Ominous anniversary looms over National Book Lovers Day

Once upon a time...

A bizarre calendar coincidence has placed this year’s National Book Lovers Day squarely on the 50th anniversary of one of America’s most infamous crimes. Many of us remain fascinated with the Manson Family murders — the first of which took place  in the early-morning hours of August 9, 1969. The new Quentin Tarantino film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” has served to further reignite interest this summer.

While Tarantino’s film artfully blends fact and fiction, Davis’ book promises the truth behind the killings.

Enter British writer and investigative reporter Ivor Davis — who’s just out with his book, Manson Exposed: A Reporter’s 50-Year Journey into Madness and Murder. While the film, featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margo Robbie, artfully blends fact and fiction, Davis’ book promises the truth behind the killings. The author, who had moved from the UK to California in 1961, covered the story as it unfolded for the “London Daily Express.”

Shattering myths

Charles Manson’s true motive has long sparked curiosity. The book sets out to challenge traditional beliefs that Manson tried to pin the murders on the Black Panthers in order to spark a race war in America. Instead, Davis claims, Manson was hoping to divert police attention to the militant group in order to spring his associate Bobby Beausoleil from jail. Beausoleil had been arrested days earlier on a separate murder charge. Manson’s attempt to set up the Panthers for either crime failed.

The book sets out to challenge long-held notions that Manson attempted to pin the murders on the Black Panthers in order to spark a race war in America.

“Manson told the killers to stage the Tate-LaBianca murders to look like they were the work of Black Panthers,” writes Davis. “His hope was that the police would release Robert.”

Through exclusive interviews as well as Davis’ first-hand knowledge, the book includes a number of revelations — some connected to entertainment royalty like Warren Beatty, Steve McQueen, Dennis Wilson and, not the least of which, the Beatles. Davis also explains what the Beatles really thought about “Crazy Charlie” linking their lyrics to the crimes.

‘The confidence to tell stories’

Also of note for National Book Lovers Day, author Joyce Carol Oates, one of America’s most honored fiction writers, has begun teaching a short story class for the online education company MasterClass.

Write away: Joyce Carol Oates is teaching a short story class online. (SpokaneFocus)

“Writing is about taking risks and exploring the things that often scare us most in our own lives,” says Oates. “I want students to walk away with more than just a better understanding of structure, language and pacing. I want students to find the confidence to tell stories within themselves that they never realized existed.”

Oates has designed the class for beginning to intermediate-level students who either write fiction or would like to start.

“Joyce is unafraid to explore taboo and the darker side of humanity,” says MasterClass CEO David Rogier. “She pushes all of us to explore our daily scramble for existence.”