I haven’t done anything “lite” for a while, so I thought I’d promote some books I read in the past couple of weeks:
For escapism, “At Risk,” a debut novel by Stella Rimington, former director of MI5 in England. A modern-day terrorism mystery mixed with James Bond gadgetry, psychology, and the dilemmas a secret agent (female) faces in trying to have a love life. Suggest you begin reading on a Friday night because you won’t be able to put it down once you get into it.
To get an accurate Arab perspective from one of the great intellectuals of our time, “From Oslo to Iraq, Essays,” by Edward Said, former longtime professor at Columbia University (died in September 2003). One of the great ironies of this book is that one would think that the Bush Administration and the neocons would be having the editors of the New York Times and CNN (for example) over for dinner every night because of how, as Said describes, they’ve only presented one side of the story (you can guess what side that is) of what’s going on in the Middle East. He also doesn’t pull any punches about his opinions of Thomas Friedman, Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami (who Said says told the Bush Administration [that Cheney later echoed publicly] that the Iraqis would welcome the troops with flowers and open arms), for example.
Gitta Sereny’s “The Healing Wound, Reflections and Experiences in Germany 1938-2001,” is wonderful. Although it may be difficult to find, this collection of essays and updated writings (mostly for British newspapers) provides a historical, non-historian perspective of Germany before and during WWII, and its aftermath.