2018 National Book Award Long List

The 2018 National Book Award long lists have been announced! Find out if your favorites in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, young people’s literature and translated literature made the cut.

FICTION

FloridaJamel Brinkley, A Lucky Man

Jennifer Clement, Gun Love

Lauren Groff, Florida

Daniel Gumbiner, The Boatbuilder

Brandon Hobson, Where the Dead Sit Talking

Tayari Jones, An American Marriage

Rebecca Makkai, The Great Believers

Sigrid Nunez, The Friend

Tommy Orange, There There

Nafissa Thompson-Spires, Heads of the Colored People

NONFICTION

One PersonCarol Anderson, One Person, No Vote: How Voter Suppression Is Destroying Our Democracy

Colin G. Calloway, The Indian World of George Washington: The First President, the First Americans, and the Birth of the Nation

Steve Coll, Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America’s Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple, Brothers of the Gun: A Memoir of the Syrian War

Victoria Johnson, American Eden: David Hosack, Botany, and Medicine in the Garden of the Early Republic

David Quammen, The Tangled Tree: A Radical New History of Life

Sarah Smarsh, Heartland: A Memoir of Working Hard and Being Broke in the Richest Country on Earth

Rebecca Solnit, Call Them by Their True Names: American Crises (and Essays)

Jeffrey C. Stewart, The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke

Adam Winkler, We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights

POETRY

WobbleRae Armantrout, Wobble

Jos Charles, feeld

Forrest Gander, Be With

Terrance Hayes, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin

J. Michael Martinez, Museum of the Americas

Diana Khoi Nguyen, Ghost Of

Justin Phillip Reed, Indecency

Raquel Salas Rivera, lo terciario / the tertiary

Natasha Trethewey, Monument: Poems New and Selected

Jenny Xie, Eye Level

YOUNG PEOPLE’S LITERATURE

BrangwainElizabeth Acevedo, The Poet X

M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin, The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge

Bryan Bliss, We’ll Fly Away

Leslie Connor, The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle

Christopher Paul Curtis, The Journey of Little Charlie

Jarrett J. Krosoczka, Hey, Kiddo

Tahereh Mafi, A Very Large Expanse of Sea

Joy McCullough, Blood Water Paint

Elizabeth Partridge, Boots on the Ground: America’s War in Vietnam

Vesper Stamper, What the Night Sings

TRANSLATED LITERATURE

FlightsNégar Djavadi, Disoriental; translated by Tina Kover

Roque Larraquy, Comemadre; translated by Heather Cleary

Dunya Mikhail, The Beekeeper: Rescuing the Stolen Women of Iraq; translated by Max Weiss and Dunya Mikhail

Perumal Murugan, One Part Woman; translated by Aniruddhan Vasudevan

Hanne Ørstavik, Love; translated by Martin Aitken

Gunnhild Øyehaug, Wait, Blink: A Perfect Picture of Inner Life; translated by Kari Dickson

Domenico Starnone, Trick; translated by Jhumpa Lahiri

Yoko Tawada, The Emissary; translated by Margaret Mitsutani

Olga Tokarczuk, Flights; translated by Jennifer Croft

Tatyana Tolstaya, Aetherial Worlds; translated by Anya Migdal

By Cat, Deputy Editor, September 17, 2018, first appearing on BookPage.com – The Book Case Blog
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THE ALTERNATIVE NOBEL PRIZE IN LITERATURE SHORTLIST IS HERE

The New Academy has announced the alternative Nobel Prize in Literature shortlist for 2018. The shortlist is the result of a global online voting campaign where people from all over the world could vote for forty-seven international authors nominated by Swedish librarians.

Kim Thúy. Photo: Jean Francois, Penguin Random House Canada.

Kim Thuy: Photo by Jean Francois

Based on the voting results, the forty-seven nominated authors have now been reduced to four finalists. These finalists are Haruki Murakami (Japan), Kim Thúy (Canada), Maryse Condé (France/Guadeloupe), and Neil Gaiman (United Kingdom).  The winner will be chosen by a jury of four and will be announced on October 12. The award will be handed out on December 9. The following day The New Academy intends to dissolve.

The New Academy is a non-profit organization that formed in the wake of the scandal that has rocked the Swedish Academy and which resulted in the postponement of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature. The New Academy is not affiliated with either the Nobel Foundation or the Swedish Academy.

