Syrian Culture: A Rich, Layered Legacy

The voices and stories of Syrian refugee experiences are not the only thing drowned out by the international news agencies' overwhelming focus on conflict, war, and death tolls. Underneath the tragedy, now literally buried beneath the rubble in many cases, is a cultural legacy that has spanned centuries and empires. The empires that ruled over and influenced Syria from the ancient to the modern period included the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, and Byzantines, with the Ottoman empire ruling from 1516 to 1918. Religious, art, music, and food cultures are the legacy left behind that vary both according to cultural differences and regional differences, as well as a number of UNESCO World Heritage site designations for places of archeological importance across human history such as Damascus, Aleppo, Bostra, Palmyra, Krak des Chevaliers, and Qal'at Salāh al-Din.

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The Link Between Discussion Length and a Happy Book Club

When you hear the term "book club" what image comes to mind? Many readers not in one see them as social groups more interested in gossiping than discussing the book at hand, an impression that is often perpetuated in the media at large.

BookBrowse has been researching readers and book clubs for more than 15 years, so we knew that this perception wasn't accurate, but we didn't have hard numbers to prove the case. So, over the past 18 months we set out to find out exactly what's going on in book clubs, gathering responses from over 5,000 people through two surveys. We've recently published the findings in a report which we've titled "The Inner Lives of Book Clubs" because it's the first report to really get to the heart of the book club experience. And what it shows is that the perception that many have of book clubs is vastly different to reality.

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Six Nonfiction Books to Read With Your Book Club

Choosing only a handful of books to read about the Caribbean is like holding a small mound of snow in your palms. You know each snowflake is unique and you also know that you've only touched a fraction of what is falling from the sky. And while you may be hard pressed to find snow on any part of the Caribbean, you can easily discover countless stories about these 7,000 islands, and all of them are different. Still, just as it is magical to hold those few snowflakes, it is also magical to read any of the half dozen books we've culled together here.

And, if you wish to add depth to your Caribbean reading, we suggest Empire's Crossroads by British American historian Carrie Gibson. From Christopher Columbus' first footsteps on the Bahamas through colonialism and into today, it offers a look at the evolution of these islands which is as mesmerizing as the first snowfall of the season.

Please do add your own recommendations at the bottom.

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Visible Empire by Hannah Pittard