IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.
We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.
Jelani Cobb visits Ferguson, a town that has seen ongoing protests since the shooting of an unarmed teenage boy by a police officer, and writes about the unrest there.
(New Yorker, approx 10 minutes reading time, 1910 words)
The message of all of this was something beyond the mere maintenance of law and order: it’s difficult to imagine how armored officers with what looked like a mobile military sniper’s nest could quell the anxieties of a community outraged by allegations regarding the excessive use of force. It revealed itself as a raw matter of public intimidation.
A family of Somali Bantus have found refuge in Utica. In fact, as Susan Hartman writes, Utica is a city of refugees, who have become its “economic engine”.
(New York Times, approx 9 minutes reading time, 1989 words)
Sadia’s family belongs to the Mudey clan and over 100 extended family members live within blocks of one another. Family ties are everything, yet Sadia and her sisters have stitched together American and Somali Bantu identities. She keeps Steve Madden boots in her school locker to wear under skirts that were ordered from Somali Bantu catalogs. She covets Subway sandwiches — and occasionally hides one in the refrigerator — but is devoted to her mother’s goat stew.
Paul Nurse writes the incredible story of discovering by accident that his mother was not actually his mother .
(The Guardian, approx 7 minutes reading time, 1387 words)
I wondered, why am I different from the rest of my family? And I didn’t have much of an answer. I felt a bit unsettled about that, but I carried on with my life. I got a job in a university. I got married. I had two children, Emily and Sarah. And, you know, just got on with things.
Annie Margaret Clair was raised on a reserve in Elsipogtog in New Brunswick, Canada. She writes about how Aboriginal men and women often go missing – but families feel the response from the police is not always what it should be.
(The Coast, approx 18 minutes reading time,3633 words)
Curtis, Hilary’s murderer, was initially part of the search parties looking for her. He acted as though he didn’t know he had murdered her and buried her. “You know that Curtis would even be there, when they all went to, I think Portage River?” says Pam. Portage River, far from where Curtis had buried Hilary, would have been a wild goose chase. “He was even there pretending to look for Hilary.”
Edward Snowden is the most wanted man in the world. This profile by James Bamford took nine months to set up, and is a fascinating read.
(Wired, approx 36 minutes reading time, 7384 words)
I confess to feeling some kinship with Snowden. Like him, I was assigned to a National Security Agency unit in Hawaii—in my case, as part of three years of active duty in the Navy during the Vietnam War. Then, as a reservist in law school, I blew the whistle on the NSA when I stumbled across a program that involved illegally eavesdropping on US citizens.
Debie Thomas‘ parents had an arranged marriage. She had met her fiancé once before, and their relationship was supposed to inspire their children in their views on love and matrimony.
(Longreads, approx 21 minutes reading time, 4331 words)
This is not a story. It’s a lesson. An example. A standard to live up to. And like all of the story-lessons my parents sprinkled into their childrearing—“We walked three miles to school each day in the Kerala heat. We had chores from sun-up until sundown. We did our homework by candlelight”—this one is unadorned. There are no addendums, intrigues, or controversies I can add to spice things up, though God knows I have tried.
…AND A CLASSIC FROM THE ARCHIVES…
Lauren Bacall died earlier this week. Matt Tyranauer met her in 2009, and spoke to her about why she hates her Oscar, and all about her career.
(Vanity Fair, approx 38 minutes reading time, 7670 words)
“My son tells me, ‘Do you realize you are the last one? The last person who was an eyewitness to the golden age?’ Young people, even in Hollywood, ask me, ‘Were you really married to Humphrey Bogart?’ ‘Well, yes, I think I was,’ I reply. You realize yourself when you start reflecting—because I don’t live in the past, although your past is so much a part of what you are—that you can’t ignore it. But I don’t look at scrapbooks. I could show you some, but I’d have to climb ladders, and I can’t climb.”