What We Are Reading Today: The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown

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Updated 26 February 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown

Daniel James Brown’s robust book tells the story of the University of Washington’s 1936 eight-oar crew and their epic quest for an Olympic gold medal, a team that transformed the sport and grabbed the attention of millions of Americans.

The sons of loggers, shipyard workers, and farmers, the boys defeated elite rivals first from eastern and British universities and finally the German crew rowing for Adolf Hitler in the Olympic games in Berlin, 1936.

The emotional heart of the story lies with one rower, Joe Rantz, a teenager without family or prospects, who rows not for glory, but to regain his shattered self-regard and to find a place he can call home.

Drawing on the boys’ own diaries and journals, their photos and memories of a once-in-a-lifetime shared dream, “The Boys in the Boat” is an irresistible story about beating the odds and finding hope in the most desperate of times, according to a review published on goodreads.com.

It will appeal to readers of Erik Larson, Timothy Egan, James Bradley, and David Halberstam’s “The Amateurs.”

Book review: ‘The Beauty of Your Face’ by Sahar Mustafah

Sahar Mustafah is an award-winning author. (Supplied)
Updated 02 June 2020

Book review: ‘The Beauty of Your Face’ by Sahar Mustafah

CHICAGO: “We are a religion of peace, not terror. We are Americans, too.” From the city of Chicago comes the incredible story by award-winning author Sahar Mustafah “The Beauty of Your Face.” As a first-generation Palestinian-American, Afaf Rahman struggles with complicated relationships, her own identity and sense of belonging and her responsibility to keep herself and her family from drowning in despair when her 17-year-old sister disappears one night.

Readers first meet Mustafah’s main character in the suburbs of Chicago. As a mom and principal of the Islamic Nurrideen School for Girls, Rahman’s life has its own complexities. These all seem trivial, however, when teachers and students at the school come under attack from a radicalized active shooter.

As Rahman attempts to understand the situation, she falls back into memories of the path that has brought her to this point. Her life has never been easy, and it does not seem to be getting any easier.

Mustafah creates a unique yet relatable immigrant experience with her cast of characters, a family of five: Baba, Mama, Nada, Rahman, and Majeed. Her story pays homage to Chicago, its incredible communities and how these have transformed. It is not difficult for readers to immediately become invested in her characters as they adapt to trying and ever-changing circumstances.

The author masterfully captures the hopes and disappointments of the American dream and the traumas and joys that shape the relationships between children and their immigrant parents. This story shows bright moments while not shying away from harsh realities as Rahman’s family faces prejudice, discrimination, and financial crises.