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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Reading The Missing Year of Juan Salvatierra Against Vonnegut’s Bluebeard

I want to write about this gorgeous little book I read and how it made me ponder questions like ,"What if your entire life could be gathered into one work of art?" I want to consider how memoirists … [Read More...]

USA & CANADA

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Seeking Myself in a Pile of Books by Women

Lately I've been searching. Digging into books by women about women—trying to find out what it means to be me. Although I have some very dear friends, I'm feeling the absence of a community as … [Read More...]

ARABIA

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Nuance and Culture in A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea by Dina Nayeri

In an age of easy jet travel, very little of the world seems inaccessible anymore. But some places, because of their extreme location (the peak of Mt. Everest) or the political boundaries we've set … [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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The Art of Voice in Keri Hulme’s The Bone People

I admit I probably picked upThe Bone People by Keri Hulme because I was looking to flesh out my South Pacific section. It won the Man Booker Prize back when it was still called the Booker Prize and I … [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...]