In Shaw 2005 Summer reading list

Yesterday’s comments got me thinking about stuff to read…. not like I don’t have enough to read, but there are books that would look good for some of us living here.

Freakonomics by Steven Leavitt and Stephen Dubner
Soley for the chapter titled “Why crack dealers live with their mothers“. Yeah there is other stuff in there about Real Estate agents not working in the best interest of their clients, but really, you want to read up on your local crack dealer. Investigating this chapter (ie randomly looking around on the net until book order comes through) I found, but can’t seem to find now, a comment that in addition to a 1 in 4 chance of getting shot and low pay, you have to deal with crackheads. That would be such a negative. Day in and out you gotta deal with the dumbest messed up folks on the planet. Anyway, apparently this chapter is based on the work done by Stephen Levitt and sociologist Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh in their article “An Economic Analysis of a Drug Selling Gang’s Finances” (warning PDF file), which I am 1/2 way through, it is a good read.

And ’cause the Fantasia song Baby Momma was stuck in my head I remembered Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood Before Marriage by Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas, which was featured on WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi Show. You can read chapter 2 “WHEN I GOT PREGNANT . . .Mahkiya AND Mike”. I wonder if the book does what the authors did so well on the show, which was explain the motivations of the poor women to a middle and upper middle class audience.

Lastly, a fun book Lost in the City by Edward P. Jones, who won a Pulitzer for The Known World. It is a collection of 14 short stories all taking place in DC, many of them in Shaw. I was partway through the book when I got distracted by my current read of The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less by Barry Schwartz. There is a story about a guy who works for a corner store over by 5th and O NW, another starting at Cardozo High School wandering up to Columbia Heights and down to 9th & P, then Anacostia. It is a joy for those who like to play where in DC is that? Because you think about what those sections of the city look like today, as most of this takes place in the 60s and 70s, and imagine the Shaw or the Columbia Heights or the Dupont Circle of the author’s mind.

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