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The Week in Review: 04.27.2018

April 27, 2018


Between the Covers

Finished last week:

I can think of many words to describe JUST MERCY by Bryan Stevenson – emotional, compelling, heartbreaking, disturbing – but none of them adequately describe this book that moved me in so many ways.  Stevenson is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative – a non-profit agency that fights for justice for the poor and underrepresented segments of our society, oftentimes people who are wrongly condemned or sentenced unfairly.  In this book, he shares stories of many of the clients he has represented, some successfully, others not.  The stories he shares are heartbreaking and brought me to tears on numerous occasions.  I think JUST MERCY would be a terrific book club selection because I talked about it A LOT as I read it.  I want to thrust it in everyone’s hands and feel it’s a must read for anyone and everyone who cares about justice.  I feel very strongly about what Stevenson is doing and decided to make a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative as soon as I finished this outstanding book.   As Stevenson so aptly said,

. . . we have to reform a system of criminal justice that continues to treat people better if they are rich and guilty than if they are poor and innocent.

The audio version of this book is very capably narrated by the author – his compassion and concern are evident.  I’m glad to know there are people like him out there fighting for those who aren’t capable of fighting for themselves. (Review copy provided by Penguin Random House.)


SNAIL MAIL by Samantha Berger is an adorable picture book about the beauty of letters sent through the mail.

Although it took much longer, everyone agreed that some things were just A LITTLE more special when they were delivered by Snail Mail.

In the book a young girl makes a card for the boy she loves and sends it all the way across the country to him.  It takes four snails to make the trip but they enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way.  When the card finally arrives, the boy is so happy everyone knows the journey was worth it.  As you can tell from the cover, Julia Patton‘s illustrations are charming and add much to the delightful story.  This book is sure to spark a love of the written word and snail mail in early readers. (Review copy provided by Running Press Kids.)


Author and journalist Barbara Ehrenreich decided to see what it’s like to live on low paying jobs and wrote about her experience in NICKEL AND DIMED: OR (NOT) GETTING BY IN AMERICA.  She worked as a waitress in Florida, a house cleaner in Maine, and a retail clerk at a big box store in Minnesota.  She started out with a little money and did have the advantage of health insurance.  She worked long, hard days for little pay and discovered it’s almost impossible to get by on the wages paid the working poor.  It seems the biggest issue is housing – not only is there not enough affordable housing but the little that is available isn’t close to job openings.  She was also struck by the way society looked down on the people who work hard for very little pay.  Ehrenreich discovered,

The “working poor,” as they are approvingly termed, are in fact the major philanthropists of our society.  They neglect their own children so that the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high.  To be a member of the working poor is to be an anonymous donor, a nameless benefactor, to everyone else.

This book is well written and thought provoking.  I wish Ehrenreich had taken it a little bit farther and shared the stories of some of the people she worked with.  Still, NICKEL AND DIMED is a book everyone should read.  It’s been several days since I finished the book and I still think about it a lot and I’m sure it will influence where and how I spend my money in the future.

Currently reading:

On the Screen

Not much of anything.

Off the blog

  • Since I got so many comments about axe throwing last week, I decided to include this short video I took of one of my friends while we were there.  These places are popping up all over the place and are lots of fun.
  • Carl got back from visiting his dad on Wednesday and I filled in for him at the store while he was gone.
  • Our temperatures seem to have finally settled down which means summer will be here soon.  We had a lot of rain this week and I’m hoping that means we’ll have beautiful May flowers.
  • I walked at least three miles every morning and averaged almost 18,750 Fitbit steps a day.

What’s going on in your corner of the world?

23 Comments leave one →
  1. April 27, 2018 6:01 am

    Very nice bag of books. Each one different but very readable at the same time. It is very true of nickel and domes – the workers of the world sacrifice so much.

  2. April 27, 2018 8:57 am

    The ax throwing looks like a good way to let off steam.

    Just Mercy sounds very tempting, and so does Nickel & Dimed.

    I read Bonfire a while ago…and enjoyed it. Have a great weekend, and here’s mine: “THE NEW NEIGHBORS”

  3. April 27, 2018 9:28 am

    I love Bryan Stevenson. He makes such a difference!

  4. Beth F permalink
    April 27, 2018 9:42 am

    Just Mercy sounds like a must read/listen. Loved the little video … I wonder if we have that around here.

  5. April 27, 2018 9:51 am

    Wow. Just Mercy sounds like a must-read.

