The fateful path to the Boston Marathon bombing

The fateful path to the Boston Marathon bombing

The truth is no one is ever likely to know exactly why two brothers—Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev—decided to set off two homemade bombs, on Monday, April 15, 2013, near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

However, Masha Gessen’s latest book, The Brothers: Road to an American Tragedy, serves as a painstakingly detailed chronicle of how, after more than a decade of living in Boston, the Chechen brothers detonated two pressure cookers, killed three people, injured 264 others, cost Tamerlan his life and quite possibly—depending on the outcome of Dzhokar’s current trial—could cost his younger brother his life as well. (more…)

Barnett’s debut is Jim Crow-era coming-of-age tale

Barnett’s debut is Jim Crow-era coming-of-age tale

“Jam on a Vine” is LaShonda Katrice Barnett’s first novel.

The story’s main character, Ivoe Williams, is loosely based on civil rights activists Ida B. Wells-Barnett and Charlotta Bass. The novel picks up Williams’ story at age 9. By the time she enrolls in an all-black university, in 1905, she has begun to get involved in politics and, like Wells, is developing a voice of her own. (more…)

Book follows former child soldiers from horror to healing

Book follows former child soldiers from horror to healing

The stories are horrific.

 

On her first trip to Congo, in 2008, Bethany Haley Williams listened and cried — mostly she cried —

while being told stories of children being kidnapped at young ages and forced to kill their parents.

 

Children were forcefully taken away by the Lord’s Resistance Army and made to fight as child soldiers.

(more…)

Discovering our souls through old soles

Discovering our souls through old soles

I got my first pair of Nike tennis shoes in July 1984.

More than 30 years later I remember it as if it were yesterday.

We were on the basement floor at JCPenney’s when I spied the back-to-school “SALE” sign. They were white leather low cuts with a large black swoosh.

I was 14. It didn’t matter to me if I had new jeans and clean shirts to wear. I wanted those Nike’s. I needed those Nike’s. As a 14 year old boy, they were all that mattered to me.

They looked sharp and, more importantly, they were mine. I had waited more than a few years to have them. In fact, I was the last of the boys on my block – there were six of us – to finally have a pair.

(more…)

Author Kim Cross pieces together storm stories

Author Kim Cross pieces together storm stories

This wasn’t just any storm.

It was the largest recorded outbreak of tornadoes — 349 to be exact over a three-day period — in U.S. history, including the hardest-hit areas of Mississippi and Alabama. More than 324 people lost their lives and the storms caused more than $11 billion in damage.

Kim Cross, an Alabama native, who’s written for everyone from Southern Living and Cooking Light to Outside and Runner’s World, “felt really attached” to the stories of heartbreak and redemption. (more…)

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