FPI is gearing up for lots of interrupting in 2017. To kickstart the exciting year ahead, let’s change the ratio on your [electronic] bookshelf. Below is a compilation of some biblio-brainfood served up by women this year. As always, holler with recommendations!


Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh muslim-girl-9781501159503_lg

“It is a blunt observation, reflective of the potent message she delivers to her readers, a skillful unraveling of the myth of the submissive Muslim woman and a timely introduction to those other, very American and largely unheard 9/11 kids who bear the destructive burden of that one day, every day.” —The New York Times Book Review


The Cosmopolites: The Coming of the Global Citizen by Atossa Araxia Abrahamian screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-03-16-am
“Writing with pace and passion, Abrahamian, an opinion editor at Al Jazeera America, weaves together her narratives with considerable journalistic flair. She intertwines [her narratives with] the ancient idea of cosmopolitan citizenship and its idealistic modern advocates. She sees the growing market in citizenship as the corruption and commercialization of this idea by a global business elite.”
—Richard Bellamy, The New York Times Book Review


screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-04-35-amNorth Korea’s Hidden Revolution: How the Information Underground is Transforming a Closed Society by Jieun Baek
“Drawing on deeply personal and thoughtful interviews with North Korean defectors from all walks of life, Jieun Baek’s North Korea’s Hidden Revolution sheds invaluable light on North Korea’s information underground. It is a fascinating, important, and vivid account of how unofficial information is increasingly seeping into the North and chipping away at the regime’s myths–and hence its control of North Korean society.” — Sue Mi Terry, former CIA analyst and senior research scholar at the Weatherhead East Asia Institute, Columbia University



Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North by Blair Braverman 

“Her descriptions of the natural world are arresting, and powerfully convey her conviction that ‘how to be cold’ means ‘how to live.’” — The New Yorker



Aim High in Creation: A One-Of-A-Kind Journey Inside North Korea’s Propaganda Machine by Anna Broinowski

“An ingenious method of penetrating the most isolated country in the world allows an Australian filmmaker access to what proves to be a surprisingly sympathetic North Korean soul . . . Startling . . . Experiencing North Korean ‘method acting’ in the most visceral way.” —Kirkusscreen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-10-34-am


How Everything Became War and the Military Became Everything by Rosa Brooks

“A dynamic work of reportage, punctuated by savory details… It delights. The author is a chipper field guild and canny ethnographer, writing with refreshing honesty about the folk ways of the Department of Defense, which often confound outsiders… Illuminating.”  – The New York Times


screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-13-34-amThe Fires of Spring: A Post-Arab Spring Journey Through the Turbulent New Middle East by Shelly Culberston

“[A] comprehensive and probing analysis of the Arab Spring’s impact… A book rich in invaluable information about both current conditions and possible future trends in Middle Eastern life and politics.” – Booklist


The Morning They Came For Us: Dispatches From Syria by Janine di Giovanni screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-14-50-am

“Di Giovanni’s work, informed by her extensive experience as a journalist, shows a keen ability to capture violent conflicts from multiple sides…This book, haunted by the international failure to intervene effectively, gives readers an on-the-ground experience of the devastating seasons that followed the promise of the Arab Spring…[Di Giovanni] makes its reality fully tangible and tragic.” -Publishers Weekly 



Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran by Shirin Ebadi

“[Shirin] Ebadi recounts the cycle of sinister assaults she faced after she won the Nobel Prize in 2003. Her new memoir, written as a novel-like narrative, captures the precariousness of her situation and her determination to ‘stand firm.’”—The Washington Post


One Child: The Past and Future of China’s Most Radical Experiment by Mei Fong

“Fong’s fine book is a moving and at times harrowing account of the significance of decisions taken by a small coterie of men with too much faith in science and ideology, and too little in humanity.” — Guardian


screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-19-44-amPutin Country: A Journey Into the Real Russia by Anne Garrels 

“Quiet but excellent . . . [Garrels’s] clear, patient, sympathetic portraits of teachers, children, prostitutes, doctors―the whole raft of Russian humanity―provide a pointillist landscape and an understanding of the country, and its mentalities, that eludes many more overtly political books.” ―The New Yorker


Where the Jews Aren’t: The Sad and Absurd Story of Birobidzhan, Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region by Masha Gessen screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-20-27-am

“Gessen has the subtlety, honesty and tragic sensibility necessary to take a period and a society that are dripping in cruel irony, and to tell her stories with great affect, without being treacly or preachy.” —Haaretz


screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-22-13-amCapital and the Common Good by Georgia Levenson Keohane

Surveying the successes and missteps of these efforts, Keohane argues that innovative finance is as much about incentives and sound decision making as it is about money. When it works, innovative finance gives us the tools, motivation, and security to invest in our shared future.


