2010 Reading List (Michele’s Best of 2009)

Happy New Year!

Despite best intentions, I didn’t quite finish my annual best-of list in 2009 itself, but it’s still a great way to welcome the new year with a list of great reading and thinking material. So I’m dubbing my slightly late Best-of-2009 list the 2010 Reading List! (For the 2008 list click HERE.)

For those of you who are new to the list, every year I compile a selection of books, film and other creative work by my talented friends and colleagues. I hope that I’ve included everyone, but if you published something in 2009 that is not included here, please let me know. (If it’s my fault for forgetting, I beg forgiveness and promise to plug you–but if you didn’t tell me about it, how did that happen?)

The list started a few years back as a way to “pay forward” all of the support and help that friends gave in helping me publicize Lockout and Why the Cocks Fight. I wanted to make an extra effort to spread the word about their wonderful work. If any of the books on this list appeal to you, for your own reading or as a gift, please make a special effort to pick up a book at the bookstore or order it online. In these perilous times for publishing, authors need all the help we can get!

This year, I’d like to start with three projects to which I have particularly close connections. In fact, this best-of list is mentioned in one of the books on this year’s list — Nancy Ancowitz’s Self Promotion for Introverts: The Quiet Guide to Getting Ahead I’ve known Nancy for a few years now, since helping her to recruit tango dancers for her play “Hablo, Diablo.” Now I’m honored to have been one of the many introverts Nancy interviewed for this book, which is insightful, helpful, and really “gets” what it means to be an introvert. Nancy cites this annual “Best of” list as an example of how it’s often easier to promote our friends than it is to toot our own horns –but that good karma comes back to us. Here’s how the publisher describes Nancy’s book: “All too often, introverts get passed over for job offers and promotions while their more extroverted colleagues get all of the recognition. But it doesn’t have to be this way. In Self-Promotion for Introverts, business communication coach and intrepid introvert Nancy Ancowitz helps introverts tap into their quiet strengths, articulate their accomplishments, and launch an action plan for gaining career advancement. You will learn how to:

* Promote yourself without bragging— when networking, on job interviews, and at work

* Use your quiet gifts (writing, researching, and listening) to your advantage

* Be a commanding presenter, despite your quieter nature

* Formulate your best plans, set goals, take action— and even find a better job

* Featuring exclusive advice from Warren Buffett, Bill Clinton, Hearst Magazines president Cathie Black, and marketing guru Seth Godin, Self-Promotion for Introverts helps you progress inward, outward, and onward.”

David Coates and Peter Siavelis have edited an excellent new collection of essays, Getting Immigration Right: What Every American Needs to Know, based on the conference they organized at Wake Forest University in 2007, where I was one of the speakers. (I’ve contributed a chapter on changing global views of citizenship.) David and Peter did a fantastic job of putting together a diverse group of panelists from various fields, scholarly disciplines, and ideological perspectives. From the publisher: “The book’s wide-ranging and timely discussion includes legal and non-Mexican immigration. It sets the context of immigration before exploring the job experiences of illegal immigrants and their quest for the American dream. The contributors then focus on the causes and consequences—economic and social—of immigration, both legal and otherwise, and vividly describe the Latino experiences of illegality, including crossing the border and living in fear of deportation. In addition, the reform of immigration law is discussed from three distinct viewpoints: one conservative, one liberal, and one libertarian. The volume closes with its editors’ own proposals for comprehensive immigration reform. With a foreword by Alejandro Portes, a professor of sociology at Princeton University and author of Immigrant America: A Portrait.”

