Tag Archives: book recommendation

Review: Kitty Genovese by Kevin Cook

Kitty Genovese: The Murder, The Bystanders, The Crime That Changed America
by Kevin Cook

The story of the murder of Kitty Genovese is well-known by many. However, more urban legend than police blotter, the details of the story shift and change with each telling. Facts becoming murkier and then new research rising to the surface to make the waters of truth clear again.

Even folks for whom Kitty’s name was simply an answer on a Psych 101 exam can recount the basics of her demise: in the 60’s, a murderer stabbed a young woman in her 20’s over and over again as she walked home from a late night bar-shift. 38 bystanders watched from the windows of their Queens-New York apartments and did nothing to help her.

While Kevin Cook isn’t the first writer or scholar to sort through the details of Kitty’s case and posit that much of what we think we know, the story that exists within our public memory, is mostly contrived; Cook’s uncovering is so comprehensive that for me it completely changed what this murder meant in the context of life, and crime, in America.

Before reading this book I knew about the Kitty Genovese murder and the Bystander Effect. I didn’t expect it to unfold in the suspenseful manner I love when reading true-crime books. But Cook surprised me and managed to do just that. He peels back layer after layer of the crime we think we know, the assumptions we made about the urban human condition, and reveals new details at just the right moment.

The detail most often treated as fact in Genovese’s case is that 38 spectators were present while she died. Not acting, simply assuming that someone else would intervene. In fact, 38 came from the number of police interviews conducted at the scene of the crime. Not actual witnesses. Only a few folks heard Kitty’s screams and even less laid eyes on her in her final 20 minutes. The first-hand accounts of these few are revealed slowly within the book–the final encounter so heartbreaking and uplifting in equal measure. (It makes the whole book worth it so I won’t ruin it by revealing any details here.)

A few days after the tragic incident occurred, Winston Moseley confessed to the crime. But Moseley and Genovese aren’t the only key players Cook explores. Metro Editor of The New York Times, A.M. Rosenthal had a big part to play. After a meeting with the NYC police commissioner, Rosenthal took the 38 witness story and ran with it. And other media outlets around the world followed suit. Suddenly the crime became a viral sensation, inspiring a host of psychological and sociological studies. However, the most meaningful implication to all the publicity, in my opinion? The arrival of a 911 call system. Something that didn’t exist the night Kitty cried out for help.

Whether he knew the story would or not, Rosenthal struck a chord with Americans who were scared. Scared about the changing landscape of urban living, scared by new politics and ideas and neighbors so close who looked so different, scared because the assassination of their president was still so fresh in their minds. But he got his facts wrong. And, as a result, we all did too.

This book showed me that Kitty’s story isn’t about indifference or inaction on the part of bystanders. Quite the opposite. This true-crime tale is about our vulnerability towards stories that speak to our own preconceived notions. What each reader of Cook’s book does with this new information, is up to them.

Who should read this book – Anyone interested in true-crime, sociology, urban psychology, or how news media outlets and public consciousness interact.

Add to your list if you loved – Lost Girls: An Unsolved American Mystery by Robert Kolker (which I talked about HERE.)

Other books by Kevin Cook – Electric October, Driven, and Titanic Thompson.

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mid-week round-up

What are you up to this week? I’m missing Louisiana already (we had an awesome time there last week!) and am still reeling over the book I finished on the plane ride home. Have you read it? Many of you mentioned on this post that you’d like to see me tackle more book posts on Finding Delight and I’m happy to oblige. I have a few reviews in the works and also an idea for an Introvert’s Book Club (would you like to hear more about that??). But while we’re on the subject, I’m happy to announce that the winner of the Spring Fling Giveaway is Katja of Katnapped.com. I’ll be in touch! Thanks to everyone for participating and keep an eye out for more giveaways round these parts. Ok, now that’s squared away, on to the links…

7 actions you can take to prevent gun violence.

Searching for memory of the Gulag’s in Putin’s Russia.