For more information about the alternative Nobel Prize in Literature, the New Academy, and how to financially contribute to the prize and the award ceremony, go to the website of The New Academy.

By , August 

New Tolkien Series Could Shatter Budget Records

Having acquired the (extremely expensive) rights to re-adapt The Lord of the Rings, Amazon Studios has doubled down with a production budget of a quarter billion dollars – this means the series is on track to become the most expensive TV series ever made. There is speculation that it will serve as a launchpad for varous spin-offs and prequels, and with “Game of Thrones” finally off the scene, fantasy fans will be drawn to this glittery new object like moths to a flame. Anything that costs that much has got to be worth watching… right?

An Alternative to the Nobel Prize in Literature, Judged by You

A decoration in the room where the Nobel prizes are announced shows the medal that winners receive. The literature prize won’t be awarded in 2018, after a scandal in the body that judges it. Credit: Jonathan Nackstrand/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The journalist Alexandra Pascalidou has spent months watching a sexual abuse and corruption scandal unfurl at the Swedish Academy, the august body that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature.

At first, she was upset. Then, as a Swede, embarrassed. But when the academy took the extraordinary step of canceling this year’s prize, she became a little angry, too. “I just thought, ‘Why do the authors have to pay the price for this mess?’ ” she said in a telephone interview on Friday.

That led her to another question: “How hard can running a prize be?”

Now, Ms. Pascalidou — with the help of over 100 prominent Swedish cultural figures, including actors, novelists and a rapper — has started her own prize. The winner of the New Academy Prize in Literature will be announced on Oct. 14, and will receive one million kronor, or around $112,000. There will also be a banquet in the winner’s honor, just as there would be for a Nobel laureate.

But there is one big difference between the prizes: You can be involved in this one.

Voting opened on the prize’s website this week with a 46-strong list of nominees, selected by Swedish librarians. Rather than the highbrow and sometimes obscure names usually touted for the Nobel, this list includes J.K. Rowling, alongside the singer Patti Smith, the British fantasy writer Neil Gaiman and the Nigerian-born novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

There are also 12 Swedes, plus Zadie Smith, Donna Tartt and the French author Édouard Louis, 25, who is acclaimed for his books showing the brutal reality of working-class life in France.

Some authors who have been tipped for the Nobel are absent, such as the South Korean poet Ko Un and Salman Rushdie.

The voting, which closes on Aug. 14, will decide three finalists. Librarians will choose a fourth. A panel made up of a literature professor, two librarians and two literary editors will then choose the winner.

Ms. Pascalidou said the prize was not trying to replace the Nobel. In fact, the organizers plan to disband after this year’s ceremony. But she wants it to draw attention to what is wrong at the Swedish Academy, she said. “What we’d like to see is something new — a Swedish Academy that is contemporary, open to the world, inclusive, transparent.”

But she added that she did not expect the Swedish Academy to start involving librarians, let alone the public, in its decisions. “I don’t think they will adopt what we’re doing as these are people who express very elitist views on librarians. That’s very sad. Why do they think people in the academy are the only ones that know about literature?”

The Swedish Academy did not respond to a request for comment.

Ann Palsson, a book editor and president of the New Academy Prize’s jury, said that she wanted the prize to inspire people about books in the same way the Nobel once had. “We just want to focus on something positive,” she said.

By Alex Marshall, July 13, 2018, first appearing on NYT > Books

Infinite Facts: 15 Quotes on the Importance of a Free Press

Associated Press photo by Alex Brandon, 2017

Hating journalism has always been in fashion, and many of our literary heroes regarded it as one of the lowest professions. W.B. Yeats believed there was nothing in journalists but “tittering jeering emptiness,” and Hunter S. Thompson – a reporter himself – described his colleagues using language that we’re not inclined to repeat.

However, thanks to a looming constitutional crisis (and a press-hating demagogue having turned the Oval Office into a throne room), the events of the next few months are likely to be dictated by the public’s remaining trust in the institution of the free press. Whose version of events will the public be inclined to believe, and what percentage is necessary to reach an actionable consensus? Can any facts be considered beyond dispute, and how will that logic hold up against braying and volcanic mud-slinging from the highest seat in the nation?

