The History of Bees: Maja Lunde

Translated from Norwegian by Diane Oatley We are in the midst of the sixth extinction and are losing species at an alarming rate. But we seem to have trouble recognizing the scale of the loss. How many of us associate lazy summer afternoons with the buzzing of bees? Not to mention the fruit and nuts …

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Cinnamon: Samar Yazbek

Translated from Arabic by Emily Danby A woman in Damascus wakes in the night, sees a triangle of light where a door is left ajar and walks in. She finds her maid in bed with her husband. She throws the maid out, and immediately regrets it, but finds herself unable to go after her. Over …

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Les Misérables: Victor Hugo

Translated from French by Norman Denny This is probably one of Victor Hugo’s best-known books, popularized by the musical starring Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway. But since a two-hour film can only provide a brief summary, I decided to read it in its entirety and see for myself why it is so well …

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Washington Black: Esi Edugyan

Although this book starts on a Barbados plantation in 1830, it is not really about slavery but follows a young slave, Washington Black, over six years, starting with his life on the Faith plantation. As the book begins, Washington is 11 years old, and the owner of the plantation has just died. The new master …

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