A brief history of presidential sex scandals.

Everyone knows clothes can be powerful communication tools, but can they help change the world?

What do you think of this color for spring?

How to make knotted hair ties. (Super cute & simple DIY!)

Has anyone followed The Artist’s Way program or read the book?

China cracks down on funeral strippers.

Pastel pink, bunny prints, and backpacks – OH MY! #EasterLewks

Faced with complaints of filth and blight, L.A. cracks down on overnight RV parking.

Elizabeth Catte on J.D. Vance, colonial logic, and the end of coal in the region that outsiders love to imagine but can’t seem to understand.

THE NOBLEST ART IS THAT OF MAKING OTHERS HAPPY.”

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — My Three Favorite Make-Ahead Breakfast Recipes and Books to Read if You’re in Search of a History Lesson.

Giveaway: Spring Fling!

Spring Fling Giveaway

Hello friends! I’d like to start hosting more GIVEAWAYS on the blog. Are you game? This kick-off giveaway celebrates the fact that Spring is right around the corner and includes items I think you’ll love. Honestly, sending fun mail-time surprises is second only to receiving fun mail-time surprises in my book. So, let the giveaways commence!

This giveaway is open to international participants but you must be 18 years or older to participate. 

What you’ll receive:

An apron … for baking Springtime treats. (Flirty Aprons)

Cabin Fever: The Sizzling Secrets of a Virgin Airlines Flight Attendant by Mandy Smith … for some in-flight reading material.

Frog stickers … for decorating pocket letters, planners, or happy mail (spring-themed, of course!).

Himalayan bath salts … for a spa-like experience in your very own bathroom. (So Well

Sweep lashes … to glam up your look for a night on the town.

+ a hand-written letter from me! 

 

Rules:

  1. You must follow Finding Delight in some capacity — either via WordPress, Bloglovin, or Facebook.
  2. Leave a comment down below sharing a. what you’re looking forward to this Spring, and b. what content you’d love to see more of on Finding Delight!!
  3. Make sure to include a way to contact you (link to your blog, email address, Twitter/IG handle) in the event you’re the winner.

The giveaway will remain open from time of publication until noon (est) on Mar 26, 2018, at which point I’ll randomly select a winner. 

Good luck! 

mid-week round-up

Happy Pi Day! I still have a tupperware full of cupcakes from the weekend or else I’d totally head to the bakery to pick up something befitting the day. Hope you enjoy the day, and here are some links if you fancy a browse…

Check out this awesome tee — “Never Underestimate the Power of a Woman.” For each one sold, part of the proceeds go to Kiva, the micro-lending organization.

Opinion: Turn prisons into colleges.

While searching for paper-craft inspiration on Youtube, I came across this video (and then this one) and it is SO SWEET!

Related: Serious question — Do you want to be a paper-craft swappin’ pen-pal??? Think: flip books, pocket letters, and flat package stationery goodies galore. Leave a comment below (with your email) if you’re interested and we’ll set something up!!

This Lisa Frank tarot deck will bring out your inner fifth-grade mystic.

A lovely dress for any upcoming Spring getaways.

From food trucks to wine, Sanrio’s most popular character is a foodie superstar.

Dorm living for professionals comes to San Francisco.

Do you love YA fiction? I’m a sucker for John Green.

Related: Book crush ❤  

How I get it done: Organizational guru Marie Kondo.

40 gender-neutral alternatives to saying “you guys.”

How do you tell someone their fly is down?

Sandal weather!

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Camp Counselor Vibes and On Believing and Being Believed.

mid-week round-up

What are you up to this week, darlings? While January seemed to drag on forever, February is already flying by. #ShortMonthProblems It will be Valentine’s Day before we know it! Are you planning anything special? I’m trying to do little Valentine’s-inspired things throughout the month to make each day feel special (with some Mardi Gras themed things, too!). Fresh flowers, photo projects, baking treats, and sending out cards have all found their way onto my February calendar. 🙂 Hope your week is extra sweet, and here are some links I scouted just for you…

12 months of self-care in a helpful month-to-month guide.

