What We Are Reading Today: Men We Reaped

Updated 13 July 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Men We Reaped

Author: Jesmyn Ward

Men We Reaped is one of the rare non-fiction books that seems destined to be a literary classic.
National Book Award Winner Jesmyn Ward “intertwines the story of her life growing up poor and Black in rural coastal Mississippi with the lives of five young men – including her brother – who died within a two-year span soon after she finished college,” said a review in goodreads.com.
Ward “writes with fire and passion as she captures the day-to-day and systemic injustices that she and her family faced and the struggles they went through,” it said.
“What’s also clear is the deep love and roots that tie her to the people and place where she was raised. This book will break your heart, make you think, and get you angry — all at once,” said the review.
The author details the difficulty of growing up poor and black in rural Mississippi.
She “writes powerfully about the pressures this brings, on the women who stand in for family in a society where the men are often absent.”
The memoir places personal tragedy against the backdrop of systemic racism and poverty.


What We Are Reading Today: Places and Names

Updated 19 July 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Places and Names

Author: Elliot Ackerman

Places and Names is another spectacular piece of writing from Elliot Ackerman.
He served five tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“At once an intensely personal book about the terrible lure of combat and a brilliant meditation on the larger meaning of the past two decades of strife for America, the region and the world, Places and Names bids fair to take its place among our greatest books about modern war,” said a review in goodreads.com.
In a review for The New York Times, critic Anne Barnard said Places and Names “is a classic meditation on war, how it compels and resists our efforts to order it with meaning.
“In simple, evocative sentences, with sparing but effective glances at poetry and art, Ackerman weaves memories of his deployments with his observations in and near Syria.”
Barnard said Ackerman pulls off a literary account of war that is accessible to those who wonder “what it’s like” while ringing true to those who — each in his or her own way — already know.