Reading is like treasure hunting. Usually, my casual reading materials follow a theme over some time. One book leads to another; one subject prompts questions on a related matter. Maybe I need time to let the thoughts simmer in my head before moving on to other topics. Or, it may just be obsession.

In an effort to blog again, I decided to write about my “book trail”, i.e., how I came across a title, my thoughts as I read through the book, etc. We’ll see how long this will last. Today’s inaugural title will be Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson.

How I Came Across the Title

When I came across this book, I hadn’t read a full book in a while. Hence, to Amazon I went. Just Mercy was (still is) one of the popular books, with glowing reviews on Amazon. The title sounded religious, but the book introduction said it was about the criminal justice system. Intriguing.

Since I just got married, moved to a house, and began a life of long commutes to work, most of my reading time evaporated. After avoiding audiobooks for a long time (I’m a visual learner), it was time to give them a try. Just Mercy was my first audiobook ever.

Thoughts on the Book

I wrote my thoughts on the book in this post. I loved that the author himself voiced the audiobook, which conveyed the personal nature of his stories. The book was exceptional, but its strongest appeal was the author himself. Stevenson, a living, breathing, full time Good Samaritan, lives an extraordinary life.

The Trail

Just Mercy’s subject matter, combined with recent events in the news, made for very relevant food for thoughts. It was not something I could pick up and drop, so I decided to read more about the criminal justice system and picked up a second audiobook, The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander, a topic for another post.

Usually if I liked a book, I would be momentarily (or permanently) obsessed with the author. Naturally, I looked up other reviews, interviews, news articles about Just Mercy and Bryan Stevenson. Here are some of them:

Ever since I finished the book, I became more conscious when the topic of death row came up in the headlines. Recently, NYT covered Ray Hinton’s story, an inmate who was freed after 30 years being on death row. Bryan Stevenson took up his case 16 years ago and remained in Hinton’s legal team.

Of course, the article on Walter McMillian, whose story was the backbone of Just Mercy, also appeared in NYT in 1993.

Other articles on Stevenson:

Articles by Stevenson:

The work of Stevenson’s non-profit organization, the Equal Justice Initiative, has been featured many times in NYT: