Recent Reads

[A re-read of a book I originally read and enjoyed in 2014.]  Hard Time by Cara McKenna (2014). Romance blooms through letters between an inmate and the public librarian who spends a day a week working with the prisoners. What happens when their relationship has the chance to become more than just one on paper? Steamy, excellent read about two imperfect people unexpectedly finding each other.

The New Jim Crow:  Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (2010).  Definitely worth reading for all Americans, Alexander gets to the heart of current and historical race relations and institutionalized racism.  Alexander shows that the epidemic (yes, it’s an epidemic) of black men in prison, or with criminal records, is in part due to the fact that they’re more likely to be stopped for questioning (think DWB—Driving While Black), more likely to be charged, more likely to be convicted, more likely to be given harsher sentences—always “more likely.”  

One, among many, of my favorite quotes from the book:

“When we think of racism we think of Governor Wallace of Alabama blocking the schoolhouse door; we think of water hoses, lynchings, racial epithets, and "whites only" signs. These images make it easy to forget that many wonderful, goodhearted white people who were generous to others, respectful of their neighbors, and even kind to their black maids, gardeners, or shoe shiners--and wished them well--nevertheless went to the polls and voted for racial segregation... Our understanding of racism is therefore shaped by the most extreme expressions of individual bigotry, not by the way in which it functions naturally, almost invisibly (and sometimes with genuinely benign intent), when it is embedded in the structure of a social system.”

The Ascent of Nanda Devi by H.W. Tillman (1947).  Tillman writes about the successful ascent of Nanda Devi in 1936.  I guess I expected more adventure, controversy, or something because the book left me feeling pretty bored.  I kept reading in the hopes that the adventure would improve after the build-up of just preparing and reaching Nanda Devi.  Nope.

As an aside, why is it difficult for me to say that I didn’t really enjoy something written by someone who is now dead?
Are you reading anything interesting--or funny or boring or whatever?


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