The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple

Welcome to the first installment of my limited series – Review Redo – in which I will post older book reviews, primarily from earlier blogs I’ve curated and those on Goodreads.

I’m also looking to revamp some – if not all – of these reviews if necessary, especially if I have formed new thoughts regarding the books I’ve reviewed.

This particular review was a lot of fun and a breeze to write, mainly because the book’s subject matter is so fascinating to me. Let me just say right here that I can’t wait to read more of Jeff Guinn’s gripping works of non-fiction.

What I Expected

  • A history of the actual Jonestown climax
  • Thoughts of Living Colour’s song, Cult of Personality instantly popped into my head
  • Insider information

What I Got

  • A recounting of Jones’ life and in-depth information regarding his ‘church’s’ operations
  • Vivid descriptions of the horrors of Jonestown and what led up to the main event
  • THE CREEPS

What I Thought

I had no inkling of what I would discover regarding Jonestown, located deep in the Guyanese jungle. However, I didn’t realize that the book would cover virtually Jones’ entire life – from conception to his ultimately self-induced suicide for the socialist causes in which he believed.

Jonestown was much more complex than I ever imagined.

Raised with the idea of being at least god-like and prophetic, labels placed upon him by his mother, Jim Jones was, quite bluntly, full of himself. Jones emanated considerable charm and easily won over others.

Spanning over two decades, Jones’ Peoples Temple, which grew exponentially, Guinn uses his tireless research skills to initially dig up all information regarding Jim Jones as possible.

I learned that Jim Jones began his career as an evangelist in Indiana, touting his socialist beliefs and working to infiltrate government committees as well as politicians themselves in order to bring about change to the status-quo.

During services, Pastor Jones often staged healings of the sick and wounded, who made up part of the Peoples Temple organization. During many healings, Jones feigned the removal of afflicted people’s tumors – which were actually rotten pieces of meat – which he thrust into the air, for his congregation to see.

It’s incredible to me how a single, strong personality-possessing person can essentially gain the trust of 900+ people, who ultimately committed mass suicide – Masada – by cyanide poisoning per Jones’ orders. Jones explained to his followers that the group’s mass suicide would sent the entire world a message about the cause they so much believed in – a revolutionary statement.

Sadly for Jim Jones, most people know him as the cult leader who forced his followers – including children and babies – to kill themselves by drinking tainted Kool-Aid, as the belief is commonly held. In fact, Jones chose to mix the poison in a lesser known powdered drink brand similar to Kool-Aid called Flavor-Aid, making the well-known phrase – don’t drink the Kool-Aid – incorrect.

Babies, children, teens, women, men, and the elderly alike died by self-inflicted poisoning, save for the children old enough to comprehend their fates and some frightened adults, who were forcibly injected with the cyanide.

The atrocities leading up to and at Jonestown – a nearly self-sustaining farm located in the dense Guyana jungle – are unbelievable, including Jones’ typical punishment of rule-breaking followers at the commune – public beatings. In more extreme cases, Peoples Temple members were buried alive.

I finished the book with a new sense of knowing, of understanding, not only the facets of Jonestown, but of Jim Jones himself.

As an aside, a commune has existed in my county for generations – The Farm. While those whom I’ve met hailing from The Farm are warm and kind, the group is apparently very secretive, which does leave me wondering what truly goes on in socialist, self-sustaining societies in present day.

The world-renowned midwife and author, Ina May Gaskin, is the wife of the founder of The Farm. Please look up Gaskin – she is truly fascinating.

In the end, it wasn’t only Peoples Temple members who died on November 18, 1978 – a congressman attempting to investigate the commune was gunned down along with some news professionals and a defecting member of the group.

The main things I can say about Guinn’s biography is that it is incredibly eye-opening, historic, tragic, and mind-boggling.

5 stars of personality

Enlightened, Maggie

Bagged, Vol. One

Have y’all ever been curious about what exactly a person is hauling around in his or her purse or another bag? Have y’all seen those features in so many magazines that showcase the contents of the bags of celebrities? I certainly say yes to both questions!

