Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Over the Counter #263

What books caught my eye this week as they pass over the library counter and under my scanner?
This week it's about running and walking....

First up is On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City by Alice Goffman.

From the publisher, University of Chicago Press:

"Forty years in, the War on Drugs has done almost nothing to prevent drugs from being sold or used, but it has nonetheless created a little-known surveillance state in America’s most disadvantaged neighborhoods. Arrest quotas and high-tech surveillance techniques criminalize entire blocks, and transform the very associations that should stabilize young lives—family, relationships, jobs—into liabilities, as the police use such relationships to track down suspects, demand information, and threaten consequences.

Alice Goffman spent six years living in one such neighborhood in Philadelphia, and her close observations and often harrowing stories reveal the pernicious effects of this pervasive policing. Goffman introduces us to an unforgettable cast of young African American men who are caught up in this web of warrants and surveillance—some of them small-time drug dealers, others just ordinary guys dealing with limited choices. All find the web of presumed criminality, built as it is on the very associations and friendships that make up a life, nearly impossible to escape. We watch as the pleasures of summer-evening stoop-sitting are shattered by the arrival of a carful of cops looking to serve a warrant; we watch—and can’t help but be shocked—as teenagers teach their younger siblings and cousins how to run from the police (and, crucially, to keep away from friends and family so they can stay hidden); and we see, over and over, the relentless toll that the presumption of criminality takes on families—and futures.

While not denying the problems of the drug trade, and the violence that often accompanies it, through her gripping accounts of daily life in the forgotten neighborhoods of America's cities, Goffman makes it impossible for us to ignore the very real human costs of our failed response—the blighting of entire neighborhoods, and the needless sacrifice of whole generations."

Next up is Walk to Beautiful: The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid Who Found the Way by Jimmy Wayne with Ken Abraham.

From the publisher, Thomas Nelson:

"A story of unconditional love and acceptance where you least expect it

Imagine yourself a thirteen-year-old hundreds of miles away from home, in a strange city, and your mom leaves you at a bus station and drives off into the night with her lover.

That's the real life story of country music star Jimmy Wayne. It's a miracle that Jimmy survived being hungry, homeless, and bouncing in and out of the foster care system, and sleeping in the streets. But he didn't just overcome great adversity in his life; he now uses his country music platform to help children everywhere, especially teenagers in foster care who are about to age out of the system.

Walk to Beautiful is the powerfully emotive account of Jimmy's horrendous childhood and the love shown him by Russell and Bea Costner, the elderly couple who gave him a stable home and provided the chance to complete his education. Jimmy says of Bea, "She changed every cell in my body."

It also chronicles Jimmy's rise to fame in the music industry and his Meet Me Halfway campaign-his walk halfway across America to raise awareness for foster kids.

(Over the Counter is a regular feature at A Bookworm's World. I've sadly come the realization that I cannot physically read every book that catches my interest as it crosses over my counter at the library. But... I can mention them and maybe one of them will catch your eye as well. See if your local library has them on their shelves!)

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