Last month Amanda attended a book reading of D. Watkins’s new book The Beast Side: Living and Dying While Black in America. She met D. Watkins and had him sign her copy of the book. We’ve been taking turns reading through it, and I’ve finished it now. My review: there needs to be more books like this talked about in the mainstream press. TNC has begun rising in popularity, and it’s starting to make it easier to get books like this talked about on Fresh Air and other shows. But there still needs to be more.
D. Watkins is the East Baltimore to TNC’s West Baltimore, and just like Between the World and Me, The Beast Side is thoughtful and affecting. The book itself is a quick read: 150 pages split into two sections. “Side A” reads like a collection of Salon articles. In fact, one of them is a Salon article that went viral a few months ago: “Too Poor For Pop Culture.” The second section, “Side B,” reads more like personal blog posts. They’re short essays, and they’re justifiably angry. It’s the anger that makes me feel like they’re blog posts: I can’t imagine any mainstream outlet publishing any of this. Which is incredibly unfortunate, because they’re incredibly powerful.
So, my recommendation is that you pick up a copy. Then pick up a second copy to give someone. Then pick up a third copy to donate to your local Book Thing. Because (and I’m sure Canelli will have something to say about this) these days it seems the best way to affect social change is through targeted consumption; make the publishers realize that people want to hear more, and they’ll give us more.