I’ll be honest, I’ve been kind of freaking out about getting closer and closer to the big 3-0, but one of the things I learned as I’ve gotten older is that I can read non-fiction. I always thought I was one of those readers who would never be able to get into serious non-fiction, but it’s a muscle I’m slowly learning to build thanks to audiobooks.
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
I grabbed Just Mercy last year after hearing Stevenson, a civil rights attorney fighting wrongful convictions, on a podcast. I started and stopped this audiobook so many times and eventually just kept it on my phone so I could tell people I was reading a “smart” book.
One day I ran out of podcasts, so I decided to try putting Just Mercy on in the background while I was working. Soon I found myself listening in the car, at home and slowly found myself looking forward to hearing more about Stevenson’s often brutal and heart-wrenching career.
Just Mercy is a tough read because so much of Stevenson’s work is connected to things that are hard to look in the eye like; institutionalized racism, violence, corruption and mass incarceration. His book focuses on the wrongful conviction and imprisonment of Walter McMillian , but also tells several harrowing and heartbreaking cases Stevenson has fought along the way. The format threw me off a bit because we’d leave one story for another without warning, but I gather this has a lot to do with the audio format. Stevenson is a capable narrator and does some subtle voices here and there.
I do not understand the cover of this book. Early on Stevenson notes the somewhat dubious nature of To Kill A Mockingbird and Atticus Finch. I mean John Grisham’s quote and name are just so big.
I had no idea this book was published way back in 2014. I’m sure he has seen some rising book sales recently. Also this
A Higher Loyalty by James Comey
After reading Just Mercy, I picked up another book by another lawyer; this one being A Higher Loyalty by James Comey. I’m not gonna lie. I picked up this book for the tea…and the tea was spilled. I may not understand everything about political maneuverings but I’ve worked at enough places know when people are jumping ship and getting fired left and right something is not working
But also it was interesting learning how Comey became the controversial figure he is. He’s sort of been hovering in the background of several major cases before becoming a household name, he was involved in quite a few scandals including The Palme Affair, The abuse at Abu Ghraib and the Martha Stewart conviction. Comey is no stranger to controversy. I think Comey has some interesting thoughts on leadership and how to be a leader but nothing particularly innovative. He narrated the audiobook and gets emotional talking about how he was held hostage as a teenager and the death of his son. His views on mass incarceration aren’t great and he tries to reason out the statistics a little too much. I think due to the very public and sudden end of his government service, Comey is really just trying to get the last word in and he holds nothing back.