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Joseph Braude's weekly podcast "Eye on Arabia" presents news and analysis of Arabic and Islamic issues from the perspective of a well-traveled American author with Iraqi roots. Coverage spans Arab North Africa and the Middle East, Iran, Israel, and Turkey -- not just politics and foreign policy but also cultural trends, music, and folklore. For more information, follow @josephbraude or visit www.josephbraude.com.
 
With an eye on reviewing fiction and nonfiction that has regional resonance for Connecticut or Long Island, Joan considers the timeliness and significance of recently published work: what these books have to say to a broad group of readers today and how they say it in a distinctive or unique manner, taking into account style and structure as well as subject matter.
 
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show series
 
Forgotten in Death is the 53rd book in J.D. Robb’s Eve Dallas murder mystery series, as in fill-in-the-first-word: “_____ in Death,” the first book being Naked in Death in 1995, and the one before this one, Faithless in Death . I confess — before this new one I had read no Robb books — a total of 220 including romance novels written under her real …
 
It can’t be easy writing a new book in a series because you have to consider readers who may be coming to you for the first time, as well as keep up with characters fans tell you they want to see back. But longtime Richmond Virginia newspaperman Howard Owen showed 10 books ago in his Willie Black murder mysteries that he can continue to create abso…
 
Here’s a book that’s well named: “Bald.” To emphasize the point, the cover contains an illustration of a man in profile, his pate as smooth as stone, and a back flap front-face photo that shows one hairless Simon Critchley, professor of philosophy, looking a bit perturbed. But not because he’s bald. Critchley announces the fact as his opening sente…
 
Erik Larson is so good a storyteller that as you read through The Splendid and the Vile , his magnificent saga of Winston Churchill during the bombing of Britain — “the year Churchill became Churchill,” as Larson says — you wonder how it will all turn out! The book is what’s been said of Larson’s earlier works: “addictively readable.” Subtitled “A …
 
Though Amagansett-based author Ellen Feldman’s compelling new novel The Living and the Lost is set in Berlin shortly after World War II, with flashbacks to 1938, it resonates today with disturbing themes about the heritage of hatred, and suggests that the title “The Living AND the Lost” may well have been “the Living ARE the Lost.” The implications…
 
A new and expanded edition of a book first published 58 years ago about a man said to have been the world’s greatest conductor shows why the myth took hold and why it remains unchallenged. Arturo Toscanini was unique. A musician of genius, including a photographic memory, Toscanini could boast – but never did – of having a repertoire of 120 operas …
 
You know how writers are sometimes asked whom they would like to have over for a small dinner party? Well, historian, biographer and academic Walter Isaacson, out now with another magnificent tome, The Code Breaker , says – with nods to other innovators he’s written about, including Einstein, Steve Jobs and his favorite genius, Leonardo Da Vinci – …
 
What could seem further from our polarized, diverse world and abbreviated social-media discourse than Virginia Woolf’s 1925 stream-of-consciousness novel Mrs. Dalloway with its, aristocratic title character Clarissa Dalloway consumed with giving an elegant party, and its author’s long periodic sentences, full of metaphors, allusions, parentheses an…
 
101 Arabian Tales: How We All Persevered in Peace Corps Libya should be required reading for all Peace Corps volunteers and administrators once the 60-year-old federal agency resumes activity — it shut down because of COVID. Meanwhile, the book should also be recommended reading for everyone for what it says about an increasingly important and vola…
 
Nemesis by Philip Roth, published in 2010, eight years before he died, has got to be one of the most subtly instructive elegiac novels written about a widespread raging disease. In this case, polio. In Greek mythology Nemesis was the goddess of indignation and retribution, typically against pride. And yet Roth’s tale is about a young man who is jus…
 
Prize-winning fiction writer, journalist, and witty, celebrated British bad boy of novels and cultural criticism Martin Amis, 71 now, and a resident of Brooklyn and East Hampton, has just come out with Inside Story. It’s a big autobiographical “compendium” he calls “A Novel” and at other times “life writing” and “a collection of linked short storie…
 
Here are two books that offer unique voices on surviving Nazi occupied Europe and have several key plot points in common. Both feature women as the main characters and neither is Jewish. Both works also explore the immigrant experience in the U.S. after the war. But that’s where the similarities end. The first is a memoir. Immigrant Dreams , by Bar…
 
Seventy-one-year-old Lucinda Watson, the granddaughter of IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, Sr. and the fourth child of six of Thomas J. Watson, Jr. who ran IBM from 1952-1971, calls her debut collection of poetry The Favorite because, she says, she WAS her father’s favorite, “the pretty one” of five daughters. But in the title poem, “The Favorite” she…
 
The screenwriter who penned "Psycho" is quoted as saying that when we watch or read scary stuff we don’t think about the real things that are frightening us. We allow ourselves to be “frightened by fantasy and that’s not only more bearable” than dealing with unbearable reality — it may also help us cope better with crises, be more resilient when pr…
 
What literary text could seem further from reality these days than Beowulf — that approximately 1,500-year-old Anglo Saxon verse epic about a Scandinavian hero fighting monsters that’s known mainly by English majors and then, mostly in translation! Yet here are two new Beowulfs, different translations and genres, out this past August, that in their…
 
It’s always challenging to write about a group of short stories: What to mention? In Lynne Sharon Schwartz’s new collection called Truthtelling, “Pickup” deserves notice because, like the last story in the book, about a page turner of musical scores, it references music, a special love, the author says, that has always informed her writing style. “…
 
Scott Turow’s been called the king of legal thriller writers – with 30 million books in print, many made into memorable movies, but as his latest work shows, The Last Trial, he should be called a “novelist.” In the old-fashioned, big theme sense of the word. His books -- suspenseful, complex, filled with heady content and dramatic exchanges –are al…
 
Hundreds of foreign broadcasters crowd Arab radio waves today -- some backed by nations like the US and Russia, others by transnational movements from the Muslim Brotherhood to the Catholic Church. One network, operating on a modest budget, stands out for punching way above its weight: the Korean Broadcasting System's Arabic service. In this short …
 
The saga of Islamic civilization is in many ways a universal story of good versus evil, the cycle of life, and the foibles of human nature. It isn’t too big a stretch to connect that saga to some of the great stories and classic movies Americans know and love. That’s the premise of this two-episode documentary, co-produced with Public Radio Interna…
 
This mini-documentary by Joseph Braude brings together music, interviews, and reporting from the streets of Casablanca to tell the story of Nas al-Ghiwan, the greatest rock band in the history of North Africa. It first appeared on the Public Radio International program America Abroad. For more information, follow @josephbraude or visit www.josephbr…
 
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