Hard Candy, Nobody Ever Flies over the Cuckoo's Nest; Book Review


HARD CANDY: Nobody Ever Flies over the Cuckoo's Nest; Written by Charles A. Carroll is a must read.

This book should be sitting on the desk of every governor, senator, representative, every director, educator and all students in departments of human and social services, psychology and public health available as a ready reference to the bureaucratic nightmare and lost humanity of a system set up to protect and care for our abandoned children and our mental and physically deficient citizens of all ages. Hard Candy is a must read for anyone who even pretends to care about the welfare of our children. This is an unforgettable saga of the will of a young human spirit to survive incarceration in one of our nation's institutions with living conditions so sadistic, brutal and degrading that "child abuse' doesn't come near describing this disgrace.

I had the privilege of meeting the author and reading an advanced copy of this soon to be released book. The ever gracious host, Charles has devoted his life to the pursuit of knowledge and generating awareness about the abuse that still occurs to this day inside such institutions. Do not for one moment think that his is a tale of yesteryear and we have fixed the problems, improved the system.

Told with the innocent clarity of a young child interspersed with the accumulated knowledge and hindsight analysis of the adult, this true story travels through a decade during which the author as a young boy was repeatedly abandoned by the system and lost in the tombs of a bureaucratic hell.

Left on the doorsteps of an orphanage as a toddler with his less than one year older sibling who was probably borderline retarded, this is a tale of an enduring love between two brothers who had no one else in life but each other. Never loosing the impish grim and charming good looks, Charles along with his brother traveled from orphanage to foster home to state institution to foster home and back to state institution. As a court order required the brothers not to be separated, a terrified young Charles found himself joining his brother in a state facility for boys with mental disabilities, "a nuthouse" as one would call it. No one bothered to notice that this was not an appropriate placement for a perfectly normal little boy.

The story relates in chilling detail the daily living horror that was Charles' life. A normal youngster dumped in with society's outcasts in a nightmarish hell of abuse, hunger, filth, punishment, neglect and unending loneliness. A world where almost all adults he encountered continued the pattern of outright brutality and physical abuse or in true institutional form looked with strong blinders the other way and just did their time at the job. A world where children were left just to sit for years, suffering unending misery and boredom, never given the chance to develop their natural capabilities in any manner. The will to endure, protect his brother and survive kept Charles placing one small foot in front of the other each despairing day. The will to maintain his sanity in an insane place, to endure suffering no child should ever be expected to face and to survive to bear witness against an unjust and little known system gives Charles the strength to speak for the all but forgotten.

Michelle Portney


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The Hogwarts universe is set to expand by an additional two new Harry Potter books, published by Bloomsbury in the UK (and presumably Scholastic in the USA) in conjunction with a British Library event, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the series.

The library exhibition titled, "A History of Magic," featuring the two books will be open from October 2017 to February 2018.

The books, both by the British Library, include unseen sketches and manuscript pages from author J.K. Rowling, magical illustrations from Jim Kay and artifacts from the archives at the library.

J.K. Rowling, in a statement on the Pottermore website, called A History of Magic an "adult edition" and Harry Potter – A Journey Through A History of Magic "a family edition for younger readers."

As a part of the celebration of its centennial this year, the Women's National Book Association has awarded the WNBA Second Century Prize to the Little Free Library. The award, which carries a $5,000 grant, honors "an organization that supports the power of reading, past, present, and into the future,"

The Little Free Library, a nonprofit organization that promotes reading for all ages, but especially children, by building free book exchanges.

Founded in 2009 in Hudson, Wis., by Todd Bol to honor his mother, a schoolteacher, the Little Free Library promotes the building of free book exchanges. There are now more than 50,000 registered Little Free Libraries worldwide, in all 50 states and 70 countries.

The budget battle is kicking up again in Washington, but this time with a note of optimism for libraries and library supporters. Last week, a House Appropriations subcommittee voted to recommend level funding for libraries in FY2018, which would mean roughly $231 million for the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), $183 million for the Library Services and Technology Act, and $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy (IAL) program.

The vote comes after President Trump in May doubled down on his call to eliminate IMLS and virtually all federal funding for libraries, as well as a host of other vital agencies.

By his own admission, the novelist Junot Díaz is an agonizingly slow writer and a chronic procrastinator. Over the past two-plus decades, he has published just three books: two short-story collections and his 2007 novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the Pulitzer Prize.

But even by Mr. Díaz's glacial standards, his latest book, Islandborn (March 2018, Dial Books), will be long overdue — about 20 years past deadline. And it's a mere 48 pages long.

According to the New York Times, Islandborn "engages with many of the same themes that Mr. Díaz has wrestled with in his fiction: immigration and identity, the weight of collective memory, and feelings of displacement and belonging." ...

This year's International Thriller Writers' annual awards have been presented to:
Hardcover: Before the Fall, Noah Hawley
First Novel: The Drifter, Nicholas Petrie
Paperback Original: The Body Reader, Anne Frasier
eBook Original: Romeo's Way, James Scott Bell

Liu Xiaobo, the renegade Chinese intellectual who kept vigil at Tiananmen Square in 1989 to protect protesters from encroaching soldiers, promoted a pro-democracy charter that brought him a lengthy prison sentence and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize while locked away, died under guard in a hospital on Thursday. He was 61.

(Liu Xiaobo is pronounced approximately Lee-O shau-BO. Liu is his family name, Xiaobo his given name. The first syllable of Xiaobo rhymes with now.)

For the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' Yellow Submarine, the Apple Corporation is authorizing a comic book adaptation of the classic film with Titan Comics. The book is slated for release in 2018.

In a move that had been expected, Bertelsmann has increased its stake in Penguin Random House. After the deal is completed in September, Bertelsmann will have a 75% share of PRH with Pearson controlling the remaining 25%.

Spencer Johnson, a onetime physician and children's book author, whose best-selling books on business management, including "The One-Minute Manager" and "Who Moved My Cheese?," sold millions of copies and inspired a cult-like following, died July 3 at a hospital in Encinitas, Calif. He was 78.

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