I’m not really sure what phase I’ve entered here with my reading, but I’ve wandered off the literature path lately, and that’s OK with me. I just finished reading There Are No Children Here, by Alex Kotlowitz. It’s a nonfiction book about two children growing up in one of the Chicago housing projects in the 80s. And as you might expect, it’s terribly heartbreaking and sad. It was also engaging and super easy to read. The subject matter was dark and gave me nightmares a few times, but it was told clearly and succinctly. I really admire Alex Kotlowitz and his style of journalism. I’d like to read a few more of his books. And as a sidenote, I do feel that watching The Wire made it easier to understand what was going on in this book.
It’s incredible to me how dangerous poverty can be, how dangerous it can be to live in these United States. We are supposedly a first-world country, and yet some of our citizens, our youngest citizens, live in conditions that are both traumatic and horrifying. There are places in this country where children witness murder on a regular basis. Where death and oppression are rampant from a young age. And there are very few resources out there to help do anything to make the situation better. It blows my mind the amount of courage, stamina, and resolve it takes just to grow up in a situation like the one described in this book.
Anyhow, I’m onto another easy-to-read book now called Things the Grandchildren Should Know by Mark Oliver Everett, the lead singer/songwriter for The Eels. I just read the first chapter, and it’s fast and reads like a zine. It’s a light read, something to kill the time before I get to what I’d really like to do this summer…. which is this. It’s an online book club that is hoping to get through David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest this summer. We will see.
Also on my reading list: a re-read of Mrs. Dalloway. C’est tout.