20 Books to Understand “What Happened” to America

“What happened?” is not just the title of a recent memoir by Hillary Clinton. It’s also a question I think many of us grapple with on a daily basis. How did “this” happen? “This” being a euphemism for many things: the election of Trump, sure, but also attacks on healthcare, efforts to dismantle or cut social services, a disturbing rise in political rage and intolerance, and so on. “This” is 2017, or whatever year you are reading this blog post in. “This” is modern America, and “This” looks different to all voters. But to own and change “This,” we have to be well informed. We can’t shy away from the darker corners in our country. We have to step into the shadows with the people trapped there and bring a candle so we can see each other. We will beat the dark down with light. Reading brings you to directly to confrontation, and change. Information is a weapon. And I have designed this list of books about social justice, current events, and political issues to arm you with knowledge and compassion to disarm hatred and inequality. There are many excellent writers conducting some truly groundbreaking research and combining that with a...

Book Review of “Joe Gould’s Teeth” by Jill Lepore

I have never really been a nonfiction person. Part of it is, I just love fiction. I’m fascinated by storytelling, dramatic structure, conflict, tension, and the hero’s journey. Real life, it’s always seemed, just isn’t full of that stuff. How can you manipulate reality—facts, data, artifacts, things that are evidence of what really happened—into a compelling story that is just as riveting as something written by Donna Tartt or Stephen King or Zadie Smith? Devouring Jill Lepore’s  one night in one sitting is pushing me on the path of nonfiction. In this book review of Jill Lepore’s , I’ll tell you all about how this slim book-length essay dug into the facts and crafted a suspenseful, moving, and dramatic narrative exploring medical ethics and the literary world in general. Premise In the 1940s, infamous New Yorker writer Joseph Mitchell wrote a profile in the magazine about a man named Joe Gould. A writer, a sociologist, an historian, Joe Gould brushed elbows with some of the most renowned authors and artists of the Modernist movement. He counted Ezra Pound, e.e. cummings, Millen Brand, and more as his friends. Most notably, Gould called himself an oral historian because he was working on his magnum...

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Welcome to Broke By Books, a blog by Sarah S. Davis, where the guiding mission is to spread a contagious love for reading through helpful, thought provoking, and enjoyable writing about books. Please join me in growing an inspired, engaged, and fearless reading life.

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