Rachel tagged me in this, which is actually quite funny because I got it from her the first time around too. It was quite a long time ago because I wanted to wait until I had read ALL five before doing another one. I still haven’t gotten around to the fifth, but I figure it’s time to do a new round anyway. Anyway, you choose 5 books you think you’ll rate 5 stars and then come back later to see if you were right.
I’m getting this done a bit later than anticipated, but that’s ok. I’ve made it through 41 books so far this year, a decent amount of which have been backlist reads. I’m only going to let myself use ONE book for each answer to keep things spicy, and I’m not allowed to reuse answers.
I was inspired by Charlotte’s recent posts to try this. If you don’t follow Charlotte, I highly recommend you do! She shares a lot of queer lit and is half of the team over at Reads Rainbow (which you should ALSO follow).
I’ve tried several TBR memes before, but I like the idea of ranking books with a numerical system! This first post is just going to be playing around a bit. Charlotte rates books based on how motivated she is to read it (1-5) multiplied by how interested she is in the premise (1-5).
I plan to start by using a similar system: priority (1-5) + interest in blurb (1-5) + average friend rating on GR (1-5) / 3. I’ll check out the final result and make my decision from there. I’m not going to make any hard rules, but my guess is a score of 3+ is good enough to stay. Very high ratings will get put on my tbr asap shelf. If none of my friends have rated the book, then I’ll exclude the friends’ ratings and only divide by 2.
Ooookay so I only removed two books BUT I moved a third to my tbr asap list. All in all, that’s 3 out of 10 books reprioritized. I found this fun, so I’ll probably keep with it. Let me know if any of you decide to try Charlotte’s reorganizing as well, I’d like to see how it works for others. 🙂
Hi all, I hope your summer is off to a good start if you’re in the northern hemisphere like I am! I’m quite sensitive to the cold and have seasonal depression, so spring and summer are my favorite seasons. 🙂 I’m hoping to get a decent amount read over the next few months and figured I’d share some of the books I’m specifically intending to read! I’m very much a mood reader / opportunity reader so we’ll see what else I add to this along the way.
The books I’ll be telling y’all about are coming from three different categories: ARCs, my owned TBR, and my TBR ASAP shelf. These lists are not exhaustive, they’re just what I’ve decided to prioritize this summer (mostly at random because decisions are hard).
In this brilliant,heartbreaking book, Matthew Desmond takes us into the poorest neighborhoods of Milwaukee to tell the story of eight families on the edge. Arleen is a single mother trying to raise her two sons on the $20 a month she has left after paying for their rundown apartment. Scott is a gentle nurse consumed by a heroin addiction. Lamar, a man with no legs and a neighborhood full of boys to look after, tries to work his way out of debt. Vanetta participates in a botched stickup after her hours are cut. All are spending almost everything they have on rent, and all have fallen behind.
The fates of these families are in the hands of two landlords: Sherrena Tarver, a former schoolteacher turned inner-city entrepreneur, and Tobin Charney, who runs one of the worst trailer parks in Milwaukee. They loathe some of their tenants and are fond of others, but as Sherrena puts it, “Love don’t pay the bills.” She moves to evict Arleen and her boys a few days before Christmas.
Even in the most desolate areas of American cities, evictions used to be rare. But today, most poor renting families are spending more than half of their income on housing, and eviction has become ordinary, especially for single mothers. In vivid, intimate prose, Desmond provides a ground-level view of one of the most urgent issues facing America today. As we see families forced into shelters, squalid apartments, or more dangerous neighborhoods, we bear witness to the human cost of America’s vast inequality—and to people’s determination and intelligence in the face of hardship.
Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem. Its unforgettable scenes of hope and loss remind us of the centrality of home, without which nothing else is possible.
Y’all know that meme that’s like “Uh, hey guys? Just found out about [bad thing everyone has been aware of for quite some time]. Yikes!” Anyway, that’s how I feel about landlords after reading this book. A lot of the people in my leftist circles have been damning landlords for quite some time now and while I didn’t love the fact that they profit off of the ubiquitous need for shelter, I just didn’t quite get how they were worse than any other staple of capitalism. Now I know.
It was easy to go on about helping “the poor.” Helping a poor person with a name, a face, a history, and many needs, a person whose mistakes and lapses of judgment you have recorded — that was a more trying matter.
Evicted follows two landlords in Milwaukee — Sherrena, who owns many properties in the inner city, and Tobin, who owns a trailer park — as well as several of their tenants. It does so gracefully, interweaving life experiences with research and statistics in a way that makes sense and enhances one’s understanding of the topics at hand. Most notable is the cycle of eviction and how impossible it seems to climb out of. There are so many factors at play but Desmond is able to explain them all without losing the reader.
