Enjoying your summer but still looking for something good to read? There are lots of reading choices, of course, starting with all those backed up New Yorker magazines, McKinsey reports and NPR’s Summer Romance List.
Or you can get a peek at what some of PassBlue’s editors and correspondents — Barbara Crossette, Irwin Arieff, Laura Kirkpatrick, Dulcie Leimbach and Rhona Scullion — are reading right now.
• BARBARA CROSSETTE, WRITER/EDITOR
Fields of Blood: Religion and the History of Violence, by Karen Armstrong
“While many historians have looked at violence in connection with particular religious manifestations (jihad in Islam or Christianity’s Crusades), Armstrong looks at each faith — not only Christianity and Islam but also Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism, Daoism, and Judaism — in its totality over time. As she describes it, each faith arose in an agrarian society with plenty of powerful landowners brutalizing peasants while also warring among themselves over land, then the only real source of wealth. In this world, religion was not the discrete and personal matter it would become for us but rather something that permeated all aspects of society. And so it was that agrarian aggression, and the warrior ethos it begot, became bound up with observances of the sacred.”– Penguin.com
• IRWIN ARIEFF, WRITER/REVIEWER
Americana, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion — for each other and for their homeland.” — Chimanda.com
• LAURA KIRKPATRICK, SOCIAL MEDIA ADVISER/CORRESPONDENT
The Men Who United the States, by Simon Winchester
“How did America become ‘one nation, indivisible’? What unified a growing number of disparate states into the modern country we recognize today? To answer these questions, Winchester follows in the footsteps of America’s most essential explorers, thinkers and innovators, such as Lewis and Clark and the leaders of the Great Surveys; the builders of the first transcontinental telegraph and the powerful civil engineer behind the Interstate Highway System. He treks vast swaths of territory, from Pittsburgh to Portland, Rochester to San Francisco, Seattle to Anchorage, introducing the fascinating people who played a pivotal role in creating today’s United States.” — Amazon.com
• DULCIE LEIMBACH, WRITER/EDITOR
Germany 1945: From War to Peace, by Richard Bessel
“As a baby boomer American, my exposure to the war’s aftereffects have been minimal, though my father fought in the Saar-Mosel triangle in Germany in the winter of 1945 as part of Patton’s Third Army. He died in 1960, so my reading about the war, which never stops gripping me, is how I try to comprehend my father’s formidable experiences as a very young man. And what Bessel conveys so profoundly in “Germany 1945″ is not only how much violence the German government inflicted on its enemies but also on its own people.” — Dulcie Leimbach
• RHONA SCULLION, CORRESPONDENT
The Establishment: and How They Get Away With It, by Owen Jones
“Who wields power in politics? It is a question that’s asked all too often — and never really answered. But that’s exactly what Owen Jones has done in ‘The Establishment,’ which has already taken Great Britain by storm. To expose the shadowy and unaccountable network of people who dominate British political life — the people who influence major decisions and reap huge profits in the process — Owen Jones sets out on a journey into the very heart of the elite.” — Amazon.com
More books suggestions:
And finally, if you’d rather get your thrills on the big screen, The Atlantic has provided recommendations on what movies to watch this summer, if you need some serious air-conditioning.