In 1839, Great Britain and Russia were playing the world map like a chessboard — and for no reason other than geography, Afghanistan got caught in the middle. In Return of a King, historian William Dalrymple tells the story of Britain's calamitous invasion.
The best-selling author and humorist has kept journals for 36 years. Those diaries have been the jumping-off point for the personal essays that appear in his collections, including Me Talk Pretty One Day and now Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls.
Ken Kalfus' new novel about an astronomer obsessed with attracting the attention of Martians appears at first to be an homage to the scientific romances of H.G. Wells and the lost-world sagas of H. Rider Haggard. As the novel develops, however, its unique social commentaries emerge.
Once people figured out how to roast the seeds of the Coffea plant in the 1400s, coffee took over the world. In doing so, it fueled creativity, revolutions, new business ventures, literature, music — and slavery.
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