Reader recommendation: The Islands of Divine Music

Monitor readers share their favorite book picks.

The Islands of Divine Music, by John Addiego, is a saga of an Italian-American family spanning six generations as they move from Southern Italy to San Francisco to Mexico. I was absolutely enthralled with the lyrical journey on which I found myself.  The author took me back to some familiar places and events of my childhood while introducing me to an Italian-American family, the likes of which I had never met in my WASP upbringing. I found that this family saw these places/events through their “foreign” eyes the same way I had.  We’re all the same, yet uniquely different. I’m looking forward to reading Addiego’s second novel, "Tears of the Mountain."

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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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