Hey guys! It’s Top 5 Tuesday time! This is hosted by Shanah over at The Bionic Bookworm. Go check her out!
This week the topic is the 5 books that have been on your ‘To Be Read’ list for the longest. I’ll admit that I’m fairly rubbish at keeping my TBR list up to date on my blog and on Goodreads. I usually make a note of any good books in my phone and then just forget to update my list. Ooops.
The 5 books detailed below all sound fairly depressing, but overall I am a very happy person, I promise!
So here goes:
Evicted: Power & Profit in the American City – Desmond Matthew
Blurb: ‘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.’
Another Day in the Death of America: A Chronicle of 10 Short Lives – Gary Younge
Blurb: ‘On an average day in America, seven children and teens will be shot dead. In Another Day in the Death of America, award-winning journalist Gary Younge tells the stories of the lives lost during one such day. It could have been any day, but he chose November 23, 2013. Black, white, and Latino, aged nine to nineteen, they fell at sleepovers, on street corners, in stairwells, and on their own doorsteps. From the rural Midwest to the barrios of Texas, the narrative crisscrosses the country over a period of twenty-four hours to reveal the full human stories behind the gun-violence statistics and the brief mentions in local papers of lives lost.
This powerful and moving work puts a human face—a child’s face—on the “collateral damage” of gun deaths across the country. This is not a book about gun control, but about what happens in a country where it does not exist. What emerges in these pages is a searing and urgent portrait of youth, family, and firearms in America today.’
The Introvert – Michael P. Michaud
Blurb: ‘A vacuum salesman by day, the introvert lives a quiet life alone with his dog until a work relationship and a dark secret from his past team up to create an uncomfortable imbalance in his otherwise ordered life, one that soon finds him squarely at the center of a murder investigation. With his thoughts continually urging him to make people “red and open” and to “achieve it” with his girlfriend Donna, what follows is a sometimes brutal, oftentimes hilarious, and absurdist account of the life of one very anti-social and unexpected anti-hero.’
The 8th Journal – Nicole Paris
Blurb: ‘What do we really know about ourselves–or the ones connected to us? Holly Anderson is just looking for an excuse to take a year off before starting college, but she never expected her time off to be so dramatic–or so potentially deadly. Reeling from the discovery that she is adopted and that her birthmother is the author of the best-selling adventure series of which she is also a huge fan, Holly now finds the onus of writing the last book in the series falling upon her inexperienced shoulders. Charged with what appears to be an impossible task, Holly journeys to the home of her eccentric aunt in the West Village, where she must deal with a trail of past murders, the ‘Henry Curse, ‘ and the increasingly relentless harassment of the media.’
The Orphan Master’s Son – Adam Johnson
Blurb: ‘An epic novel and a thrilling literary discovery, The Orphan Master’s Son follows a young man’s journey through the icy waters, dark tunnels, and eerie spy chambers of the world’s most mysterious dictatorship, North Korea.
Pak Jun Do is the haunted son of a lost mother – a singer “stolen” to Pyongyang – and an influential father who runs Long Tomorrows, a work camp for orphans. There the boy is given his first taste of power, picking which orphans eat first and which will be lent out for manual labor. Recognized for his loyalty and keen instincts, Jun Do comes to the attention of superiors in the state, rises in the ranks, and starts on a road from which there will be no return.
Considering himself “a humble citizen of the greatest nation in the world,” Jun Do becomes a professional kidnapper who must navigate the shifting rules, arbitrary violence, and baffling demands of his Korean overlords in order to stay alive. Driven to the absolute limit of what any human being could endure, he boldly takes on the treacherous role of rival to Kim Jong Il in an attempt to save the woman he loves, Sun Moon, a legendary actress “so pure, she didn’t know what starving people looked like.’
Have you read any of these books? If so, please let me know what you thought. Hopefully it’ll make me finally get round to reading them!