Dilip D’Souza. Roadrunner: An Indian Quest in America. I’m still waiting for word on when this will be published in the United States, but it came out from HarperCollins India in December 2009. One of Dilip’s U.S. stops was dog-obsessed New York City, where he walked with Nina and me to one of her many veterinarian appointments, which is described in his new book. From the publisher: “What do we learn when one great democracy looks at another? Alexis de Tocqueville’s seminal Democracy in America answered the question in the 1800s. Today, India is the world’s other great democracy, and maybe the answers are different. Through stories large and small, this book shows us America as refracted through the eyes of an Indian who is critical but not intolerant, understanding but not starry-eyed. From gawking at wall murals by German World War II POWs in Texas to getting to know the bikers for Christ at the annual bike carnival in Sturgis, from charting the history of immigrant Icelanders to driving a fire truck in a quiet mountain town, D’Souza travels American roads, discovering old cultures and new concerns in one of the most revered and reviled nations in the world today.”

As in past years, my talented friends and colleagues, both at the World Policy Institute and elsewhere, have been very busy producing an incredible body of novels, nonfiction, film, children’s books, and even a play. Many of them have been published in World Policy Journal (to which I encourage –nay, implore—you to subscribe.

Here is the rest of my “Best of 2009” list celebrating their work:

Edward Alden. The Closing of the American Border: Terrorism, Immigration, and Security Since 9/11 came out in paperback in 2009. “Edward Alden’s fascinating book tells the story, for the first time, of how the most open nation in the world began to close itself off. Evenhanded, fast-paced, and powerfully written, Alden’s book is based on a tremendous amount of original research and reporting that goes inside the corridors of power in Washington and far beyond. The picture that emerges is deeply disturbing: zeal-driven confusion and overreach, repeated disregard for the U.S. Constitution, and thousands of innocent people arbitrarily detained or jailed. This important book should be read by policymakers and ordinary Americans alike.” — Amy Chua, Professor of Law at Yale Law School and author of World on Fire

Shauna Singh Baldwin’s 2007 short story collection, We Are Not in Pakistan, was just released in India by Rupa Publications. Migrating from Central America to the American South, from Metro Toronto to the Ukraine, this book features an unforgettable cast of characters. In the title story, 16-year-old Megan hates her Pakistani grandmother — until Grandma disappears. In the enchanting magical realism of “Naina,” an Indo-Canadian woman is pregnant with a baby girl who refuses to be born. “The View from the Mountain” introduces Wilson Gonzales, who makes friends with his new American boss, the aptly named Ted Grand. But following 9/11, Ted’s suspicions cloud his judgment and threaten his friendship with Wilson. Each containing an entire world, these stories are marked by indelible images and unforgettable turns of phrase — hallmarks of Baldwin’s fictional world.

Rich Benjamin Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America. From the publisher: “Between 2007 and 2009, Rich Benjamin, a journalist-adventurer, packed his bags and embarked on a 26,909-mile journey throughout the heart of white America, to some of the fastest-growing and whitest locales in our nation. By 2042, whites will no longer be the American majority. As immigrant populations–largely people of color–increase in cities and suburbs, more and more whites are moving to small towns and exurban areas that are predominately, even extremely, white. Rich Benjamin calls these enclaves “Whitopias” (pronounced: “White-o-pias”). His journey to unlock the mysteries of Whitopias took him from a three-day white separatist retreat with links to Aryan Nations in North Idaho to the inner sanctum of George W. Bush’s White House–and many points in between. And to learn what makes Whitopias tick, and why and how they are growing, he lived in three of them (in Georgia, Idaho, and Utah) for several months apiece.”

Leonard Benardo and Jennifer Weiss. Citizen-in-Chief: The Second Lives of the American Presidents. “This well-researched, opinionated account does a fine job of filling a surprisingly empty historical niche.”—Publishers Weekly “Appealing to both general readers and history geeks.”— Kirkus Reviews “Benardo and Weiss tell a fascinating tale.”—Richard Cohen, columnist, Washington Post “A lively, insightful, and illuminating examination of an underexamined yet influential American institution: the postpresidency.”—Strobe Talbott, president, Brookings Institution  “This history of post-presidential lives deserves your vote.”— Author Magazine

