What We’re Reading

Preeti Aroon I’m a romantic, so I’m reading Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage by Stephanie Coontz. Mike Boyer By dawn the Islamists were gone, The Economist. What next in Somalia? by Jonathan Stevenson, International Herald Tribune. Christine Y. Chen Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. This entertaining 2001 novel ...

605005_islamists_gone_05.jpg
605005_islamists_gone_05.jpg

Preeti Aroon I'm a romantic, so I'm reading Marriage, a History: From Obedience to Intimacy, or How Love Conquered Marriage by Stephanie Coontz.

Mike Boyer By dawn the Islamists were gone, The Economist. What next in Somalia? by Jonathan Stevenson, International Herald Tribune.Christine Y. Chen Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. This entertaining 2001 novel takes place in a fictional South American country where a top American opera singer is invited to perform at the vice president's residence for a birthday party in honor of a Japanese CEO. A group of Maoist rebels, hoping to find the president at the party, takes the group hostage for several months. Loosely based on the 1996 hostage crisis when members of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement took over the Japanese embassay in Lima, Peru, Bel Canto imagines life inside the compound, where hostages suffer from Stockholm syndrome, and fall in love with each other and with their captors. In Philip Roth's American Pastoral, Seymour Levov's perfect, all-American life falls apart when his daughter becomes involved with radical leftist groups in the 1960's and commits an act of terrible violence. This book was named a runner-up in last year's New York Times Book Review contest to name the greatest work of American fiction from the past 25 years. This is the first Philip Roth novel I've read, and while I am impressed with the writing, I'm somewhat underwhelmed by the plot. Were my expectations were too high? Michael Cognato

The Idea of India (1999) offers a deeper explanation of what India is and how it became that way than current events and economic figures alone can indicate.
In the Global Energy Rush, Nuclear Gets A Resurgence, Washington Post. Doug Struck's piece is one of a spate of recent articles tracking changing views on nuclear power - even among environmentalists.Blake Hounshell
The World of the Jinn & Devils by 'Umar S. al-Ashqar of Saudi Arabia. I picked this one up last year at the Cairo International Book Fair, which begins again on January 23. The jinn, mentioned in the Quran, are held to be "other creatures living here among us," many of them dangerous. Get it online here.
Carolyn O'Hara Dark cloud over good works of Gates Foundation. In a major investigative exposé, the LA Times accuses the Gates Foundation of doing business with unethical companies. The Next Meltdown by Niall Ferguson in TIME Magazine. How a single act of terrorism could bring chaos to the world's financial markets and make 2007 look a lot like 1914. Information Aesthetics. Beautiful renderings of visual data, from winning lotto numbers in Spain (shown below) to the stock market and bias in newspapers.

Preeti Aroon

Mike Boyer

Christine Y. Chen

  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. This entertaining 2001 novel takes place in a fictional South American country where a top American opera singer is invited to perform at the vice president’s residence for a birthday party in honor of a Japanese CEO. A group of Maoist rebels, hoping to find the president at the party, takes the group hostage for several months. Loosely based on the 1996 hostage crisis when members of the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement took over the Japanese embassay in Lima, Peru, Bel Canto imagines life inside the compound, where hostages suffer from Stockholm syndrome, and fall in love with each other and with their captors.
  • In Philip Roth’s American Pastoral, Seymour Levov’s perfect, all-American life falls apart when his daughter becomes involved with radical leftist groups in the 1960’s and commits an act of terrible violence. This book was named a runner-up in last year’s New York Times Book Review contest to name the greatest work of American fiction from the past 25 years. This is the first Philip Roth novel I’ve read, and while I am impressed with the writing, I’m somewhat underwhelmed by the plot. Were my expectations were too high?

Michael Cognato

  • The Idea of India (1999) offers a deeper explanation of what India is and how it became that way than current events and economic figures alone can indicate.
  • In the Global Energy Rush, Nuclear Gets A Resurgence, Washington Post. Doug Struck’s piece is one of a spate of recent articles tracking changing views on nuclear power – even among environmentalists.

Blake Hounshell

  • The World of the Jinn & Devils by ‘Umar S. al-Ashqar of Saudi Arabia. I picked this one up last year at the Cairo International Book Fair, which begins again on January 23. The jinn, mentioned in the Quran, are held to be “other creatures living here among us,” many of them dangerous. Get it online here.

Carolyn O’Hara

More from Foreign Policy

A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.
A Panzerhaubitze 2000 tank howitzer fires during a mission in Ukraine’s Donetsk region.

Lessons for the Next War

Twelve experts weigh in on how to prevent, deter, and—if necessary—fight the next conflict.

An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
An illustration showing a torn Russian flag and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It’s High Time to Prepare for Russia’s Collapse

Not planning for the possibility of disintegration betrays a dangerous lack of imagination.

An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.
An unexploded tail section of a cluster bomb is seen in Ukraine.

Turkey Is Sending Cold War-Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine

The artillery-fired cluster munitions could be lethal to Russian troops—and Ukrainian civilians.

A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol  January 8, 2009 in Washington.
A joint session of Congress meets to count the Electoral College vote from the 2008 presidential election the House Chamber in the U.S. Capitol January 8, 2009 in Washington.

Congrats, You’re a Member of Congress. Now Listen Up.

Some brief foreign-policy advice for the newest members of the U.S. legislature.