The Radium Girls, The Dark Story of America’s Shining Women by Kate Moore; 2017; $26.99; 479 pages; Sourcebooks, Naperville, IL; 978-1-4926-4935-9; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Fairview; 10/10/18-10/14/18
Why did I read this? This is the Corner Reading Society’s November selection.
In the early 1900’s and into World War I luminous dials were popular on watches and in airplane instruments. The luminosity came from paint with radium in it. The young women, some as young as 14 were instructed to point their paint brushes by putting the brushes in their mouths. Many of the women’s teeth began to fall out and their jaws also began to fall out, many of them also developed sarcoma’s in different areas of their bodies. The companies they worked for knew of the dangers involved but never informed the women. They also denied it when reports began to be made public. It took several lawsuits for the companies to accept responsibility and be held financially responsible for the medical bills. Many of the women did not make it out of their twenties before they died. Their demise and the companies corruption begat OHSA.
10/10, the strength of this book is that the author concentrated on the human aspect of the story. She vividly brought to life the young women, their families and the despicable businessmen who refused to acknowledge their culpability.
What is with the title of the review? One of the things that came out of what happened to The Radium Girls was the formation of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.
Less by Andrew Sean Greer; 2017; $26.00; 260 pages; A Lou Boudreaux Book; New York, NY; 978-0-316-31612-5; checked out from the Multnomah County Library, Troutdale; 7/2/18-7/7/18
Why did I read this? That is a question I have been asking myself ever since I finished it. The only reason I read it was it won the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
Okay, an aging mid level writer is suffering a mid life crisis as his young lover prepares to marry. He decides to accept invitations to various parts of the world for conferences to avoid the wedding. He travels to Germany, Italy, Mexico, India and Japan for all kinds of various literary reasons. I can’t find anything I liked about the book, even after it was pointed out that some think it is a satirical look at the literary world.
Half Life, Collected Poems, 1965-2016 by Frank Bidart; 2017;$40.00; 718 pages; Farrar, Straus, Giroux, New York, NY; 978-0-374-12595-0; checked out from Multotnomah County Library, Central; 6/14/18-6/20/18
Why did I read this? Because in 2016 I decided that I was going to read the Pulitzer Prize Winners from each year and this is the winner of the Pulitzer Prize Winner for Poetry;
Everything from Biblical influenced works, to things that seem to pedophilia and murder, there are a few lines from some of the poetry that I liked, but overall i was not impressed.
Locking Up Our Own, Crime and Punishment in Black America by James Forman, Jr.; 2017; $27.00; 239 pages; Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, NY; 978-0-374-18997-6; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Central; 5/20/18-5/25/18
Why did I read this? Back in 2016 I decided that I would read all the Pulitzer Prize winning books. LOCKING UP OUR OWN was the 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner for General Non-Fiction.
The author takes a look at what drove African Americans to vote for measures such as maximum and minimum sentences, three strikes and other strident anti-crime measures. Even though these measures would have a strong effect on the African American population of the United States. The United States only contains 5% percent of the worlds population, however we house 25% of the worlds prisoner. The author looks at the effects the heroin and crack epidemics, and the violent crime that came with them, had on the African American population. Crime was so rampant that the population thought these measures would be effective in curing crime. However due to the systemic racism in our law enforcement and judicial systems there has been an explosion of numbers of African Americans imprisoned. Unfortunately we often look at the short term solutions without thinking about the long term effects of what we are doing.
What is with the title of the review? The population was looking for a solution for a crime wave and they imposed measures that helped stem the crime, but didn’t foresee the long term consequences.
Seward Unleashed, Volume 1 by various authors, 2014; 102 pages; Seward Senior Center, Inc, Seward, AK; given to me by Dana Paperman, Director of the Seward Senior Center; 4/15/18-4/16/18
Seward Unleashed Volume 2 by various authors; 2017; 100 pages; Seward Senior Center, Inc, Seward, AK; given to me by Dana Paperman, Director of the Seward Senior Center; 4/16/18-4/16/18
Why did I read this? This was given to me by my sister in law, Dana Paperman, Director of the Seward Senior Center, which published these.
A collection of non fiction memoirs, Volume 1 asks the question why did you come to Alaska? and Volume 2 asks the question why did you stay? These stories provide insight into the people who live in Seward, it is a group of individual memories that combine to provide a history of Seward. Each of these stories is intriguing in its own way.
What is with the title of the review? While we were in Seward in February of 2018 we got to meet at least one of the people who are profiled here.