I’m working through a couple books that just came out, which I plan to post about in the next few weeks.
- Alex Kotlowitz’s An American Summer: Love and Death in Chicago. This book is Kotlowitz’s spiritual sequel to There Are No Children Here, his classic account of two friends growing up in one of Chicago’s housing projects in the 1980s. The book is a collection of vignettes and overarching stories about people affected by gun violence and crime in some of Chicago’s poorest minority communities in the summer of 2013. As shootings in Chicago spiked in 2015-16, it seemed like everyone in the media and politics wanted to talk about what was wrong with the city and what it needed to do, but few were really trying to understand the people and the communities that were affected by the violence. Kotlowitz is not interested in engaging in the usual and tired discourse that surrounds gun violence in Chicago. His only interest—and his great gift as a writer—is to help his readers honestly engage the humanity of the people and communities he writes about. This is what I love about Kotlowitz’s writings, and I think Chicago (my home) and the country really needs his book right now.
- Tony Platt’s Beyond These Walls: Rethinking Crime and Punishment in the United States. I was drawn to this book because it promises to examine mass incarceration through an account of its history, which as I wrote about here, we tend to repeatedly forget in efforts to reform criminal justice.
Let me know in the comments or on my twitter feed if you’re reading anything good.