Jan. 21st, 2012

sumofparts: picture of books with text 'books are humanity in print' (books)

More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City (Issues of Our Time)More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City by William Julius Wilson

I think this was a good primer on the issues for someone who basically has no clue (e.g., me). It's interesting that he is taking a third and more nuanced position in arguing that it is a combination of structural and cultural factors that contribute to the issues of race and poverty, though in my reading, he does emphasize that structural factors are still more significant even if some of them appear to be nonracial. I felt his arguments were laid out clearly and backed up by actual reports and studies though it is unfortunate that because of the Moynihan report and the controversy around it (interpretations of it suggest that black culture is a factor in the breakdown of the black family and in the issue of poverty in black America), there are few or no studies around cultural factors, whether to support or critique the claims in the report.

Sometimes the writing style was dry but the content was important. I do agree with one review that he doesn't provide any concrete solutions but I think this is certainly a starting point to reframe any solutions that do arise.

sumofparts: person holding a cloud in a field (Default)
Hong Kong EncounterHong Kong Encounter by Lonely Planet Publications (Piera Chen)

Overall, I liked the layout/design. It's split by neighbourhood and they provide an area map at the beginning of each section so I could get my bearings. The book also pointed out neat highlights and was well-organized.

Two suggestions I had:

1) For all the maps, it would've been helpful to have the Chinese characters on the maps as well as English since the locals would usually know locations by the Chinese names.

2) I noticed that some Cantonese phrases were included but there wasn't a pronunciation guide.

One complaint was that on the metro/subway map, the Kowloon Southern Link was missing so Austin and East Tsim Sha Tsui stations were not on the map. The subway maps in the HK system itself are super-helpful but at first I was definitely a little confused.


sumofparts: person holding a cloud in a field (Default)

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