The Curated Booklist What to Read Right Now

the curated booklist greyJuly 30, 2014

With so many global conflicts and crises this week, our Curated Booklist focuses on the international.  Click on any book to see its page or buy on Amazon.com.


 

Lawrence in ArabiaLawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East by Scott AndersonFinalist for the 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography. Based on four years of intensive primary document research, Lawrence in Arabia definitively overturns received wisdom on how the modern Middle East was formed.

Literature and war Literature and War: Conversations With Israeli and Palestinian Writers, by Runo Isakson. Journalist Runo Isakson, confronting the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, found himself wondering: How can literature play a role in helping the one side to see the other? To answer this question, he interviewed fifteen pre-eminent Israeli and Palestinian writers, asking them what role literature may play in creating dialogue, ending war, building peace. The conversations that result are both deeply personal and deeply political, both reflective and urgent; they both complicate and clarify our understanding of the Israeli¬-Palestinian conflict.

Silk Road by Colin Falconer.  International Bestseller. The Holy Land, 1260. Josseran Sarrazini is chosen to escort the Pope’s emissary on an embassy to the all conquering Mongol horde in an effort to save all Christendom form destruction. But although he serves as a Templar warrior, Josseran is not all that he appears to be – and he despises the Pope’s man on sight. When he sets out, Josseran cannot know then that he will never see Christendom again. And somewhere near the Roof of the World a Tatar princess, possessing a gift for prophesy, refuses all her suitors and defies her father’s attempts to marry her off to the sons of other tribal chiefs. She does not belong in her world any more than Josseran belongs in his. And now fate will bring their paths on a collision course somewhere on the Silk Road and change the course of her own life forever.

The Source A Novel The Source: A Novel, by James A. Michener. In his signature style of grand storytelling, James A. Michener transports us back thousands of years to the Holy Land. Through the discoveries of modern archaeologists excavating the site of Tell Makor, Michener vividly re-creates life in an ancient city and traces the profound history of the Jewish people—from the persecution of the early Hebrews, the rise of Christianity, and the Crusades to the founding of Israel and the modern conflict in the Middle East. An epic tale of love, strength, and faith, The Source is a richly written saga that encompasses the history of Western civilization and the great religious and cultural ideas that have shaped our world. BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from James A. Michener’s Centennial.

The Attack The Attack, by Yasmina Khadera. From the bestselling author of The Swallows of Kabul comes this timely and haunting novel that powerfully illuminates the devastating human costs of terrorism.Dr. Amin Jaafari is an Arab-Israeli surgeon at a hospital in Tel Aviv. As an admired and respected member of his community, he has carved a space for himself and his wife, Sihem, at the crossroads of two troubled societies. Jaafari’s world is abruptly shattered when Sihem is killed in a suicide bombing.As evidence mounts that Sihem could have been responsible for the catastrophic bombing, Jaafari begins a tortured search for answers. Faced with the ultimate betrayal, he must find a way to reconcile his cherished memories of his wife with the growing realization that she may have had another life, one that was entirely removed from the comfortable, modern existence that they shared.

A most wanted man

A Most Wanted Man, by John Le Carre. Now a major film starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, and Robin Wright—the acclaimed bestselling novel about spies in “The War on Terror.” A half-starved young Russian man in a long black overcoat is smuggled into Hamburg at dead of night. He has an improbable amount of cash secreted in a purse around his neck. He is a devout Muslim. Or is he? Annabel, Issa, and Brue form an unlikely alliance—and a triangle of impossible loves is born. Meanwhile, sensing a sure kill in the “War on Terror,” the rival spies of Germany, England, and America converge upon the innocents.Thrilling, compassionate, with characters you’ll never forget, A Most Wanted Man is a work of deep humanity and uncommon relevance to our times.

Fall of Giants

 Fall of Giants, by Ken Follett. Ken Follett’s magnificent new historical epic begins, as five interrelated families move through the momentous dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women’s suffrage.  A thirteen-year-old Welsh boy enters a man’s world in the mining pits.…An American law student rejected in love finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson’s White House.… A housekeeper for the aristocratic Fitzherberts takes a fateful step above her station, while Lady Maud Fitzherbert herself crosses deep into forbidden territory when she falls in love with a German spy.…And two orphaned Russian brothers embark on radically different paths when their plan to emigrate to America falls afoul of war, conscription, and revolution. From the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty, Fall of Giants takes us into the inextricably entangled fates of five families—and into a century that we thought we knew, but that now will never seem the same again.

Everything is Illuminated Everything is Illuminated: a Novel, by Jonathan Safran Foer. With only a yellowing photograph in hand, a young man – also named Jonathan Safran Foer – sets out to find the woman who might or might not have saved his grandfather from the Nazis. Accompanied by an old man haunted by memories of the war, an amorous dog named Sammy Davis, Junior, Junior, and the unforgettable Alex, a young Ukrainian translator who speaks in a sublimely butchered English, Jonathan is led on a quixotic journey over a devastated landscape and into an unexpected past. Lit by passion, fear, guilt, memory, and hope, the characters in Everything Is Illuminated mine the black holes of history. As the search moves back in time, the fantastical history moves forward, until reality collides with fiction in a heart-stopping scene of extraordinary power. An arresting blend of high comedy and great tragedy, this is a story about searching for people and places that no longer exist, for the hidden truths that haunt every family, and for the delicate but necessary tales that link past and future. Exuberant and wise, hysterically funny and deeply moving, EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED is an astonishing debut.

 

The Winter Horses

The Winter Horses, by Phillip Kerr.  From Philip Kerr, the New York Times bestselling author of the Bernie Gunther novels, comes a breathtaking journey of survival in the dark days of WWII in Ukraine, a country that remains tumultuous today. This inspiring tale captures the power of the human spirit and is perfect for fans of The Book Thief, Milkweed, and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas. It will soon be another cold winter in the Ukraine.  But it’s 1941, and things are different this year.  Max, the devoted caretaker of an animal preserve, must learn to live with the Nazis who have overtaken this precious land. He must also learn to keep secrets—for there is a girl, Kalinka, who is hiding in the park. Kalinka has lost her home, her family, her belongings—everything but her life.  Still, she has gained one small, precious gift: a relationship with the rare wild and wily Przewalski’s horses that wander the preserve. Aside from Max, these endangered animals are her only friends—until a Nazi campaign of extermination nearly wipes them out for good.

Tatiana

 Tatiana, by Martin Cruz Smith.  NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
Arkady Renko, one of the iconic investigators of contemporary fiction, has survived the cultural journey from the Soviet Union to the New Russia, only to find the nation as obsessed with secrecy and brutality as was the old Communist dictatorship. In Tatiana, the melancholy hero—cynical, analytical, and quietly subversive—unravels a mystery as complex and dangerous as modern Russia itself. The fearless reporter Tatiana Petrovna falls to her death from a sixth-floor window in Moscow the same week that a mob billionaire, Grisha Grigo-renko, is shot and buried with the trappings due a lord. No one else makes the connection, but Arkady is transfixed by the tapes he discovers of Tatiana’s voice describing horrific crimes in words that are at odds with the Kremlin’s official versions. More than a mystery, Tatiana is Martin Cruz Smith’s most ambitious and politically daring novel since Gorky Park. It is a story rich in character, black humor, and romance, with an insight that is the hallmark of a writer the New York Times has called “endlessly entertaining and deeply serious . . . [not merely] our best writer of suspense, but one of our best writers, period.” KINDLE DAILY DEAL: If you purchase this book, you will automatically receive a promotional code via email to get other, selected Kindle books for only $1.99 each.

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