Our July Book Club pick was Columbine by Dave Cullen. A violent, graphic and truly terrible story that I bet a lot of you probably remember. Where were you when Columbine happened? Christine was home sick from school and Lindsay was actually at school. What do you remember from that day? I bet a lot of you probably remember the picture of the boy falling out of the window. You probably remember a lot about Marilyn Manson and the Trench Coat Mafia, right? Well, there’s a lot more to the story it turns out.
Columbine by Dave Cullen
Weekly Love and Hate:
Christine: Audible (Listening to Where the Crawdads Sing)
Lindsay: Lime, lemon, and Cheer Up, Buttercup essential oils. Smells like summer and puts me in the best mood with this rainy weather! (Affiliate Link)
Christine: Women’s swimsuits being so $$$$ and how you’re stuck with either a grandma suit or spending $1000 on a really awesome piece. Hearing great things about the Summersalt Swimwear line!
Lindsay: Fireworks starting before and going on well past the 4th.
In today’s episode, we’ll be discussing Columbine by Dave Cullen. This is a dark book, so this will be a darker episode. Wanted to give that warning before diving into the discussion.
Columbine won a bevy of awards and honors, including the Edgar Allan Poe Award, Barnes & Noble‘s Discover Award,and the Goodreads Choice Award. It was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize, the Audie Award and the MPIBA Regional Book Award.
About this book: On April 20, 1999, two boys left an indelible stamp on the American psyche. Their goal was simple: to blow up their school, Oklahoma City-style, and to leave “a lasting impression on the world.” Their bombs failed, but the ensuing shooting defined a new era of school violence-irrevocably branding every subsequent shooting “another Columbine.”
When we think of Columbine, we think of the Trench Coat Mafia; we think of Cassie Bernall, the girl we thought professed her faith before she was shot; and we think of the boy pulling himself out of a school window-the whole world was watching him. Now, in a riveting piece of journalism nearly ten years in the making, comes the story none of us knew. In this revelatory book, Dave Cullen has delivered a profile of teenage killers that goes to the heart of psychopathology. He lays bare the callous brutality of mastermind Eric Harris and the quavering, suicidal Dylan Klebold, who went to the prom three days earlier and obsessed about love in his journal.
The result is an astonishing account of two good students with lots of friends, who were secretly stockpiling a basement cache of weapons, recording their raging hatred, and manipulating every adult who got in their way. They left signs everywhere, described by Cullen with a keen investigative eye and psychological acumen. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, thousands of pages of police files, FBI psychologists, and the boys’ tapes and diaries, he gives the first complete account of the Columbine tragedy.
Why We Chose it:
-We both knew it’d be a heavy read, but the author told Chrstine through an Instagram post that it’d help her gain new perspective.
-Author Dave Cullen was a reporter on the scene of Columbine.
-The book is now being discussed in classrooms. Cullen also wrote a book regarding the Parkland shooting.
Where We Were When it Happened:
-Lindsay was in 8th grade and watched it on CNN at school and home
-Christine was home sick and didn’t feel scared at that time
Book Club Discussion Questions:
-How does the author build and maintain suspense and mystery in the book? How does he deal with the fact that readers may know—or think they know—the outcomes or details of the book’s events?
-What do you make of the relationship between Eric and Dylan? Did this relationship remain consistent throughout the book?
-Could they have been saved?
-Why is it important that books like Columbine be written?
-What did the police/SWAT do wrong?
-Do you think this book glorifies Eric and Dylan and perpetuates the legend that they wanted to leave behind?
-What surprises did you encounter? What did you not know?
-Which passages were most difficult for you to read?
-How are things handled differently now?
-What if you were able to meet the killers’ parents? What would you want them to know?
-Who would you want to meet from the book and why?
-Which, if any, of the book’s characters do you consider to be heroes?
-Why didn’t they tear the school down?
-With school shootings being featured regularly and predominantly in the media for over a decade, does the public react differently to them now?
August’s Book Club pick is Summer of ‘69 by Elin Hilderbrand. The episode will air on August 28th!
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