WCSU

Lily Meyer

The British Sierra Leonean journalist Isha Sesay led CNN's Africa reporting for more than decade — covering stories ranging from the Arab Spring to the death of Nelson Mandela.

But now, in her first book, titled Beneath the Tamarind Tree, Sesay has a chance to explore, in depth, the story most important to her career and closest to her heart: the ISIS-affiliated terrorist group Boko Haram's 2014 kidnapping of 276 schoolgirls from the northern Nigerian town of Chibok.

This March, an FBI sting code-named Operation Varsity Blues broke a massive and infuriating story: Rich, connected parents across the country were buying their kids into college. The scandal generated waves of attention, most of which combined humor, rage, and an absolute lack of surprise. Bruce Holsinger's new social comedy The Gifted School, which revolves around a seventh-grade variation on this drama, offers only the latter two. Its characters' desperate efforts to get their children into a new public magnet school is infuriating, but it's nothing new.

The Mexican novelist Emiliano Monge's Among the Lost, newly translated by Frank Wynne, takes two phenomenal risks. First, Monge's plot centers on two human traffickers in love. Its protagonists, Estela and Epitafio — Gravestone and Epitaph, in English — are human traffickers working in a hellscape that seems to be a Mexican jungle, transporting truckloads of migrants while worrying about the state of their relationship. This puts Among the Lost in a strange moral place right away: Why should readers care about Estela and Epitafio?

When the French painter and writer Françoise Gilot was 21, she met an older artist at a Paris restaurant. He invited her to visit his studio, and they quickly fell in love.

She defied her bourgeois family by moving in with him, and they remained together for 10 years. They raised two children, and she slowed her own career to be his muse, manager and support system. But this became untenable, and she left him, becoming a highly successful painter in her own right. As for the older artist — well, he was Pablo Picasso.

The Spanish writer Gabriela Ybarra comes from a politically elite family. In the 1970s, her family was one of about a dozen that occupied every position of power in Vizcaya, a province in the Basque region of Spain. This made them targets for the left-wing Basque separatist group ETA, which kidnapped and murdered Ybarra's grandfather, Javier Ybarra, six years before she was born.

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