Skyjack The Hunt for D.B. Cooper

The Hunt for D.B. Cooper
Geoffrey Gray

Thanksgiving week 1971, a man calling himself, Dan Cooper boarded a plane in Portland, Washington bound for Seattle, Washington.  When in the air, Cooper opened the briefcase he had carried on showing a flight attendant a bomb he said he made.  He demanded $200,000 in cash, and four parachutes.  Flight 305 landed in Seattle.  Cooper released all the passengers and the plane took off again.  This time carrying Cooper a flight attendant and three pilots.  Cooper demanded to be flown to Mexico.  Sometime during the flight, he jumped out of the plane using the plane’s aft stairs.  No one ever heard from him again.


I’ve always been fascinated by the story of D.B. Cooper.  Always wondered whether he truly survived his dive into fame.  I want to believe he did.  Just like when there is a prison escape anywhere, a part of each of us hopes the fugitive will not be caught.  And don’t tell me you don’t root for that.  We all do.


Skyjack is written in such a way that you’re immediately sucked into the narrative.  It’s the first book I’ve read about the Copper story.  Told in two times, the present day, when the author is investigating the crime and when the hijacking actually took place in 1971, Geoffrey Rush examines several possible suspects.  And this is something else he does.  I think it works well with the story.  Rush details each suspect’s life leading up to the crime and why he has chosen to follow these suspects in the book.  I gotta say that each person Rush discusses has the ability to have pulled off the daring crime of hijacking Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 305.  Because the case has never been officially closed we know there will be no resolution to the book.  That fact doesn’t make Skyjack any less enjoyable any less exciting.  I wondered how Rush would close out the book and I kind of like what he did.


I’m still no closer to saying definitively who D.B. Cooper was and whether he survived the dive off the aft stairs of Flight 305 , but I now have more information to consider.  I DO believe he survived the jump.  Where he went after, is the question.  Just like other famous disappearances such as Amelia Earhart we may never know, and that’s part of the excitement, part of their story.


If you’re interested in know the backstory of the suspects in the D.B. Cooper story, this is definitely a book to start with.  I recommend it.


Until next time…
Turn the page.



Date Expectations

Juliana Gribbins has written a collection of essays in her book Date Expectations, that are by turns riotously funny and surreal.  Collected from a column Ms Gribbins wrote for Shore Publishing after the dissolution of her marriage, the essays turned out cathartic for her.  Some are award winning.  All are fun to read.

Whether you’re single, attached, just coming off a breakup or newly dating, every one of us can identify with Ms Gribbins as she attempts to navigate the dating scene again.  Armed with a cast of recurring characters that have her back with names like Bruiser, Meesh and Observer, you can somehow tell that even though she has not been fortunate in finding the RIGHT guy, Ms Gribbins has something many of us may come to envy as we mature:
She has a cast of friends who will ALWAYS look out for her, who will ALWAYS keep her safe who won’t throw her under the bus.  


You’ll have to read the book to understand that last reference.


And read the book you must. There is plenty here to smile at and gasp at and want to wrap Ms Gribbins in an embrace and tell her that everything will be okay as long as you have friends like Bruiser and Meesh and Observer.


The book is available online at Omicronworld.  Also available at RJ Julia Booksellers


Until next time…
…Turn the page.



Teaching the Dog to Read

I’ve written about Jonathan Carroll before at Scranton Page Turner.  Clicking on his name will bring you to my previous entry.  Carroll does it again. He has written another magical piece of literature.

Teaching the Dog to Read
TeachingThe Dog

touches on all that is quintessential Carroll:
Talking Dogs


It’s all here.  At less than one hundred pages, Teaching the Dog… is no less a masterpiece then many of Carroll’s longer works. If you have yet to discover Jonathan Carroll this may be just the book to start your travels with.


The BEST description I can give to you of Jonathan Carroll’s style is:
Alice Hoffman on LSD.


There is definitely an Alice Hoffman tinge to Carroll. However he veers off into his own parallel world where even odder events occur then in Alice Hoffman’s worlds.


Teaching the Dog…  begins with Tony Areal getting a something he has coveted, an extravagant watch, one he could not afford on his own.  Shortly after receiving the expensive watch, Tony receives an even greater gift, the Porsche Cayman that has been his dream car.  Why is everything falling into place for Tony?  You’ll have to read Teaching to the Dog to Read to discover why.


If you decide to take this wild ride, I guarantee, it won’t be the last trip you take with Mr Carroll.


I met Jonathan Carroll once in Rhode Island at a writer’s conference I attended regularly in the 1990s when I wrote fiction.  It was well before I knew who he was and I wish now that I had been introduced to his literature before I met him.  


