picture of Oliver and some library folk. On this day, Oliver was instructing on the finer points of making and playing your own guitar. It was a difficult job, but these two people succeeded  in their efforts and Oliver is being treated to an appreciative serenade. Music is a form of therapy after all. Oliver also enjoys listening to music in his free time.

Oliver Music Instructor

In other free time activities, Oliver enjoys sports and loves to take long walks to get back to nature.


Oliver 2

Oliver 4

(Black and white photo(s) credit: Kendra Roe)

Follow this link to watch a short video if you would like to learn more about how libraries (and schools) partner with dogs.

Once we actually learn to read, books can open up whole new worlds to us. They teach us, entertain us, make us laugh, make us cry, give us new ideas and challenge old ideas. Books make it possible for us to learn from the dead, to go into entirely new worlds on other planets, to explore scary topics in safety and so very much more. Since there is no way I could possibly ever finish listing all of the benefits of books, I encourage you to read from a wide variety of genres to stretch and grow yourself.

Beyond the printed page, books also serve many other purposes.  Books can be used to build and display:

Books Christmas Tree

Books building

Books can inspire us to be creative:

Books Flowers

Les Compressions de Livres

(Les compressions de livres by Johnathon Callan)

Books can even be part of home decor:

books lamp

Books also provide many jobs for people who handle them regularly.   There are people who work in book stores:

Book Store

In libraries:

library worker

My own job here at the Fulton County Public Library involves  reading many books and writing a blog which often features books as I explore library materials, resources, and services.


There are people who write books


and others who edit books.


Books can also help people be self employed. There are people who buy and sell books–which leads me to recommend two of the most recent books I checked out on my way through the nonfiction section:

Book Finds Selling Used Books Online

Both of these books contain excellent information for anyone wanting to buy and sell books full time, part time, or just as a hobby to earn extra money. The information on the covers of these books is self explanatory. If interested, I highly encourage Dewey Hop readers to read these books about books.

There’s still so much more to say about books. One blog post can’t do the world of books justice. Once you enter this world, you will find something amazing and relevant to your life and I hope you will find a world of happiness in their pages.

Were you surprised to learn that libraries partner with dogs? What is your favorite thing about books? Would you enjoy a career centered around books?







Psychopaths and Priates

When the majority of us think about pirates, we are likely to think about men with a patch over one eye, strange clothes, a hook in place of one hand, and a sword in the other hand. Sometimes pirates are portrayed with a wooden leg or a crutch and with a parrot on one shoulder. Classic Pirate

Most of us will never encounter a real pirate (thankfully). Our pirate run ins are likely to be at costume parties and all in good fun.

Hollywood has included and glamorized pirates in movies such as Pirates of the Carribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl,


Treasure Island: Pirates’ Plunder, 

Treasure Island

and Peter Pan just to mention a few movies involving pirates.

Peter Pan

A few myths about pirates are:

They buried treasure to find later. While this may have happened on rare occasions, the majority of pirates weren’t future planners. They were in a very dangerous profession and many didn’t expect to live long enough to have to worry about the future.

They made their victims “walk the plank.” There is no evidence of this ever happening. If a pirate was going to execute a prisoner, they would likely just stab the victim. There is some evidence that pirates tied their victims with ropes and dragged them behind their ships. If the ship was moving quickly, the victims were caught up in debris which might cause serious wounds (and thus attract sharks). If the ship moved slowly, the victims would likely drown eventually.

Pirates said “Arrr.” This sound is more of a Hollywood invention.

A few pirate jokes (Answers at the end of the post):

What is a pirate’s favorite restraunt?

What is a pirate’s favorite store?

Why do pirates wear ear rings?

The truth of the matter is that pirating is serious and often violent crime even in our time. The act of piracy is seizing items that belong to others, usually by force. Both men and women have been known to be pirates, although it’s a male dominated crime.

Modern day pirates look like this:

Nigerian Pirates

Lithuanian Pirates

(The above images are from Somalia and Lithuania although pirating happens all over the world.)

Pirates on the sea today make use of technology and modern day weapons. The weapon of choice is an AK-47. Computer systems and radar as well as two way radios are often part of a pirate’s arsenal. Pirates may use small fishing vessels to try to appear inconspicuous. Often there will be a “mother ship” hiding just out of sight. Small vessels are equipped with weapons, technology, and boarding ladders.

The World Atlas of Pirates: Treasures and Treachery on the Seven Seas – in Maps, Tall Tales, and Pictures by Angus Konstam is a very interesting and informative book.

The World Atlas of Pirates

Although this book deals with piracy all over the world, for purposes of this post I will mostly discuss American piracy.  In order to understand American pirating, though, we need a bit of background about pirating in general.

High seas pirating has probably existed ever since there were ships. However, the hey day of pirating was in the 18th century when many wars were fought at sea.  At that point in time it was sometimes even legal.  If a pirate’s country was at war, it was actually encouraged to attack and plunder enemy ships. Governments couldn’t call this activity “pirating” so they called it “privateering.” To become a privateer all a person needed was a ship and a government permission letter called a “letter of marque.” As long as a ship’s captain had a letter of marque, all attacks on enemy vessels (which loosely translated was any vessel not belonging to the captain’s country or any vessel that fired upon your ship) were perfectly legal. If, however, a ship’s captain was captured and failed to produce a letter of marque, he could be tried and hung as a pirate.

Britain and France used privateers against each other. When American colonists rebelled against the British, the Americans turned Britain’s tactics against them. British ships blockaded the coastline along the colonies and the Americans responded by having purpose built privateering ships built, obtaining letters of marque and then turning these ships against the British.

American privateers had become a serious menace to British ships in American waters by 1775, capturing around 30 ships by the winter of 1776 just off the Boston coast line. However this conflict between the British and the Americans was happening from the New England colonies all the way south to Charleston. By 1777 American privateers had captured over 3,000 British merchant ships. Privately owned American privateering ships had grown to an impressive fleet of 449 vessels by 1781.