So, I decided to empty out my own pocketbook and let y’all see the kind of crap [LOL] I carry around every day! Seriously, the bigger the bag, the more stuff I think I must keep with me at all times.

First of all is the bag I’m currently carrying – I LOVE swapping out purses in favor of those of different colors, textures, sizes, and pattern – often. Below is the purse I’m using now – a genuine leather Banana Republic – that my Mom gave me YEARS ago!

I have really gotten into keeping bags within my bag in order to somewhat keep up with where my stuff is actually located inside. In the past, even with small purses, I’ve found it difficult to locate just what I need at the time quickly.

At this time, I’m carrying an adorable bag by Key-Per, in which I keep two pairs of sunglasses, my actual glasses – just in case my contacts come out and I have no backup pairs -, and my prescription sunglasses. I never know what my eyes will require, so I just carry it all!

Also in my bag is a black-and-white polka dot mini-bag by Betsey Johnson, one of my favorite designers ever, which holds everything else, virtually, in my purse! LOL!

Some of my must-haves include Chap-Stick – right now my flavor is candy cane! – my keys, moisturizer, lighters, roll-on perfume with flowers floating in its tube, must-have black mascara and concealer, Doublemint gum [it reminds me of my Grandmother, as she ALWAYS had a pack], and my favorite – a worry doll for good measure!

I carry a mini-notebook in my Betsey bag too, as well as pens, if I can manage to snag one or ten!

My all-time favorite pocketbook accessory is my Vinnie’s Tampon Case! LMFAO! It’s so discreet yet screams period! It just cracks me up – I wish I could remember where I got it!

And there you have it, y’all – the current contents of my purse! I hope you’ve enjoyed perusing my stuff and I’d love to see yours! If you have a post similar to this, please leave a link in the comments!

Carry On, Maggie

The Weekend Review, Vol. 1

Welcome to the initial installment of The Weekend Review! I’m thrilled to restart this feature and look forward to ‘meeting’ more community members and discovering their blogs and social media accounts!

Following are the loose guidelines for sharing:

The Purpose of The Weekend Review: To connect bloggers through shared posts, social media profiles and content, and anything one chooses to share.

The Time Line: Linkup posts will go live each Saturday at midnight (CST) and will close on Monday at midnight (CST). You may add links anytime during this period.

Who Can Post?: ANYONE with a blog – of any genre, it does NOT have to be book-related – social media accounts one would like to share, as well as pictures. ANYTHING goes, as long as it is PG.

How do I post my link?: Simply post your link in the comments!

Have fun, y’all! I know I will look forward to seeing who has linked what each weekend and will adore introductions to various personalities!

Thanks for sharing, Maggie

See ya, ARCs!

First and foremost, ARCs are amazing – for readers, publishers, authors, bloggers/readers, and probably even more entities; however, I have made the ultimate decision to quit requesting, reading, and reviewing ARCs.

While I had the opportunity to read some amazing books, such as Ashley Poston’s Geekerella – a five-star read – and The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi, I did feel guilty if I didn’t like a galley, which a lot of the time I didn’t.

My real problem with ARCs is that putting time into completing them, which were pretty much priority reads for me, upon approval, was so time consuming, making the readings actually feel like homework – I’m too old for homework! LOL!

Like I said above, ARCs are awesome – I’m in no way slamming them, just to make things totally clear. However, especially with NetGalley, the site from which I requested ARCs most often, I became a [little] OCD when it came to my review ratings and keeping my percentage above 80.

ARC reading just became tedious and obligatory to me, adding pressure to read. Now, as I’m perfectly positive, y’all read for enjoyment as well. When reading was no longer pleasurable – I mean, I have TONS of books I’d rather prioritize – my ambition to read ARCs flew straight out the window.

With that being said, I definitely encourage other readers, and especially book bloggers, to take advantage of retrieving ARCs. Reading them was a lot of fun for me at first and I believe helped grow my blog – and get its name out there.

ARCs are awesome and I think it’s so generous of publishing companies and authors to allow consumers to read books prior to their release dates. However, ARCs just aren’t for me anymore. The onus I put on myself to be perfect when reading and reviewing ARCs just got to where it wasn’t worth it to me.