Until next time…
…Turn the page.

The Incarnations

The Incarnations
Susan Barker

Beijing Olympics
Summer 2008


A taxi driver returns to his cab to discover a letter left inside his cab.  The writer of this letter claims to have known the driver in many past lives.  By turns, dark and violent and brimming with hope at other times, this book was challenging to read and there were moments when I almost put the book down.  In the end, I’m glad I followed through, as it gave a completely satisfying ending and one with hope.


With each letter, Wang Jun, the cab driver receives we recede into a past life that the letter writer and Wang have lived.  Many of the lives lived were dark and destitute.  Some were violent. What I enjoyed was the fact that Susan Barker used the past life stories in the book as a mechanism to discuss chinese history and being a huge history aficionado, this is what kept me pushing through the dark lives that these two people lived.  I read somewhere online that in order to read the book you:
A.  Had to believe past lives existed.
B.  Suspend disbelief.


I don’t necessarily know if that’s the case as there are many books that offer themes and plot points that I didn’t know about previously or have an understanding of but I still enjoyed reading them.


The Incarnations is definitely a challenge to read at least for me it wound up being so.  I am happy I stuck with the book however and I believe if others feel like putting the book down, don’t!  I think you’ll discover a bright spot in the storm that this book delivered.


Until next time…
…Turn the page.



The Art of Social Media


Peg Fitzpatrick and Guy Kawasaki have written an important book for anyone interested in getting started in social media marketing.

Art of Socia;

I read this book in two days.  Borrowed it from the library where I work.  Loved it so much and found it so useful that I wound up purchasing a copy for myself. This is not a long book but it is packed with excellent information.  Business owners, especially small business owners, anyone wanting to market themselves should grab The Art of Social Media and read it then re-read it again. Written in tiny chunks, the book lays out the steps it takes to get your business noticed online, from creating a profile, to what to post to your new profile.  How to share content to the various social media platforms.


This is THE book to own in your personal library.  If you are at all interested in knowing anything about the current state of social media, then this is the book for you.  

Run, don’t walk to your nearest bookstore and pick up a copy.


Until next time…
Turn the page.


Wuthering Heights

Before I start this column today, I need to step up and apologize for missing an ENTIRE month of columns; even though it was only two total.  I will do my best to write at LEAST one column every month from here on.


Wuthering Heights
Emily Bronte

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It’s been a couple years since I re-read this book, however Wuthering Heights still resonates with me.  A regular patron, Christa L. came into Scranton Library a few weeks ago with the intention of returning it having not finished reading the book.  Here’s one of the reasons I so love my job:
I convinced Christa to give the book one more chance, only because I adore the book so much.  Her daughter was instrumental in convincing Christa to try the book again as well.  She came back about a week later and thanked me for convincing her to try again.  She wound up liking the book.


This book has it all.  Romance, Vengeance, The Moors of England.  In some cases Wuthering Heights is somewhat reminiscent of another favorite English book I thoroughly embrace:
Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles.  If only because The English Moors play a role in both books.


I felt the same way as Christa did when I read the book for the first time some thirty plus years ago.  I found it challenging to get into and I think it is because of the style the book was written in.  That’s why in so many cases it is an important thing to do to re-read many of the classic books as an adult.

Until next time…
…Turn the page.



Marketing is one of my strong suits and I have to give credit where it is due.  The next two books I am recommending helped me realize much of my ability.  If you have a social media presence and a business and don’t know where to begin promoting yourself.  These two books will surely give you a heads up.  Both are written in layman’s terms and the points both make are very easy to implement.


Steal These Ideas
Steve Cone

I’ve DEFINITELY taken MANY of the ideas presented in Steve Cone’s book and implemented them in my own business.  Some I’ve been doing all along and some were brand new to me.  Marketing has always been my forte, something I’m quite adept at but I can always learn something new and this book taught me a few new lessons I hadn’t thought of been incorporating.  This book is most assuredly worth the read.




Crush it:
Why now is the time to cash in on your passion
Gary Vaynerchuk


Gary Vaynerchuk is speaking my language.  On Amazon’s page for Crush it,  this is what it says:

Do you have a hobby you wish you could do all day? An obsession that keeps you up at night? Now is the perfect time to take those passions and make a living doing what you love.


On another blog I write:
Wisdom and Life, I have an entire category based on this subject:
Finding Your Gift


Along with Steal These Ideas, I believe Crush it is another MUST have book in your marketing library.  Both of these books have been indispensible to me.  If you have a business or are considering starting one, then these are two books you should own and refer to often.


Until next time…
…Turn the page.