Related: 10 Ways to Take a Time Out and Practice Self Care

Here’s how Ed Sheeran made 2017’s biggest track.

Iranians asked #Where_Is_She? Suddenly, it seems she’s everywhere.

Jaclyn Friedman sparks a culture-wide rethink about sex, power and what we accept.

How to not die in America.

Wouldn’t it be a delight to grow up in this colorful Dutch farmhouse?

Anatomy of a wild & crazy Saturday night aka breakfast burritos for two.

Related: Breakfast for Dinner

DIY: Wool ball diffuser for the car.

Have you ever tried a yoga wheel? I’m obsessed with mine.

Related: How to Make Your Own Fitness Challenge

Who invented the microwave oven?

A real “very stable genius” doesn’t call himself one.

Packing for 10 days away at a meditation retreat in a Tom Bihn backpack.

Related: What’s in my Tom Bihn Synapse 19 + Side Effect

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — The 5-4-3-2-1 Packing Method and 5 Blogs I Love.

mid-week round-up

What have you been up to friends? On Saturday, our friends from Kentucky passed through on their way home from The Keys and we had a lovely time visiting with them. I love having visitors from further north to remind us that it IS a darn delight to eat outdoors in January. 🙂 Also, loving my little Internet community who chimed in on my posts about decluttering and mornings. Makes me feel like we’re all in this life thing together and everyone is doing their best to figure it out! In that same vein, check out this post from Danie and this one from Jasmin. Have a great rest of your day, and here’s some more reading material…

Is “RuPaul’s Drag Race” the most radical show on TV?

Related: 5 reasons I can’t get enough RuPaul.

Which color would you choose for February?

How Aly Raisman’s leadership reformed women’s gymnastics – and heralded Larry Nassar’s downfall.

Nine humanitarian activists face federal charges after leaving water for migrants in the Arizona desert.

How the app “Chat!” is making STD and contraception information into a game and helping Cambodian garment workers at the same time.

Where does great culture come from? How do you build and sustain it in your group, or strengthen a culture that needs fixing? This book has answers.

Kesha’s 2018 Grammys performance was even braver than you might realize.

12 excellent graphic novel recommendations.

Related: And one more for good measure.

The more we study dolphins, the brighter they turn out to be. (Old article but I thought it was interesting.)

A prize launched for thrillers that don’t involve violence against women.

The far out history of how hippie food spread across America.

Related: Hippie Food: How Back-to-the-Landers, Long Hairs, and Revolutionaries Changed the Way We Eat by Jonathan Kauffman

“The Husband Stitch” isn’t just a horrifying childbirth myth.

P.S. If you liked these articles, consider following me on Facebook! I post interesting links throughout the week. 🙂 

mid-week round-up

What’s everyone up to this week? Have you clocked the Oscar Nominations yet? I always set out to watch as many of the films as I can before the awards show…but I’m not always that successful. Wouldn’t it be fun to start an Oscar Noms club where you meet up with a group of friends to watch and discuss (a la book club style)? Hmmm…the wheels are turning! Hope you have a great rest of your week, and here are some links to read and watch…

The things that come to those who wait.

TV’s $20 million woman reveals her behind-the-scenes fight for “what I deserve.”

It’s not you. Commuting is bad for your health.

Inside the home of Instant Pot, the kitchen gadget that spawned a religion.

Why do cartoon villains speak in foreign accents?

Bacon and the intellectual awakening of a Canadian nonagenarian.

My friend emailed me about this book today and it looks right up my street.

Sheet pan meals 15 ways.

A beautiful table runner to usher in spring weather.

Why did I not know this movie existed until this week?

A new clue to the mystery disease that once killed most of Mexico.