A privateer / pirate named John Paul Jones is generally credited with being the founder of the US Navy.  John’s surname was Paul. John  was born in Scottland and at the age of 13 apprenticed aboard the Friendship.  After the Friendship he served on several British merchant ships. He became a captain in 1770 at the age of 23. During a dispute in 1770  John Paul killed a crew member.  At this point in time he fled to America and added the name “Jones” to his full name. When the Americans began to rebel against the British in 1775, John Paul Jones offered his services and was commissioned as an officer into the fledgling US Navy. Jones first served as the second in command on an improvised warship the Alfred which cruised the Delaware River. In 1777 he was put in command of the USS Ranger, an 18 gun brig. The USS Ranger set sail from Portsmith, New Hampshire on the way to France. After just a month at sea the USS Ranger arrived in Quiberon Bay having captured two British ships on the way. In Quiberon Bay, the French gave the first official salute to a ship bearing the brand new American flag. Because of his service, John Paul Jones was considered a hero by the Americans and a pirate by the British.

If a privateer captain could capture a particularly good enemy ship with rich cargo (often called a prize), then his own ship could be paid for with one prize and also enable him to pay his crew. As wars dragged on and more prizes were captured, the privateer captain was able to buy more ships and increase his fleet. Governments were paid 10 percent of a prize and were able to use privateers as cheap and effective resources which generated money for the various governments. During this time period a good yearly salary was around $50. Capturing one good prize might generate $500 for a single privateer for doing just one job. When wars ended, privateers sometimes were tempted to turn to piracy rather than return to lesser paying respectable professions.

Piracy Today: Fighting Villainy on the High Seas by John C. Payne discuses ways in which modern day piracy is being fought. Just like modern day pirates who use modern technology, so too do governments use modern technology to fight piracy.

Piracy Today

One of the most interesting things that I read in this book was that the United States is using drones to effectively bring pirates to justice. Drones can fly over the seas looking for and taking images of suspicious crafts and crews. Of course drones can be spotted so pirates sometimes try to use camouflage or try to outsmart the drones. Some pirates have attempted to move under the cover of darkness in order to avoid being spotted by drones. In one example a drone flew over a pirate ship, taking pictures of the crew and equipment aboard the vessel. Images and radio messages are relayed to US ships in the area. Officials are already on the way to the spotted vessel by the time the pirates realize they are being watched. One pirate crew threw a boarding ladder and other things overboard trying to avoid detection but because the drone had captured images of the crew and cargo, those pirates were picked up and arrested. Moving under cover of darkness does no good since the drones are equipped with night vision.

Did you know the US Navy was started by a pirate? Have you heard about drones being used to fight pirates?

Answers to jokes:


Big Arrrr

Because they are a buck an ear

Verbal / Emotional Abuse

deepest scars

Perusing library shelves is ongoing in the 360’s section of  the Fulton County Public Library. This is a broad category called Social Problems & Social Services. With a category attempting to incorporate all social problems, you can imagine the sheer size of this section! Obviously there’s no way I can cover all social problems in a few blog posts so I’ve been trying to bring attention to many that may not be as well known. In the meantime though, I’ve actually been reading about many other topics that don’t necessarily get their own posts. Lately some of those topics have been: foster parenting, adoption, home visits, children with parents in prison, and birth mothers.

With better education most of us are at least aware of the topic of abuse.

types of abuseCertain types of abuse are more obvious than others. Physical scars and injuries make it easier for us to see and respond to abusive situations. However there are types of abuse in which the injuries and scars do not show and it might be easy to miss or not take as seriously.


Often the literature refers to only a woman as the abused and a man as the abuser. Statistically a woman is more likely to suffer from this type of abuse, but in some cases it’s the woman who is abusive and the man is the target. I’ve also read that verbal and emotional abuse is a huge problem among many same sex couples. No one deserves to be abused; ever.

The effects of verbal abuse are real and may manifest in physical and/or psychological symptoms.


The good news is that there are very effective ways to combat verbal/emotional abuse. Here are some highly recommended books to help:

Why Does He Do That

This book is exactly what it says it is on the cover. Of all of the books of this type that I’ve read, I would say this is by far one of the most encouraging and informative ones that I’ve ever come across. Why Does He do That? by Lundy Bancroft is an easy to read book (also available in audio book format)  that may be read straight through or the reader may use it as more of a reference type book by looking up a question and reading its response by the author. Even though this book is written primarily with women in mind, it is a helpful resource to anyone experiencing verbal/emotional abuse.

the verbally abusive relationship

This book is a must read. The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans literally changed my life. I happened across this book several years ago while I was doing some research about workplace bullying. When I first read this book, I was absolutely horrified that I was reading about my own life in its pages. This may sound strange, but until I read this book I had absolutely no idea that my (then) relationship was verbally abusive. It was the same story as the proverbial frog sitting in water that is slowly being heated. The changes in my life up to that time had been so gradual that I was only just beginning to feel the boil. I don’t want to make this post about me (and I will be covering more of this in my own book as I’ve mentioned before), but I think everyone should read this book.  There is invaluable information on how to respond to abuse or even recognize the abuse when it happens to your or other people.

invisible scars

Invisible Scars by Catherine Dowda, M.Ed., LPC  is a very interesting book that gives a lot of empowering information. It differs from many other books of its subject matter in that it will help the abused person to realize if his or her situation can be changed. It is the only book of it’s kind I’ve ever seen that gives specific reasons why an abuser is or is not likely to change. This book may help someone to save a lot of heartache.

stop suffering in silence

If you are experiencing emotional or verbal abuse educate yourself and then get help. Abuse of any kind is never ok. There are many ways to do this:

  1. Read books
  2. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline -advocates are available 24/7 at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Counselors at the hotline are fluent in over 170 languages. All calls are confidential and anonymous.
  3. Visit websites starting with the Domestic Violence Hotline site- . On this site you can read important information, chat with counselors, and learn about safety planning.

