Friday, June 24, 2016

The Matter is Life by J. California Cooper

The Matter is Life by J. California Cooper took me by surprise. I felt off-center as I began to read. Cooper uses language and grammar to give her characters voice and individuality. She writes stories that delve into the dirty aspects of life with an intense and uncomfortable honesty. Cooper writes life without dressing it up in frills and lace. Cooper addresses myriad topics from religion to drug use to family dynamics in this book of short stories. She delves into the way humans interact with one another as well as with themselves. She lets life's tatters and tears show. She creates raw and gritty characters in stories that feel all too real. The Matter is Life pushes the reader to think about why life matters and how to better embrace the what matters in life.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Sleeping Giant: How the New Working Class Will Transform America by Tamara Draut

Sleeping Giant: How the New Working Class Will Transform America by Tamara Draut provokes thought, anger, disbelief, and hope all in a few short pages. Draut investigates and illuminates the struggle of the working class in America as well as the importance of the jobs so often pushed to the side and misunderstood by the very people who are working class as well as those who are middle and upper class. She demonstrates how little we truly understand our own economy, taxes, and, sadly, way of life. I felt sharp pangs as I thought about times when I didn't stop to appreciate service I received or worse yet complained about service that was adequate but not top-notch. We so often assume we know things we don't know based on our own circumstances, but Sleeping Giant delves into all those areas where we make ourselves willfully blind so we don't have to face the reality of our choices and the reality of other people's lives. As I read about the deplorable conditions corporations in America get away with in spite of all of our so called worker protections I felt ill. Draut backs up her opinions, conclusions and conjecture with facts and evidence based on research. She marries research and anecdotes in a way that gives the facts a human face. Sleeping Giant challenged assumptions and pushed buttons I didn't even know I had, but Draut also left me with hope that we can change the future for not just the working class but for everyone.


Monday, June 6, 2016

No Asylum by Nicholas Karavatos

No Asylum by Nicholas Karavatos plays with words and phrases to convey the simple and the complex. Sometimes the poems feel like a journey and other times they feel like a destination. There's an attitude within the pages that conveys deep thought and strong opinions. At times I felt like Karavatos's poems spoke to me and other times like they were speaking a different language, but they were always thought provoking. No Asylum is unapologetic in its composition and its take on life.

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