Readers' picks

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A long plane ride afforded me the chance to read China's Leaders by Cheng Li. It's an academic book but a readable one - and the only one I've found that goes beyond the usual analysis of China and into some specifics: Who actually runs the country? How does a kid in China become a leader? What does the future hold for those kids?
- Robin Sloan, San Francisco, CA

The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio: How My Mother Raised 10 Kids on 25 Words or Less, by Terry Ryan is a hilarious account of a mom who supplements her meager income by entering contests. It's set in the '60s and '70s, when winning a sweepstakes required a contestant to be creative in 25 words or less. It's so funny that I read parts of it aloud to my husband.
- Mary Ann Ott, Hilo, HI

Frank McCourt's Teacher Man is a wonderful book about the feelings of a teacher and a terrific book for people who write.
- Gilda Kreuter, via e-mail

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