If you are not being abused but know someone who is, you can help by:

  1. Providing a safe place for a target to go-whether temporarily or long term
  2. Working out code words or signs (for example a porch light on during the day) that could signal for you to call for help.
  3. Respond appropriately EVERY time to verbal/emotional abuse.

Abuse thrives on silence so by all of us speaking up and speaking out any time we encounter verbal/emotional abuse it becomes harder to deny. More importantly it becomes harder for an abuser to continue . Abusers often try to silence their targets because they lose their “power over”  when a target speaks out. It takes courage to speak up and speak out but it is one of the best protections. The more people who know about it, the better.

Have you ever had to deal with verbal/emotional abuse? Have you ever helped someone in this type of situation?



Substance Abuse


Substance abuse has become quite a large problem in the US. Roughly 4 years ago, methamphetamine became the illegal drug of choice in Indiana with Fulton County having  the regrettable claim of the highest concentration of meth labs in the state (if not the country) at that time. Law enforcement has cracked down on this problem and as of 2015 Indiana led the nation in meth busts. Law makers have passed stricter laws making it harder to get the precursors for meth production and although meth continues to be a problem, there are unfortunately all kinds of substances that continue to be used and abused.  Heroin use seems to be on the rise  but meth is probably the larger problem in this area of the country which has no doubt affected my choice of books from the substance abuse section of the Fulton County Public Library. It is, however, important to be aware of other illegal substances.

Until reading about designer drugs, I didn’t really understand what they are. Designer drugs are created from synthetic compounds made in a lab. They are not plant based and are often very dangerous. Production of designer drugs in illegal labs is extremely dangerous. Interestingly many of the designer drugs started out in legal labs for medicinal reasons. For instance Meth was originally used as a weight loss product and then in nasal sprays before being pulled from the market when it was noticed that the drug had addictive qualities as well as adverse long term effects. Several other designer drugs were pulled off of the market due to undesired side effects but not before many people got hooked on them. Black markets were born but production quality decreased almost guaranteeing eventual negative side effects and sometimes death. In the book Designer Drugs by Paul Robbins, the author follows drug origins from the (often) legal production to the illegal street versions and explaining along the way who the people are that want to use these drugs and why.

designer drugs

Following these stories was quite interesting and informative. Despite the obvious chemistry and manufacturing that goes into the production of designer drugs, the book is written in an easy to understand format and is very reader friendly. I would even go as far as to say some of the stories are entertaining although unfortunate. Designer Drugs is a small book which is packed with information. With only 7 chapters it covers topics such as the characteristics of designer drugs, the differences between MPTP and Speed, why people choose drugs like Ecstasy  and the Fentanyl Analogs, individual drug use, families and drug abuse, society and drug abuse, and how to get help for drug abuse. The book has fairly short chapters with a few discussion questions at the end of each chapter making the book useful as a classroom textbook or even a support group resource.


In If Only You People Could Follow Directions Jessica Hendry Nelson shares her experiences of being in a family dealing with addiction. While I can’t exactly say I enjoyed this book, I did find parts of it interesting. I found the jumbled time sequences hard to follow and had a definite distaste for much of the language used in the book. I nearly didn’t finish the book because of this. Despite these reasons, I continued to read and what emerged was the story of an imperfect family trying to survive addictive behavior related to substance use and abuse. As a child growing up in this environment, Jessica’s experiences and memories do seem to be fragmented always revolving around the current crisis. The jumbled time sequences are likely trying to portray the out of control feeling experienced by families in crisis. Jessica’s family seems to be held together more by crisis than by family bond. Despite it all, Jessica appears to have left her dysfunctional roots and moved on to become a successful writer.

After reading about drugs themselves, the abuse of drugs, and families in crisis because of drugs, the obvious next choice was to read something dealing with how to stop abusing drugs. Given the meth problem in this area of the country, I’ve heard a lot about the issue and know about how addictive meth is. Wondering what it takes for someone to stop using, Quitting Crystal Meth by Joseph Sharp seemed to be the next logical choice for me to read.

quitting crystal meth

Joseph Sharp is a former meth addict who is nonjudgmental and respectful to the reader.  After someone decides to quit meth, Joseph explains how to prepare to quit by trying to anticipate questions a user may have such as “Do I really have to ‘hit bottom’?” and “Should I detox alone or with a doctor?” Several other concerns are also addressed in the “getting ready” phase. The author goes on to explain everything from exactly what to expect during the actual detox, the weeks and months following through the first year and even some time after that. The possibility of relapse is discussed and what to do about it if it happens. Along with all of this, Joseph interjects his own experiences and also talks about the need to establish a good support system and how to get help to quit meth if needed.

Below are some websites which can help you through the process of quitting:


Other sites than may be helpful are:

If you Google the words “images faces meth users” you will bring up a series of pictures showing how meth dramatically ages a person and you will see visible damage to the human body. These photos are graphic (so not shared here). View at your own discretion. The majority of the photos are only from the neck up, but they can be difficult to view. In my opinion they are effective deterrents to starting meth. If you or someone you know already is a current user of meth, please view the images to educate yourself on what this deadly drug does to people. I would highly recommend the book Quitting Crystal Meth by Joseph Sharp to anyone struggling with meth addiction. Please seek help. There is hope and the bravest thing a user can do is to seek help.



