At the time of his death from cancer in June, Iain Banks had written 27 books. He was the rarest of creatures, a writer acclaimed (by critics and fans alike) not just for his literary fiction, but also for the science fiction novels he wrote as Iain M. Banks. It is hard to think of another author who crossed genres and melded audiences with a comparable level of success.
For many of us, a single cycling event — the Tour de France — defines athleticism on two wheels. The epic race was first organized by a French newspaper editor named Henri Desgrange in 1903. But Desgrange also had a hand in the creation of a very different style of cycling: the randonnée, a long distance-ride that prizes camaraderie and self-sufficiency over flat-out speed.
If you were a track and field fan in the 1980s and '90s, three names rose above all the others — and they all belonged to one woman. Jackie Joyner-Kersee rose from East St. Louis to medal in four Olympic Games and to be named the greatest female athlete of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated.
In Seattle, the city that sired Starbucks, you don't have to travel more than a few steps to find a decent — nay, great — cup of joe. Java is the lifeblood of the city: Where other cities might offer walking tours of historic sites, in Seattle, "coffee crawls" take visitors to the city's best-loved coffeehouses.
When Joshua Prager was 19, a devastating bus accident left him paralyzed on his left side. He returned to Israel twenty years later to find the driver who turned his world upside down. Prager tells his story and probes deep questions of identity, self-deception and destiny.
For more than a decade, Maajid Nawaz recruited young Muslims to an extreme Islamist group. But while serving time in an Egyptian prison, he went through a complete ideological transformation. He left the group, his friends, his marriage for a new life as a democracy advocate.