Russ Baker Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years How did the deeply flawed George W. Bush ascend to the highest office in the nation, what forces abetted his rise, and—perhaps most important—have those forces really been vanquished by Obama’s election? Award-winning investigative journalist Russ Baker gives us the answers in Family of Secrets, a compelling and startling new take on the Bush dynasty and the shadowy elite that has quietly steered the American republic for the past half century and more. Baker shows how this network of figures in intelligence, the military, oil, and finance enabled—and in turn benefited handsomely from—the Bushes’ perch at the highest levels of government. As Baker reveals, this deeply entrenched elite remains in power regardless of who sits in the Oval Office. Family of Secrets offers countless disclosures that challenge the conventional accounts of such central events as the JFK assassination and Watergate. It includes an inside account of George W.’s cynical religious conversion and the untold real background to the disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina. Baker’s narrative is gripping, sobering, and deeply sourced. It will change the way we understand not just the Bush years, but a half century of postwar history—and the present.

Matthew Bishop and Michael Greene. Philanthrocapitalism: How Giving Can Save the World came out in paperback this past fall. From Buffett to Bono, how today’s leading philanthropists are revolutionizing the field, using new methods to have a vastly greater impact on the world. For philanthropists of the past, charity was often a matter of simply giving money away. For the philanthrocapitalists—the new generation of billionaires who are reshaping the way they give—it’s like business. Largely trained in the corporate world, these “social investors” are using big-business-style strategies and expecting results and accountability to match. In Philanthrocapitalism, Matthew Bishop and Michael Green examine this new movement and its implications. Proceeding from interviews with some of the most powerful people on the planet—including Gates, Bill Clinton, Warren Buffett, Oprah Winfrey, and Bono, among others—they show how a web of wealthy, motivated donors has set out to change the world

Alida Brill. Dancing at the River’s Edge: A Patient and Her Doctor Negotiate Life with Chronic Illness Alida was a fellow member of the 2008 Progressive Womens Voices program at the Women Media Center, and her outspokenness about her fight with chronic illness was inspiring. From the Publisher: An invaluable resource for medical professionals, victims of chronic illnesses, and their loved ones, this dual memoir by a doctor and his longtime patient traces the growth of their unique friendship over a span of decades. By exploring the bond between caregiver and sufferer, this sensitive account evokes not only the constant day to day frustrations and emotional toll suffered by the chronically ill, but also an understanding of the mental struggles and conflicts that a conscientious doctor must face in deciding how best to treat a patient without compromising personal freedoms. In alternating chapters, the narrative explores the frustration, joy, despair, grief, and pain on both sides of the doctor-patient relationship.

Alon Ben Meir. In his latest book, Lost Perspectives, WPI Senior Fellow and Middle East expert Alon Ben-Meir outlines his vision of inevitable coexistence in the form of a two-state solution.  Approaching the problem from a holistic, human security perspective, Dr. Ben-Meir argues that enough agreements and frameworks are already on the table to build peace. What is really needed to break the impasse is a renewed role for the international community, and above all courage, creativity and commitment from leaders on both sides.

Ian Bremmer and Preston Keat The Fat Tail: The Power of Political Knowledge for Strategic Investing In recent years, investors have learned the hard truth that in the international economy, politics often matters at least as much as economic fundamentals for the performance of global markets. Too many companies and investors haven’t yet learned to read the warning signs: their expertise lies much more in economics than politics, and the temptation is to hope that highly volatile situations such as the 2008 Georgia-Russia confrontation will be few and far between. But as WPI Senior Fellow Ian Bremmer and Preston Keat demonstrate, these scenarios–and their catastrophic effects on business–happen much more frequently than we imagine. On the curve that charts both the frequency of these events and the power of their impact, the ‘tail’ of extreme political instability is not reassuringly thin but dangerously fat.