Suicide and Survival

suicide survivor

Suicide is a topic I dreaded having to read about and a post I’ve been dreading having to write. There is no way I can write about this and not get more personal about this subject. In 2010 my oldest tadpole died by suicide at the age of 20. Although it’s been 6 years I am just now getting to the point that I can share her story. This is not to say I haven’t been dealing with her death in my own way. It’s just that I was more focused inwardly and now I’m able to begin to outwardly talk about the whole issue. I am actually writing a book which is our family’s testimony about the problems leading up to a senseless death that didn’t have to happen and how we believe God brought us through it all. Ironically I had already begun the book–most of which she read and ok’d as a story of her life–before this tragedy. I write now to keep a promise to her that I had made to somehow get her story heard. Her story is my story. It’s my family’s story. It’s a true story of dramatic twists and turns that none of us could have possibly made up. Although it’s a cliche, truth really is stranger than fiction.  Our story is one of betrayal, secrets, a double life, mental illness, corruption, prejudice, ignorance, survival and death and yet it is a story of faith, hope, love, loyalty, brutal honesty,compassion, integrity, acceptance, education, and forgiveness leading to life. Our lives are an enigma of oxymoron. Having said all of that, I found that when I reached the literature about suicide that I was actually ready to read it and much of it has been extremely helpful and even freeing for me, a suicide loss survivor.

Something amazing happens when we read and keep on reading. We not only learn about individual topics, but all of that knowledge begins to integrate in our minds. Our understanding is opened as if pieces of a jigsaw puzzle are joined together giving us a bigger picture. My previous post about Mental Health and now this one about Suicide and Survival have brought pieces of my own story together in a way that has been very therapeutic for me. Drafted into a club I never wanted to join, I feel uniquely qualified to discuss books and literature on the topic of suicide.

Until fairly recently all available literature pertaining to suicide dealt with statistics after the fact or with ways of trying to prevent it. While I believe this is valuable information, it did very little in helping survivors cope with a suicide. It’s also obviously not enough since suicide rates continue to climb. Some survivors have sought help from psychotherapists and have found that the therapist seemed more interested in the suicide than actually in helping the survivor cope. In many cases survivors are blamed and shamed for the death by the very people who should be able to help them cope. There are over 40,000 suicides in the US every year. Mental health professionals estimate that for every suicide there are at least 6 survivors who were very close to the deceased with many more people affected by the suicide. I’ve seen some figures that estimated that as many as 4 million people a year in the US are affected in some manner by suicide. For survivors closest to the suicide, the risk of suicide increases by 400%. Given that 4 million people can be a 400% higher suicide risk this is a huge problem. There is an enormous need for education and survivor support in this nation.

The first book on this topic that I read in my library read through was Words I Never Thought to Speak: Stories of Life in the Wake of Suicide by Victoria Alexander.

Words I Never Thought To Speak

Victoria Alexander lost her mother by suicide. In trying to make sense of the tragedy, she began to collect suicide survivor stories. The stories are traced over the years after the suicide. In doing so, she discovered that suicide loss survivors have a unique need to grieve differently than people who have experienced loss due to causes other than suicide. There is an almost compulsive need to tell suicide stories over and over often for years. Often support isn’t as available to suicide survivors as it is for any other type of loss. This may be due as much to shock as it is to stigma and shame. Often there is secrecy surrounding the cause of death, making it difficult to mourn in traditional ways. Friends and even extended family members may not understand the need to grieve long after the death and to keep revisiting all of the details.. In many areas of the country survivors have banded together and can offer support to other survivors in ways the “uninitiated” can’t.

With suicide deaths often come stigma, speculation, and judgement. Survivors torture themselves with the “what if’s” and the “if only’s.” Self blame, feelings of abandonment, guilt, and rejection are also common. Families can either be brought together or torn apart by a suicide. Some families splinter between blame and support causing rifts in relationships that can last for years or a lifetime. Storytelling helps survivors to work out their thoughts and emotions. Victoria Alexander has arranged her book in such a manner that you can read survivor stories straight through or so you can read the stories in the stages of  “At the End/At the Beginning,” “In the Midland,” and “Then and Now.” The reader gets a better understanding of the stages of grief that suicide survivors go through–and how they waver between them. This book is appropriate to both survivors and therapists who work with survivors.

Victoria Alexander recommends the following groups [and I’ve tried to find the online versions] for those dealing with suicide related issues:

American Association of Suicidology

American  Foundation for Suicide Prevention

The Compassionate Friends

The International THEOS Foundation

Children’s Grief Support Network

Another result of suicide is that it creates unfinished business. Survivors are almost always caught off guard and must not only deal with the shock of an unexpected death, but they are forced to make very difficult decisions concerning everything from final services to legal and financial decisions. On top of this, in the midst of shock, survivors begin to realize that they will have to be responsible for dealing with the remnants of  a life left suddenly behind by the suicide which often involves discovering secret plans and personal facts about the loved one that the survivor would have preferred not to know.

In No Time to Say Goodbye, Carla Fine (a survivor herself) explores all of these unique aspects to dealing with a suicide death. Fine does a remarkable job of explaining why it is so difficult to talk openly about a suicide death. I found this book to be candid and affirming. I highly recommend No Time to Say Goodbye to any suicide survivor.

No time

Because I felt it was a good summary, I have copied and pasted the summary of this book from the Fulton County Public Library card catalog below:

Suicide would appear to be the last taboo. Even incest is now discussed freely in popular media, but the suicide of a loved one is still an act most people are unable to talk about–or even admit to their closest family or friends. This is just one of the many painful and paralyzing truths author Carla Fine discovered when her husband, a successful young physician, took his own life December 1989. Being unable to speak openly and honestly about the cause of her pain made it all the more difficult for her to survive. With No Time To Say Goodbye, she brings suicide survival from the darkness into light, speaking frankly about the overwhelming feelings of confusion, guilt, shame, anger, and loneliness that are shared by all survivors. Fine draws on her own experience and conversations with many other survivors–as well as on the knowledge of counselors and mental health professionals. She offers a strong helping hand and invaluable guidance to the vast numbers of family and friends who are left behind by the more than thirty thousand* people who commit suicide each year, struggling to make sense of an act that seems to seem senseless, and to pick up the pieces of their own shattered lives. Perhaps, most important, for the first time in any book, she allows survivors to see that they are not alone in their feelings of grief and despair.

[*Discrepancy between this figure and the one stated previously is probably due to Carla Fine’s book being copyrighted in the late 90’s. Unfortunately suicide statistics have risen considerably.]

