AFRICA

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Mia Couto and The Tuner of Silences

I wrote recently about a book so rich with description I didn't know where to focus. How perfect it was, then, to open The Tuner of Silences by Mia Couto--a book so cleanly written, so tightly edited … [Read More...]

ASIA

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Layers of Linguistic Meaning in Empire of Signs by Roland Barthes

I've been writing long enough to notice some patterns in my process. Recently I've been in the "read big thinkers because you're ready to take a big leap" phase. It has something to do with the morass … [Read More...]

LATIN AMERICA

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Lost in The End of the Story by Liliana Heker

Some books are so important that if you care at all about understanding the history of a place, you have to read them. The End of the Story by Liliana Heker is one of those books. And although the … [Read More...]

USA & CANADA

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Spending NaPoWriMo Writing with Stephen Dunn and Kim Addonizio

I have the incredibly good fortune to be spending a few days in the San Juan Islands for a writing residency. When I arrived, I didn't know which of three projects I'd be working on: 1. getting a … [Read More...]

ARABIA

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The Foreign and the Familiar in Crescent by Diana Abu-Jaber

I avoided reading Crescent by Diana Abu-Jaber for almost a year. It looked too thick for my purse or the back matter was too fluffy for my mood. When I finally picked up the book, I realized what I'd … [Read More...]

EASTERN EUROPE

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Suspended Inside The Appointment by Herta Müller

When I woke this morning, I didn't want to pick up The Appointment by Herta Müller even though I only had a few pages left to read. I successfully avoided the book all day yesterday, too. But not for … [Read More...]

SOUTH PACIFIC

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Kira Salak and Adventures in Travel (Writing) with The White Mary

I read The White Mary by Kira Salak on a flight from Seattle to Paris at the start of my first trip abroad in four years. The story of a journalist on a quest for her idol who the world thinks is dead … [Read More...]

WESTERN EUROPE

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The Art of Writing: Under the Jaguar Sun by Italo Calvino

There are a very few authors whose work I love so much that I covet and then hide their books away so I don't read all of them at once. Italo Calvino is at the top of that list. So when my husband … [Read More...]