Is it too early in the year to say that if you buy one book this year, it should be this one? Yes, I know Mantel’s conclusion is coming out next month, but you should really consider this one.
I first read about in the NYT Book Review. That day, I went out and brought it, mostly because of Marlon James and Victor LaValle (the reviewer really liked those essays). Then I pulled the book down from the shelf and so who else is it in. Jacqueline Woodson. Geraldine Brooks. Neil Gaiman. Salman Rushdie. George Saunders. Jesmyn Ward.
The book is a collection of essays celebrating the ACLU and famous cases. And there really isn’t a bad essay in the bunch. Each author takes a case and the essay is mediation on it. Perhaps the most touching is Woodson’s essay on the Scottsboro Boys. The cases go up to the present day, and the essays are, understandably political. The politics run from the border wall to free speech to the taking of Native American children.
The best essay in the collection is the one by Morgan Parker, which strangely was not mentioned in the NYT Review. I haven’t read Parker before. His essay is the one you want everyone to read. You want to make copies and hand them out on the street. Honesty, read it. It’s just so bloody powerful.