No Time to Say Goodbye is presented in six parts:

Part One: Introduction. This talks about the need to let go of the silence–something many survivors are hesitant to do because of all of the stigma, blame and shame associated with suicides.

Part Two: The Suicide. Very brave  survivors tell their actual stories.

Part Three: The Aftermath. This part of the book deals with a stage most survivors go through in which they search for answers, the helplessness they feel, tumultuous emotions, and dealing with legal and financial problems.

Part Four: The Survival. This is when survivors truly begin the mourning process and deal with the long term effects of the suicide on the family, how to get help for themselves, and forgiveness.

Part Five: Making Sense of the Chaos. This is about learning to live with the facts of the suicide and the life changes it brought while honoring the memory of the person lost.

Part Six: Resources. This one is self explanatory, but because it is so important, I will list some of the resources that weren’t previously mentioned. As above, I’ve tried to find and list the online versions of the groups I’ve listed.

Friends for Survival, Inc.



The resource section also lists various material and pamphlets for survivors. There is also a state by state listing of already existing survivor support groups.

The following is an excerpt from “Understtanding Survivors of Suicide Loss”  Psychology Today  by Deborah Serani, Phys.D.

Ways to Help a Survivor of Suicide Loss

If you know someone who has lost a loved one to suicide, there are many things you can do. In addition, by reaching out, you also help take stigma out of the equation.

  1. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge the death. Extend your condolences, express your feelings of sorrow. Make sure you use the loved one’s name. “My heart is so sad that John died.” Many who have lost someone to suicide have a broken heart, clinically called Stress Cardiomyopathy, and really need your empathy, compassion and understanding to heal.
  2. Ask the survivor if and how you can help. Though they may not be ready to accept help, asking signifies that you are there—not avoiding or distancing during this tragic event. The notion of being there if needed is extremely comforting for survivors.
  3. Encourage openness. Be accepting of however survivors need to express their feelings. It may be with silence, with sadness or even anger.
  4. Be patient. Don’t set a time limit for a survivor’s grief. Complicated grief can take years to process. Moreover, don’t limit a survivor’s need to share and repeat stories, conversations or wishes. Repetition is a key factor in grief recovery.
  5. Listen. Be a compassionate listener. This means don’t look to fix things. The greatest gift you can give someone you care about who has survived a suicide loss is your time, reassurance and love.

I think this is a decent list of things that anyone can do. Being a survivor myself, there are a few comments I would like to add. Definitely don’t be afraid to acknowledge the death. However, use a bit of common sense in this practice. In the beginning it is extremely important to acknowledge that there actually has been a death. Sometimes this seemingly obvious fact gets lost amidst police investigations and other legal and bureaucratic concerns. When my daughter died, someone brought up the fact of her suicide EVERY single time I saw that person for YEARS after the fact. This is where a little discretion could be used. While it’s perfectly fine to acknowledge the death, there is no reason for it to be brought up in every conversation. The person who was doing this was totally oblivious to the fact that it was upsetting me. Sometimes the name of the deceased will come up casually and normally in conversation and when this happens, it’s perfectly fine to comment and follow the conversation. Also, if those closest to the suicide like a mother (as in my case) bring it up, it’s ok to talk about it. Survivors have good days and bad days–and will for the rest of their lives so it is really important to follow the lead of those closest to the suicide. Some days survivors may have the strength to confront the facts and other days they won’t. Please do not try to force a survivor to talk about the suicide if they are clearly not ready to do so. They will open up when they are ready.

Listening–if the survivor(s) want to talk–is critical. I’m very fortunate that I had (and have) really great support in my life; wonderful people that I’m blessed to call my closest friends. Unfortunately there have also been a few people that just wanted to attack me. The people who wanted to attack me didn’t (and still don’t) have all of the facts and really do not know what they are talking about. They jumped to conclusions about the why of  my daughter’s death. Some blamed me. Some blamed her. A survivor is already blaming themself (although in the majority of situations the closest survivor couldn’t have stopped the death anyway) and the blaming and shaming that some want to do is not helpful at all. One of these people called my daughter a “coward.” One  attacked me at the memorial service basically saying I’m a lousy person who had a lousy kid. These are not exactly the type of people that a survivor is going to open up to. This type of behavior is extremely hurtful and harmful not to mention apalling and rude. It’s the exact opposite behavior of what should be happening. 

We have a very long way to go in our society in dealing with issues surrounding suicide. I am pleased that the silence is beginning to be addressed. I know there are many writers on this forum and this is a topic wide open. We need more materials to help survivors cope with suicide. Consider this post a challenge for you to bravely and openly talk about this issue.

Mental Health


Reaching the 360’s (Social Problems & Social Services) in my library read through coincided with library programming concerning autism education training for staff and autism educational programming for patrons. The program was presented by a man named Stephen Viehweg. He is widely known in Indiana. This was the flyer for the program:

Stephan Viehweg Presentation

Being a former Special Education teacher, I was extremely interested in this topic. When I first reached the 360’s, the first books I picked up were about living with autism so the staff training couldn’t have been better timed for me. There is so much more known about autism now than when I was in the classroom and the current research into this condition is truly amazing.

While I realize that many high functioning autistic people do not think of autism as a mental health problem, the Dewey Decimal System lumps autism into this category which is why I am including it in this blog entry.

Look Me In the Eye Look Me In the Eye by John Elder Robison was an entertaining and very informative book about living with autism. It was also my first introduction to the work of John Elder Robison (who by the way is the brother of Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors, a book that is about mental illness.) I was so impressed with Robison that I looked for other books he had written. I’m not normally a big fan of books on CD (BOCD), but Robison has two that I checked out.

The first of Robison’s books on CD  that I listened to was Switched On A Memoir of Brain Change and Emotional Awakening.

Switched On

This BOCD held my attention in a way that few would. It is about an experimental treatment for people with autism (and depression) and how this treatment was life changing for Robison. I highly recommend this book for anyone with an interest in this topic.

