Fave Reads: Understanding Our Country

From the northern border to the southern border, and everything in between, the more I learn about our country, the more I realize how little I know it.

A few non-fiction titles that illuminated my ignorance:

Northland: A 4,000-Mile Journey Along America’s Forgotten Border by Porter Fox – With all the cable news chatter, it’s easy to forget that the United States has a second border. Fox traversed our northern border via canoe and car, freighter and foot. His travelogue is an education in our past and present relationship with our neighbors to the north.

The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy by Anna Clark – Like many, when I heard about the water crisis in Flint I was confused on how it could have possibly happened in this age of governmental regulation and environmental awareness. This is how.

Amity and Prosperity: One Family and the Fracturing of America by Eliza Griswold – In the United States, coal is dead. But is natural gas really a better solution?

Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Jennifer Egan – Americans are now more likely to die from overdose than car accident. Both the reasons and solutions, are, tragically, not easy.

Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein – This is not a feel good book. But it’s the reality of one town’s downward spiral, after a major employer leaves town. Janesville happens to be Paul Ryan’s hometown, but the book reveals that even the best bi-partisan ideas can only do so much.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond – Desmond lived in trailer parks and the inner city to better understand the housing insecure. I felt his take was nuanced – holding the system, the landlords, and the renters all accountable.

The Line Becomes A River: Dispatches from the Border by Francisco Cantu – Cantu is a Mexican-American. He was also a US Border Patrol agent. If you want a border story that is light on political rhetoric, but heavy on humanity, this is it.

This is the first installment in a series of my favorite books I read in 2018. I did a similar series in 20172016 and 2015.

How does this worker-bee/soccer-mom/rickety-runner find time to read 50 books a year? This is my secret.

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