Sunday, July 3, 2016

Recent Reads | June

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
It doesn't often happen that a nonfiction book sticks with me weeks after reading it, but Evicted is such a hard, provoking look at America's inner city poverty that it's impossible to think of anything else. Desmond looks into the lives of eight families based in Milwaukee, traces their history in the city, and outlines the problems these families face as they attempt to make a life out of their circumstances. Evicted provides a look into a life of extreme poverty while detailing how many people ended up in these situations, and suggests a few ideas as to how the US could do better by its poorest.

Heartburn by Nora Ephron
I found Ephron's 1983 novel through Florence Welch's popular book club "Between Two Books," and loved it instantly from the first chapter. Heartburn is an autobiographical novelisation of Ephron's failed marriage to her second husband, and yet despite the heavy subject material it's a hilarious read. Rachel, the main character, finds out seven months into her pregnancy that her husband is having an affair, and Heartburn follows Rachel as she attempts to comes to terms with it.

The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
I read this book on the recommendation of a friend, and despite how informative it is, it is not my favourite Lewis piece. The Four Loves summarises four kinds of love - affection/empathy, friendship, erotic love, and charity/love of God - specifically from the view of a Christian. Lewis explains each kind of love and how it manifests itself in thoughts and behaviour. The only real downside is that I thought his views were occasionally dated or incorrect, like a section he wrote about how men and women could not really ever just be friends. Otherwise, The Four Loves provides an interesting, short look into how the term "love" can be applied to different relationships.

The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman
Gaiman is one of my favourite modern writers, so I was very excited when he announced he was releasing a book full of his various nonfiction publications. The View from the Cheap Seats is truly made for Gaiman fans, as it contains over 60 selections about a wide range of topics, including introductions he's written for other authors' books, essays for newspapers and online magazines, personal reviews of musical albums and performances he's enjoyed, and a reflection on his night at the Oscars. Even his pieces about subjects or other authors I didn't care about were made interesting because Gaiman has such a way with words and describes his thought processes so well that I could not help but enjoy reading about them.

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