So, it’s goodbye to the ARC, at least for a while. Since I’ve stopped requesting them, I feel free – free to read from my initial – and HUGE – TBR list! Those of you who are just beginning to dip into ARC reading, as well as those who are already established ARC reviewers, keep up the good work – I’ll just be watching from the stands.

Until we meet again, Maggie

I Shall Never Forget

How lucky I feel to still be awake in the wee hours of September 11, 2019. I’m still here, unlike hundreds of people who suffered horrific deaths soon to be exactly 18 years ago on that fateful day, September 11, 2001.

I remember that day as though it happened yesterday – maybe even hours ago. I had graduated high school and began undergrad at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in the fall of 2001. The day did not begin like a “normal” day. I was sleeping as long as possible before class when my mom called and woke me from my slumber.

She told me to turn on the news.

The first of New York City’s iconic World Trade Center towers had been hit by an airplane. I recalled assuming it had been a terrible accident, when, on live television, I witnessed the crash of the second plane into the second tower. I was speechless – I am literally getting chills as I write this…

My mom and I sat in silence on the phone, watching the news. I remember not knowing what would happen next – what else would be destroyed and by whom? Then we heard there had been another plane crash into the Pentagon.

I was scared to death, as was most likely everyone in my beloved country. I was in Knoxville, four hours from my hometown – and my family – and I was almost in a panic – my roommate at the time actually did go home. My parents convinced me I would be safer at school.

All classes were canceled for the day. We gathered multiple times in the food court to watch the news anchors speculate, live, about the morning’s shocking events. No one knew what was happening at first. Everyone seemed to be speechless.

No matter the act of terror that occurred that day – those evil people don’t deserve acknowledgement on my blog. My heart goes out to the victims – the murdered, their families and loved ones, and to us – Americans.

To the brave souls aboard the flight headed for its target – The White House – there aren’t enough ways to express thanks other than to simply say – thank you – for sacrificing your lives for ours. The group of passengers overpowered the terrorists and crashed the plane into a field in Pennsylvania, thus preventing the White House attack.

I will never forget the live footage of then President, George W. Bush, sitting in a tiny chair in an elementary school classroom in Florida, where he was reading to children. Someone close to President Bush slipped into the room and began whispering to the leader of the free world.

His controlled expression of absolute shock and horror is ingrained in my memory. Also seared into my mind is the image of a man plunging to the ground from one of the towers, head-first, with his hands clenched in an eerily calm manner behind his back. That photograph, I remember, was on the front page of a now-forgotten newspaper.

It turned out that many people trapped in the buildings chose to fall to their deaths rather than burn to death in the fires that raged within.

Anyhow, as the day passed, I felt safer, yet still aware and cautious. Things weren’t the same for a LONG time. People were scared, suspicious, and basically paranoid.

What blows my mind is that a whole generation has grown into young adults since 9/11. They were babies, or perhaps not born at all, on September 11, 2001. My hope is that the events of 9/11 are never forgotten and that future generations are fully aware of the gravity of what happened.

Ideally I’d be typing up a list of the dead, instead, here’s a heartbreaking link listing those murdered on that terrible day:

I was lucky enough to not lose any loved ones in the attacks. The events of 9/11, which have partly shaped my generation, make me think of how people felt in the 1940s, when Pearl Harbor was bombed as World War II raged on.

I have so much more empathy for those older generations, as I can kind of identify with what they experienced during times of crisis. The attack was surreal, watching it on TV was surreal – I can’t imagine having been near the World Trade Center, let alone in the city of New York, on that day.

God bless America.

Prayers, Maggie

Return of the Mag

Well, hello yet again! Since my initial re-introduction post way back in the spring, I’m seriously hopeful that blogging will officially become part of my life once again.

Looking back, I took a huge blogging hiatus primarily due to finances; I had deluded myself into thinking that in order to have an amazing blog it needed to have all the best bells and whistles. Luckily, I have [almost] convinced myself that extra tools are not necessarily necessary to generate content of which I am proud.

