302 Following

Portable Magic

Reading, for me, is entertainment and an escape from the real world. But it can also inform and stretch the boundaries of the life I live.

Currently reading

The Bungalow Mystery
P.M. Carlson, Russell H. Tandy, Carolyn Keene
The Remains of the Day
Kazuo Ishiguro, Simon Prebble
Duel of Eagles: The Mexican and U.S. Fight for the Alamo
Jeff Long
Progress: 11/431 pages
The Secret of Shadow Ranch
Carolyn Keene
I am No One You Know
Joyce Carol Oates
The Return of the King
J.R.R. Tolkien, Rob Inglis
Progress: 13 %

Hillbilly Elegy ★★★★☆

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis - J.E. Vance

This is an interesting personal memoir, but not the fascinating insight into the Trump movement that NPR led me to expect. It’s a well-written, sometimes moving, always affectionate, look at the family and community of a man who was raised in a poor, working-class area, but who managed to graduate from law school at Yale. It seems honest, and he doesn’t shy away from the ugliness, but neither does he wallow in it. He has interesting things to say, but there’s no point in detailing it, as it’s already been well covered. The New Yorker and the National Review both did a good job from their respective ideologies.


I was most interested in his discussion of the barriers to success, both societal and self-imposed, faced by the poor white working-class. Not just barriers to becoming a rich Yale graduate, but even just the challenges to achieving middle class status with a decent, steady job.