The second BOCD of Robinson’s that I listened to was Raising Cubby.

Raising Cubby

This was also  very interesting. Robison’s son is autistic and the book explores a unique father / son relationship and an FBI investigation into Cubby’s interest in explosives. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in exploring the dynamics of families living with autism.

The next group of books in the 360 section pertain more to actual mental illnesses, disorders, and conditions. These are also topics of interest to me since I have studied Psychology.

Amen, Amen, Amen

Amen, Amen, Amen by Abby Sher is a book about a woman who lives with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I like books like this because they show how people are affected in their daily lives by mental illness. Abby Sher does a great job of explaining not only how OCD affects her own life, but the lives of all those around her.

After exploring OCD, I launched into a book about Bipolar Disorder.

A Promise of Hope

A Promise of Hope by Autumn Stringam  is a quick read and informative book. Stringam traces a history of Bipolar Disorder in her family as she describes her life experiences. After some very tragic occurances, Autumn’s father had had enough and set out to find a cure while enlisting the unlikely help of a pig feed salesman. Together the two men come up with a formula that now has the attention of the world. Their formula is completely natural and contains vitamins and minerals. It has a higher absorption rate than over the counter vitamins.  Autumn, who was probably at stage 4, is living proof of the formula’s success. Since Autum’s experience literally thousands of people have benefited from this remarkable product. Anyone suffering from bipolar or who knows someone suffering from bipolar should make this book a must read.

Bearing in mind that only a professional can make an actual diagnosis, if you are concerned that you or someone you know could be at risk for mental illness, there are some online screening tools that you can check out anonymously:

Moving along, I came to the book American Psychosis: How the Federal Government Destroyed the Mental Illness Treatment System by E. Fuller Torrey, M.D.

Image of American Psychosis: How the Federal Government Destroyed the Mental Illness Treatment System

This is not a book for the faint of heart. Academic in its presentation, it is not an easy read. If one can stick with the book it has some amazing facts to share. Torrey traces the beginnings of the mental health system and the psychiatric profession from the Kennedy administration to present day. This is a topic near and dear to my heart for reasons I don’t have time to get into in this post, but it has been a real eye opener in some areas. For me, this book also helped to fill in some gaps in my understanding of the psychiatric profession. It is essentially an attack on the mental health system and psychiatry both of which actually started out with political roots.

Torrey is doing some definite feather ruffling with this book while pointing out the need for a serious change. Many people can point to the need for change, but Torrey is trying to encourage and participate in major change.  He can’t do it alone though. To serve the most seriously mentally ill among us is going to require major changes in politics, in hospitals, community clinics, psychiatry, jails, law enforcement, nursing homes, board and care homes, and (re)education of just about everyone. All of us need to start somewhere though and this book is a great place to start.

Fitting in nicely with both Autumn Stringam’s and E. Fuller Torrey’s books is a movie called Generation Rx.


I haven’t made it to the movie section in my library exploration, but I would be remiss not to include a reference to this particular DVD. If you have children or grandchildren, know any child or adult who takes psychotropic drugs (Zoloft, Ritalin, Prozac, etc). You need to view this movie. Generation Rx is essentially a documentary that explores the safety of these types of drugs and the (often) junk science that these medications are based on. By educating yourself on this topic, you may literally save lives.


Public Administration & Military Science

Dog Soldiers

Halfway through the huge Social Sciences category, I arrived at books dealing with Public Administration & Military Science. This section had books with topics that include general considerations of public administration, specific fields of administration, public administration of economy & environment, foot forces & warfare, mounted forces & warfare, air and other specialized forces & warfare, engineering & related services, and sea forces & warfare.

I am a military brat. My father served in the Air Force. My husband served in the Army. We’ve had family members in the armed services which probably date back to recorded time. Additionally one of my brothers served in the Army and the other brother was a Navy SEAL. My nephew is a marine. All branches of the armed services are represented in my family. I grew up around air force bases and played in old planes as a child. Being a child I took my environment for granted and though I was exposed to this world, I now realize that I know very little about it. Because of my background I found this section as fascinating as it is informative.

There are many picture books in this section which are very helpful. I was able to trace the development of uniforms which turned out to be quite interesting. I hadn’t realized before the gradual changes uniforms have made not only in appearance, but also in technology. Picture books can trace uniform insignia or actual uniforms. As an example that even the jacket covers show one can trace U.S. army uniforms from 1755 to the present in The American Soldier U.S. Armies in uniform, 1755 to the present by Philip Katcher

The American Soldier to current and  futuristic uniforms in 21st Century Soldier by Frank Vizard and Phil Scott, Popular Science.

21st Century Soldier

From all of the pictures it is interesting to note how the tools of a soldier are carried on or in addition to their uniforms which seem to have been gradually changing over time to the point where the uniform itself is becoming a major weapon and defense armor.

There is one tool of a soldier that can not be given enough credit-soldier dogs.

Soldier Dogs

Dogs have been present in every US engagement and operation in some capacity since WWII (and probably before that). It was a military dog named Cairo working with Navy SEALS that took down Osama Bin Laden. The book Soldier Dogs by Maria Goodavage is a must read. Goodavage traces the involvement of working military dogs (WMD) in history and explains what it takes to make the cut as a WMD. There are both heart warming and heart wrenching dog stories included in this book in which handlers tell the stories of many unsung heroes.

For more about soldier dogs, check out these blogs:





The Serious Side of Law

The Innocent Man  Dealing with law enforcement, courts, judges, and correctional institutions is serious business. I have the utmost respect for the law and love when it functions the way it was intended. We all know though that sometimes things go wrong. Politics may get involved. Money may be an issue in obtaining competent representation. Overcoming public opinion or media bias may be factors in the outcome of certain criminal trials. Mental illness may also complicate many cases.

