The Angels Die by Yasmina Khadra

Khadra captures Turambo's guttural feelings for his surroundings - whether they are in the ring entertaining Europeans or in the brothel. Her descriptions leap from the page and engage the reader. A good look at colonial Algeria from the perspective of an Arab-Berber.

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A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi

A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi is not the typical book that I read. It is set in a war-torn country, but it is nothing about war.  It’s a story about women in Afghanistan and how they survive in a male-dominated society. A bit about the plot from the publisher: For two decades, Zeba was a loving wife, a patient mother, and a peaceful villager. But her quiet life is shattered when her husband, Kamal, is found brutally murdered with a hatchet in the courtyard of their home...

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The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

A Swedish novel, The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg, is a charming story of a group of senior citizens stuck in a nursing home. The premise of the book is that the leader of the group, Martha, is tired of nursing home life and does not want to end her days in a nursing home whose management has gotten progressively more stingy. So, she hatches a plan with four of her fellow residents, to “break out” of the home and commit a robbery...

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The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel by Uri Bar-Joseph

The Angel: The Egyptian Spy Who Saved Israel by Uri Bar-Joseph is an excellent book about Ashraf Marwan, son-in-law to late Egyptian president Gamal Nasser. Here is a synopsis of the book from the publisher: A riveting feat of research and reportage, The Angel explores one of the twentieth century’s most compelling spy stories: the sensational life and suspicious death of Ashraf Marwan, a top-level Egyptian official who secretly worked for Israel’s Mossad. As the son-in-law of Egyptian...

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Last Stand at Khe Sanh: The U.S. Marines’ Finest Hour in Vietnam by Gregg Jones

The Vietnam War – one of the subjects that lured me into exploring and loving history. I can never read enough about this war – everything from the failed strategy to the individual acts of valor on the battlefield. Gregg Jones takes his turn at documenting the events surrounding the siege of Khe Sanh in Last Stand at Khe Sanh: The U.S. Marines’ Finest Hour in Vietnam. The book generally covers the fighting between the Marines and the North Vietnamese Army from January until...

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The Weaver Fish by Robert Edeson

The Weaver Fish by Robert Edeson is a unique and confounding work of fiction. It is fascinating and frustrating. Here is a bit about the book: Cambridge linguist Edvard Tøssentern, presumed dead, reappears after a balloon crash. When he staggers in from a remote swamp, gravely ill and swollen beyond recognition, his colleagues at the research station are overjoyed. But Edvard’s discovery about a rare giant bird throws them all into the path of an international crime ring. The Weaver Fish is...

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Adam’s Rib by Antonio Manzini

The second book of the Rocco Schiavone Mystery series by Antonio Manzini, Adam’s Rib, is just as good as the first – Black Run. Here are the basics to the plot: Six months after being exiled from his beloved Rome, Deputy Police Chief Rocco Schiavone has settled into a routine in the cold, quiet, chronically backward alpine town of Aosta: an espresso at home, breakfast in the piazza, and a morning joint in his office. A little self-medication helps Rocco deal with the morons that...

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Black Run by Antonio Manzini

The newly translated novel by Antonio Manzini, Black Run, is a great mystery that takes place in northern Italy. Manzini is an Italian actor, screenwriter, director, and author. Black Run is the first of two novels that have been translated into English. Here is a bit about the plot from the publisher: Getting into serious trouble with the wrong people, deputy prefect of police Rocco Schiavone is exiled to Aosta, a small, touristy alpine town far from his beloved Rome. The sophisticated and...

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