Cast Away: True Stories of Survival From Europe’s Refugee Crisis by Charlotte McDonald-Gibson screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-23-42-am

“Galvanizing and deeply compassionate.”
—O Magazine



screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-24-21-amThis Brave New World: India, China and The United States by Anja Manuel

“Incisive…lively and accessible…Manuel shows us that an optimistic path is possible: we can bring China and India along as partners.” —San Francisco Chronicle


True Believer: Stalin’s Last American Spy by Kati Marton screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-25-36-am

“Riveting reading…a mesmerizing look at Cold War espionage.” —USA TODAY


screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-26-20-amHero of the Empire: The Boer War, a Daring Escape, and the Making of Winston Churchill by Candice Millard

“A thrilling account…This book is an awesome nail-biter and top-notch character study rolled into one…Could someone be persuaded to make a movie about this episode of his life? I’d watch.”
—New York Times Critic Jennifer Senior’s Top Ten Books of 2016


The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life by Anu Partanen screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-27-39-am

“…meticulously researched. [Partanen] offers a clear, informative, fact-filled survey of the differences between American and Nordic childcare, health care, education, elder care and taxation arrangements. It could be a game-changer in national conversations about the roles that governments should play in their citizens’ lives.” (Seattle Times)


screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-28-43-amBlack Square: Adventures in Post-Soviet Ukraine by Sophie Pinkham
“Black Square is as elegant, suggestive, ominous, beautiful, and deceptively simple as, well, a black square. Perhaps the only thing more impressive than the sheer number and diversity of people Sophie Pinkham has spoken to is how deftly she has woven their stories into a single compulsively readable narrative.” (Elif Batuman)


The Crime of All Crimes: Toward a Criminology of Genocide by Nicole Rafter screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-29-35-am

“In The Crime of all Crimes, Nicole Rafter brings a criminologist’s eye to bear on the topic of genocide. She seeks to unsettle old ways of thinking about genocide even as, through a comparison of eight cases, she offers a new framework for analysis, one that links to the issue of prevention. Her criminological insights are sure to be of interest to those working in the field of genocide studies.”-Alex Laban Hinton,author of Why Did They Kill? Cambodia in the Shadow of Genocide


screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-30-42-amWater in Plain Sight: Hope for a Thirsty World by Judith D. Schwartz

“Inspiring…We are accustomed to thinking of water as nourishing life, but Schwartz is focused upon the converse phenomenon: the ways in which life promotes water.” ―Pacific Standard


Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran by Laura Secorscreen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-31-34-am

“A vibrant panorama of contemporary Iran that doubles as a thorough intellectual and political history of the country’s past four decades…highly accessible.” —Foreign Affairs



screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-32-45-amEnd of Karma by Somini Sengupta

“[A] sharply observed study…richly detailed portraits….What separates the book from the musings of so many other foreign correspondents is the lens through which Sengupta sees the country: that of a mother.” (Economist)


To the Secretary: Leaked Embassy Cables and America’s Foreign Policy Disconnect by Mary Thompson-Jones screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-34-22-am

“For students of diplomacy, and also for diplomats themselves, the WikiLeaks documents including reports from U.S. foreign service officers was a fortunate revelation. Whatever the embarrassment they caused, they demonstrate, as Mary Thompson-Jones masterfully shows in her expert and fair analysis, why American foreign policy should be, but too often is not, shaped by the perspectives, knowledge, and perceptions of experienced diplomats in the field.” (Alan K. Henrikson, director of diplomatic studies, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University)


screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-35-48-amAll the Single LadiesUnmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation by Rebecca Traister

“The enormous accomplishment of Traister’s book is to show that the ranks of women electing for nontraditional lives…have also improved the lots of women who make traditional choices…This rich portrait of our most quietly explosive social force makes it clear that the ladies still have plenty of work to do.”

— Slate



We Are Not Such Things: The Murder of a Young American, a South African Township, and the Search for Truth and Reconciliation by Justine van der Leun screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-36-50-am

“Compelling . . . [van der Leun] has a resident’s wry familiarity with the jangling contradictions of a country in which shopping malls sit side by side with shantytowns, while retaining an outsider’s unsentimental perspective on its ongoing racial tensions, and a bracing scepticism about the rhetoric of liberation. [Her] hard-nosed reconstruction of an alternative narrative . . . raises troubling, and still pertinent, questions about the deals that sometimes have to be struck by former enemies when faced with the exigencies of nation-building.”—The Guardian 


screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-12-37-45-amExcellent Daughters: The Secret Lives of Women Who Are Transforming the Arab World by Katherine Zoepf
“Chilling…[Excellent Daughters] is like a “Lonely Planet” guide to the dark underbelly of the purity culture of Muslim societies…[It] exposes the tragic dynamics of power and control that lay siege to the bodies, minds and souls of women and girls through inherited rules of patriarchy, tribalism and morality. ” – The Wall Street Journal


Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace by Jessica Bennett screen-shot-2017-01-06-at-10-40-15-am

“Jessica Bennett’s Feminist Fight Club is engaging, hilarious and practical – full of simple tools for battling workplace sexism that every woman should have at her disposal. Jessica is a unique voice-and I will proudly proclaim myself a card-carrying member of the FFC.” (Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of New York Times bestseller Lean In