In 1979, Iran became a revolutionary theocracy. Since then, to the outside world, the country has been identified with repression, false confessions, brutality, torture and worse. But as journalist Laura Secor demonstrates in her compelling, enlightening and often disturbing Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran, there is another aspect of the country’s modern history, a “revolutionary impulse as complexly modern as the society that produced it.”
In her deeply personal new book, In Other Words, acclaimed novelist Jhumpa Lahiri notes that “writing in another language represents an act of demolition, a new beginning.” It’s a neat summing-up of what takes place in this brief, meditative memoir—Lahiri’s first work of nonfiction—as she shares the story of her passion for Italian and how she set out to master it.
Racism. Oppression. Violence. Faith. Hopefulness. These themes have defined the black experience in America from the moment slaves touched shore. As African Americans continue their struggle, three new books cast fresh light on the journey from slavery to freedom.
Valentine’s Day plans (or lack thereof) got you down? Whether you’re in the mood for love or would prefer to take comfort in the lovelorn misery of others, we’ve got the perfect read to snuggle up with.
A poignant and hilarious memoir about an aging parent, an other-worldly collection of short stories and a critically lauded epic of four friends in New York make for great discussion this month.
Only a society riven by fear and desperation would have incubated a figure as initially uncredentialed and unimpressive as Adolf Hitler. A school dropout and frequent vagrant, Hitler had no achievements to speak of until he served honorably in the German army during the Great War.
New York Times correspondent Rod Nordland’s The Lovers: Afghanistan’s Romeo and Juliet, the True Story of How They Defied Their Families and Escaped an Honor Killing reveals the highlights of this tale in its lengthy subtitle. We know the end before we know the beginning (the young couple doesn't die a tragic death with love unfulfilled), just as we know that this is a story of young lovers who, like Shakespeare's classic couple, must defy their parents and their culture to be together at any cost.
From his rare centenarian perch, Pulitzer Prize winner and World War II epic novelist Herman Wouk surveys the ups and downs of his long literary life—and the deep faith that has accompanied him throughout—in his delightfully sanguine memoir, Sailor and Fiddler: Reflections of a 100-Year-Old Author.
Journalist and globe-trotter Eric Weiner, perhaps best-known for his bestselling book The Geography of Bliss, continues his pursuit of big questions in The Geography of Genius. Why, he wonders, do some conditions give rise to networks of innovators who transform the world? As such a question suggests, Weiner is thinking about genius in a fresh way.