New and popular titles at Juniata County Library

BOOK REPORT

With so many good books being released all the time, it can be hard to determine what to check out next. Every week, I offer a run-down of significant releases available here at the library.

Visit our online card catalog at juniata.sparkpa.org to search today or call (717) 436-6378 to have a helpful library staff member assist you.

“Duped: Double Lives, False Identities, and the Con Man I Almost Married,” by Abby Ellin

Even a millennial can be duped. I was attempting to sell a wood stove on Craigslist and was contacted by a man who said he was overseas in the Army and wanted to buy the stove. He said he would wire me the money as well as extra money to pay the person who was coming to pick it up (red flag #1). He said he sent me the money via PayPal, which I received an email saying so. However, on my PayPal account homepage the money was not there (red flag #2). I went back to the email and saw that the email was not coming from PayPal but from another person who named their email address PayPal (red flag #3). I went back to the original email and looked at the buyer’s avatar (profile picture). It was a man in Army fatigues with his wife and child. I downloaded the picture and did a reverse image search on Google (which basically is the same as typing a search only you use a picture). I was stunned to find out that the picture belonged to a service member who died 10 years ago. I immediately ceased all communication with this person and reported him to Paypal and Craigslist.

That experience made me especially intrigued when I saw “Duped” at Barnes and Noble. New York Times contributor Abby Ellin investigates the art and science of duplicity. The author’s fascination with liars and lying developed after a failed romance with “The Commander,” an ex-Navy Seal who claimed to be the high-level CIA operative mastermind behind the raid on Osama bin Laden. Dazzled by his charm and doctor credentials, Ellin believed everything he said. When she realized that her lover had been lying about everything from his personal status–he was engaged to another woman during their relationship–to his income, she broke off their involvement. The author then began exploring how and why society regards those taken in by con artists “with scorn, derision, even blame.” Drawing from research studies, interviews, and her own experiences, Ellin probes the phenomenon of lying. She begins with the premise that human beings are “social chameleons” who inhabit a “deceit spectrum.” Some lie to escape their own lives while others do it for predatory reasons. Still others, like the notorious British double agent Kim Philby, do it for professional reasons. Comparing her own experience to those of other victims, Ellin learned that the feelings of betrayal victims feel are often so intense that they can result in PTSD. For women, who, the author argues, feel betrayal more deeply than men, it can have the same traumatizing effects “as sexual assault.” Of course, Unfortunately, society does not forgive women as easily as it does men when it comes to this topic. Candid and entertaining, Ellin’s book offers insight into the socially and psychologically complex nature of deceit as well as the choices she made as a duped woman.

Bookshots …

Here are some quick book recommendations that include star ratings I give them or whether you should skip it, borrow it, or buy it.

“The Big Kahuna,” by Evanovich, Janet (4 stars)

“Blessing in Disguise,” by Steel, Danielle (4 stars)

≤ Robert B. Parker’s Buckskin,” by Knott, Robert (3 stars)

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Vince Giordano has been the director of the Juniata County Library since 2015.

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