Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Jean-Paul's Picks for March 2012

  1. The Expats by Chris Pavone - 03/06/12

    When Kate's husband gets a lucrative job abroad, they move as fast as they can to Luxembourg. Kate soon gets adapted to the status of a "non-working expat spouse," shopping, tourism, tea parties, ...
    Her husband however seems to get drowned in work, travelling a lot, making overtime. When Kate discovers that the wife of another American couple is overly friendly to her husband, she gets suspicious and starts an investigation. Who is chasing who, who is the criminal and what is the goal of the other party? And what if her husband discovers that Kate has some secrets of the past? Very intriguing story about life abroad, internet finances, and spies. Good read.

  2. The Great Northern Express by Howard Mosher - 03/06/12

    Whether this is a travel writing story or an autobiography, this is a lovely book full of love, wit, melancholy and encounters with real and imaginary people. After a cancer treatment, Howard Mosher takes a trip through the USA with his old car fulfilling a promise that he once made. While driving around he tells his story, how he started writing, the love for his wife, their life in Vermont, memories of his father, his uncle, his former co-workers. A must for those who love to read Mosher's books.

  3. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller - 03/06/12

    Good old Homer started his Iliad with the line: "Sing, goddess, of the terrible rage of Achilles". In her story, Madeline Miller explains where that terrible anger is rooted. In a vivid, evocative, Homer like style, she tells us the story of how Achilles and his dear companion and intimate friend Patroclus grew up together and how they were tricked to participate in the war of Troy. What a great novel! If you liked the Iliad, you will love this book.

  4. The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose - 03/13/12

    M.J. Rose has the perfect touch to combine romance, history, reincarnation. As in her former books, The Reincarnationist, The Memorist, and The Hypnotist, it is all about finding a memory tool. Get immersed in the wonderful world of fragrances from Cleopatra's Egypt, through the French revolution to nowadays Paris and a little bit of Tibet.

  5. Why Nations Fail by Daron Acemoglu - 03/20/12

    This book offers a very plausible answer to the question why some nations prosper and others are poor even when they have the same geographical, cultural, and historical, backgrounds. With a lot of examples (like the Roman Empire, North & South Korea, medieval Venice, ...) the author proves that the wealth of nations is mainly dependent on their governing institutions. An inclusive political system will support the economical growth that in turn will allow citizens to pursue work that suits their talents. Where everybody can enjoy the fruits of their labor, the nations will flourish. When the institutions are "extractive," when only a few are enjoying the profits, nations will turn to poverty. When democracy is being abused for greed, nations will go down. Great, fascinating read, a must for politicians (hopefully they get the message.)

  6. Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden - 03/29/12

    Just try to imagine ... You are born in a North-Korean camp for political prisoners, and you have to stay there for the rest of your life because your grandfather fought on the wrong side ... This is the gripping, non-fictional, story of the only prisoner born in a camp who could escape and make it to the free world. In my comment about "The Orphan Master's Son," I stated that if that story had a bit of reality, North Korea must be the most dystopian country in the world ... "Escape from Camp 14" is the living proof that the North Korean people are enduring hell on earth .... Of course, there is no oil, no gold, so why would the free world relieve them from their tyrants? Very interesting read but chilling to the bone.

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