A current-affairs book recommendation: Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues by Bill Moyers

A critic review (source Star Tribune) can be read at: http://strib.mn/1I22FkT.
Readers of his new book, “Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues,” will feast on four dozen wide-ranging conversations…
Book description from Google Books:
One of the highest-rated public affairs programs on public television, Bill Moyers Journal drew up to two million weekly viewers from 2007 to 2010. Through incisive, morally engaging conversations with some of the leading political figures, writers, activists, poets, and scholars at work today, the Journal captured the essence of the past three pivotal years in American life and politics, including the final act of the Bush Administration and the early years of Obama.Now, Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues brings this groundbreaking work to the page. From Michael Pollan, David Simon, and Jane Goodall to John Grisham, Karen Armstrong, and Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill Moyers Journal: The Conversation Continues introduces the ideas that matter today—on subjects as diverse as the politics of food, race in the age of Obama, aging in America, the power of poetry, wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan, the conflict over gay marriage, and the fate of the American newspaper.With extensive new commentary from Bill Moyers—in the tradition of his national bestsellers A World of Ideas and Healing and the Mind—here is an unparalleled guide to the debates, the cultural currents, and above all the fascinating people who have so powerfully shaped the world we live in.
The book is rated 4.24/5 at goodreads.com, from 192 ratings. See 40 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1I22FBr.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tn76VT.

A current-affairs book recommendation: Chomp by Carl Hiaasen

A critic review (source Guardian) can be read at: http://bit.ly/2db1vq8.
The book feels as if Carl Hiaasen has got really excited and written the whole thing in one night. It’s a bit patronising…
Book description from Google Books:
Wahoo Cray lives in a zoo. His father is an animal wrangler, so he’s grown up with all manner of gators, snakes, parrots, rats, monkeys, snappers, and more in his backyard. The critters he can handle. His father is the unpredictable one. When his dad takes a job with a reality TV show called “Expedition Survival!”, Wahoo figures he’ll have to do a bit of wrangling himself—to keep his dad from killing Derek Badger, the show’s boneheaded star, before the shoot is over. But the job keeps getting more complicated. Derek Badger seems to actually believe his PR and insists on using wild animals for his stunts. And Wahoo’s acquired a shadow named Tuna—a girl who’s sporting a shiner courtesy of her old man and needs a place to hide out. They’ve only been on location in the Everglades for a day before Derek gets bitten by a bat and goes missing in a storm. Search parties head out and promptly get lost themselves. And then Tuna’s dad shows up with a gun . . .It’s anyone’s guess who will actually survive “Expedition Survival”. . . .
The book is rated 3.93/5 at goodreads.com, from 14049 ratings. See 1840 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1PMdR9m.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sbez6B.

A current-affairs book recommendation: No Time Like the Present by Nadine Gordimer

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2dsvEBt.
The scenes in which these shifts of allegiance transpire provide a perfect example of what literature can give us that history books cannot.
Book description from Google Books:
A sharply observed new novel about post-apartheid South Africa from the Nobel Prize winnerNadine Gordimer is one of our most telling contemporary writers. With each new work, she attacks—with a clear-eyed fierceness, a lack of sentimentality, and a deep understanding of the darkest depths of the human soul—her eternal themes: the inextricable link between personal and communal history; the inescapable moral ambiguities of daily life; the political and racial tensions that persist in her homeland, South Africa. And in each new work is fresh evidence of her literary genius: in the sharpness of her psychological insights, the stark beauty of her language, the complexity of her characters, and the difficult choices with which they are faced. In No Time Like the Present, Gordimer trains her keen eye on Steve and Jabulile, an interracial couple living in a newly, tentatively, free South Africa. They have a daughter, Sindiswa; they move to the suburbs; Steve becomes a lecturer at a university; Jabulile trains to become a lawyer; there is another child, a boy this time. There is nothing so extraordinary about their lives, and yet, in telling their story and the stories of their friends and families, Gordimer manages to capture the tortured, fragmented essence of a nation struggling to define itself post-apartheid. The subject is contemporary, but Gordimer’s treatment is, as ever, timeless. In No Time Like the Present, she shows herself once again a master novelist, at the height of her prodigious powers.
The book is rated 3.20/5 at goodreads.com, from 386 ratings. See 110 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1ETb4Rp.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tBtZ88.