The sexual assault epidemic no one talks about.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Ditch the Bare Cupboards & Empty Refrigerator and A Book Coach Shares Her Hustle. 

mid-week round-up

Happy Wednesday, friends! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and brought in 2018 with a bang. As exciting as the holiday season has been (the presents! the food! the christmas movies! the decor!), I’m feeling ready to return to routines … AND start new ones. How ’bout you? Hope you all have a wonderful day, and now let’s get back to one of my FAVORITE routines…my mid-week round-up!!!

This is what it’s like to have your period in a refugee camp.

How blackboards transformed American education.

After reading this book I now want to binge watch this and this.

The 100-year capitalist experiment that keeps Appalachia poor, sick, and stuck on coal.

The mystery of who stole one of the world’s finest champagnes — and where it ended up.

Pilots reveal 16 nuances that keep your flight safe.

Related: Air Travel Tips & Tricks

Vinny was always my favorite.

50 questions to help you reflect, appreciate, and get excited for 2018.

The Habit Calendar features monthly themes to help you unlock your passions and form positive habits.

A judicial pact to cut court costs for the poor.

Where are all the nannies on Instagram?

Can surgical patients feel pain under anesthesia?

P.S. From the Finding Delight archives — Shirley and Ogling on Instagram and Irresistible Me Review.

mid-week round-up

Hi babes! What’s going on this week? We’re experiencing a rare cold front in Miami so a big pot of chili and a movie marathon are in order. I’ve also been burning my favorite Fall candle, drinking Fall-themed coffee every morning, and I’m planning on making this pumpkin custard. Embracing all things Autumn, even though I’m in tropical Miami, has been a nice antidote to feeling sad about the lack of seasons! Hope you’re enjoying Fall, too, and here are some articles and posts I found interesting this past week…

Miami Beach Commission votes unanimously to free Lolita — but it’s not happening yet.

Related: Me, My Husband, and the Killer Whale

A year of love and struggle in a new high school.

Sorting through all the laughs Joan Rivers left behind.

Adding this to my “memoir month” reading list.

She brought down Uber’s C.E.O. What’s next?

“I got 99 problems…palsy is just one.”

CNN uncovers what could be a trafficking scheme:  “The ‘orphan’ I adopted from Uganda already had a family.”

A basketball team perfectly in sync.

How to set financial goals (you can actually reach!).

Potato scraps and seasonings, rolled and deep friend, just never get old.

Elevate your influence through Instagram, YouTube, blogs, and beyond with this new course.

Related: Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Latasha

Don’t forget to continue applying SPF in the Fall months!

P.S. Two Finding Delight posts you may have missed — My Top 10 Skin Care Staples and Let’s Talk Personality (Tests).

mid-week round-up

Hello friends! What’s going on this week? With everyone’s talk of “sweater weather” and cooler temperatures, I’m feeling a bit like I have the opposite of Seasonal Affective Disorder. We’ll call it OMG WHY HAS IT BEEN HOT FOR SO MANY MONTHS??? Syndrome. Maybe some activities to mark the passing seasons would be helpful?? I already put up some Autumn/Halloween decorations but what else could be fun? Any ideas?? I’m all ears! Also, the comments on this post make me excited to continue sharing about mantras in the coming weeks. ‘Til then, here are some links…

Fleeing the fires in Sonoma County.

In the poorest towns, where even Wal-Mart failed, Dollar General is turning a profit.

A run-down of the best emergency preparedness supplies.

On my reading list.

My charitable donation for October went to Center for Reproductive Rights.

U.S. officials inadvertently included a Bloomberg reporter on an internal email list about Hurricane Maria.

The Halloween costume everyone was wearing the year you were born.

And I just ordered some Christmas decorations because it’s never too early.

Have you heard of the new online grocery store where everything costs $3?

Residents of Barbuda return to pick up the pieces after hurricane.

15 things to do when you’re bored at work.

What’s next on your reading list? Find out how long it will take to read.

P.S. A few Finding Delight posts you may have missed — Too Many Books, Never Enough Time and Desk Drawer Must-Haves.