Archive for June, 2016

THE SOLOIST by Steve Lopez

June 14th, 2016

the soloistSteve Lopez is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times.  He sees Nathaniel Ayers playing his heart out on a two-string violin on Los Angeles’ Skid Row, and finds it impossible to walk away.  What Lopez begins to unearth about the mysterious street musician leaves an indelible impression.  Thirty years earlier, had been a charming, ambitious and promising classical bass student at Julliard until he gradually lost his ability to function, overcome by a mental breakdown.

Steve Lopez puts a face on mental illness and in doing so shows us how friendship can alter the lives of both the disenfranchised and those who reach out to them.  The Soloist is a poignant reminder that no life is insignificant.  An utterly compelling tale.


FORGOTTEN: The Untold Story of D-Day’s Black Heroes, At Home & At War by Linda Hervieux& dozens

June 8th, 2016

forgottenDrawing on newly uncovered military records and dozens of original interviews with surviving members of the 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion and their families, “Forgotten” tells the tale of these heroic men whose contributions to one of the most extraordinary missions in modern history have been overlooked.

This is a book about African Americans who were in the invasion of Europe on D-Day.  This is a book about how they lived and were treated  before the war, during and after the war.

In England and other parts of Europe, these soldiers discovered freedoms they had not known in a homeland that treated them as second-class citizens, and they would carry these experiences back to America, to fuel the budding civil rights movement.

“Forgotten” is an eye-opener for anyone.  Really.


$2.00 a DAY: LIVING ON ALMOST NOTHING IN AMERICA by Katherine J Edin with H.Luke Shaefer

June 4th, 2016

$2.00 a dayThis book has earned many great reviews and I would have to agree.  After two decades of brilliant research on American poverty, Kathryn Edin noticed something she hadn’t seen since the mid 1990s—households surviving on virtually no income.

This is not an easy read, but it is a pertinent read.  We have seen in the news and on social media the issues questioning minimum wage, and though the main ‘news’ on foreclosures was a few years ago, it is still affecting people today. Edin teamed with H.Luke Shaefer, an expert on calculating incomes of the poor, to discover that the number of American families living on $2.00 per person, per day, has skyrocketed to 1.5 million American households, including about 3 million children.

In our lifetime, the issue of welfare has come up on different political platforms; both former presidents Reagan and Clinton felt this was an issue that had to be addressed.  The changes that were made did not have the hoped-for results.

This book is truly powerful.  I would recommend this book to anyone interested in how poverty is influencing many and various aspects of our society.

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