You've heard of the butterfly effect: If one small event is different, all of history is changed forever. And it's a game people have loved to play for decades. What if the South had won the Civil War? What if Hitler had won World War II? What if Europe hadn't lasted beyond the Black Plague? Stephen King's new novel "11/22/63" imagines what would have happened if President Kennedy had lived beyond 1963, but he's not the first to rearrange history. Here's six novels that explore a slightly alternate version of very familiar events.
The 2011 National Book Award winners will be chosen tonight at 8 p.m at a black-tie ceremony in New York hosted by actor and author John Lithgow. This year's nominees were not without controversy, most notably in the Young Adult category, where author Lauren Myracle was first erroneously listed as a nominee for her novel, “Shine” and then was asked to withdraw her nomination. (At Myracle's request, the National Book Foundation made a $5,000 donation to the Mathew Shephard Foundation in exchange.) In the adult fiction category, judges chose to honor some less-publicized books over some of the bigger “event” novels of the year, such as Ann Patchett's “State of Wonder” and Jeffrey Eugenides's “The Marriage Plot.” Here's a look at the five finalists for the fiction prize.
A loya jirga, or grand assembly, is really just a traditional meeting that serves to bring local leaders from all over the country together to discuss a critical issue during a time of instability. While the meetings are seen as a critical part of Afghan political life, they are a relatively rare occurrence. In the past 300 years, Afghanistan has had fewer than 20 loya jirgas, about a quarter of which have taken place in the past decade. But as the Afghan political system grows stronger and develops democratic institutions such as the parliament, many now question their value altogether. Here are the four most pivotal jirgas of the past decade and what came out of the meetings:
More than 26 million Americans “telecommute” and all signs point to the virtual workforce growing even faster in coming years. Indeed, 56 percent of senior leaders and hiring managers at Fortune 500 companies believe that the number of work-at-home employees will steadily or greatly increase at their companies, according to a recent survey by WorkSimple. With unemployment so high, job-seekers could benefit from this growing at-home job market. The benefits are compelling: better work/life balance and significantly lower commuting and work costs. Here are five pointers to make work at home work for you – and for your company:
International students flocked to US colleges and universities in record numbers in the 2010-11 academic year. The number surged nearly 5 percent over the previous year, reaching 723,277, according to the latest annual "Open Doors" report by the Institute of International Education and the State Department. The jump suggests a global hunger for the cachet and opportunity afforded by an American college education – despite the high cost to families and foreign governments. Foreign students contribute more than $21 billion to the US economy in tuition costs, book-buying, and living expenses – making higher education a top US service-sector export, the report finds. The makeup of international students in the US is changing in some surprising ways. Here are five.
When I started looking for a job 75 years ago, there was record unemployment with little prospect for growth. Kids like me with college backgrounds were a dime a dozen. Times were so bad that people were rioting on Wall Street. Sound familiar? One thing I've learned during my 95 years is that history repeats itself. Also I've learned how to leverage my skills to take advantage of new opportunities That worked for me in the credit-card industry and in offshore oil production. Most recently, I leveraged all that into a career as a business-book author. Here are my Top 5 lessons for navigating dire business straits:
To the dismay of its many fans, the McRib is disappearing from the McDonald's menu. After Nov. 14, McDonald's will no longer offer the pork sandwich nationwide (although some restaurants carry it periodically). Can’t wait for the McRib to come back? Take heart. McDonald’s’ elusuive sandwich is pretty easy to replicate at home. And while you’re at it, why not get creative? Here are our Top 7 homemade McRib sandwiches. All are kitchen-tested, although most of these are more fun to talk about than to eat. Have any brilliant McRib creations of your own? Tell us about it!
Sexual harassment ranges from annoying to illegal. There was a time when it was "accepted" as a form of hazing, the price of being a woman in the workplace. Teasing, groping, and worse were often tolerated, as was employee termination if a woman didn’t provide sexual favors to her harasser. That began to change as women sought redress through the courts in the 1970s and '80s. A growing body of legal precedents and the passage of laws strengthening the Civil Rights Act have made the threat of a sexual harassment lawsuit a serious financial risk for companies today. Here's a look at some of the legal moves and high-profile cases that have raised awareness of this issue.