Time Travel

Time Traveler’s Wife
Audrey Niffenegger

In 2009, this book caught my attention, as I’m a huge fan of time travel stories.  I cracked the cover and was immediately enthralled.  Claire and Henry are time crossed lovers.  What I found completely fascinating about Time Traveler’s Wife is the mechanics behind time travel in this story.  It is NOT what you’d believe it to be.  I will leave it at that.

Emotional, thrilling and surprising this book captured me for more than the obvious reasons of time travel being central to the theme.  Henry is a librarian.  That detail surprised me in and of itself, as you don’t see many males portrayed in literature or anywhere else for that matter in the library field.  It was nice to see.

Can you guess why?  Wink.  Wink.  Smile Smile.

For those of you who haven’t read this book yet I recommend searching it out.  I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised; and by all means, avoid avoid avoid the movie.


Orson Scott Card

A retelling of Sleeping Beauty, Enchantment is full of beauty and detail.  Taking place in Russia, Enchantment intricately weaves the Russian Folktale of Baba Yaga into Enchantment so well that it appears to be part of the story.  Kudos to Card for doing such a fine job of this.

If you like time travel stories
If you like folklore
If you like SF/F tales
you are in for a treat with this book.

Don’t let the SF/F genre scare you away.  There is some literate fiction in the field.  You just have to know where to find it.  If you are close to Madison, stop by the library and ask to speak to me.  If I’m around I’ll be more than happy to help you out.

Time and Again
Jack Finney

This illustrated book found its place to me through a fellow librarian here at Scranton Library in Madison, Connecticut.  It has long been known of my fancy for well written time travel stories and I was told I MUST read this book.  I’m now returning the favor.

Simon Morley is approached by the U.S. Army to take part in a secret government project.  Simon agrees to participate but has a caveat of his own.  He requests to return to New York City at a specific time period.

You’ll have to read the book to discover what the reason was he wanted to return to a specific place at a specific time.  Have no fear.  I believe you’ll be as sucked into the narrative as I was.

Until next time…
…Turn the page.


Favorite Children’s Books Plus One

Last week, when leaving work, Jane Ash Scranton Library’s Children’s librarian asked me my favorite children’s books  I didn’t even hesitate:


Benjamin Budge and Barnaby Ball

Several years ago I went on a mission.  I wanted to find this book.  All I remembered about the subject was that a tall man and a small man lived in homes that were inappropriately sized for them.  I asked everyone I knew.  No one had a clue.  As a last resort I turned to the Internet.  I found an online bulletin board that finally discovered the title.


Where Does the Butterfly Go When it Rains
ButterflyRains (1)

Have you ever considered the question the title of this book poses?  Why do these two books resonate with me?  They are the VERY first books I purchased at a Scholastic’s book fair in Farmington, Connecticut at The Noah Wallace School over forty years ago.  I remembered Where Does The Butterfly Go… Because I still owned that original copy.



Benjamin Budge had completely slipped away with the only thing I recalled being the topic.


Dragon’s Extraordinary Egg

Once again, working at a library has given me a huge reward.  Dragon’s Extraordinary Egg returned to the front desk on Saturday afternoon.  It’s one of the huge advantages of working at the library.  I get to see all the books that come across the desk.  What a wonderful book.


This book has everything.  A story about being different.  A story about families.  A story about why things happen for a reason.  It has elements similar to Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and for a few pages I expected the book to go that route, however I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.


This is a book that everyone should read.

Until next time…
Turn the page.



Sherlock Holmes

Hound of the Baskervilles
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle


Image from:

As with Poe, I’ve read read every story of Sherlock Holmes multiple times and the one story I continue to come back to is The Hound of the Baskervilles.  I love this book and it it might be one of my favorite all time classics.


Holmes is called to investigate the death of Sir Charles Baskerville.  All signs point to a heart attack.  One disturbing clue points to an alternative answer.  A grimace of terror on Charles face.  And dog prints beside the body.


Why did I mention Poe in this column?  It is because, Poe has been given the name:
Inventor of the detective story.


The Hound of the Baskervilles has been called by many in the know as the greatest detective story ever written.  I agree.


Last Sherlock Holmes Story
Michael Dibdin


Michael Dibdin has the language of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle down in this short little book.  I discovered this book through Karl Ryan who used to manage RJ Julia Booksellers when I worked there.


In this story, Holmes pursues Jack the Ripper.  As cases begin to not come in so frequently, Holmes turns his attention to a seamier side of London.  He gets involved in The Ripper Case and it is is nearly his undoing.  I’ve recommended the book to countless people and some like it, some don’t.  But all say once they start, they simply can’t put it down.  Check it out.  Would love to hear your opinion.


Until next time…
…Turn the page.