10 best books of October: the Monitor's picks

Here, according to the Monitor's book critics, are 10 of the best of the new fall book releases.

9. 'The Tsar of Love and Techno,' by Anthony Marra

Anthony Marra, highly praised for his 2013 novel "A Constellation of Vital Phenomena," is back with this collection of nine interconnected stories. The stories span 75 years, beginning in 1937, and move from Chechnya to Siberia. Marra manages to be humorous even as he uses fiction to unroll a poignant, probbing, and sometimes disturbing panorama of Russian and Soviet history and society. You can read a full review of 'The Tsar of Love and Techno' 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.”

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