Monday, August 18, 2008

Books books books!

Maria Putzer

One of the best things about being a Here on Earth producer is the incredible amount of books we get to review. Some of my favorites include:

Back in Time: Echoes of a Vanished America in the Heart of France - Kent Cowgill
Our show with Kent in January 2008

This is a wonderful, difficult to describe book that chronicles the author's travels through France shortly after the 2004 election. If you want to understand the French, this book is a good place to start. After reading it, it made me want to go to France more than I already do - quite a feat, considering that I've wanted to go to France at the age of 12. It's a bit difficult to find online, as it's published by a French company, but here it is on the Barnes and Noble website:
Back in Time, Kent Cowgill, Book

The Wisdom of Whores: Bureaucrats, Brothels, and the Business of AIDS - Elizabeth Pisani
Our show with Elizabeth in July 2008

Elizabeth Pisani has a great deal of excitement and enthusiasm for her topic, something that clearly comes through in her book. This is, by far, the most readable book about AIDS that I have ever read and her arguments are simple, clear, and make a heck of a lot of sense. Period. She also has a blog at www.wisdom of where she dishes on sex, drugs, and AIDS. Here's a link to the book on
The Wisdom of Whores, Elizabeth Pisani, Book

Girls of Riyadh (بنات الرياض binaat al-riyadh) - Rajaa Alsanea
We're working on getting Rajaa on the show - look for her either later this week or in early September!

Girls of Riyadh began as a weekly e-mail after Friday prayers to the members of an e-mail group. These e-mails tell the stories of four female university students - their love lives, their studies and jobs, their rebellions against the strictness of Saudi society. When it was published in Arabic in 2005, it was the source of controversy for many and revelation for many more. Some have described as Sex and the City, but set in Riyadh. I think that description is true - it's a very quick and juicy read and I bet you'll find more similarities than differences with the girls. (It probably helps that I'm a female university student as well...)
Here's the book on
Girls of Riyadh, Rajaa Alsanea, Book

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