  6. April 27, 2018 11:39 am

    Just Mercy was a favorite last year… definitely a must read! It’s been quite a few years, but I liked Nickel and Dimed, too. It lead to a great book club discussion.

  7. April 27, 2018 11:41 am

    Just Mercy sounds like a book I could easily pick up in the near future.
    I had issues with Nickel and Dimed. I don’t think you can adequately live as a poverty stricken individual when you know your paycheck is right around the corner. I know she called this research but it’s not very realistic.

    I saw a documentary right after I read that book about how most of the homeless are so because they simply lack the first and last deposit to get into a place. Now, years later, I am working with the homeless and still see this as an issue, PLUS many are receiving aid and they can’t live together or they risk losing their aid since it’s based on household income. If that was lifted. maybe four could share an apartment and be off the street. In trying to find housing for my sister, a studio apartment in the crappiest area of Los Angeles is between $2300-2500 a month. Ridiculous.

  8. Patty permalink
    April 27, 2018 3:59 pm

    Both books sound intense as well as important…there are so many wrongs that need to be righted in this country. So many things that are unfair. So many people worked ngso hard for so little. At least you had a fun book with Snail Mail. Ax throwing…I am not sure that it’s something I am drawn to but then you always surprise me!

  9. April 27, 2018 5:29 pm

    Kathy, I enjoyed reading your mini book reviews. Thanks for sharing some of the highlights of your week. I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  10. Diane D permalink
    April 27, 2018 6:34 pm

    Just Mercy is an audio that I still recall; very moving. I think I mentioned they opened an axe throwing place near us but, since I had a rotator cuff issue last year I think I’ll pass LOL

  11. April 27, 2018 11:33 pm

    I love books like Just Mercy that bring awareness on social issues. We need to keep informed because it’s as a group that we can bring change to some situations.

    I loved getting snail mail as a child! I think that children today are plugged and don’t get to experience what we did as children.

    You read some great books last week!

  12. April 28, 2018 7:55 am

    Barbara Ehrenreich is really an interesting author — I enjoyed that one a few years ago. I’m not sure I want to read her current one about the health care behemoth!

    best… mae at

  13. April 28, 2018 2:50 pm

    I fear I would just throw the axe on my own foot

  14. April 28, 2018 10:53 pm

    I am going to have to get Snail Mail. I love writing letters and my mom is always sending me letters and notes in the mail. She worked as a rural carrier for 25+ years and so the mail has always been important in our family.

    • April 29, 2018 5:21 pm

      LOL! I was just going through the stack of books that came in April to prepare for my monthly post and SNAIL MAIL was in my pile! I had forgotten! Can’t wait to read it!

  15. April 29, 2018 8:45 am

    Just Mercy and Nickel and Dimed sound interesting and relevant. Enjoy your week and the nice weather too! Perfect for walking.

  16. April 29, 2018 12:44 pm

    It would be very cool if someone would do the Nickel & Dimed ‘experiment and give it an update. In some ways, the book is very outdated, but in the results and realities, I wonder if the situation is far worse now.

  17. Lauren Becker permalink
    April 29, 2018 1:59 pm

    I’m curious about Bonfire. Hope you enjoy it. I’ve heard of ax throwing around my area but never done it. How awesome!


  18. April 29, 2018 3:07 pm

    I’d say you had a very passionate reading week. Nickel and Dime really moved and frustrated me when I first read it. I’m going to read Just Mercy as soon as it comes from the library. I expect I’ll experience many of the same emotions.That’s okay as it’s something I feel very passionate about. Have a good week ahead.

  19. April 30, 2018 8:08 pm

    Just Mercy sounds like a must-read. I read Nickel and Dimed a few years back and it is very timely today as well.

  20. bookingmama permalink
    May 5, 2018 9:38 am

    You read some fantastic books this week. I bet NICKEL AND DIME was very eye-opening.

  21. The Cue Card permalink
    May 6, 2018 6:23 pm

    Nice review on Nickel & Dimed. And I’ve heard Just Mercy is really good. Both sound very thought-provoking and compassionate too.

  22. May 10, 2018 7:19 pm

    I tried Just Mercy in the car but was too distracted to concentrate on it so I set it aside. I picked up a paper copy at our latest book sale 🙂 I remember reading Nickel and Dimed a few years ago and wishing that she had gone a bit further also, but still an eye opening read. I’d love to see it updated!

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