Heartbreaking, eye-opening, and utterly mesmerizing, Just Mercy is an exploration of all that is wrong with our criminal justice system. Bryan StevensHeartbreaking, eye-opening, and utterly mesmerizing, Just Mercy is an exploration of all that is wrong with our criminal justice system. Bryan Stevenson, an ambitious and talented lawyer, has dedicated his life to fighting for those who lives have been destroyed. Innocent men and women who were sentenced to death because they didn’t have sufficient legal defense (and were up against systemic racism). Children who were tried as adults and kept for years in solitary confinement (“for their own protection”). The mentally challenged who were set to be executed but lacked the capacity to understand why or what was in store. In this book he details some of the cases that have shaped him and reinforced his fight for justice within a legal framework that often seems anything but just.
In light of the Black Lives Matter protests across the country and the success of Making a Murderer, this book is a timely and important read. It also happens to be so well written that it is as enjoyable as it is devastating. It offers glimpses of joy, laughter, and love amongst the pain. Above all it offers hope for a future where our criminal justice system can live up to its best ideals.
Just Mercy gives important context to some of the changes to federal prisons the Obama administration has made of late, including limiting solitary confinement of first time offenders to 60 days (instead of the monstrous 365) and banning the use of solitary confinement for juveniles in adult facilities. We are finally starting to see a rollback on some of the horribly unjust and reactionary policies regarding incarceration put in place in the 90’s. I can only hope whomever wins the next election will continue the trend. ...more
The titular Circle is a fictional mix of all things internet (think Facebook + Google + YouTube + Twitter + Fit Bit + Yelp + etc.), a giant corporatioThe titular Circle is a fictional mix of all things internet (think Facebook + Google + YouTube + Twitter + Fit Bit + Yelp + etc.), a giant corporation that through use of easy to access technology is not so slowly taking over the world. The story is mesmerizing swirl of ever escalating interconnections and a form of social pressure that only seems to exist online.
Mae is excited to start a new job and a new life on the cutting edge California campus of the Circle. The story follows the growth of her career from customer service rep to spokesperson. We watch as she gets pulled more and more in to a world where everything is counted, nothing is erased, and privacy is a sin.
Clearly Dave Eggers is not a fan of the trajectory of targeted marketing. He no doubt sees signs of doom in Target’s use of customer analytics to predict upcoming pregnancies and the Amazon ads on your Facebook newsfeed reminding you that you really do want those shoes. I can’t say I blame him, as I harbor those reservations myself, but I wonder how this book would read for someone who thinks of things as a major convenience and an advancement in customer service.
As the story evolves we get glimpses from the outside that things have gone too far, that Mae has gone too far in her obsession with documentation and sharing every little aspect of her life. Her parents and ex-boyfriend serve as our windows into her world and provide accessibility in the way the main character usually tends to do. While we are in Mae’s head, we are not her and her perspective is often hard to fathom.
For example, early on she is brought into a meeting to discuss why she didn’t attend a social gathering she had been invited to (via a blast invite from someone she didn’t know on a topic she wasn’t interested in). While her initial thought is that the coordinator (who seems upset to the point of tears at her callous rejection) is overly sensitive, she very quickly decides that it is she that must adapt and be more considerate. I found myself wanting her to grow a backbone and set reasonable boundaries, rather than capitulating.
Despite not relating to the main character much, I was mesmerized by this book and The Circle’s ever increasing insanity. I read it in less than a week, going back to it again and again as though I were obsessively checking my Facebook newsfeed. ...more
Engaging walk through presidential assassinations and the locations that still resonate with the echoes of their hostory. The audiobook is particullarEngaging walk through presidential assassinations and the locations that still resonate with the echoes of their hostory. The audiobook is particullarly enjoyable as it is read by the author herself, adding personality to her perspective on the events....more
Commonsense approaches to government bloat. A must read for improvement minded public sector professionals. Only criticism is that it could have beenCommonsense approaches to government bloat. A must read for improvement minded public sector professionals. Only criticism is that it could have been improved by a strong edit to reduce duplication, but that repetitive style is quite common for business books....more