In My Mailbox #5
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren to show which books have entered our homes in the past week.
Two books arrived at the library for me this week. That's good because it means I'll be able to make progress on my to read pile rather than making it bigger! Here is what I got.
The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates by Wes Moore
In December 2000, the Baltimore Sun ran a small piece about Wes Moore, a local student who had just received a Rhodes Scholarship. The same paper also ran a huge story about four young men who had allegedly killed a police officer in a spectacularly botched armed robbery. The police were still hunting for two of the suspects who had gone on the lam, a pair of brothers. One was named Wes Moore. Wes just couldn't shake off the unsettling coincidence, or the inkling that the two shared much more than space in the same newspaper. After following the story of the robbery, the manhunt, and the trial to its conclusion, he wrote a letter to the other Wes, now a convicted murderer serving a life sentence with the possibility of parole. That letter led to a correspondence and relationship that have lasted for several years. Over dozen of letters and prison visits, Wes discovered that the other Wes had had a life not unlike his own: Both had grown up in similar neighbourhoods and had had difficult child-hoods, both were father-less, both were in and out of school; they'd hung out on similar corners with similar crews, and both had run into trouble with the police. At each stage of their young lives they had come across similar moments of decision, yet their choices would lead them to astonishingly different destinies.
Nomad by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
In Nomad, Hirsi Ali tells of coming to America to build a new life, an ocean away from the death threats made to her by Islamic fanatics, from the strife she had witnessed and the inner conflict she had suffered. In these pages, she recounts the many turns her life took after breaking with her family and how she struggled to throw off restrictive superstitions and misconceptions that initially hobbled her ability to assimilate into Western society. She writes movingly of her reconciliation, on his deathbed, with her devout father, who had disowned her when she renounced Islam after the September 11 attacks, as well as with her mother and cousins in Somalia and Europe. Nomad is a portrait of a family literally torn apart by the clash of civilizations. But it is also a touching, uplifting, and often funny account of one woman's discovery of our Western world. While Hirsi Ali loves much of what she encounters, she fears we are repeating the European mistake of underestimating radical Islam. She calls on women and key institutions of the West - including universities, and the Christian churches - to enact specific, innovative remedies that would help other Muslim immigrants overcome the challenges she has experienced - and resist the fatal allure of fundamentalism and terrorism. This is the story of her emotional journey to freedom as well as her physical journey - her transition from a tribal mindset that restricts women's every thought and action to a life as a free, equal citizen in an open society. Through her own story, she shows the difficulty of reconciling the contradictions of Islam with Western values.