This Week’s Selected Media: Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, More Raoul Wallenberg videos, plus my book

September 17, 2023 by Joshua
in Tips

This week I read to and watched:

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond: An incredible book that won the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction among other awards. Desmond lived among poor people getting evicted left and right in Milwaukee as well as landlords evicting them. He lived with them enough for them to open up. Eviction has grown as a practice in the past few decades. It disrupts more than you think in the lives and communities of everyone remotely connected. It destroys families, health, safety, community, and more.

The lives of the characters overlap with poverty, theft, drugs, murder, joblessness, rape, lack of schooling, lack of healthcare, racism, sexism, and more. The book reads beautifully, though I found it hard to keep track of all the characters. It’s also thoroughly researched, including plenty of groundbreaking research from Desmond and his teams.

I consider the cover one of the best I’ve seen. It brings me nearly to tears. Expand the image and look at it a while. Think of what would have transpired to make that image happen.

I highly recommend the book. I will read his recent book Poverty, by America soon.

Many videos on Raoul Wallenberg: The miniseries on him I watched last week fascinated me. I can’t believe I didn’t know more about him. Do everything you can to learn about him. I consider him particularly relevant now as someone who could have stepped away and let things happen without suffering himself.

Instead he went to Budapest in the depth of Nazi occupation to save Jews. He went toe-to-toe with Eichman, saving thousands himself and helping save about 70,000. Luckily no one told him individual actions don’t matter. He didn’t just try one thing and stop. He engineered whole systems, broke with existing systems, and more.

The Onion: Ad Nauseam volume 13: A neighbor was getting rid of this volume of The Onion‘s archive. This volume contained all its content from October 1, 2000 to October 31, 2001, which included 9/11 and the election between George W. Bush and Al Gore. It brought back memories since I loved The Onion and had read most of those articles.

These days, I could read it while eating. (You might recall I don’t eat with screens on as one of my sidchas or standard operating procedures.)

I finished writing the second draft of my book and sent it to my editor. Finishing a draft gives a feeling of accomplishment, but I can’t feel satisfied because the I see the measure of a book’s success its effect on the readers and public. In my case, I’m not just looking for positive reviews or sales. I’m looking to change culture. The public won’t get to see it until after publishing, so I have to wait for then to find out if I’ve succeeded. Even then, I’ll just be starting a movement. How well the movement works is my bigger measure.

Still, he commented: “this is greatly improved. Like, amazingly improved. All your hard work has certainly paid off.” He’s a professional, so it gives me confidence for the ton of work remaining in writing it, then in marketing it.

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