The US may have recently withdrawn from the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, but we’d be wise not to ditch their prevailing wisdom on the importance of the press: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” Weigh that against the fact that our Department of Homeland Security is currently compiling a database of journalists and “media-influencers,” and keep it in mind in coming weeks as events continue to unfold.

The following authors (some of whom are also journalists) have important words to share with us about the power of the press, and the guiding principles of freedom and fairness when it comes to taking aim at powerful targets. Hate dedicated reporters all you want… but you’ll miss them when they’re gone.

Walter Cronkite, interview in Playboy, 1973

“I think being a liberal, in the true sense, is being nondoctrinaire, nondogmatic, non-committed to a cause – but examining each case on its merits. Being left of center is another thing; it’s a political position. I think most newspapermen by definition have to be liberal; if they’re not liberal, by my definition of it, then they can hardly be good newspapermen. If they’re preordained dogmatists for a cause, then they can’t be very good journalists; that is, if they carry it into their journalism.”

Peggy Noonan, Patriotic Grace: What It Is and Why We Need It Now, 2008

“I should say here, because some in Washington like to dream up ways to control the Internet, that we don’t need to ‘control’ free speech, we need to control ourselves.”

Thomas Jefferson, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, Retirement Series, Volume 9, 2012

“Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.”

George Orwell, “The Prevention of Literature,” 1946

“Freedom of the Press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose”

John Grogan, Bad Dogs Have More Fun: Selected Writings on Family, Animals, and Life from The Philadelphia Inquirer, 2007

“In the English language, it all comes down to this: Twenty-six letters, when combined correctly, can create magic. Twenty-six letters form the foundation of a free, informed society.”

Seno Gumira Ajidarma, Ketika Jurnalisme Dibungkam Sastra Harus Bicara, 1997

“When journalism is silenced, literature must speak. Because while journalism speaks with facts, literature speaks with truth.”

Anna Politkovskaya, Is Journalism Worth Dying For?: Final Dispatches, 2011

“How we react to the tragedy of one small person accurately reflects our attitude towards a whole nationality, and increasing the numbers doesn’t change much.”

Chinua Achebe, The Education of a British-Protected Child: Essays, 2010

“The foreign correspondent is frequently the only means of getting an important story told, or of drawing the world’s attention to disasters in the making or being covered up. Such an important role is risky in more ways than one. It can expose the correspondent to actual physical danger; but there is also the moral danger of indulging in sensationalism and dehumanizing the sufferer. This danger immediately raises the question of the character and attitude of the correspondent, because the same qualities of mind which in the past separated a Conrad from a Livingstone, or a Gainsborough from the anonymous painter of Francis Williams, are still present and active in the world today. Perhaps this difference can best be put in one phrase: the presence or absence of respect for the human person.”

Michael Moore, Here Comes Trouble, 2011

“One thing I learned as a journalist is that there is at least one disgruntled person in every workplace in America — and at least double that number with a conscience. Hard as they try, they simply can’t turn their heads away from an injustice when they see one taking place.”

Howard Zinn, A People’s History of the United States, 1980

“I knew that a historian (or a journalist, or anyone telling a story) was forced to choose, out of an infinite number of facts, what to present, what to omit. And that decision inevitably would reflect, whether consciously or not, the interests of the historian.”

Jon Ronson, The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry, 2011

“We journalists love writing about eccentrics. We hate writing about impenetrable, boring people. It makes us look bad: the duller the interviewee, the duller the prose. If you want to get away with wielding true, malevolent power, be boring.”

Joan Didion, Slouching Toward Bethlehem, 1968

“My only advantage as a reporter is that I am so physically small, so temperamentally unobtrusive, and so neurotically inarticulate that people tend to forget that my presence runs counter to their best interests. And it always does.”

Mikhail Bulgakov, Manuscripts Don’t Burn: Mikhail Bulgakov A Life in Letters and Diaries, 1991

“To struggle against censorship, whatever its nature, and whatever the power under which it exists, is my duty as a writer, as are calls for freedom of the press. I am a passionate supporter of that freedom, and I consider that if any writer were to imagine that he could prove he didn’t need that freedom, then he would be like a fish affirming in public that it didn’t need water.”

John Scalzi, Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome, 2014

“The trick is not to find the story of the century. You won’t miss that story when it happens. No one will miss it. The trick is to find the story of the day and for that day make whoever reads it or hears it care about it so intensely that it doesn’t leave them. Then it becomes a story of their life. Maybe even the story of their life.”

