Readers' picks

If you enjoy reading about extraordinary adventures, I recommend Desert Queen by Janet Wallach. It's about the life of Gertrude Bell, an English woman who traveled alone to the Middle East and became an adviser to kings and an ally of Lawrence of Arabia. It gives an interesting picture of Iran and an insight into understanding Arabian thinking, which Bell certainly did.
– Judy Smith, Fort Worth, Texas

Louis Bromfield's The Rains Came is a long old-fashioned narrative, published in 1938, that displays empathy for both the country and people of India and the ex-patriot community in the fictional state of Ranchipur. After reading the story, watch the movie with Myrna Loy and Tyrone Power.
– Ken Karcher, Denver, Colo.

I'm rereading Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer. It is just wonderful.
– Katherine Luce

I've just finished reading Doublethink by J.E.Schwartz, a novel in the vein of "1984" and "The Hand Maid's Tale." "DoubleThink" tells the story of a "neo-con" who, as a result of an act of generous charity, finds himself trapped in the system that had been his path to success. The story is chilling. I couldn't put the book down, read it cover-to-cover in one sitting.
– Barbara Bowen, Townsend, Wash.

I'm reading The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor. While these are old stories, they are as interesting and fresh today as they were nearly 50 years ago. She is an amazing writer, among our best – her precision with words and her ability to craft story and character in startling and original imagery is regrettably rare. One has the feeling that not even O'Connor knew where she was headed when first beginning a story, and this is exciting.
– D. David Robinson, Portland, Ore.

Currently I'm reading Matthew von Unwerth's Freud's Requiem: Mourning, Memory, and the Invisible History of a Summer Walk. It's a meditation on beauty and its passing as Freud, Andreas-Salomé and the poet Rainer Maria Rilke take this imaginary walk on a delightful summer afternoon. Unwerth imagines how Freud and his two companions go on a walk as they meditate on Freud's meaning of transience, or the passing of beauty.
– William Deighan, Broadview Heights, Ohio

Bleak House by Charles Dickens. Because it has been years since I have read it and it has such great people in it and I just like a story like that. Next on my pile of books is The Last True Story I'll Ever Tell by John Crawford.
– Jo Laughton

What are you reading? Write and tell us at Marjorie Kehe.

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