A current-affairs book recommendation: In One Person by John Irving

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2ctAxyc.
“In One Person” gives a lot. It’s funny, as you would expect. It’s risky in what it exposes.
Book description from Google Books:
“His most daringly political, sexually transgressive, and moving novel in well over a decade” (Vanity Fair). Winner of a 2013 Lambda Literary AwardA New York Times bestselling novel of desire, secrecy, and sexual identity, In One Person is a story of unfulfilled love—tormented, funny, and affecting—and an impassioned embrace of our sexual differences. Billy, the bisexual narrator and main character of In One Person, tells the tragicomic story (lasting more than half a century) of his life as a “sexual suspect,” a phrase first used by John Irving in 1978 in his landmark novel of “terminal cases,” The World According to Garp. In One Person is a poignant tribute to Billy’s friends and lovers—a theatrical cast of characters who defy category and convention. Not least, In One Person is an intimate and unforgettable portrait of the solitariness of a bisexual man who is dedicated to making himself “worthwhile.”
The book is rated 3.65/5 at goodreads.com, from 21396 ratings. See 3132 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1KbgA5u.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tre9Nu.
Google Books preview available in full post.

A current-affairs book recommendation: The Comeback by John Ralston Saul

A critic review (source Globe and Mail) can be read at: https://tgam.ca/1LbRLr5.
The Comeback’s tone seems downright smug at times…Fuel for apathy. This is why, regardless of your response to The Comeback, you have to read it. Don’t be an uninformed critic. Arm yourself, Canada.
Book description from Google Books:
Once again, John Ralston Saul presents the story of Canada’s past so that we may better understand its present – and imagine a better future. Historic moments are always uncomfortable, Saul writes in this impassioned argument, calling on all of us to embrace and support the comeback of Aboriginal peoples. This, he says, is the great issue of our time – the most important missing piece in the building of Canada. The events that began late in 2012 with the Idle No More movement were not just a rough patch in Aboriginal relations with the rest of Canada. What is happening today between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals is not about guilt or sympathy or failure or romanticization of the past. It is about citizens’ rights. It is about rebuilding relationships that were central to the creation of Canada. These relationships are just as important to its continued existence. The centrality of Aboriginal issues and peoples has the potential to open up a more creative way of imagining ourselves and a more honest narrative for Canada. Wide in scope but piercing in detail, The Comeback presents a powerful portrait of modern Aboriginal life in Canada, in contrast with the perceived failings so often portrayed in politics and in media. Saul illustrates his arguments by compiling a remarkable selection of letters, speeches and writings by Aboriginal leaders and thinkers, showcasing the extraordinarily rich, moving and stable indigenous point of view across the centuries. 
The book is rated 4.02/5 at goodreads.com, from 182 ratings. See 30 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1LbRJ2p.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tDvClP.

