Incredible reporting and writing. Heartbreaking and riveting: Invisible Child: Girl in the Shadows: Dasani’s Homeless Life

Excellent, excellent stuff: When “Life Hacking” Is Really White Privilege: "If you seem to be “getting everything you want,” you should probably examine whether you’re getting it at someone’s expense, or whether you’re just constantly, in small ways, making the world worse."

Image: source.

Yet more book reviews! (What can I say - when it's cold outside, and I have even a sliver of downtime, all I want to do is curl up with a good read). Last weekend I finished The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan. When I first saw the book at the library, I was dubious because of the cover (a big engagement ring) and the title, and I bet there are many others like me who are scared away by the (incorrect and, frankly, sexist) assumption that this book is "women's lit." But I'm glad I overcame my initial impulse, because it was a great read! The book is structured in alternating chapters, each one telling one of 4 or 5 different stories. At first I got worried about keeping each narrative straight, but eventually I just gave up trying and they all became memorable and easy to navigate. As with many other reviewers, I loved the chapters about Frances - Frances is based on the true story of the woman behind the De Beers/"Diamonds Are Forever" campaign, and its a great peek into the Mad Men-like era of advertising, and the story of how diamonds and engagement rings became a "thing" in the US. While my investment in the characters varied from story to story, by the end I found myself invested in seeing where they all ended up, and was pleased to see how their stories connected. A good read.

A friend and fellow mystery lover just lent me The Lewis Man by Peter May, the second in the Lewis Trilogy, which was great. While you don't necessarily need to read them in order, I think there is a lot to be gained by doing so. I love May's ability to weave in facts about the history of the islands and the traditions there, while also creating a compelling narrative, and character growth. My only even slight qualm is how SAD the books are. Even when there is a resolution to the mystery, and an exile of the "bad guy," both of the Lewis trilogy books I've read so far have just been so devastating - lives scarred by abuse, ages old resentments, etc. Maybe they are just realistic in that way, but, still, heavy stuff! Anyways, I'm definitely looking forward to the third.

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