E.B. White, One Man’s Meat, 1944

“The United States, almost alone today, offers the liberties and the privileges and the tools of freedom. In this land the citizens are still invited to write their plays and books, to paint their pictures, to meet for discussion, to dissent as well as to agree, to mount soapboxes in the public square, to enjoy education in all subjects without censorship, to hold court and judge one another, to compose music, to talk politics with their neighbors without wondering whether the secret police are listening, to exchange ideas as well as goods, to kid the government when it needs kidding, and to read real news of real events instead of phony news manufactured by a paid agent of the state. This is a fact and should give every person pause.”

Amazon’s Curious Case of the $2,630.52 Used Paperback

After seeing the price on the left for “One Snowy Knight” on Amazon, the author asked: “How many really sell at that price? Are they just hoping to snooker some poor soul?”

SAN FRANCISCO — Many booksellers on Amazon strive to sell their wares as cheaply as possible. That, after all, is usually how you make a sale in a competitive marketplace.

Other merchants favor a counterintuitive approach: Mark the price up to the moon.

“Zowie,” the romance author Deborah Macgillivray wrote on Twitter last month after she discovered copies of her 2009 novel, “One Snowy Knight,” being offered for four figures. One was going for “$2,630.52 & FREE Shipping,” she noted. Since other copies of the paperback were being sold elsewhere on Amazon for as little as 99 cents, she was perplexed.

“How many really sell at that price? Are they just hoping to snooker some poor soul?” Ms. Macgillivray wrote in an email. She noted that her blog had gotten an explosion in traffic from Russia. “Maybe Russian hackers do this in their spare time, making money on the side,” she said.

NYT Tweet1

Amazon is by far the largest marketplace for both new and used books the world has ever seen, and is also one of the most inscrutable. The retailer directly sells some books, while others are sold by third parties. The wild pricing happens with the latter.

Books were Amazon’s first product. They made the company’s reputation and powered Jeff Bezos’ ascent to his perch as the world’s richest person. Amazon sold books so cheaply that land-based shops could not compete. It controls about half the market for new books, more than any bookseller in the history of the United States.

Prices of $600 or more are popular among booksellers looking for big spenders. “If I’m selling a $10 book for $610, all I need to do is get one person to buy it and I’ve made $600,” said Peter Andrews of One Click Retail, a consulting firm.

But books are now a minuscule part of the company’s revenue. Amazon is expanding into seemingly every field and geography, rattling competitors along the way. Prime Day is a promotion that draws enormous media attention to discounted tech, gaming and other products. Meanwhile, the original bookstore is looking a little neglected, as if it were operated by algorithms with little sensible human input.

“Amazon is driving us insane with its willingness to allow third-party vendors to sell authors’ books with zero oversight,” said Vida Engstrand, director of communications for Kensington, which published “One Snowy Knight.” “It’s maddening and just plain wrong.”

The wild book prices were in the remote corners of the Amazon bookstore that the retailer does not pay much attention to, said Guru Hariharan, chief executive of Boomerang Commerce, which develops artificial intelligence technology for retailers and brands.

Third-party sellers, he said, come in all shapes and sizes — from well-respected national brands that are trying to maintain some independence from Amazon to entrepreneurial individuals who use Amazon’s marketplace as an arbitrage opportunity. These sellers list products they have access to, adjusting price and inventory to drive profits.

Then there are the wild pricing specialists, who sell both new and secondhand copies.

“By making these books appear scarce, they are trying to justify the exorbitant price that they have set,” said Mr. Hariharan, who led a team responsible for 15,000 online sellers when he worked at Amazon a decade ago.

Amazon said in a statement that “we actively monitor and remove” offers that violate its policies and that examples shown it by The Times — including the hardcover version of the scholarly study “William T. Vollmann: A Critical Companion,” which was featured for $3,204, more than 32 times the going price — were “in error, and have since been removed.” It declined to detail what its policies were.

A decade ago, Elisabeth Petry wrote a tribute to her mother, the renowned novelist Ann Petry. “At Home Inside,” published by the University of Mississippi Press, is now out of print, but late last week secondhand copies were  for sale on Amazon. A discarded library copy was $1,900. One seller offered two copies, each for $1,967, although only one was described as “Nice!” All these were a bargain compared with the copy that cost $2,464.