You're cruising along in your new car, when bang, there's a flat tire. You do everything you’re supposed to do: Safely maneuver to the side of the road, turn on your hazard lights, lift the hood to indicate car trouble, and open the trunk to get the spare. And it’s not there! In an effort to decrease vehicle weight, increase fuel economy, and allow for more trunk space, manufacturers have been replacing full-size spare tires with smaller, temporary ones. Now, even these are disappearing in some models in favor of a tire repair kit the size of a shoebox. Don’t have a spare tire in your trunk? Here are four things you need to know:
Veterans Day (US) and Remembrance Day (British Commonwealth) are observed on Nov. 11, the day in 1918 that an armistice ended hostilities in The Great War. Some 41 million Americans have served in the US military since 1775; 23 million of them are still alive, of whom 17 million served during a conflict. Source: 2010 American Community Survey, Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs
Is a foreclosure staring you in the face? For many Americans faced with foreclosure and, possibly, bankruptcy, a better option is often a short sale. Short sales, which are up 10 percent from the same period last year, according to RealtyTrac, are becoming an increasingly popular way to deal with homes and homeowners burdened with too much debt. However, many homeowners still aren’t clear what a short sale is and whether it is the best solution for them. Here are five things you need to know about short sales:
The Obama administration announced on Thursday it was delaying construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, a proposed Canadian project so rich in promised jobs, tax revenues, and oil imports that its approval seemed assure. But the proposal to bring crude oil from Alberta’s tar sands to refineries in Texas involved a pipeline traversing America’s heartland, including an environmentally sensitive region atop the vital Ogallala aquifer. Delaying the project to examine an alternative route around the aquifer appears the safest political move for the moment, though it won’t give President Obama immunity from criticism. Here is some background on the pipeline project.
Second-guessing awards is as old as competition. Shortly after the first Greek athlete had a crown of laurel placed on his brow at the first Olympics, there no doubt were murmurings in the stands that “Agathon was robbed.” While Julian Barnes finally took home the Man Booker Prize this month after four nominations, the lineup of finalists thoroughly puzzled – if not infuriated – many. No Hollinghurst? No Ondaatje? Well, after reading five of the six nominees, I can safely say, “No Hollinghurst? No Ondaatje?” Both Booker winners have new novels out this October, both are without question among the finest work they’ve done, and both easily trump finalists Stephen Kelman’s “Pigeon English” and A.D. Miller’s “Snowdrops” (sorry, guys). And I’m not just grading on a snob’s curve. Both “The Cat’s Table” and “The Stranger’s Child” win in terms of that dirty word the judges cited that so enraged pretentious folks: “readability.”
China is the world’s biggest creditor, with foreign exchange reserves of around $3.2 trillion. Europe would like Beijing to use some of that money to lend a hand and help bail out the eurozone. China has stressed it will not be a savior to Europe, and there are a reasons it won't. However, there are a few reasons China could change course and come to the rescue. Here are three:
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has survived more than 50 no-confidence votes in his political career, surviving yet another at least implicit one on Tuesday. But he is still headed out the door, he says. Over the years, charges of corruption, accusations of soliciting underage prostitutes, and alleged involvement with the mafia were not enough to sink the indomitable Mr. Berlusconi – but charges of mishandling the economic crisis seem to have done it. Here’s a look at the many things that would have taken down many other world leaders.
Whether you're looking for a picture book for a toddler or young adult fiction for a teen, you might want to check out this list by Scholastic Book Clubs and Scholastic Book Fairs. Here are the titles that Scholastic Book Clubs and Scholastic Book Fairs are highlighting as the most popular of the 2011 holiday season.
It’s a virtually impossible task, but the little elves at Amazon have done it again – compile a list of the Best Books of 2011. Their list includes works by bestselling veterans, award-winning authors, and debut novelists alike, spanning the gamut of genres from literary fiction to young adult to thriller. Your best bet for a holiday gift or the perfect book to curl up with on a winter evening? Start here, with Amazon’s Top 10 Best Books of 2011.