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Readers' picks

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A Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, Kris Holloway, writes about her deep friendship with a local midwife in Monique and the Mango Rains: Two Years with a Midwife in Mali. This is one of the most sensitive tales of female friendship that I have ever read.
– Louise Cox, Windsor, Conn.

I am reading Shattering the Glass: The Remarkable History of Women's Basketball. The authors, Pamela Grundy and Susan Shackelford, tell the little-known story of the origins of women's basketball in 1892, on through the sport's popular position today. The book is also filled with poignant and inspiring individual stories of players and coaches.
– Lorelei de la Reza, Houston, Tex.

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The Templars by Piers Paul Read. One has only to substitute the term 'Western World' for 'Christian Europe' to reach a chilling conclusion as to why tensions between the Muslim world and the West have persisted for ten centuries. This book should have been required reading in the White House.
– David Borsheim, St. Paul, Minn.

I am reading Snow by Orhan Pamuk. It was recommended by a friend, who accurately described its evocative language and sense of nostalgia. I chose it because it offers a more humane image of Islam than what the media shows us. I can hear the silence on the snow-covered streets as the protagonist makes his spiritual and physical journey.
– Laura Creswell, Washington, D.C.

There is always a copy of one of Jane Austen's books on my bedside table (even though I practically have them all memorized).
– Julia Karr, Bloomington, Ind.

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