“I wish I had some of that money,” Ms. Petry said.

Buying books on Amazon can be confusing, because sometimes the exact same book can have more than one listing. For instance, a search for the Petry book turned up another listing. This time, there was just one copy for sale, which cost a mere $691. Whether a customer paid that price or three times that sum apparently depended on what listing he or she found.

“Let’s be honest,” said Peter Andrews, a former Amazon brand specialist who is manager of international client services at One Click Retail, a consulting firm. “If I’m selling a $10 book for $610, all I need to do is get one person to buy it and I’ve made $600. It’s just a matter of setting prices and wishful thinking.”

One of the sellers of Ms. Macgillivray’s book is named Red Rhino, which says it is based in North Carolina. The bookseller’s storefront on Amazon is curiously consistent. One of the first books on the store’s first page was Anthony Bourdain’s “Kitchen Confidential.” It was priced at $607, a hundred times what it cost elsewhere on Amazon.

All the books on the first few pages of the storefront — including such popular standbys as “Fahrenheit 451,” “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and “1984” — also go for $600.

That appears to be a popular price point for booksellers taking the high road. Acme Books, which was selling the $691 Petry book, used that exact price for “101 Blessings for the Best Mom in the World” and quite a few other books.

Supersonic Truck recently marketed copies of “Kitchen Confidential” for $614, which is $608 more than what Amazon itself is asking. According to Amazon, Supersonic Truck has 100 percent positive ratings.

Supersonic Truck recently marketed copies of “Kitchen Confidential” for $614, which is $608 more than what Amazon itself is asking. According to Amazon, Supersonic Truck has 100 percent positive ratings.

Red Rhino got nearly 1,400 customer-service reviews over the last year — an impressive number, considering many customers do not bother posting reviews. The reviews are 91 percent positive, although some of the reviewers appeared uncertain just what a book is. “The book is intact, and it is not broken,” wrote one. Commented another: “Very nice. Flexibility noted in many venues.”

Neither Acme nor Red Rhino returned emails for comment sent through their Amazon pages. As with many Amazon booksellers, it is hard to determine what, if any, existence they have outside the retailer.

Even a casual browse through the virtual corridors of Amazon reveals an increasingly bizarre bazaar where the quaint policies of physical bookstores — the stuff no one wants is piled on a cart outside for a buck a volume — are upended. John Sladek, who wrote perceptive science fiction about robotics and artificial intelligence, predicted in a 1975 story that computers might start making compelling but false connections:

“If you’re trying to reserve a seat on the plane to Seville, you’d get a seat at the opera instead. While the person who wants the opera seat is really just making an appointment with a barber, whose customer is just then talking to the box-office of “Hair,” or maybe making a hairline reservation …”

Mr. Sladek, who died in 2000, is little read now, which naturally means his books are often marketed for inordinate sums on Amazon. One of his mystery novels, “Invisible Green,” has a Red Rhino “buy box” — Amazon’s preferred deal — offering it for $664.

That is a real bargain compared with what a bookseller with the improbable name Supersonic Truck is asking: $1,942. (Copies from other booksellers are as little as $30.) Supersonic Truck, which Amazon says has 100 percent positive ratings, did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Ms. Macgillivray, who has published eight novels, said she had been poking around Amazon’s bookstore and was more perplexed than ever by the pricing.

“There’s nothing illegal about someone listing an item for sale at whatever the market will bear, even if they don’t have the book but plan to buy it when someone orders it,” she said. “At the same time, I would think Amazon wouldn’t want their platform used for less than honorable practices.”

Since Ms. Macgillivray tweeted about “One Snowy Knight,” the price on Amazon has not stood still. The most expensive copy just jumped again, to $2,800.

By David Streitfeld, July 15, 2018, first appearing on NYT > Books

11 Books About Syria to Make Sense of the Civil War

A civil war has been raging within Syria since 2011, gradually taking on a more international scope as it has overlapped with other regional conflicts and drawn attention from global powers. Reading about it can be a wrenching experience, with numerous stories of death and displacement, along with atrocities, extremism, and the legacy of authoritarianism all present.

