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September 21, 2014
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Stifled Lives in the Kingdom

On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines—and Future” depicts a society paralyzed by an economy based almost solely on oil and government handouts. 

Posted on Oct 3, 2012 READ MORE


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Sweden’s Enfant Terrible

Sue Prideaux’s splendid “Strindberg: A Life” sets out not to record every jot and tittle of August Strindberg’s passage from birth to death, but to limn a vivid portrait of its complex, often self-contradictory and brilliant subject.

Posted on Sep 26, 2012 READ MORE



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Orwell’s Weather Reports

The writer’s diaries reveal that he was happiest while gardening and watching his hens. But he also comments that “apparently nothing will ever teach [the rich] that the other 99 percent of the population exist.”

Posted on Sep 19, 2012 READ MORE



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Nah, We Straight

Baratunde Thurston’s “How To Be Black,” part memoir, part investigative journalism and part cheeky instruction manual, explores such topics as “How to Be the Angry Negro” and “How to Be the (Next) Black President.”

Posted on Sep 11, 2012 READ MORE



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The Wounds and the Gifts Are Inseparable

Instead of raging about the Canadian internment of 21,000 citizens of Japanese ancestry during WW II, the novel “Requiem” delicately probes the complex adjustments we make to live with our sorrows.

Posted on Sep 5, 2012 READ MORE



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The Mirage of Our Lives

In Dave Eggers’ “A Hologram for the King,” an ordinary man comes to realize that managers like him who made outsourcing possible will be discarded as human refuse now that the globalization process is complete, left to wander like ghosts among the ruins.

Posted on Aug 27, 2012 READ MORE



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Life-Defining Poetry

Maureen N. McLane’s deeply personal and eccentric “My Poets” is a meditation on the works that have “most marked” her by Chaucer, Gertrude Stein, William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, Emily Dickinson, Shelley and Louise Gluck.

Posted on Aug 21, 2012 READ MORE



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Reagan and Hoover, Sittin’ in a Tree

“Subversives” shows how the two men and their allies sabotaged the careers of law-abiding citizens, defended reckless police violence and exploited an appalling double standard in the political use of FBI intelligence.

Posted on Aug 14, 2012 READ MORE



AP/Marcio Jose Sanchez

From a Refugee Camp to the Olympics

Lopez Lomong had never heard of the games when he tagged along with friends in Kenya to watch the 2000 Sydney races on a grainy, black-and-white TV powered by a car battery. Now, he’ll run the 5,000-meter for the U.S. in London.

Posted on Aug 7, 2012 READ MORE



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The Courage of Conscience

“Beautiful Souls: Saying No, Breaking Ranks, and Heeding the Voice of Conscience in Dark Times” tells the stories of unlikely dissenters who were not radicals, but rather ordinary people compelled to act when the system they believed in went terribly wrong.

Posted on Jul 31, 2012 READ MORE


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