What We Are Reading Today: The Last Stone

Updated 15 April 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: The Last Stone

Author: MARK BOWDEN

The Last Stone by Mark Bowden is a true crime story about the disappearance of two sisters from a Wheaton, Maryland mall in March of 1975.
Bowden “is a master of narrative non-fiction, but I think it’s safe to say he’s surpassed himself here. The story he’s telling here is remarkably focused and controlled, and there’s a sense of urgency in the writing that manages to be both personal and remarkably balanced,” said a review published in goodreads.com.
In a review published in The New York Times, Robert Kolker said Bowden “focuses on 21 months of questioning by a revolving cast of detectives, telling a stirring, suspenseful, thoughtful story that, miraculously, neither oversimplifies the details nor gets lost in the thicket of a four-decade case file.”
Kolker added: “The Last Stone finds its power not by leaning into cliche but by resisting it — pushing for something more realistic, more evocative of a deeper truth.”
Bowden “shows how even the most exquisitely pulled-off interrogations are a messy business, in which exhaustive strategizing is followed by game-time gut decisions and endless second-guessing and soul-searching,” said the review.


What We Are Reading Today: Air Traffic by Gregory Pardlo

Updated 22 April 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Air Traffic by Gregory Pardlo

  • The author examines the ramifications of the episode on his family’s legacy, then expands to consider questions of race, addiction and fatherhood

Air Traffic is a courageously written book that chronicles among other things Gregory Pardlo’s complex relationship with members of his family, particularly his father and younger brother.

Gregory Pardlo’s father was one of the thousands of air traffic controllers fired in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan. The author examines the ramifications of the episode on his family’s legacy, then expands to consider questions of race, addiction and fatherhood.

Pardlo “is a talented writer and he examines so many issues in this memoir — race, economics, manhood, addiction, family and sibling relationships, marriage and parenthood,” says a review published in goodreads.com. A review published in The New York Times, Janet Maslin said: “The book is centered on the troubled relationship between the author and his father, although it roams freely in many other directions ... Simple description does not do Pardlo’s story justice; only his own sublime words can achieve that.” The review added: “When Pardlo won the Pulitzer in 2015 for his collection Digest, the citation praised his ‘clear-voiced poems that bring readers the news from 21st-century America, rich with thought, ideas and histories public and private.’ Replace the word ‘poems’ with the word “essays,” and you have an apt description of the second part of Air Traffic.”