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This Week's Hot Reads

This week: an award-winning foreign correspondent looks for new allies in the Middle East, a self-published coming-of-age novel is rereleased, a short-story collection by the great Deborah Eisenberg, an investigative reporter tackles the murder of a Tibetan nun, and the first biography of the author of Lord of the Flies.

06.18.10 7:38 PM ET

Reset: Iran, Turkey and America’s Future
by Stephen Kinzer

A new book says America’s natural allies in the Middle East are Turkey and Iran.

An award-winning foreign correspondent—and Daily Beast contributor—Stephen Kinzer tackles the U.S.’s constant search for allies in the Middle East to come up with a bold question: Should our allies be Iran and Turkey? In Reset, Kinzer argues these two nations are the only ones in the region where democracy is deeply rooted in the national psyche, and they can form a “power triangle” with the U.S. with similar strategic interests, including a stable Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Kinzer also calls for the U.S. to reconsider its relationship with its two current biggest allies in the region: Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Anthropology of an American Girl. By Hilary Thayer Hamann. 624 pages. Spiegel & Grau. $26.

Anthropology of an American Girl
by Hilary Thayer Hamann

Set in the tony Hamptons and 1980s NYC, this novel is a coming-of-age tale that has been a cult hit.

Hilary Thayer Hamann self-published her first novel, Anthropology of an American Girl, because she wanted to have control over her own work, and the 600-plus page epic is proof she was right to do so. After the first publication in 2003, the coming-of-age novel became a cult hit and won rave reviews, with Publishers Weekly saying “if publishers could find a way to turn crack into a book, it’d read a lot like this.” The novel follows Eveline through her adolescence in 1970s East Hampton and then her twenties in 1980s Manhattan, as she attempts to find her own place in the world. The Observer put the book on its “very short list” and declared it “sparkling. Well-crafted and beautifully written."

The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg. By Deborah Eisenberg. 992 pages. Picador. $22.

The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg
by Deborah Eisenberg

One of the best short-story writers around, Deborah Eisenberg releases the definitive, must-have collection of her work.

Deborah Eisenberg has written “exquisitely distilled short stories” that “present an unusually distinctive portrait of contemporary American life,” according to the MacArthur Foundation, which awarded her a “genius grant” last year. With four previous short-story collections, she now has brought together all her work into one massive collection, covering all her stories from 1986 to the present. The San Francisco Chronicle calls her “one of America’s finest writers … light-years ahead of most short-story writers.”

Murder in the High Himalaya: Loyalty, Tragedy and Escape from Tibet. By Jonathan Green. 304 pages. PublicAffairs. $26.95.

Murder in the High Himalaya: Loyalty, Tragedy and Escape From Tibet
by Jonathan Green

A thrilling investigation into the 2006 murder of a Tibetan nun who tried to flee to India, witnessed by her best friend.

Investigative journalist Jonathan Green spent three years tracking down what happened to 17-year-old Kelsang Namtso, a Tibetan nun who was killed by Chinese border guards while she attempted to flee to India, and the result of his findings are brilliantly told in Murder in the High Himalaya: Loyalty, Tragedy and Escape From Tibet. This captivating account follows Namtso on her journey with her best friend through a secret glacial path that is well-known to elite mountaineers, but forbidden for refugees fleeing China. Her murder by the Chinese border guards was caught on film by Western climbers, but they were faced with the question: Should they report the murder and never be allowed to climb in China again? Some risked talking to Green, who was partially funded by the Fund for Investigative Journalism and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

William Golding: The Man Who Wrote Lord of the Flies. By John Carey. 573 pages. Free Press. $32.50.

William Golding: The Man Who Wrote Lord of the Flies
by John Carey

Who is the man behind the classic Lord of the Flies? One critic examined 5,000 pages of Golding’s diaries to find out more about the man who had never had a comprehensive biography until now.

Lord of the Flies is one of the most read novels of the 20th century and its author won the Nobel Prize, but little has been known about him until now. Noted critic and former Oxford professor John Carey examined over 5,000 pages of Golding’s diaries and wrote this comprehensive portrait of the reclusive and talented author. Filled with revealing detail about his private life and work, William Golding was hailed in The Spectator as a “thorough and considered life” that will make readers reconsider his unjustifiably overlooked novels.

Plus: Check out Book Beast, for more news on hot titles and authors and excerpts from the latest books.