March Reading

No Choirboy: Murder, Violence, and Teenagers on Death Row, Kuklin (Y)
Kuklin interviews men on death row for crimes they committed before they turned 18, a family of an executed murderer, a family of a victim, and a lawyer for indigent death row cases. It all weaves together to be a very effective portrait of the injustices in the death penalty system. Four stars.

North Korean Posters: the David Heather Collection
Exactly what it says on the tin: lots and lots of posters. It’s possible to get a pretty good handle on not only the style, but also the symbolic conventions and themes. One wonders how Heather got such a big collection out of a closed country. Three stars.

No News at Throat Lake, Donegan
When I was an undergraduate, I read a book about a political dissident’s time in jail. At the end of the book, it is mentioned that she spent a grand total of two weeks in jail. Two weeks! The book made it seem like years. So while I liked this book a lot, I was disappointed that he had spent less than a year in the picturesque Irish country village that he painted so well. Three stars.

Bodies from the Ice: Melting Glaciers and the Recovery of the Past by James M. Deem (Y)
Deem has written books that are not about historical corpses, but the three he has are excellent. Not only does it feature copper age murder victims and Inca human sacrifices, but also ordinary hikers! He ties the discoveries in with disappearing glaciers due to global warming. Four stars!

Downtown Owl, Klosterman
Damn. I was drawn in by Klosterman’s writing style and characterization, but he really slam-dunked every aspect of this novel (his first, though he has published several nonfiction books that I really enjoyed, too). Really well crafted. Five stars.

What the World Eats, Menzel, and D’Aluisio (Y)
Youth version of Hungry Planet: What the World Eats, but I think with superior detail. Families were photographed with a week’s worth of food and a short article discusses local food options and how the family eats. Neat! Four stars.