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    The Spymaster of Baghdad

    For the last 17 years, the country of Iraq has known almost constant violence and political upheaval — the only change being the shifting face of the enemy, blowing in violently like the whipped-up sands of its trackless deserts. Its most recent wars against Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of ...

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    The Women of ISIS

    Known for its brutal track record of executions and torture of hostages and civilians (including women and children), some may find it surprising that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) jihadist group attracts a fair number of female recruits. While there are mitigating factors that vary for...

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    Hades, Argentina

    Daniel Loedel's debut novel, Hades, Argentina, opens in 1986 when we meet Tomás Orillo, a young textbook translator living in New York. Now known as Thomas Shore after escaping Argentina a decade earlier under a forged passport, his marriage is failing largely due to his inability to address ...

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    Operation Condor

    The action in Daniel Loedel's debut novel, Hades, Argentina, is propelled by a clandestine South American military campaign known as Operation Condor. Operation Condor's roots can be traced back to the mid-1960s, when Che Guevara left Cuba to spread socialist doctrine throughout South America, ...

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    Dark Horses

    Dark Horses is a shocking, heart-pounding debut; it's both a coming-of-age novel and an unflinching story of resilience and survival. Fifteen-year-old Roan Montgomery is an equestrian prodigy; she attends a private high school, where she is given a special schedule allowing her to miss afternoon ...

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    Olympic Equestrian Eventing

    Eventing, sometimes described as an equestrian triathlon, became an Olympic summer sport at the Stockholm Games in 1912, but before that, it had its roots in the military as a series of exercises developed to test and prepare cavalry horses. Equestrian sports date back much further, in some cases ...

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    Best Laid Plans

    When starting a series, first impressions are key. Introducing a sympathetic or relatable protagonist – preferably flawed in some way – is crucial so the first book provides traction for character development in future installments. In Best Laid Plans, Gwen Florio's heroine Nora Best has...

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    Overcoming Arkoudaphobia: The Rarity of Bear Attacks in North America

    Bears terrify a lot of people. So much so that 'arkoudaphobia' — the fear of bears — is a common phenomenon. However, the danger bears pose to people in North America is massively embellished in the public's collective psyche. Fantastical representations of bears in literature, ...

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    Last Night at the Telegraph Club

    Author Malinda Lo takes readers to Chinatown, San Francisco in 1954, where 17-year-old Lily Hu is looking to her future amidst the Red Scare, cultural pressures and discovering who she is – and who she loves – in Last Night at the Telegraph Club. The young adult novel follows ...

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    Anti-Chinese Sentiment Past and Present

    In Last Night at the Telegraph Club, some of the pressure that Lily faces in her family life is related to their precarious situation as immigrants, specifically as Chinese immigrants in the aftermath of the anti-communist hysteria of McCarthyism. Chinese immigrants have a long, often obscured ...

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    No One Is Talking About This

    If anyone knows the ins and outs of living online, it's Patricia Lockwood. Before her stellar memoir Priestdaddy, Lockwood was well known for "Rape Joke," a 2013 self-referential poem that was published on the website The Awl and soon went viral; she's also pushed the boundaries of social media ...

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    Beyond the Book

    Proteus Syndrome

    Midway through Patricia Lockwood's novel No One Is Talking About This, the unnamed protagonist learns that her sister's baby has been diagnosed with Proteus syndrome. You might recognize this as the condition believed to have affected Joseph Merrick, the so-called Elephant Man, whose late-19th-...

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