David Coates’s The Thighs of Rose Tudor-Crump: An Everyday Story of University Folk has been written purely to make you laugh in these troubled times. Fans of Monty Python (or of the novels of Tom Sharpe) are particularly welcome! The title is deliberately bizarre, the front cover accidentally salacious. Being a novel about university folk, Thighs offers most of the people receiving this invitation something more than humor.

TJ English’s best-selling Havana Nocturne: How the Mob Owned Cuba and Then Lost It to the Revolution is now out in paperback. It’s a great true-crime story mixed with history with a bizarre anecdote about JFK, an orgy, and a two-way mirror. Need I say more?

Linda Dahl Vogl. Gringa in a Strange Land brings back the ‘counterculture’ of the early 70’s, an exhilarating and confusing time for so many young people then. Erica Mason, an American woman living in Mexico, is torn between working to become an artist and the lure of the drug culture. Set mostly in the colonial city of Merida in the Yucatan peninsula, the story then moves among Mayan ruins, laid-back beaches and the cities of Belize and Oaxaca. A host of bohemian expats and Mexicans, and the complex character of Mexico itself, infuse this portrait-of-the-artist-as-a-young-American, that culminates in an unexpected resolution.

Mark Danner. Stripping Bare the Body: Politics Violence War. For the past two decades, Mark Danner has reported from Latin America, Haiti, the Balkans, and the Middle East. His perceptive, award-winning dispatches have not only explored the real consequences of American engagement with the world, but also the relationship between political violence and power. In Stripping Bare the Body, Danner brings together his best reporting from the world’s most troubled regions—from the fall of the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti to the tumultuous rise of Aristide; from the onset of the Balkan Wars to the painful fragmentation of Yugoslavia; and finally to the disastrous invasion of Iraq and the radical, destructive legacy of the Bush administration.

Beth Fertig. Why Can’t U Teach Me 2 Read?: Three Students and A Mayor Put Our Schools to the Test. “Using the case studies of three impoverished students of Dominican descent . . . Fertig unearths some knotty issues affecting the scholastic success of inner-city students, such as English as a second language, family environment and, especially, misdiagnosis of learning disabilities such as dyslexia . . . An overall excellent, thoroughly grounding survey of the state of literacy and education.” —Publishers Weekly

Alyshia Galvez. Guadalupe in New York: Devotion and the Struggle for Citizenship Rights among Mexican Immigrants Every December 12th, thousands of Mexican immigrants gather for the mass at New York City’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe’s feast day. They kiss images of the Virgin, wait for a bishop’s blessing—and they also carry signs asking for immigration reform, much like political protestors. Alyshia Gálvez investigates this juxtaposition of religion and politics. Through rich ethnographic research that illuminates Catholicism as practiced by Mexicans in New York, Gálvez shows how Guadalupan devotion helps many undocumented immigrants are finding the will and vocabulary to demand rights, immigration reform, and respect.

Ned Sublette’s World that Made New Orleans was named the 2009 Book of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.  His new book, The Year Before the Flood: A Story of New Orleans, came out in August to more glowing reviews. From Publishers Weekly: “Musician, musicologist and longtime New York resident, Sublette revisits his Southern roots and recounts a 2004–2005 pre-Katrina research sojourn in New Orleans in this blunt, eloquently humane and musically astute memoir…. Sublette delves into some quintessential dynamics of modern American popular culture—including endemic racism and poverty as well as restive imagination and invention—through the prism of his childhood in virulently segregated, early rock ’n’ rolling Natchitoches, La., and the fraught but idiosyncratic culture he finds in pre-flood New Orleans.”

Zachary Karabell Superfusion: How China and America Became One Economy and Why the World’s Prosperity Depends on It. Zachary, a WPI board member, held a book-naming party so that his friends could help him brainstorm the title! Publishers Weekly Starred Review: “Karabell (A Visionary Nation) delivers a compelling brief on the unlikely convergence of the U.S. and Chinese economies. He begins with an introduction to China’s economic reforms in the post-Mao era and moves on to specific examples of how such American companies as KFC, Avon and Nike used this opportunity to reinvent their businesses to suit the world’s largest market. Karabell argues that China’s entry into the WTO laid the foundations of Chimerica—the symbiotic relationship between China and America that has largely escaped analysis because outmoded quantitative tools examine nation states as closed systems. He also illustrates why China as a low-cost producer is less important than China’s new role as avid consumer, why nonperforming loans have meant such different things in China and in the West and the possible causes of the interest rate conundrum that so puzzled Alan Greenspan.”

Patrick Radden Keefe The Snakehead: An Epic Tale of the Chinatown Underworld and the American Dream A mesmerizing narrative about the rise and fall of an unlikely international crime boss. In the 1980s, a wave of Chinese from Fujian province began arriving in America. Like other immigrant groups before them, they showed up with little money but with an intense work ethic and an unshakeable belief in the promise of the United States. Many of them lived in a world outside the law, working in a shadow economy overseen by the ruthless gangs that ruled the narrow streets of New York’s Chinatown. A middle-aged grandmother known as Sister Ping ran a full-service underground bank for illegal Chinese immigrants, but her real business—a business that earned an estimated $40 million—was smuggling people. As a “snakehead,” she built a complex—and often vicious—global conglomerate, relying heavily on familial ties, and employing one of Chinatown’s most violent gangs to protect her power and profits. In this gripping account, WPI Project Leader Patrick Radden Keefe describes how it took New York’s fabled “Jade Squad” and the FBI nearly ten years to untangle the criminal network and hone in on its unusual mastermind.

Parag Khanna. The paperback edition of The Second World was released with a new subtitle (“How Emerging Powers are Redefining Global Competition in the 21st Century”) and a new Preface. Since the hardcover publication, it has been called “A fascinating, colorful, and always intelligent tour through a new world” (Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek) and a “sweeping, often audacious survey of contemporary geopolitics [that] moves at lightening speed” (William Grimes, The New York Times).

Peter Marber. Seeing the Elephant: Understanding Globalization from Trunk to Tail. More countries depend on each other for trade, capital, and ideas than ever before. Yet politically, these countries are drifting further apart. In Seeing the Elephant, author and emerging markets expert Peter Marber –a WPI board member– describes how increasing economic integration and the rise of new actors is drastically altering the geopolitical landscape, and offers insights on how the US can maintain a leading role in the 21st century and beyond. In the era of globalization, America’s success hinges on the success of its neighbors, too. Seeing the Elephant demystifies globalization, and analyzes the megatrends and interconnections of the 21st century, with bold suggestions on how America can reassert its historic leadership in the new global arena.

David Marcus. Acceptance: A Legendary Guidance Counselor Helps Seven Kids Find the Right Colleges—And Find Themselves from Publishers Weekly: “The college application process is a time of major anxiety for high school seniors and their parents. Fortunately for all concerned (including administrators, teachers, and private coaches), Marcus, the Pulitzer Prize–winning education writer for U.S. News and World Report, has documented the year he spent at suburban Long Island’s Oyster Bay High School closely observing the rather unorthodox college counselor Gwyeth Smith and seven college-bound seniors.”

Anne Nelson. Red Orchestra: The Story of the Berlin Underground and the Circle of Friends Who Resisted Hitler Publishers Weekly: “In this inspiring account, noted journalist and playwright Nelson documents the wartime journey of Greta Kuckhoff, a young German, and her valiant colleagues who formed a potent resistance to the Hitler regime in its glory days. When Kuckhoff returned home from America in 1929 after university study, she joined with a band of young Communists, leftist Jews and other German antifascists to thwart the rise of Hitler at the risk of torture and death. Nelson explains in telling detail about the Nazis’ tight grip on power after the 1933 Reichstag fire, eliminating all political foes, including Jews and other non-Aryan types, yet the Kuckhoffs, Mildred and Avrid Harnack, and other members of the Red Orchestra (Rote Kapelle) fought fascist censorship, slid their people into Nazi ministries, helped Jews to flee and provided the Allies with vital information to aid the war effort.”

