A few more books I’ve completed lately:
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
Stevenson tells the stories of many death row inmates he has represented over the years. He makes a compelling case that the justice system is broken for many of these people, documenting gross negligence of counsel, biased law enforcement and judicial systems, and abhorrent treatment inside of prisons. While the inmate whose story forms the through line of the book has a positive outcome, many, many do not. Sobering.
The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America by Richard Rothstein
A workmanlike path through the immense de facto segregation endorsed by the US government in the early part of the 20th century. It is stunning to understand how zoning laws and public financing were used as weapons to ensure that African Americans were kept out of white neighborhoods. America still has a lot of history to own up to.
Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones
Completing my bleak trilogy is this account of the rise of OxyContin and heroin addiction over the past decade. The parallels of aggressive heroin marketing by drug producers from one small location in Mexico and the aggressive OxyContin marketing to doctors and patients even after serious concerns were raised about addiction are remarkable. Quite a horror.
OK, so my reading hasn’t all been bleak reading on social issues…
Walkaway by Cory Doctorow
A near-future sci-fi in which Doctorow explores the benefits of a communal maker culture. Interesting ideas, but reminds me a little too much of Heinlein – characters having long conversations about the ins and outs of the philosophical position, too much unnecessary sex.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Now this is a fun little fantasy novel. Space adventure in a ship with a diverse, multi-species crew. Easy and fun to read. I have the second book in the series on reserve at the library… any time now, folks.