October 1, 2017
I committed to reading 43 books in 2017 as part of the Perspectives Book Project in an effort to “explore points of view to which I’m otherwise not sufficiently exposed.”
A little late on this post, but…
July was dedicated to Working Class America:
HILLBILLY ELEGY by J.D. Vance: This booked has been so widely talked about that I was excited to get the chance to finally read it, and I agreed with all the hype. It was informative and important and accomplished what the Perspectives Book Project set out to do: open my eyes to American experiences that are different from my own. Highly recommend.
NICKEL AND DIMED by Barbara Ehrenreich: I love undercover books (i.e. Member of the Club) and this one was so well done. Ehrenreich fully acknowledges that her experiment is flawed because it is just that—an experiment; she has a life to go back to. But nonetheless, she goes full-in in several different states, in several different jobs to show her readers what minimum-wage workers with no safety nets are dealing with on a daily basis in our country, exposing fundamental issues with transportation, the housing market, and the uncertainty of shift-based jobs.
I didn’t read SALVAGE THE BONES by Jesmyn Ward, which was the third book on my list for July. It’s still in my TBR pile and I look forward to getting to it. I read these books for pleasure in July instead:
I skipped my August books because I wanted to spend August reading for pleasure*, so I missed Indian Heritage Month, but I have the books and will mix them in in coming months. September was dedicated to Hispanic-Latino Heritage (quite timely considering the immigration and DACA crises in our country), and I read:
THE BOOK OF UNKNOWN AMERICANS by Cristina Henriquez: This book was so powerful, poignant, sad, hopeful, and perspective-changing and contained so many layers. I thought it was brilliant how Henriquez structured the novel with the intermittent two-page biographies of the other building residents. Incredibly memorable characters. Highly recommend.
THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET by Sandra Cisneros: This book is a classic and I’m happy I finally read it. Side note: my seventh grader had to read some chapters for English class this year. This quick read deserves all its accolades.
IN THE COUNTRY WE LOVE by Diane Guerrero: I don’t know what I was expecting to find in this book, but I was not expecting to find what I found. This book blew me away. Diane, who stars in Orange is the New Black, Superior Donuts, and Jane the Virgin, has lived an extraordinary life. She was left alone and had to fend for herself starting at 14 when her parents were both deported back to Colombia. The life she then lived was filled with the highest highs and the lowest lows which Guerrero explains deftly and powerfully. It is due to her grit that she was able to become the success she is today, but it was definitely hard-won. Diane is an activist for immigrants and DACA and is using her experience to advocate for those struggling with what she herself has dealt with first-hand. Another book I highly recommend.
Next up for October are books about African Heritage. I’ll be reading:
More from The Perspectives Book Project: