Starred Review

Frankenstein in Baghdad

by Ahmed Saadawi, trans. by Jonathan Wright

Baghdad during the 2003 U.S. occupation of Iraq is a city of soldiers, shortages and car bombings. Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, translated by Jonathan Wright, is a surreal, tragicomic look at people persevering through the random cruelty of war.

Hadi, a junk dealer, collects body parts after bombings and sews them together, creating a grotesque, human-like form. When his creation becomes sentient after prayers from a grieving mother, it takes on a mission to avenge those who caused the death of

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Black Ink: Literary Legends on the Perils, Power, and Pleasure of Reading and Writing

by Stephanie Stokes Oliver, editor

An expertly selected and edited sampler that features 25 of the best black writers to work in the U.S., Black Ink is also a chronological portrait of the conscious development of black literature in the U.S. by black writers, editors and critics. This is the third anthology by editor and writer Stephanie Stokes Oliver (Song for My Father), with an introduction by poet Nikki Giovanni.

Black Ink is the sort of book that opens doors to other books. Many of these pieces are tantalizing excerpts of longer works,

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Between the Lines

by Nikki Grimes

"We live in the same city, go to the same school, but each of us has a different story," a student observes. "What we have in common is trying to figure out how to tell it." Welcome back to Mr. Ward's English class, introduced in Nikki Grimes's Coretta Scott King-winning Bronx Masquerade (2002), where high school teens learn to harness everyday words to create poetry, community and even their very selves. In Between the Lines, referred to as a "companion novel" to Masquerade, Grimes (The Watcher; Chasing Freedom

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Shelf Discovery

The Wife

by Alafair Burke

An accusation of sexual harassment could force a woman to choose between defending her husband and protecting her own dark secrets.

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The Monk of Mokha

by Dave Eggers

Dave Eggers's The Monk of Mokha is the biography of one Yemeni American man building a flourishing coffee trade back in his ancestral country.

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May I Come In?

by Marsha Diane Arnold, illus. by Jennie Poh

Turned away from several friends' houses on a stormy night, Raccoon finally finds one friend who embodies the idea that "there's always room for a good friend."

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Media Heat

Thursday, February 15, 2018

KCRW's Bookworm: Víctor Terán and David Shook, editors of Like A New Sun: New Indigenous Mexican Poetry (Phoneme Media, $24, 9781939419262).

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Fresh Air: Finn Murphy, author of The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road (Norton, $26.95, 9780393608717).

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Fresh Air: Joshua Green, author of Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Nationalist Uprising (Penguin Books, $17, 9780735225046).

Monday, February 12, 2018

Fresh Air: Kate Bowler, author of Everything Happens for a Reason: And Other Lies I've Loved (Random House, $26, 9780399592065).

Thursday, February 8, 2018

KCRW's Bookworm: Matthew McIntosh, author of theMystery.doc (Grove Press, $35, 9780802124913).

NPR's On Point: F. Diane Barth, author of I Know How You Feel: The Joy and Heartbreak of Friendship in Women's Lives (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27, 9780544870277).
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