Aside from the fact that they are all third novels by award-winning novelists, this month's fiction roundup offers plenty of variety – from a dark fable set on the coast of Newfoundland to a portrait of a Midwestern family in flux to a journalistic thriller set in Nigeria.
"Follow your bliss." "You can be whatever you want to be." "Never give up." Google reveals those three platitudes to be the ones most often spoken at commencements, according to Richard Stengel, managing editor of Time magazine. Many speakers, however – including Mr. Stengel – offered more insightful advice to college graduates this spring. Here are the Monitor's hand-picked highlights from the 2011 season.
Summer is the season of eating outdoors. Typically, that means food that is either grilled or packed into portable containers and served cold. From the Monitor's archives, here is a list of 15 recipes – some exotic, some traditional, and all delectable – to help you prepare for your next picnic, barbecue, or day at the beach.
Whether you're on the beach, in the airport, or staying in your own backyard, there's nothing like the perfect novel to round out your summer vacation. Here are a handful of very attractive titles appearing this summer.
Some of this summer's best books will introduce you to Machu Picchu, hippie physicists, Parisian walks, and a serial imposter. And that’s just the nonfiction.
Memorial Day is the start of the summer driving season. Before you drop off your car at the local mechanic to get it in tip top shape, consider saving some money by performing these basic maintenance repairs yourself. I know what you're thinking: Grease? Auto parts all over the garage? Don’t worry. I got together with our expert mechanic team at AutoMD.com to come up with car repairs that are so easy, just about anyone can do them while keeping their hands (mostly) clean. The average car owner should be able to complete all five jobs in about an hour and save nearly $200. Here are our Top 5 easiest auto repairs:
Bosnian Serb military leader Ratko Mladic was arrested Thursday in Serbia, more than a decade after a warrant was issued for his arrest for his involvement in the Bosnian war of the 1990s. He was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia for crimes against humanity, genocide, and war crimes in 1995 and the international arrest warrant soon followed.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
Libya’s rebel government, the Transitional National Council, today accepted a US invitation to set up shop in Washington. But the offer did not come with US recognition of the council as Libya’s sole legitimate representative. Here’s how the US gesture compares with three other countries:
It's undeniable the middle class is growing in China, Brazil and India. But in the US, the term "middle class," is notoriously vague. Almost everyone, it seems, identifies themselves as middle class, regardless of wealth, income, profession, or education. That's why most politicians will describe policies they oppose as "punishing the middle class" and policies that they support as "helping the middle class." One popular definition, provided by The Drum Major Institute for Public Policy, identifies American families as middle class if they have incomes between $25,000 and $100,000 each year. That's a wide spread, but a perhaps a useful one: If you see someone who makes $75,000 a year more than you as belonging to your class, you're much less likely to revolt against them. But is it true? Grab a pencil and piece of paper – or a Mont Blanc pen and some embossed gold floral deckle edge stationery – and take our quiz to find out where you stand in America's socioeconomic pecking order.
Joplin tornado, as Sunday's twister has come to be called, is blamed for more than 100 fatalities in the southwest Missouri community. It's the latest in a string of tornadoes this spring. Though hurricanes and earthquakes tend to do more financial damage per event, tornadoes and related events have been responsible for an average 57 percent of all insured catastrophe losses in the United States since 1953, according to a 2009 study by insurance credit-rating service A.M. Best. Not counting the Joplin tornado, where damage assessments have only begun, here’s a look at the five most financially devastating tornadoes in the US, according to the A.M. Best study and federal estimates (reported in 2011 dollars):
President Barack Obama put the little town of Moneygall, Ireland, with its population of approximately 300, on the map today. A local religious leader discovered Obama’s roots could be traced to a great-great-great grandfather believed to have been baptized at his church there. Mr. Obama’s visit today sent the town into a flurry of preparation (and gimmicks) in honor of its famous “son” – arguably the most powerful man in the world. Here are some highlights of that prep:
Tim Pawlenty wants a White House ending to his rags-to-riches rise. The former governor declared his candidacy for president May 22 in a video released on his website. The grandson of German immigrants and the first in his family to attend college, Pawlenty is hoping his foes’ flaws are his ticket to victory.
Herman Cain, who announced his candidacy for president at an Atlanta rally May 21, aims to bring a new slogan to the White House: “Yes, We Cain!” Seriously, folks. The pizza magnate, aka the ‘Hermanator,’ is staging a full-on charm offensive, hoping his Southern-fried charisma, business savvy, top performance in the first GOP debate, and media prowess are enough to offset his fundamental flaw: zero political experience.
Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn has been remanded to home confinement as he awaits trial on attempted rape charges. Here are five other headline-catching cases of house arrest.
Faced with the Arab Spring, a Palestinian statehood push at the UN, President Barack Obama's Middle East policy speech May 19, and jittery constituents at home, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under pressure to make a decisive move. Here are five options.
Readers of books love lists. That's why book-review editor J. Peder Zane asked 125 writers – everyone from Norman Mailer to Jonathan Franzen to Margaret Drabble – to pick their very favorite books of all time. Out of all the books in the world, here are the 10 most selected by Zane's illustrious group. (You can see this and other book lists in Zane's book "The Top Ten: Writers Pick Their Favorite Books.")
The International Monetary Fund’s managing director has traditionally been a European male, often a Frenchman. But with Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s resignation amid sexual assault charges, the job is available. A woman is among the leading candidates, and contenders from emerging markets may vie for the top spot. Here’s a look at the possibilities.
Judgment Day is coming this Saturday, May 21, beginning at 6 p.m., according to Harold Camping, the president of the Christian broadcaster Family Radio. Could he be wrong? He wouldn't be the first. Here are five failed Judgment Day predictions.
The discovery of Osama bin Laden hiding in a Pakistani military town has Congress threatening cuts to US aid, and populists in Pakistan saying good riddance. But beyond the angry rhetoric, experts see a mismatch between US hopes and where the dollars have gone.
International Monetary Fund chief and Frenchman Dominique Strauss-Kahn's arrest underscores how differently France and the United States view privacy and sexual assault. Here's a look at where the countries’ legal systems clash as they pertain to Mr. Strauss-Kahn’s case.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
Protests erupted on Israel’s borders and throughout East Jerusalem and the West Bank on Sunday as Palestinians marked the 63rd anniversary of Israel’s independence, which they refer to as the “nakba,” or catastrophe, because it resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. Israel has used the clashes to argue that it does not have a legitimate partner for peace, while Arabs have capitalized on the regional spirit of uprising to press Palestinian claims to statehood. Here is a roundup of notable statements:
The 2011 Mississippi River flood, which has broken records in some places, is creating steady destruction in America's midsection. Hurricanes tend to cause more financial damage, and flash floods typically take more lives. But overflowing rivers deliver a long, slow economic punch. Arkansas farmers have lost an estimated $500 million in crops to this year's flood. Mississippi homes and catfish farms – a leading industry – are threatened. In Louisiana, the diversion of water through a spillway to spare Baton Rouge and New Orleans still puts hundreds of homes, businesses, and chemical plants and oil refineries at risk. Total damages could run into the billions. Here's a look at five of the most expensive river floods in the US, according to estimates from the National Weather Service and historical accounts (reported in 2011 dollars):
Novelist John Gardner once said that there are only two plots in literature: someone goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town. You're trying to think of exceptions right now, aren't you? Well, while you brainstorm, this month's fiction roundup is packing its bags to join three novels' worth of characters as they set out on life-altering adventures 400 years and thousands of miles apart.