This week, the world lost one of its greatest voices when Maya Angelou passed away on May 28 at age 86. After hearing the news, we spent some time reading back over some of my favorite poems of hers. There were some beautiful tributes published in a variety of magazines and newspapers, but we’ve chosen our three favorites for this week’s weekly roundup of articles that had us thinking.
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This week’s recap focuses on some of our favorite books, articles, and stories that we’ve read that have had us thinking and talking.
Winner of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for Biography
John Adams by David McCullough
Brianna says, “I’ve been reading this book for a while now, but this week I managed to find some good reading time. Suddenly, I find myself perilously close to the end of this beautifully written and expertly told biography of our second president. David McCullough is a master of characterization and has made me fall completely in love with John and Abigail Adams. I know in what years each of them died, and as I inch closer and closer to their inevitable demise I find myself reading more and more slowly. I can’t bear the thought of parting ways with this wonderful couple!”
“Home Fires: How Solders Write Their Wars,” by George Packer in The New Yorker (April 2014)
It took us a while to finally getting around to reading through this whole article, but it was absolutely worth the wait. Packer’s excellent piece explores how war literature has changed from World War I to the present, from Wilfred Owen to Kevin Powers. Packed full of poetry and prose, the article is both a fascinating literary history and a thoughtful literary criticism of one of the most powerful and historically brilliant genres of writing.
“The Dogs of War,” by Michael Paterniti in National Geographic Magazine (June 2014)
There was a brief scene in the Academy-Award winning film Zero Dark Thirty that showed U.S. SEAL Team Sixteen boarding helicopters for their mission into Pakistan to assassinate Osama Bin Ladin. It happens quickly, but in that scene, you can see a military dog boarding the helicopter along with his human teammates. We were immediately fascinated and spent some time researching military working dogs, so we were thrilled when this month’s issue of National Geographic featured an excellent article on the dogs and handlers of the canine units.
Before we start thinking about our favorite books we’ve read this year (so far), we thought we’d take a look back at our favorite books we read in 2013.
1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
There is nothing quite as delightful as vanishing into Jane Austen’s world. Better yet if you read with a cup of tea. Persuasion was Austen’s final completed novel. A bit more biting and scathing, perhaps, than her earlier works, it features Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth as star-crossed lovers who hurt each other a great deal before eventually realizing they were meant to be together.
“She hoped to be wise and reasonable in time; but alas! alas! she must confess to herself that she was not wise yet.” —Jane Austen
2. Manhunt: The Ten-Year Search for Bin Laden from 9/11 to Abbottabad, by Peter L. Bergen
This captivating page-turner about the decade-long hunt for Osama Bin Laden is one of the most gripping books I’ve ever read. Written by journalist Peter Bergen, the book takes you inside various intelligence agencies, the White House Situation Room, and military bases, and along the dusty streets of Pakistan.
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