“The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, by Heather McGhee, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

I initially came across this book after listening to several interviews with the author and realized that her focus on how racism affects all Americans was consistent with what we’ve learned about the consequences of the COVID pandemic, where the majority of developing countries are unable to access the vaccine, despite none of us being safe until everyone is vaccinated.  And the consequences of ignoring the plight of so many Central Americans forced to flee their homes to head north in search of safety and a decent quality of life. The author embarks on a deeply personal journey across the […]

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Halfway Home: Race, Punishment, and the After life of Mass Incarceration by Reuben Jonathan Miller, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

  One of the stories often hidden from public view with tremendous consequences is the astonishing size of our country’s incarcerated population at 2.3 million while another 20 million live with a felony record. That does not include the 555,000 locked up in the U.S. who have not been convicted of a crime. I heard an interview of the author and decided this book would be a good place to dig into this grave reality. Reuben Miller knows the issues from first-hand experience. He was a chaplain at the Cook County Jail in Chicago and is now a sociologist studying […]

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At Home and Abroad by V.S. Pritchett, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

While perusing my books recently, I recognized this book by V.S. Pritchett, who is a British writer and literary critic and a well-known travel writer. I’d recently written several of my own stories on Latin America, “The Ying & Yang of Travel: Traveling Solo,” and “Tschiffley’s Epic Equestrian Ride,” so I decided to get this author’s take. After all, according to the “WorldCat List,” which is the largest data- base on books for libraries around the world, Pritchett had logged 422 works in 1,896 publications in 5 languages in almost 43,000 library holdings. And he was knighted of Sir Victor […]

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Under the Wave at Waimea by Paul Theroux, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

I’ve read and reviewed the last six books from the iconic travel writer Paul Theroux and was fortunate enough to snag a copy of the uncorrected proof of his next book which will be available in mid-April. Initially I was unenthusiastic about reading of the life of an aging surfer in Hawaii, but after reading “On the Plain of Snakes” about Mexico, I felt sure he’d manage to turn Hawaii into one of his ebullient tomes—and I was not disappointed. After all, the author has lived there for over 30 years during which time he’s been gathering stories and materials […]

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How I Learned English by Tom Miller, Reviewed by Mark D. Walker

I purchased this book as a Christmas present for my Guatemalan wife because, she like millions of other Latinos, has struggled to master the quirks and challenges of English. Ligia took English in school in Guatemala. But I’ve always insisted we speak Spanish in order to maintain my fluency and she patiently corrected my grammar, which she continues to do.  After our first year of marriage, I took her to my hometown of Evergreen, Colorado in the dead (cold) of winter, where she tried to communicate with my mother by writing notes. But my mother insisted that we get a […]

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