In between everything I had going on today (getting the internet arranged at my new house, getting the gas lines repaired, etc etc) I couldn't help but stop off at Barnes & Noble since I literally have one 3 minutes (0.5 mile) from my new house!
Excuse the dodgy motel room carpet underneath the books! (I'll be shifting over to my house tomorrow since I'll have hot water there!).
Anyway- I purchased:
Atomic Ranch Magazine
Fire in the Ashes- Jonathan Kozol
Ordinary Resurrections- Jonathan Kozol
Marilyn Monroe, The Final Years- Keith Badman
I usually don't buy modern magazines, but Atomic Ranch (and sometimes Modernism) are the exceptions. I started purchasing Atomic Ranch when I could only dream of having my 1950s ranch house. Well, now I have one! *pinches self*. I can't wait to turn it from old- lady back to it's atomic self!
I purchased the Marilyn book because I'd heard rave reviews about it. I love Marilyn. I think she's a beautiful, talented, tragic figure in Hollywood history. Do I think she killed herself? Do I think she was murdered? I'm undecided. Either way, I know I'll easily sink my teeth into yet another biography of her.
As for the Jonathan Kozol books- I'm a huge fan of his stuff so was thrilled to see two of his books that I didn't yet have. I first became familiar with his work when I moved to St. Louis and read Savage Inequalities which detailed the heartbreaking, shocking conditions experienced by the residents of East St. Louis in the 1980s (and honestly, not a whole lot has changed). I found his writing to be impeccable and his content regarding poverty in the United States to be thought provoking and extraordinary. I already own a number of his books- so two more will definitely be great additions to my collection.
Before moving to the U.S., I never even thought about poverty over here. I knew it existed-I just didn't know to what extent. Since breathing in the slums of St. Louis, Detroit and Rural Kentucky and Tennessee amongst other places, I've come to appreciate how truly lucky and totally spoiled I really am. The concept of poverty both scares and intrigues me.
Right now, the U.S. is experiencing the highest levels of poverty in half a century.
I can bitch and complain about the shoddy little house my husband and I have rented for the past few years with the leaky ceiling, mold and threadbare carpet. But we chose to stay there. We could have afforded better. We chose not to because we wanted to save up for a house. The sacrifice was made by choice, not by necessity.
Too many people in the U.S. don't have a choice, and live in far worse conditions than what my husband and I endured the past few years. Some of it has to do with the individual, surely, but a lot has to do with the system which no longer supports the American Dream and the ability to break through the social ranks.
Minimum wage is too low in a lot of states- far below a living wage by any means. Also, with the complex, technology driven world we're living in, people are taught that they need excess and instead of living within their means, they're driven to take out loans that they often can't pay back. Another huge issue is the fact that your zip code dictates your school district. The poorer the zip code, the poorer the school district, the poorer it performs. It's therefore a vicious cycle- poor kids get a poorer education which doesn't afford them the opportunities to excel to their full potential and therefore, more often than not, it will keep them poor.
This isn't meant to be a political tirade or political website though so I'll shut up now. Just venting!
I have a big day tomorrow- numerous contractors are coming over for various quotes!