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review 2019-12-16 18:18
A look behind the curtain
Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets - David Simon

Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon is a work of non-fiction about the Homicide Unit of Baltimore's Police Department during one year in the 1980's when he was a journalist for the Baltimore Sun. This book was actually the inspiration for the TV show Homicide: Life on the Streets so if you've seen that show you might recognize some of the characters (albeit with different names and ethnicity in some cases). Simon focuses on a few of the key cases that the unit investigated during the year he observed (although it was more like became entrenched in their cases and lives). He managed to both show the very best of what it means to be a sensitive, thorough homicide detective and the lengths that they were willing to take to close out their cases (it's often about the closeout rate). The dark underbelly of the city, its inhabitants, and the men (and lone woman) tasked with solving those most heinous of crimes is laid bare in stark detail. These men (and one lone woman who was rarely a focus in the novel) are distinctly human with foibles like all the rest. Vulgarity, racism, sexism, and a general callousness permeate the department. (Baltimore was none too pleased with the portrayal of their city by the way.) Simon shows that not all cases have a tidy ending and in fact could remain unsolved well past the detective's tenure with the unit. If you're looking for a neat police procedural then you'll be disappointed with this book but if you're interested in the investigative process itself you've hit the jackpot. 5/10


A/N: Keep in mind when this book was written because there are definitely some problematic issues such as racist slurs, derogatory attitudes towards people of color, sexist asides, and general ickiness that made me shudder. I can't be sure how much of this was a product of the times and/or how much is just a part of Simon's character but it was off-putting in the extreme.


What's Up Next: Cool Japan Guide: Fun in the Land of Manga, Lucky Cats, and Ramen by Abby Denson


What I'm Currently Reading: Miss D & Me: Life with the Invincible Bette Davis by Kathryn Sermak (with Danielle Morton)


Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2019-09-14 17:29
Lady in the Lake - Laura Lippman
Lady in the Lake - Laura Lippman

  This is an embarrassment of riches: so much so that I am immobilized in my decision-making capacity. I'll go with whatever anyone else tells me first.


This paeon to old school newspapers and journalists was touching, nostalgic, and also thrilling. The relentless hustle to put out a daily paper helps keep the suspense high in a story that stretches out a fair bit. The crimes, the business of reporting on crimes, and how little those two might intersect is a constant theme. Really I loved pretty much everything: Madeliine and Cleo, the many different types of mothers, civil rights and equal rights, the new hairstyles and clothes and fabrics of 1966. For all that is very much a crime story, it has a bit of everything except a Tracy Turnblad musical number. The Dickens comparison still feels somewhat apt.


The only other upside to having finished it (beyond the sheer pleasure of a good story well told) is that I am reluctant to start something else right away. In an effort to keep my buzz going and not bring it down on some other kind of book entirey maybe I will accomplish some of the things I was going to do in the first half of the day "as soon as I finish this chapter..."


Library copy

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text 2019-09-11 13:30
Whitewashing the cover, denying that Black Lives Matter
Lady in the Lake - Laura Lippman

Shame on William Morrow and their jacket designer.


Lippman's story opens with the words of a very pretty young working-class African-American woman and mother of two, Cleo Sherman, addressing Madeline Schwartz. She's saying that no one except her mother missed her when she disappeared, "no one cared." She's telling us that Black Lives Matter and no one was going to look for her until Schwartz, a very pretty still youngish middle-class white woman and mother of one, made the disappearance into a big deal. Cleo's a realist who's endured racism her entire life.


So the cover designer took that symbolic second place in which Cleo lives and made it literal: the pretty white woman in front, clear enough, and the probably pretty woman of perhaps some color, perhaps just in shadow or a muted reflection, but sufficiently disguised that no potential white reader of Lippman need be put off.


It's possible that no one ever explicitly said "if you put a Black face on the cover, make it hard to tell." Publishers bemoan the lack of diversity on the grounds of giving the book-buying public what it wants, to which end any broad-appeal book jackets keep lead characters of color off the cover, or hide them in shadows, or use white or passes-for-white models. Only the books specifically marketed to a Black audience are overt. It's exactly the same bullshit cycle that segregates books marketed to everyone as gender neutral or overtly masculine, while slapping pink and ball gowns on anything that isn't expected to have cross-over appeal. Legally enforced segregation may be dead, but more kids now attend racially segregated schools than before integration, now imposed by school districting.


White readers have to keep demanding more diverse voices and more diverse characters and more diverse covers, because publishers will only change if they are shamed into it. All the minority voices raised in protest won't sway them, sad to say. It's just so easy to carry on passively in systems of institutional oppression and ignore the problem.


Lippman's novel addresses racism head on. Shame on William Morrow for undercutting her. I am taking a knee, at, I acknowledge, no cost at all to myself. Black Lives Matter. Keep saying it until the US acts like it's true.


Reading progress update: I've read 121 out of 352 pages.


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text 2019-09-06 08:03
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video 2019-07-25 11:46

Option Moving Company are a locally owned and operated company which provides quality driven moving services to its customers. We are Commercial Movers in Baltimore MD

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Source: citylocalpro.com/053-local-office-movers-baltimore-md
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