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THE CONTRACT

One of our recommended books for 2019 is The Contract by Sheila Grinell

A hard-driving designer seeks acclaim by developing a museum in Saudi Arabia only to discover the project’s real value is not what she imagined.

Joanna and Ev have been partners for ten years—in business and in love—when one of the only women in government in the Middle East invites them to design a children’s museum in Riyadh. Jo sees a chance to solidify her name in the design world in the venture. Her husband, however, has no desire to work in a vigorously policed society; he prefers to remain in his workshop, fashioning gadgets for museum displays. But Ev accedes to Jo’s wishes.

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RUNNING ON THE ROOF OF THE WORLD

One of our recommended books for 2019 is Running on the Roof of the World by Jess Butterworth

A story of adventure, survival, courage, and hope, set in the vivid Himalayan landscape of Tibet and India.

Tash lives in Tibet, where as a practicing Buddhist she must follow many rules to avoid the wrath of the occupying Chinese soldiers. Life remains peaceful as long as Tash, her family, and their community hide their religion and don’t mention its leader, the Dalai Lama.

The quiet is ruptured when a man publicly sets himself on fire to protest the occupation. In the crackdown that follows, soldiers break into Tash’s house and seize her parents. Tash barely escapes,

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THE COLONEL’S WIFE

One of our recommended books for 2019 is The Colonel's Wife by Rosa Liksom

In the final twilit moments of her life, an elderly woman looks back on her years in the thrall of fascism and Nazism. Both her authoritarian tendencies and her ecstatic engagement with the natural world are vividly and terrifyingly evoked in The Colonel’s Wife, an astonishing and brave novel that resonates painfully with our own strained political moment.

At once complex and hideous, sexually liberated and sympathetic to the darkest of political movements, the narrator describes her childhood as the daughter of a member of the right-wing Finnish Whites before World War II, and the way she became involved with and eventually married the much older Colonel,

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SPACE INVADERS

One of our recommended books for 2019 is Space Invaders by Nona Fernandez

Space Invaders is the story of a group of childhood friends who, in adulthood, are preoccupied by uneasy memories and visions of their classmate Estrella González Jepsen. In their dreams, they catch glimpses of Estrella’s braids, hear echoes of her voice, and read old letters that eventually, mysteriously, stopped arriving. They recall regimented school assemblies, nationalistic class performances, and a trip to the beach. Soon it becomes clear that Estrella’s father was a ranking government officer implicated in the violent crimes of the Pinochet regime, and the question of what became of her after she left school haunts her erstwhile friends.

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DOMINICANA

One of our recommended books for 2019 is Dominicana by Angie Cruz

Fifteen-year-old Ana Cancion never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she has to say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable,

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GOODBYE, MY HAVANA

One of our recommended books for 2019 is Goodbye, My Havana by Anna Veltfort

Set against a backdrop of world-changing events during the headiest years of the Cuban Revolution, Goodbye, My Havana follows Anna Veltfort’s young alter ego Connie as her once relatively privileged life among a community of anti-imperialist expatriates turns to progressive disillusionment and heartbreak. The consolidation of Castro’s position brings violence, cruelty, and betrayal to Connie’s doorstep. And the crackdown that ultimately forces her family and others to flee for their lives includes homosexuals among its targets—Connie’s coming-of-age story is one also about the dangers of coming out. Looking back with a mixture of hardheaded clarity and tenderness at her alter ego and a forgotten era,

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