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Midyear Reading Challenge report

As a follow up to this week’s Musing Mondays, I figured this would be a good time to check on how I’m doing on the reading challenges I adopted for the year. So far, more than so good. I’m actually one book shy of completing all three. Here’s the tally so far:

Notable Books Challenge […]

Book Review: To Live or to Perish Forever by Nicholas Schmidle

Inherent in any book about current events or current affairs is the problem of lag time, the time from experiencing the events to writing about them to the book actually ending up in stores. Some of that can be alleviated by selling stories of the events to magazines or newspaper as or shortly after they […]

Book Review: “Socialism Is Great!” by Lijia Zhang

It is the actions of the masses, not great men, that truly shape history, Leo Tolstoy argued in War and Peace. Support for that theory might be seen in Lijia Zhang’s “Socialism Is Great!”: A Worker’s Memoir of the New China.

Zhang’s book is a personal memoir, not a political one. That’s why it is […]

Book Review: Kidnapped: And Other Dispatches by Alan Johnston

America’s tendency to rush books into print after newsworthy, or even not so newsworthy, events has generally soured me on books appearing shortly after the events with which they deal. After all, can the paperback you see in the a supermarket checkout line a month or so after the latest trial of the century really […]

Book Review: Yalo by Elias Khoury

Lebanon, particularly Beirut, was torn asunder by the civil war that raged in the country from 1975 to 1990. Both external forces and internal strife contributed to the depredation. It is perhaps no surprise, then, that the war is the backdrop and more to Yalo, the most recent work of Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury to […]

Book Review: Commander of the Faithful by John W. Kiser

Innumerable obstacles stand between an author and gaining the widest possible audience. For John W. Kiser, the problem is subject matter. There probably aren’t a lot of Americans interested in a favorable biography of an Islamic jihadist. And that’s a shame because not only did that jihadist die 125 years ago, shortly before his death […]