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The Written World
The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization
Martin Puchner
The story of how literature shaped world history, in sixteen acts—from Alexander the Great and the Iliad to Don Quixote and Harry Potter. —Recommended by Paul
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As Lie is to Grin
David, the narrator of Simeon Marsalis's singular first novel, is a freshman at the University of Vermont who is struggling to define himself against the white backdrop of his school. He is also mourning the loss of his New York girlfriend, whose grandfather’s alma mater he has chosen to attend. —Recommended by Paul
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theMystery.doc
A Novel
Matthew McIntosh
The headache gets worse & worse & never stops, not even for a second. There are lots of other subplots too. —Recommended by Jared & Paul
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Her Body and Other Parties
Stories
Carmen Maria Machado
Every story in Carmen Maria Machado's "Her Body and Other Parties" unfolds with the creepy languor of a Kubrick film. Machado seduces you with devilishly great prose only to deliver the coup de grace of terror like a stiletto to the throat. —Recommended by Vanessa & Paul
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Letters to Memory
Karen Tei Yamashita
An excursion through the Japanese internment using archival materials from the Yamashita family as well as a series of epistolary conversations with composite characters representing a range of academic specialties. —Recommended by Paul
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Dinner at the Center of the Earth
Nathan Englander
Nathan Englander has woven a powerful, intensely suspenseful portrait of a nation riven by insoluble conflict, even as the lives of its citizens become fatefully and inextricably entwined. —Recommended by Paul
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My Absolute Darling
A Novel
Gabriel Tallent
A brilliant and immersive, all-consuming read about one fourteen-year-old girl's heart-stopping fight for her own soul. —Recommended by Paul
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Designing San Francisco
Art, Land, and Urban Renewal in the City by the Bay
Alison Isenberg
Designing San Francisco is the untold story of the formative postwar decades when U.S. cities took their modern shape amid clashing visions of the future. —Recommended by Paul
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The City Always Wins
Omar Robert Hamilton
A novel from the front line of a revolution. Deeply enmeshed in the 2011 uprising in Tahrir Square, Mariam and Khalil move through Cairo's surging streets and roiling political underground. —Recommended by Paul
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The Changeling
Victor LaValle
When Apollo Kagwa's father disappeared, all he left his son were strange recurring dreams and a box of books stamped with the word IMPROBABILIA. —Recommended by Tân & Paul
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Epistrophies
Jazz and the Literary Imagination
Brent Hayes Edwards
In 1941 Thelonious Monk and Kenny Clarke copyrighted "Epistrophy," one of the best-known compositions of the bebop era. The song's title refers to a literary device—the repetition of a word or phrase at the end of successive clauses—that is echoed in the construction of the melody. —Recommended by Paul & Scott
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The Dream Colony
A Life in Art
Walter Hopps
A panoramic look at art in America in the second half of the twentieth century, through the eyes of the visionary curator who helped shape it. An innovative, iconoclastic curator of contemporary art, Walter Hopps founded his first gallery in L.A. at the age of twenty-one. —Recommended by Paul, City Lights Bookstore
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Kintu
Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi
First published in Kenya in 2014 to critical and popular acclaim, Kintu is a modern classic, a multilayered narrative that reimagines the history of Uganda through the cursed bloodline of the Kintu clan. Divided into six sections, the novel begins in 1750, when Kintu Kidda sets out for the capital to pledge allegiance...—Recommended by Paul
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Miss Burma
A Novel
Charmaine Craig
A beautiful and poignant story of one family during the most violent and turbulent years of world history, Miss Burma is a powerful novel of love and war, colonialism and ethnicity, and the ties of blood.—Recommended by Paul

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