Year 18, Book 3

3. Wannabe: Reckoning with the Pop Culture that Shape Me by Aisha Harris

NPR pop culture correspondant and co-host of the Pop Culture Hour Podcast, Aisha Harris writes about the pop culture of her childhood of the 90s in a series of essays. She examines how it has influenced her and how she pushes back against some of the messages it portrays even as she still loves it. I thought it was a really enjoyable book that will appeal to pop culture lovers, especially those people with a special love of 90s pop culture. I give it an 8 out of 10.

Year 18, Book 2

2. Honor by Thrity Umrigar

I liked Meena and Smita’s stories. I got annoyed at the end though when the author turned it into a love story for Smita and Mohan. It was sort of clear that it was going to go there from the beginning, but it felt very unnecessary and unrealistic to me as if it was added just to make the horrific things that happen in the rest of the story more palatable. I give it a 6 out of 10.

Year 18, Book 1

  1. Invisible Child: Poverty, Survival, & Hope in an American City by Andrea Elliott

Journalist Andrea Elliott followed a young girl, Dasani and her family for eight years of their lives first writing a feature in the New York Times and then continuing to follow their story and turning it into this book. It’s a really well written book, but it’s also entirely depressing how intractable the problems highlighted in it are. Jonathan Kozol was writing about the same things back in the 80s and it seems like no progress has been made. It may be an eye opening book for some people, but I have read a lot of similar books and this just made me depressed that nothing has changed. I give it a 9 out of 10.