Part of the reason why this works is the narrative format; with concrete real-life examples it is much easier to become invested in wanting to know how the system functions. Marrying the bare facts with personal histories turns a series of numbers into an infuriating and heart-wrenching reading experience. And believe me, you will be infuriated. The entire time I was reading this book, I found myself discussing it with family and friends. Learning the details of the housing system, I was deeply disturbed. I realized more fully how privileged I’ve been to live the way I’ve lived.
When people have a place to live, they become better parents, workers, and citizens.
While it’s easy to place accountability the landlords, making six figures and taking tropical vacations while throwing tenants out onto the streets, the blame is spread more widely than that. Although don’t get me wrong, they do deserve to shoulder plenty of it. They will intentionally refuse to maintain properties of poorer residents, particularly those who owe money. If a resident who owes calls a building inspector, the landlord will often evict them for the trouble — technically illegal, but not if the landlord cites the missing rent as the reason for the eviction. They will charge tenants using housing vouchers well above market value. Technically, the tenant doesn’t pay extra out of pocket, but an estimated 588 additional families in Milwaukee could be housed using the surplus money the landlords are charging.
One particular practice I hadn’t been aware of was nuisance property ordinances, in which the police departments can penalize landlords for their tenants’ behavior — meaning that the more the police are called to a specific property, the more likely they are to fine the landlord. Of course, this practice can have dire consequences for domestic violence victims. Instead of being supported, a battered woman is evicted as a “nuisance.” This leads women to remain silent about their abuse even more often, which could in turn lead to their deaths. Additionally, nuisance property ordinances aren’t fairly enforced. In Milwaukee, citations were given to eligible properties in primarily black neighborhoods at over twice the rate they were given in primarily white neighborhoods. Through this, the police have a direct hand in forcing more black residents to be evicted than white residents.
But those solutions depend on how we answer a single question: do we believe that the right to a decent home is part of what it means to be an American?
All that barely scratches the surface of what Desmond has to share. This really is quite an engrossing read, and really educational. I’d like to put some work into researching tenancy laws and practices in my area, both to know my own rights and to lobby for necessary change. My only complaint is that Desmond doesn’t leave us much in the way of solutions, but I suppose that could fill an entire second book. He also notes that solutions will likely vary region to region and city to city, so the local context counts for a lot. Overall, I really cannot recommend this book enough. It is quite eye-opening and quite important and I’m so, so glad that I read it.
Anna @ Reads Rainbow very kindly tagged me in this! Reads Rainbow is a really lovely collaborative blog that focuses on lgtbqiap+ books, particularly ownvoices ones and I definitely recommend it! They’ve started doing plenty of author interviews as well. 🙂
Thank the blogger that nominated you.
Write a post to show your award.
Give a brief story of how your blog started.
Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them and provide the link to the post you created.
This blog started really just as a way for me to share my thoughts on books. As I expanded my social circle and really became part of the community, I began doing tags and other things as well. I wish there was a more fun story to it! I’ve really loved reading forever and love that blogging makes me more engaged with books.
The first piece of advice I’d give is to not get too bogged down in your scheduling. Of course, I love blogging consistently when I can, but I try not to get too down on myself when I don’t. And the content I make when I don’t is just better!
My second piece of advice is to get to know other bloggers. Not only will you grow your followers, but you will also become inspired by their blogs and build some really lovely friendships with some really lovely people!
Today is another day where I don’t feel like tagging loads of people, so I’ll say I tag you if you’d like to do it! Link back in the comments if you do. 🙂
When You Find My Body by D. Dauphinee Published by Down East Books on June 1, 2019 my rating: ★★★ Goodreads avg: 4.05 (as of 2019-06-16) disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for review consideration. All of the opinions presented below are my own.
When Geraldine “Gerry” Largay (AT trail name, Inchworm) first went missing on the Appalachian Trail in remote western Maine in 2013, the people of Maine were wrought with concern. When she was not found, the family, the wardens, and the Navy personnel who searched for her were devastated. The Maine Warden Service continued to follow leads for more than a year. They never completely gave up the search. Two years after her disappearance, her bones and scattered possessions were found by chance by two surveyors. She was on the U.S. Navy’s SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape) School land, about 2,100 feet from the Appalachian Trail.