Nomi Prins It Takes a Pillage: Behind the Bailouts, Bonuses and Backroom Deals from Washington to Wall Street. When you’ve worked in management at firms like Goldman Sachs and Bear Stearns as Nomi has, you learn to take nothing at face value. To write It Takes a Pillage, she’s dug deep into the myths and lies of this great bank subsidy program, revealed Wall Street’s risky, bonus-besotted practices, probed into the Fed’s books, exposed the government’s collusive, enabling behavior, and examined the period in American history when public voice and logic made a difference. It Takes a Pillage sheds new light on the ways in which finance, politics and colossal egos congeal to become a total disaster at everyone else’s expense. Check out Nomi’s website: http://www.nomiprins.com.

Linda Tarr-Whelan. Women Lead the Way: Your Guide to Stepping Up to Leadership and Changing the World. This is the story of how and why women’s full participation in leadership matters is still seemingly a well-kept secret. To have the future we all want, women must play a more robust role in setting priorities and allocating resources. “Women Lead the Way” presents argument, research, and tactical guidance to help readers wedge the door open and bring more women through and up.

Jonathan Tasini. The Audacity of Greed: Free Markets, Corporate Thieves, and the Looting of America Publisher’s description: Over the past quarter century, we have lived through the greatest looting of wealth in human history. While billions of dollars streamed into the pockets of a few elites in the corporate and economic class, the vast majority of citizens have lived through a period of falling wages, disappearing pensions, and dwindling bank accounts—all of which lead to the personal debt crisis that lies at the root of the current financial meltdown. In The Audacity of Greed, Jonathan Tasini examines the reasons and exposes the people responsible for the looting of America—from Wall Street executives who funded their lavish lifestyles at the public’s expense to the politicians who let it happen—arguing that we need a cultural and philosophical revolution that punctures the fable of market fundamentalism and, by doing so, values the contributions made by ordinary Americans throughout the economy. Jonathan Tasini is executive director of the Labor Research Association. The longtime president of the National Writers Union, he was the lead plaintiff in Tasini vs. The New York Times, the landmark electronic rights case that took on the corporate media’s assault on the rights of freelance authors. In 2006 he ran against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for the US Senate in New York.

Martin Walker. Bruno, Chief of Police WPI Senior Fellow Martin Walker is not only an insightful political commentator, but also a fine novelist. From Publishers Weekly: “Policing in Chief Bruno Courrèges’s sun-dappled patch of Périgord involves protecting local fromages from E.U. hygiene inspectors, orchestrating village parades and enjoying the obligatory leisurely lunch—that is, until the brutal murder of an elderly Algerian immigrant instantly jolts Walker’s second novel (after The Caves of Périgord) from provincial cozy to timely whodunit. As a high-powered team of investigators, including a criminally attractive female inspector, invade sleepy St. Denis to forestall any anti-Arab violence, the amiable Bruno must begin regarding his neighbors—or should we say potential suspects—in a rather different light.”

Alan Wolfe –The Future of Liberalism A compelling and deeply felt exploration and defense of liberalism: what it actually is, why it is relevant today, and how it can help our society chart a forward course. The Future of Liberalism represents the culmination of four decades of thinking and writing about contemporary politics by WPI Distinguished Senior Fellow Alan Wolfe, one of America’s leading scholars. He analyzes and applauds liberalism’s capacious conception of human nature, belief that people outweigh ideology, passion for social justice, faith in reason and intellectual openness, and respect for individualism. And we see how the liberal tradition can influence and illuminate contemporary debates on immigration, abortion, executive power, religious freedom, and free speech. But Wolfe also makes it clear that before liberalism can be successfully applied to today’s problems, it needs to be recovered, understood, and embraced—not just by Americans but by all modern people—as the most beneficial way to live in our complex modern world.

