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Update  September, 2019

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Update by Natrakorn Paewsoongnern
Book Review

“The Only Plane in the Sky” is compelling history of 9/11

Will Lester

People born at least a quarter-century ago probably remember the exact details of what they were doing on that beautiful blue September day when terror was unleashed across the United States.

Now, 18 years later, the memories of hundreds of firsthand witnesses tell the story of the 9/11 attacks in their own words, providing a riveting step-by-step account of the day that brought out the best in many Americans.

Garrett M. Graff and his team have assembled interviews from 480 people who share their terrifying and often inspirational memories of the day when hijackers used two passenger planes as weapons to topple the twin towers of the World Trade Center and another to attack the Pentagon. A fourth hijacked plane went down in flames when heroic passengers fought back to bring it down in rural Pennsylvania before it could strike another high-profile target, probably in Washington.

The technique of letting the witnesses tell the story does a remarkable job of bringing to life the horrific day in a way that a writer’s narrative would have a hard time matching.

The day starts with people going through their morning routines before work, admiring the spectacular September day and then coming to the realization, often haltingly, that this would be the most frightening day of their lives.

People were just settling in for the workday or just arriving at work when a plane hijacked from Boston crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m.

Most people are aware of the events that followed, but what has faded from memory over the years are the dramatic details, like the emotional accounts of people telling their loved ones that they were trapped in the upper floors of the towers or on hijacked planes, the gradual realization that the towers had been hit by passenger jets, the eventual crashing of those towers and the suffocating clouds of dust that made it impossible to breathe and sent legions of New Yorkers fleeing through the streets like a scene from a sci-fi movie, and the incredibly courageous decision to overpower the hijackers and bring down United 93 over Pennsylvania.

The oral history details the decisions of the President George W. Bush administration on how to deal with a terror attack of unknown dimensions, the deliberations of passengers on United 93 to fight back, the frantic phone calls to loved ones trapped in the towers and planes, the people leaping from dozens of floors up to their death and, throughout, the heroism and humanity of all involved, especially the rescue workers. It makes for a gripping read. (AP)

Digital dating proves complicated in ‘Love at First Like’

Lincee Ray

Dating in the digital age can be tricky business, especially when you project an image on social media that is in no way a truthful depiction of your relationship status. In “Love at First Like,” Eliza Roth accidentally leads her Instagram followers to believe that she is engaged and quickly learns that maintaining a picture perfect life is extremely complicated.

Sophie and her sister Eliza co-own a jewelry shop in Brooklyn, New York. While Eliza pours all of her time into the artistic design of their pieces, Sophie manages the marketing and social media side of the business. After discovering her ex-boyfriend is newly engaged, Eliza comforts herself by trying on one of the shop’s most extravagant rings on a very important finger. She snaps a photo, saves it to her Instagram account, and wallows the rest of the night in self-pity.

The next morning, Eliza is shocked to learn that the photo is posted to her Instagram feed. The feeling of horror slowly morphs into intrigue. It seems that her 100,000 followers have grown by several thousand more overnight. Eliza makes the executive decision to continue the ruse, especially when the shop begins to welcome more patrons than ever before, thanks to the “engagement” post.

Sales are through the roof. She couldn’t ask for better publicity. When the offers of wedding sponsorships and donated gifts start filling her inbox, Eliza can’t help but to fall completely into the charade. She even posts a wedding date. The only way to move forward is to find a future husband.

Blake seems like the ideal candidate. But there’s a problem: He has no idea Eliza is secretly pushing him toward a posh rooftop wedding. What’s worse is that in the midst of the chaos, Eliza actually falls for someone she likes. Soon the lies begin to catch up with her and Eliza realizes that one post may cost her everything.

“Love at First Like” is fun romance with a digital twist. Hannah Orenstein proves that even though we present our lives through screens, it’s important to live life unfiltered in the real world. (AP)


HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

“The Only Plane in the Sky” is compelling history of 9/11

Digital dating proves complicated in ‘Love at First Like’