A current-affairs book recommendation: The Comeback by John Ralston Saul

A critic review (source Globe and Mail) can be read at: https://tgam.ca/1LbRLr5.
The Comeback’s tone seems downright smug at times…Fuel for apathy. This is why, regardless of your response to The Comeback, you have to read it. Don’t be an uninformed critic. Arm yourself, Canada.
Book description from Google Books:
Once again, John Ralston Saul presents the story of Canada’s past so that we may better understand its present – and imagine a better future. Historic moments are always uncomfortable, Saul writes in this impassioned argument, calling on all of us to embrace and support the comeback of Aboriginal peoples. This, he says, is the great issue of our time – the most important missing piece in the building of Canada. The events that began late in 2012 with the Idle No More movement were not just a rough patch in Aboriginal relations with the rest of Canada. What is happening today between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals is not about guilt or sympathy or failure or romanticization of the past. It is about citizens’ rights. It is about rebuilding relationships that were central to the creation of Canada. These relationships are just as important to its continued existence. The centrality of Aboriginal issues and peoples has the potential to open up a more creative way of imagining ourselves and a more honest narrative for Canada. Wide in scope but piercing in detail, The Comeback presents a powerful portrait of modern Aboriginal life in Canada, in contrast with the perceived failings so often portrayed in politics and in media. Saul illustrates his arguments by compiling a remarkable selection of letters, speeches and writings by Aboriginal leaders and thinkers, showcasing the extraordinarily rich, moving and stable indigenous point of view across the centuries. 
The book is rated 4.02/5 at goodreads.com, from 182 ratings. See 30 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1LbRJ2p.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tDvClP.

A current-affairs book recommendation: No Time Like the Present by Nadine Gordimer

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2dsvEBt.
The scenes in which these shifts of allegiance transpire provide a perfect example of what literature can give us that history books cannot.
Book description from Google Books:
A sharply observed new novel about post-apartheid South Africa from the Nobel Prize winnerNadine Gordimer is one of our most telling contemporary writers. With each new work, she attacks—with a clear-eyed fierceness, a lack of sentimentality, and a deep understanding of the darkest depths of the human soul—her eternal themes: the inextricable link between personal and communal history; the inescapable moral ambiguities of daily life; the political and racial tensions that persist in her homeland, South Africa. And in each new work is fresh evidence of her literary genius: in the sharpness of her psychological insights, the stark beauty of her language, the complexity of her characters, and the difficult choices with which they are faced. In No Time Like the Present, Gordimer trains her keen eye on Steve and Jabulile, an interracial couple living in a newly, tentatively, free South Africa. They have a daughter, Sindiswa; they move to the suburbs; Steve becomes a lecturer at a university; Jabulile trains to become a lawyer; there is another child, a boy this time. There is nothing so extraordinary about their lives, and yet, in telling their story and the stories of their friends and families, Gordimer manages to capture the tortured, fragmented essence of a nation struggling to define itself post-apartheid. The subject is contemporary, but Gordimer’s treatment is, as ever, timeless. In No Time Like the Present, she shows herself once again a master novelist, at the height of her prodigious powers.
The book is rated 3.20/5 at goodreads.com, from 386 ratings. See 110 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1ETb4Rp.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tBtZ88.

A current-affairs book recommendation: Drift by Rachel Maddow

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2d0GAGk.
Her narrative is so beguiling that a reader may overlook its weaknesses.
Book description from Google Books:
The #1 New York Times bestseller that charts America’s dangerous drift into a state of perpetual war. “One of my favorite ideas is, never to keep an unnecessary soldier,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1792. Neither Jefferson nor the other Found­ers could ever have envisioned the modern national security state, with its tens of thousands of “privateers”; its bloated Department of Homeland Security; its rust­ing nuclear weapons, ill-maintained and difficult to dismantle; and its strange fascination with an unproven counterinsurgency doctrine. Written with bracing wit and intelligence, Rachel Maddow’s Drift argues that we’ve drifted away from America’s original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails. To understand how we’ve arrived at such a dangerous place, Maddow takes us from the Vietnam War to today’s war in Afghanistan, along the way exploring the disturbing rise of executive authority, the gradual outsourcing of our war-making capabilities to private companies, the plummeting percentage of American families whose children fight our constant wars for us, and even the changing fortunes of G.I. Joe. She offers up a fresh, unsparing appraisal of Reagan’s radical presidency. Ultimately, she shows us just how much we stand to lose by allowing the priorities of the national security state to overpower our political discourse. Sensible yet provocative, dead serious yet seri­ously funny, Drift will reinvigorate a “loud and jangly” political debate about how, when, and where to apply America’s strength and power–and who gets to make those decisions.
The book is rated 4.07/5 at goodreads.com, from 14648 ratings. See 1861 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1dzF8Lw.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sclNr0.