Once again this topic of law is so vast there is no way I can do it justice in just one or two blog entries. The broader categories I’ve read through are (general) law, law of nations, constitutional & administrative law, military (defense, public property, public finance, tax, commerce [trade], industrial law), labor law (social service, education, cultural law), criminal law, private law, procedures & court,  laws, regulations, cases and law of specific jurisdictions, areas (socioeconomic regions, regional intergovernmental organizations). It’s been difficult to choose just a few books to comment on. In my last post I commented on the lighter side of law. In this post I will comment on a couple of book types. The first type are true cases gone awry and the second type are self help books.

During my library read through, I’ve encountered several books which talk about things that have gone wrong. One such book is The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town  by John Grisham.

Innocent Man

In this heartbreaking book Ron Williamson, former pro baseball player for the Oakland A’s,  was accused of a crime he did not commit. Grisham documents the unbelievable (but true) events that landed an innocent man in jail and the appeals process which ultimately got him out. During the incarceration period, much damage was done and mental and physical health concerns were negelected. The man who was unjustly sent to prison was not the same man who came out.  In this case (and many others I have read) mental illness was a factor.

While I would love to comment in depth on the mental health issue alone, for now I will suffice it to say that we as a society need to step up and take some responsibility in these types of situations by ensuring that the mentally ill receive proper treatment.  For anyone with a conscience, I highly recommend this book.

There are several types of legal self help books available. One that I consider extremely noteworthy is The Easy Will and Living Will Kit by Joy S. Chambers, Attorney at Law.

The Easy Will and Living Will Kit

This book is written in easy to understand language and walks the reader through the entire process of creating the most common legal documents needed. The author explains when these forms are enough for legal purposes and when one might need to go beyond these forms and consult an attorney. Additionally various state laws are addressed when using do it yourself forms.

My husband and I were already discussing some legal forms we need to have (a result of my read through in the economics section!). This book answered many of our questions and sometimes brought up topics that we hadn’t necessarily considered or aspects of topics we hadn’t realized were necessary. For instance, do you have a plan for the care of your pets in case you are suddenly unable to care for them? Will they have to be relocated to another home if something were to happen to you? Do you want to be the one to specify the terms of their care? How will you provide for their needs (food, shelter, etc)?

Most people need to have three major legal documents on file:

  1. A simple will (this leaves all property to one person such as a spouse or a child)
  2. Financial Power of Attorney (this is used in emergencies when you are temporarily or permanently unable to manage your own finances)
  3. Health Care Advance Directive (aka a Living Will to make your wishes about your medical care known)

The book will point out certain situations when an actual attorney should be consulted. In most cases though, one can just fill out the proper forms and take them to a notary public and have them notarized to make them legal.

Not only does this book do a great job explaining legalities, it provides hard copy forms with examples, explains who needs which forms, and also has a CD Rom included. The CD Rom is extremely user friendly and allows the user to just click and fill in blanks.

Going further still, the book explains how to store your copies safely, where to store your copies (I found some of this surprising), and who you should give copies of what forms.

Overall I would say that this is a very thorough book for the average person and well worth the reader’s time to check out!


The Lighter Side of Law

Bath Law

The next Dewey category in my read through library project pertains to law–which can be serious or hysterical (and often both at the same time).  I plan to split “Law” into two posts, so here is the lighter side. These are actual laws in the United States unless otherwise noted. It is strongly advised that you do not take a drink of anything while reading through these!

Being a bit of a Bigfoot fan, I was attracted to this first book for reasons which should be obvious.

Emergency Sasquatch

This is actually a very interesting book and of all of the books I encountered in this category, it’s the only one that came with a test to indicate if it needed to be read. There was only one test question which I will copy below.

Which of these statements is false?

  • The earliest surviving written law code mentions beer.
  • The ancient Greeks had strip searches, but the one who searched was the one who stripped.
  • It’s illegal to import skunks into Tennessee.
  • It is legal to mail someone a live scorpion.
  • A Florida town’s ordinances contain a 249 word definition of “buttocks.”
  • Tibetan lamas must get a permit before reincarnating.

If you can identify the false statement above, you may skip this book and move on to the next one. If however you can not say with 100% accuracy which statement is false, you really need to read this book.

The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance is laid out into types of law: ancient, the US, States, Cities, and US Territories. I found this a very interesting read.

The next book I want to share is Wacky Laws, Weird Decisions & Strange Statutes.  This is a fun book not just because of the funny laws, but you can also turn the information in this book into a team game or an individual game. The rules and scoring for the game are explained at the back of the book, but essentially you hear an actual case and then try to figure out what the court ruled. There are various points awarded if you win your case either in lower court or on appeal. When I played this game, it seems I had a talent as an appeal court judge!

Wacky Laws

I will share some of the laws from this book below.

  • Taking a bath during the winter months is against the law in Indiana.
  • Each driver on a country road in Omaha, Nebraska is required to send up a skyrocket every 150 yards, wait eight minutes for the road to clear, and then drive cautiously, blowing the horn while shooting off Roman candles.
  • A parent in Indiana cannot drink beer if a child is in the same room.
  • In Vermont you could be fined $200 if you denied the existence of God.
  • There was an ordinance in Belhaven, North Carolina permitting a sewer service charge of “$2 per month, per stool.” That has recently been revised to read “per toilet.”
  • One cannot attend the theater in Gary, Indiana within 4 hours of eating garlic.
  • Any man who constantly kisses “human beings” is forbidden to have a moustache if he lives in Indiana.
  • It is necessary to document any services performed by a jackass in Baltimore.
  • Speaking English in the state of Illinois is illegal. In 1919 author H.L. Mencken had a statute revised establishing “American” as the official language.
  • A law in Maine calls for a legal hunting season on attorneys.

I found more humor in You May Not Tie an Alligator to a Fire Hydrant 101 Real Dumb Laws by Jeff Koon and Andy Powell.

Dumb Laws

The laws I read in this book can speak for themselves.