What follows is a look at a number of books that explore aspects of the war in Syria from a host of perspectives. Some come from people who witnessed harrowing events firsthand; others provide a more distanced look at the conflict and its implications. If you’re looking to better understand what’s happening in Syria, from the war itself to its causes to its regional and global effects, these books can help.

The cover of the book Brothers of the GunBrothers of the Gun

Marwan Hisham and Molly Crabapple

Marwan Hisham has plenty of firsthand experience of the conflict in Syria, beginning with his participation in protests against the regime of Bashar al-Assad and continuing through his work as a journalist. For this richly detailed account of a nation at war, Hisham’s prose is accentuated by the striking, visceral artwork of Molly Crabapple.

 

The cover of the book The Way of the StrangersThe Way of the Strangers

Graeme Wood

Graeme Wood has written extensively about the Middle East and global politics for The Atlantic, among other publications. In his book The Way of the Strangers, he focuses on a narrative that dovetails painfully with the story of the ongoing war in Syria, exploring what has caused people across the region to become associated with the Islamic State’s oppressive regime. Wood’s narrative provides insights into the region’s politics and conflicts.

 

The cover of the book No Turning BackNo Turning Back

Rania Abouzeid

Rania Abouzeid has written extensively about Syria for a host of publications over the years; in her book No Turning Back, she focuses on the human cost of the conflict. In his review of the book for the New York Times, Christopher Dickey noted that the book contained “a tremendous sense of intimacy with the victims and the violence that surrounds them.”

 

The cover of the book Syria BurningSyria Burning

Charles Glass

Few conflicts, global or regional, arise completely spontaneously, and the Syrian War is no exception. In his book Syria Burning, Charles Glass–who’s been writing about the Middle East for decades — delves into the causes of the current war and explores the implications that it might have on the region in the years to come.

 

The cover of the book The Home That Was Our CountryThe Home That Was Our Country

Alia Malek

In her book The Home That Was Our Country, Alia Malek writes about an apartment belonging to her grandmother, which she traveled to Damascus to reclaim when the Arab Spring began. She offers a portrait of the diverse communities in the city around this space, tracing the societal changes in Syria over the years and decades.

 

The cover of the book SyriaSyria

John McHugo

For readers looking at the larger canvas of Syrian history, John McHugo’s comprehensive look at Syria over the course of the last hundred years will be tremendously helpful. In exploring this history, McHugo delves into how colonialism shaped the nation, Syria’s involvement in global wars, and a series of other events leading up to its present conflict.

 

The cover of the book Death Is Hard WorkDeath Is Hard Work

Khaled Khalifa

Not all explorations of a war’s effect on a nation come through memoirs of sprawling histories. In Death Is Hard Work, Khaled Khalifa uses fiction to show how war has affected Syria, blending absurdism and tragedy along the way. In the tale of estranged siblings attempting to bury their father’s body as a war rages around them, Khalifa offers a different window on the war, but one no less memorable.

 

The cover of the book Syrian NotebooksSyrian Notebooks

Jonathan Littell

Jonathan Littell’s Syrian Notebooks provides a firsthand account of the Homs Uprising in 2012, one of the key events in Syria’s civil war. The book that resulted is one that traces the escalation of a conflict, demonstrating how it evolved from a civil conflict to something much more expansive.

 

The cover of the book The Battle for HomeThe Battle for Home

Marwa al-Sabouni

Syrian architect Marwa al-Sabouni offers a unique perspective on both the recent history of Syria and of the implications of the war taking place there. Her exploration of the architecture of Syria ventures into the numerous cultures that have thrived there, while also looking at how architecture might play a part in healing some of the wounds within Syrian society.

 

The cover of the book The Rise of Islamic StateThe Rise of Islamic State

Patrick Cockburn

Patrick Cockburn writes regularly about the Middle East for the Independent, and has written extensively about the region’s geopolitics. In The Rise of Islamic State, Cockburn explores the origins and implications of the extremist group that has played a significant role in the conflict. For readers looking to learn more about how this organization has affected Syria and its neighbors, Cockburn’s book offers a harrowing look.

 

The cover of the book Among the RuinsAmong the Ruins

Christian Sahner

Christian Sahner’s book offers a historical glimpse at Syria, written just as the nation’s civil war was beginning. Sahner offers a historian’s perspective on events, and brings in a sweeping view of the events in the nation’s past that have had a significant influence on the conflict going on there now.