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Exams are over (obligatory sighs of relief), grades are posted—mostly. Now for a little R&R, with random book recommendations from the “book-a-day” calendar, now reaching its final pages.

1.    The Progress Paradox, by Gregg Easterbrook—according to Easterbrook, life really is better than in the so-called good-old-days, so why is everyone so gloomy?  Read this and cheer up! Probably a brilliant example of how to lie with statistics, but bound to be thought-provoking.

2.   Crimes Against Logic, by Jamie Whyte—since my colleagues and I spent a significant portion of the semester attempting to instill “critical thinking” skills in our students, and since the 2008 election year seems to be already half over, one could hardly do better than do arm oneself with this book that “exposes all the faulty reasoning and double-talk [of] politicians, talk-show hosts, newspaper columnists,” etc.

3.    The Arabian Nights: Tales from A Thousand and One Nights, tr. Sir Richard Francis Burton—the hidden intricacies of this ancient collection were a revelation to those in my World Literature course who investigated beyond the familiar movie or Disney versions. Burton popularized these tales in the West.

4. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini—this coming-of-age tale set in Afghanistan and  American is soon to be a major motion picture, so read the book first. And then read A Thousand Splendid Suns, by the same author, to gain a deeper perspective on life in Afghanistan under the Taliban.

5.     The Shop on Blossom Street, by Debbie Macomber—something for everyone, and this book particularly made me think of  my cousin’s wife, who knits. I wish I had some skills like that, but despite my mother and my aunt trying to teach me, nothing seems to have stuck with me. Sad, really. But that’s one thing books are for.

Off to take the cat to the vet!