A current-affairs book recommendation: Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2daNHPh.
No traditional story could put forward the tritenesses that Foer reshuffles, folds, cuts into strips, seals in seven separate envelopes and then, astonishingly, makes whole, causing the audience to ooh and aah over notions that used to make it groan.
Book description from Google Books:
Jonathan Safran Foer emerged as one of the most original writers of his generation with his best-selling debut novel, Everything Is Illuminated. Now, with humor, tenderness, and awe, he confronts the traumas of our recent history. What he discovers is solace in that most human quality, imagination. Meet Oskar Schell, an inventor, Francophile, tambourine player, Shakespearean actor, jeweler, pacifist, correspondent with Stephen Hawking and Ringo Starr. He is nine years old. And he is on an urgent, secret search through the five boroughs of New York. His mission is to find the lock that fits a mysterious key belonging to his father, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11. An inspired innocent, Oskar is alternately endearing, exasperating, and hilarious as he careens from Central Park to Coney Island to Harlem on his search. Along the way he is always dreaming up inventions to keep those he loves safe from harm. What about a birdseed shirt to let you fly away? What if you could actually hear everyone’s heartbeat? His goal is hopeful, but the past speaks a loud warning in stories of those who’ve lost loved ones before. As Oskar roams New York, he encounters a motley assortment of humanity who are all survivors in their own way. He befriends a 103-year-old war reporter, a tour guide who never leaves the Empire State Building, and lovers enraptured or scorned. Ultimately, Oskar ends his journey where it began, at his father’s grave. But now he is accompanied by the silent stranger who has been renting the spare room of his grandmother’s apartment. They are there to dig up his father’s empty coffin.
The book is rated 3.97/5 at goodreads.com, from 315543 ratings. See 20996 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1Hkn41j.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2tqG7sV.

A current-affairs book recommendation: Drift by Rachel Maddow

A critic review (source NY Times) can be read at: http://nyti.ms/2d0GAGk.
Her narrative is so beguiling that a reader may overlook its weaknesses.
Book description from Google Books:
The #1 New York Times bestseller that charts America’s dangerous drift into a state of perpetual war. “One of my favorite ideas is, never to keep an unnecessary soldier,” Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1792. Neither Jefferson nor the other Found­ers could ever have envisioned the modern national security state, with its tens of thousands of “privateers”; its bloated Department of Homeland Security; its rust­ing nuclear weapons, ill-maintained and difficult to dismantle; and its strange fascination with an unproven counterinsurgency doctrine. Written with bracing wit and intelligence, Rachel Maddow’s Drift argues that we’ve drifted away from America’s original ideals and become a nation weirdly at peace with perpetual war, with all the financial and human costs that entails. To understand how we’ve arrived at such a dangerous place, Maddow takes us from the Vietnam War to today’s war in Afghanistan, along the way exploring the disturbing rise of executive authority, the gradual outsourcing of our war-making capabilities to private companies, the plummeting percentage of American families whose children fight our constant wars for us, and even the changing fortunes of G.I. Joe. She offers up a fresh, unsparing appraisal of Reagan’s radical presidency. Ultimately, she shows us just how much we stand to lose by allowing the priorities of the national security state to overpower our political discourse. Sensible yet provocative, dead serious yet seri­ously funny, Drift will reinvigorate a “loud and jangly” political debate about how, when, and where to apply America’s strength and power–and who gets to make those decisions.
The book is rated 4.07/5 at goodreads.com, from 14645 ratings. See 1861 reader reviews at: http://bit.ly/1dzF8Lw.
Buy it or see reader reviews on amazon.com at: http://amzn.to/2sclNr0.