Unpopular Privacy, Arbitrary Justice, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf, My Beloved World, The Sand Child.

The last 5 books! Putting me at 176. One got lost along the way, and I don’t know where it went. Wrap up post is coming. Until then, this is a pretty good summary.

I saw Anita Allen speak at the Harvard Law Review’s symposium on privacy last year, and bought her book soon after. It’s taken me a while to read it because it’s incredibly dense, and the beginning engages in the sort of philosophical navel-gazing that seems to infect all of the privacy folks since Brandeis. (How’s that for a judgmental sentence?) Fortunately, the book improves substantially, and although the explanations and structure can be a little spotty, I think Allen focuses on a key concept - privacy as a way of thinking about what we as a society want to keep secret. This is especially relevant in her discussion of racial privacy and racial data collection, where the contrast between arguments for collection and arguments against is very stark. I might suggest that people read excerpts of this if they’re interested in the topic, but quite frankly, the first couple chapters are ponderous to the extreme.

Arbitrary Justice was great. There was a reference to this in the New Jim Crow, and I think it does a great of job of discussing prosecutorial discretion from both an outcome and process perspective. It’s also quite readable, not too dense, and impactful.

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf is a stage play/choreopoem that combines spoken word poetry with a theatrical format. I liked just reading this book, and there were certainly moments in the text that took my breath away. Despite thatI think I would have enjoyed it more if I had actually seen a production of it. I also liked how the edition I read had lots of background information on the play and how it came to be - made reading it way more interesting. I can’t believe Tyler Perry made a movie out of this though. 

Sonia Sotomayor! My Beloved World! I read this book the day before Orientation started, just for maximum impact. Overall, I’m not quite sure how I felt about it. I definitely enjoyed reading it - Justice Sotomayor is a great storyteller, and I love how her transition from a poor neighborhood/rough family life to Princeton is explained as to really impact readers who may have never had to think about the differences. However, I just walked away not feeling like I understood Justice Sotomayor much better as a person after reading the book, which is odd, since it’s her memoir.

Final book: The Sand Child (thanks Ted for the recommendation). What a down note to end on. I love the concept of this book - it’s about a woman in Morocco whose parents were desperate for a male child, so they raise her as a man. The premise is so great, but the book does not explore the gender identity issues very well, and towards the end, the storytelling style goes totally off the rails, making it very difficult to follow what’s going on (even accepting that there are a bunch of different endings to the same story). I was so excited by the topic that I let my enthusiasms get in the way of my friend’s cautions. Whoops.