Two New Books On My August Reading List

The books on my August reading list

When am I not buying books? Actually, the real question should be: when will I start reading the books I already have? Despite my nonexistent need for new reading material, I recently purchased two new books that reign supreme on my August reading list! Of course, they’re both nonfiction firsthand narratives focused on two of my passions: slavery and prisons (which incidentally are the cause and effect of each other). Most of the books on every reading list I create are nonfiction stories about injustices and the legal system or poetry anthologies, which is no surprise considering my interests aim away from fiction classics. These two books have been on my wish list for some time now (they were both released in 2018), but it took following Megan on a quick trip to Barnes and Noble for me to finally buy them. Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo” by Zora Neale Hurston is an account I’ve been anticipating since the announcement of its existence and ultimate release. Zora Neale Hurston has been one of my all time favorite authors after I read Their Eyes Were Watching God (I wrote about her and the novel in my longest and most difficult essay!) four years ago. Barracoon is about Kossola– the last survivor of the last known ship that brought enslaved humans from Africa to America in his own words and memories. Hurston’s book about Kossola was completed in 1928, but was only released last year by the Zora Neale Hurston Trust. I’m thrilled to read finally read the devastating narrative as I go through my reading list. The second book I purchased is American Prison: A Reporter’s Undercover Journey into the Business of Punishment by Shane Bauer. The book is about Bauer’s experience working as an undercover journalist in a new entry-level prison guard position at a private prison in Louisiana. His aim was to expose the conditions in the prison and highlight how cruel and horrific private prisons are across America. I am obviously incredibly interested in all forms of literature about prisons and the criminal legal system, so this book is a real treat in my reading list!

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