Anyhow, I’m working [hard] on squelching my OCD tendencies to get back to one of my most favorite things ever – WRITING! Reading is one of my passions; therefore, I’m planning to blog about all things bookish, with some additional writings sprinkled throughout.

I’m one of those all-or-none people, you may say – if I don’t feel that something, in this instance, any form of post isn’t PERFECT, there is zero point to it all. I’m coming to realize that if I don’t START then I’ll NEVER FINISH!

So, a big goal of mine with this blogging redo is to just let go and WRITE! [I’m trying my best to do this now!] Since y’all are so obviously dying to know [LOL] what I plan to do here at The Wispy Reader, I’m going to utilize prompts for a bit or forever to get my posts up and going on the regular.

See what I did in the previous paragraph? I wrote ‘on the regular’ as opposed to ‘on a regular basis’, which I feel is grammatically correct. However, I actually say ‘on the regular’ in real life, so why not put my real personality and vernacular out there?!

I’ve kept journals of various types off and on practically my entire life – I still have all of those journals and am very proud of them, especially when I would create entries based on a stream-of-consciousness style. I should probably employ this style in my writing here, my hub, as I seem to write better [and faster] when I let the words simply flow.

Be forewarned – I shall be posting older book reviews in addition to new ones. I have chosen to do this not only in order to get my latest blogging endeavor off the ground, but to share with y’all my favorite bookish opinions, maybe with a little tweaking since the original postings.

OK, so, this it completely off-topic, but what’s up with spell-check?! It really aggravates me, trying to be all like ‘you need to do it THIS WAY’ instead of writing in my OWN TRUE VOICE!

Anyhow, as that was totally random, as perhaps this entire post is, I shall attempt to gather myself and return to my re-intro into the world of bookish blogging!

Well, I’m going blank on what to write next, but I believe this post is long enough for y’all to recognize that I have blogged and will blog again! 😀

In conclusion, hello to all the [hopeful] followers/readers I will come to know and I’M BACK to all the bloggers/readers that I have known!

Back again, Maggie

Cheerio!

Well, here I am – again! Once more, I had chosen to take a break from – and possibly end – my blogging ‘career.’

However, I’ve missed writing so very much – I can’t seem to get into the habit of journaling and seriously need some sort of creative outlet.

Therefore, here I am, Maggie, former curator of both The Novel Orange and The Caramel Files!

For some reason, I like the citrus theme and have thus returned to it. While I focused on candy and sweetness at The Caramel Files, I feel as though I’m returning to my blogging roots with The Literary Lime.

So, what’s this f***ing blog ABOUT?!

I’m imagining myself writing often about books – as in reviews, opinions, and other stuff like memes and tags, both of which I love!

I also want to write creatively and maybe even come up with some kind of something original and cool. I’d love to host a reading event, but, wow, those bloggers hosting events put in SO much hard work.

Truthfully, I love blogging, especially meeting such amazing people in the blogging community in general. While not everyone I have ‘met’ in the blogging world has been kind, a lot of people, mostly in the book blogging niche, are incredibly amazing and considered to be among my kindred spirits.

My true opinions often remain in my head – I’ve been harassed online a few too many times for voicing what I seriously think. I can understand why super vulnerable people can be driven to suicide as a result of online bullying.

I’m not saying I was ever thinking of harming myself while being ostracized by some groups, but, I might have had I not taken care of myself and made empathetic friends in the bookish community.

I feel like I could totally go on a rant here – just because I want to WRITE. I don’t want to be negative or bring up sh*t from the past in this, my initial – duh – post here at The Literary Lime!

I’m disappointed I forgot all about the 2019 A to Z Blogging Challenge, especially since participating would have been an awesome way to jump back into blogging.

Oh, well – I can’t handle starting late – I’ve missed too many letters now; but, there’s always 2020! I should really start planning my posts for next April now!

Anyhow, I don’t want to inundate y’all with every detail of my regular and blogging lives! Until next time – and it’s great to be back – again!

Getting in the groove, Maggie

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