The Corner by David Simon and Edward Burns is one of the most saddening and inspiring books I’ve ever read. The book follows the lives of residents near the corner of West Fayette and Monroe Streets in West Baltimore over the course of a year in the early 90’s. The authors lay bare how a history of poverty, crime, and drug addiction tore apart the neighborhood, families, and individuals.
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is a slave narrative written by Harriet Jacobs that covers her childhood and adulthood. Jacobs was born a slave in Edenton, NC and later escaped North with hopes of reuniting with her children. The book shares some similarities with 12 Years a Slave if you can imagine it from the perspective of Patsy. It was written under the pseudonym of name Linda Brent to preserve Harriet Jacobs’ and her family’s safety.