Staff Selections

Terry

Ghosts of Empire
Kwasi Kwarteng

 

A Conservative MP of Ghanaian descent, Kwasi Kwarteg has an interesting perspective on the legacy of Empire. Through a series of studies (including Iraq, Nigeria, the Sudan and Burma), he examines the rather ad-hoc nature in which the British Empire was assembled and administered and the often unintended and unforeseen consequences of Britain’s imperial adventures. Each chapter is a mix of history, pen portraits of some the key people and analysis. The chapter on Iraq is surprisingly weak, while the one on the Sudan suffers from a too extensive foray into the life of Lord Kitchener, but over all it’s very solidly put together with well thought out arguments and perceptive analysis.

Tim

The Magicians
Lev Grossman

This book is for those readers who grew up with the Harry Potter books and are longing for something more, and for those readers who spent many hours with C. S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia and dreamed of finding a secret doorway into that magical land.  Lev Grossman (the book reviewer for Time magazine) has written a riveting novel of a group of students at a college of magic.  No wands, no owls. These coeds study magic -- and it's hard -- and participate in the typical aspects of collegiate life:  exams, drinking and relationships.  Graduation thrusts them into the real world, accomplished, brilliant, and terribly bored.  Until one member of the group finds an entry into the supposedly fictional world of Fillory, a land from a series of fantasy novels they all read as children.  A truly wonderful novel of the fantasy genre.  Very difficult to put down.