Tom Zoellner’s Uranium: War, Energy and the Rock That Shaped the World is a global yarn that is equal parts travelogue, history and adventure story, as well as a gripping nonfiction portrait of the most powerful substance in the earth’s crust, one that will help define the shape of the world in the 21st century. Check out the bookstore links at www.tomzoellner.com and snag yourself a copy.

Paul Haven’s
The Seven Keys of Balabad (Random House), is an adventure set in a country very much like Afghanistan, with ancient carpets and secret brotherhoods and a dose of international intrigue, not to mention a really mean bad guy named Hugo Schleim. The main character is a homesick kid from New York – the son of a newspaper correspondent – who starts off hating the place, and ends up accepting and then loving a culture very different from his own. If you know an 8-to-12-year-old who might be interested, or if you are curious yourself, you can hopefully find the book at your local bookstore or online at Amazon … http://www.amazon.com/Seven-Keys-Balabad-Paul-Haven/dp/0375833501/wuckercom

Julia Alvarez. The Best Gift of All: The Legend of La Vieja Belen (also in Spanish as El major regalo del mundo: La leyenda de la Vieja Belen). (Alfaguara). Renowned Latina author Julia Alvarez recreates the legend of Dominican folk character ”La Vieja Belen” in this delightful bilingual rhyming story, beautifully illustrated by Dominican artist Ruddy Nunez. Alvarez’s retelling keeps the magic of the traditional account while contributing a down-to-earth, timely moral: ”Of all the gifts you can give, your time is the best gift.”

Clever Rachel by Debby Waldman and Cindy Revell. a new twist on an old folk tale, published by Orca. As with Debby’s first picture book, “A Sack Full of Feathers,” “Clever Rachel” is illustrated by Cindy Revell, set in the eastern European village of Olkinik in the 19th century, and uses humor to share an important lesson. It also features a lot of riddles.


My college friend, Louis Spiegler, co-produced the documentary “Living In Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders,” which is one of 15 films in the Documentary Feature category that will advance in the voting process for the 82nd Academy Awards®. The selection of the final five nominees will be announced on February 2, 2010. Directed by Mark Hopkins, (producer of George Butler’s “Going Up River; The Long War of John Kerry”), the film tells the story of four doctors in the organization and the sacrifices they’ve made personally and professionally to help bring medical care to places its needed most.

Devil Came on Horseback, the extraordinary documentary film on the genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, has been nominated for 3 Emmy Awards following its television presentation on the National Geographic Channel. The protagonist, former Marine Capt. Brian Steidle, brought the Darfur crisis to the attention of the world through a photo essay published in World Policy Journal.

My neighbor Teresa Cicala directed the play, “My Big Gay Italian Wedding” at the St George Theater in September. Here’s a video review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pQtOk1coGjc

My neighbor Peter Guttman, his wife Lori Greene and their son Chase put together a holiday photo extravaganza every year –several evenings in which they pack their friends into their apartment for a 90-minute slide show showing the highlights of Peter’s travel photography for the year, and a few selected shots from past years. Peter has just launched a groundbreaking iPhone/iPod Touch app available in the iTunes store http://bit.ly/61b42T. Three decades in the making, spanning all seven continents and 160 countries, Beautiful Planet is a savvy encyclopedia and joyous portrait of the world.  Peter, Lori and Chase would love you to become among the first to get the app.  And if you’d like Beautiful Planet updates, news, and to connect to a YouTube video to see it in operation, then become a Facebook fan at http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/Beautiful-Planet/201896435805?ref=ts

Also check out Peter’s book, Christmas in America: A Photographic Celebration of the Holiday Season.

1 thought on “2010 Reading List (Michele’s Best of 2009)

  1. Michele,
    Thank you for including me in your awesome list of recent
    books. As a fellow introvert, I am especially interested in
    your friend’s on the topic. All the best to you this year.

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