  • In Alabama it is illegal to pretend to be a nun.
  • In Belton, Missouri it is illegal to have a snowball fight.
  • It is illegal to intentionally burp in church in Nevada.
  • In Conyers, Georgia no one may get the attention of any student in school without official permission.
  • You may beat up anyone who says really nasty things to you in Georgia.
  • Eavesdropping on your own conversation is a felony in Illinois.
  • In early May all US citizens should recognize the importance of the transportation system.
  • In North Dakota no one can be arrested on the Fourth of July.
  • In Indiana one can avoid paying for a dependent’s medical care through prayer.
  • Anyone under eighteen playing pool in Kentucky must have a note from his or her mom or dad.
  • In Tennessee children may not play games on Sunday without a license.
  • In Tennessee it is illegal for an atheist to hold any public office.
  • In Indiana it is illegal to color a bird.
  • By Alaskan law the entire state rarely has emergencies.
  • In Oklahoma hamburgers purchased on Sunday can only be eaten in the restaurant.
  • It is illegal to reproach Jesus Christ or the Holy Ghost in Massachusetts.
  • In Salt Lake City, Utah a person can be imprisoned for one month for not returning a library book.
  • In Oregon it is illegal to pump your own gas unless you own the dispensing device and are properly trained.
  • In South Carolina only fruit may be sold by itinerants within a half mile of a church.
  • You may not affix the US flag to a bar of soap that is for sale

Yes folks, these laws represent your tax dollars at work. There are many, many more of these laws. I would be interested in any funny laws you would like to share in the comments section.



Continuing on through the nonfiction books of the Fulton County Public Library, I arrived in the Economics section. This category encompasses broad topics such as labor economics, financial economics, economics of land and energy, cooperatives, socialism, public finance, production, and macroeconomics. Since there is no way I could possibly cover all of those topics in one blog post I’ve chosen to concentrate on the first two-labor economics and financial economics.

The recession that hit around 2008-2010 affected many middle class families causing hardship. Many were forced into underemployment or unemployment. Of those who were able to return to work many were unable to get a full time position or a job that paid anything but poverty wages. Most lost insurance and other job related benefits such as retirement packages. Millions of Americans now fall into a category known as the Working Poor. In 2013 this is what that looked like:

working poor 2013

Although there have been some improvements in the economy in the last 3 years, many former middle class families still can’t make ends meet. Even with minimum wages increasing in some areas (and minimum wage going up at least $1 since the graph was made),  millions of full time, hard working Americans with families still find themselves living at or below poverty level wages.

working poor pictogram

Often people are forced into working multiple jobs just to make ends meet. Many of the books I read in the Economics section focused on this issue. Even more alarming are the number of households headed by women raising children alone and the number of married women who are the main bread winners in their families but still making considerably less money than men doing the same job. The work world tends to discriminate against women with children. Particularly noteworthy books that I read dealing with these subjects follow.

The Betrayal of Work


This book, The Betrayal of Work by Beth Shulman, does an excellent job of describing the dead end cycle that many American families find themselves caught in. Shulman follows several full time, hard working people and describes the sorts of conditions they must deal with on a daily basis.

Selling Women Short Selling Women Short by Lisa Featherstone is a book detailing reasons for a class action lawsuit (Dukes v. WalMart ) which exposes many labor and ethical violations in the retail sector. After reading this book,  the reader will have a new appreciation for the need for change in the American workforce.

Overwhelmed Brigid Schulte does a remarkable job in Overwhelmed Work, Love, and Play  When No One  Has the Time of exploring the balance (or lack thereof) that many people (mostly women) experience between work and leisure time. This is especially an important work when one considers that in many cases women must work extra hours just to make up pay differences or split shifts due to needing to take care of children. Although a rather long read, this book has many important points to make and is well worth the time.

About the time I was reading these books, I was handed the following new addendum at work; author unknown.

Employee Handbook

Sick Days

We will no longer accept a doctor’s statement as proof of sickness. If you are able to go to the doctor, you are able to come to work.

Personal Days

Each employee will receive 104 personal days a year. They are called Saturday & Sunday.

Lunch Break

Skinny people get 30 minutes for lunch as they need to eat more so that they can look healthy. Normal size people get 15 minutes for lunch to get a balanced meal to maintain their average figure. Fat people get 5 minutes for lunch because that’s all the time needed to drink a Slim Fast.

Dress Code

It is advised you come to work dressed according to your salary. If we see you wearing $350 Prada sneakers and carrying a $600 Gucci bag, we assume you are doing well financially and therefore do not need a raise.

If you dress poorly, you need to learn to manage your money better so that you may buy nicer clothes and therefore you do not need a raise.

If you dress in-between, you are right where you need to be and therefore you do not need a raise.

Bereavement Leave

There is no excuse for missing work. There is nothing you can do for dead friends, relatives, or co-workers. Every effort should be made to have non-employees attend to the arrangements. In rare cases where employee involvement is necessary, the funeral should be scheduled in the late afternoon. We will be glad to allow you to work through your lunch hour and subsequently leave one hour early.

Restroom Use

Entirely too much time is being spent in the restroom. There is now a strict 3 minute time limit in the stalls. At the end of three minutes, an alarm will sound, the toilet paper will retract, the stall door will open and a picture will be taken. After your second offense, your picture will be posted on the company bulletin board under the “Chronic Offenders” category.

Thank you for your loyalty to our great company.

We are here to provide a positive employment experience.


Although I read many books pertaining to financial economics there is one that I favor above all others. It is The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey.

The Total Money Makeover

Dave Ramsey has a common sense, no nonsense approach to money that will benefit anyone.  As he says in his book, it doesn’t matter if you make $20,000 or $200,000 a year this plan will work for you. My husband and I have taken on this particular challenge and we are seeing immediate results. Mr. Ramsey first attacks some financial myths and then redirects areas of thinking. He lays out a basic plan in which participants work their way through 7 baby steps. In my opinion this should be required reading for everyone. Dave Ramsey has literally helped thousands of people improve their financial situations.