Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Book Club You Probably Don't Want to Join

Yesterday, Oprah Winfrey announced the 63rd choice in her on-air book club: Say You're One of Them, the acclaimed and harrowing book of stories by Uwem Akpan published last year. We currently have a few copies on hand at Accent on Books, and can order more if we sell out.

Meanwhile, a much less admired public figure has evidently issued his own recommended reading list. An audio recording purportedly by Osama Bin Laden appeared on the Web last week and, according to the New York Times, suggested three books for Americans to read that he said would help them better understand their own country. Although the information about the books was somewhat garbled the recommended titles seemed to be:

The Israel Lobby and U S Foreign Policy, by Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer. A highly controversial book whose thesis was that pro-Israel lobbies in the United States had a disproportionate -- and damaging -- influence on U S foreign policy.

Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, by Jimmy Carter. Obama simply called it the book by "your former President, Carter." Carter's analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict caused much controversy simply by his use of the word, "apartheid," in describing the situation.

Confessions of an Economic Hit Man, by John Perkins. This is the suggestion that Obama was most vague about, but he seems to have meant this memoir, by a man who has described all sorts of nefarious undertakings on behalf of the U S government. (The State Department insists the book is nonsense.)

In what the Times referred to as the "blurb from Hell," the reputed Bin Laden said, "After you read the suggested books, you will know the truth, and you will be greatly shocked by the scale of concealment that has been exercised on you." While we don't have any copies of these books on hand we could order them for you. So far at least, we have not had any requests from the mountainous region on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

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