This book tells the story of events preceding Geraldine Largay’s vanishing in July 2013, while hiking the Appalachian Trail in Maine, what caused her to go astray, and the massive search and rescue operation that followed. Her disappearance sparked the largest lost-person search in Maine history, which culminated in her being presumed dead. She was never again seen alive. The author was one of the hundreds of volunteers who searched for her. Gerry’s story is one of heartbreak, most assuredly, but is also one of perseverance, determination, and faith. For her family and the searchers, especially the Maine Warden Service, it is also a story of grave sorrow.Marrying the joys and hardship of life in the outdoors, as well as exploring the search & rescue community, When You Find My Body examines dying with grace and dignity. There are lessons in the story, both large and small. Lessons that may well save lives in the future.
When You Find My Body is a nonfiction account of the last months of Gerry Largay’s life. Gerry went missing on the Appalachian Trail in 2013, her remains found approximately two years later. The book spans from the time Gerry spent preparing to hike the trail through the aftermath of her final campsite being found. Dauphinee interviews some of Gerry’s trail friends as well as wardens who were involved in her search. He examines every aspect of her hike in the interest of providing as many answers as possible to readers.
While it’s obvious that Dauphinee is a good writer, he is not without his faults. Most notably, I found myself distracted by his unnecessarily gendered writing. He talked about “farm boys” who were “able to experience the exotic and beautiful unshaved, makeupless women”; how he has “seen men in kilts, which is always okay, but [has] also seen men in skirts”; and in one sentence is able to discuss how some people lose skin and toenails, but describes women as dealing with “feminine issues” instead of using the dreaded word “menstruation.” While clearly not intended to be harmful, I still found myself rolling my eyes and frustrated by it all nonetheless.
While the novel is relatively short, I’d argue it could have been cut down more. There is a lot of repetition, mostly when it comes to discussing Gerry’s life and her impact on those she knew. While I understand the point Dauphinee was trying to make, that she was a beloved woman who would be deeply missed by many, he hammered it in incessantly. There is also an abundance of information about how the AT originated and while some of it made sense to include, I also just didn’t find myself very interested in most of it.
Finally, I just had to wonder whether Gerry’s family gave her blessing for this book to be written. I felt uncomfortable reading this and not knowing whether anyone, her husband George in particular, had given the okay for what were potentially the hardest days of their lives to be laid out on display like this. Portions of Gerry’s diary (already made public) were shared, as well as email newsletters she had written for friends and family. It made me squirm to think there was a possibility that I was privy to something I shouldn’t be reading. I wish Dauphinee had been upfront about this.
Criticisms aside, it’s a good book. I enjoyed reading it, as much as someone can enjoy reading about a tragedy like this. It was clear Dauphinee did his research and reached out to as many different people as possible, and his writing really pulls you in. I’ll probably be recommending this to nonfiction lovers and hiker buffs.
I was inspired by Ally’s Top TBR post to share my own prioritized TBR shelf with y’all. I’ve been using one for a while, as I find it really helpful to remind me of the things I don’t want to get lost in my general TBR shelf — which always happens. I have still been neglecting this shelf somewhat but with most of the Women’s Prize list behind me, I plan to prioritize my TBR ASAP shelf, my owned TBR, and the ARCs I have.
I’ll be ordering this list by date added and am going to try Destiny’s trick of providing a brief summary of the book and/or why I’m prioritizing it, along with the genre.
This felt more like a reference book than something you would take in front-to-back, but I enjoyed it and will definitely look back at it in the future. I enjoyed the various exercises provided as well as the wealth of information provided about the tarot court. The author also does a pretty good job at removing gender from the equation and speaking about each card more as a general archetype than anything else. I found it informative and would definitely recommend to those who partake in tarot.
This is a really helpful primer if you’re interested in intermittent fasting (IF). It mainly discusses using it for weight loss reasons, but does talk about other benefits as well. What I really liked was how Gin emphasized that this is actually a lifestyle change; any weight loss or benefits you experience WILL go away if you revert back to old habits completely. I liked that there wasn’t any of this magic bullet BS a lot of other people will try to peddle. She also explained the biology behind how it all works and provided extensive sources, referring readers to other books so that she could give a summary without bogging this book down with technical details. I’m still a little skeptical of some aspects, but am definitely interested in trying it out and learning more!
I wish I had more to say about this, but it unfortunately didn’t leave too much of an impression on me. Aspects of it were certainly interesting. The implication of AI having free will, and being intelligent and independent enough to pass as human beings was intriguing to consider. The mundanity of gender. A few other things that I can’t delve into without getting into spoiler territory. The issue mainly being that this is such a slow burn, making it feel unnecessarily long at parts. I found myself getting confused relatively easily at some points and just didn’t feel like whatever I got out of the book heavily outweighed the work I was putting into it. Still, I do find it intriguing and would like to see where the series goes so I plan to continue.