10 best books of October: the Monitor's picks

From World War I-era Europe to contemporary Spain to the limitless realm of poetry, the best books of October offer a particularly lively kind of world tour. Of them all, here are the 10 October books that Monitor critics liked the most. 

1. "Thank You For Your Service," by David Finkel

Washington Post journalist David Finkel followed an American infantry battalion in Iraq in his 2009 book "The Good Soldiers." In Thank You For Your Service Finkel offers a follow up to that work, this time exploring a subject less often considered: what happens when troops come home from military service. In so doing, Finkel has produced "a stunning, moving, subdued masterpiece of a book," writes Monitor book critic book Craig Fehrman. Although his subject is both grim and complex, Fehrman writes that Finkel "infuses his writing with the same thrill as a page-turner." You can read the Monitor's full review of "Thank You For Your Service" here.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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