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Hump day recommendations August 8th, 2023

Read: The Black Sea: A History.” The Ukraine war, which now includes growing threats to Ukrainian, Russian, and other vessels in the Black Sea, reminds us just how many times this turbulent body of water has become center stage for consequential moments in history. Charles King’s engaging book, published in 2005, guides us through centuries of conflict, destruction, and progress. Bonus: His history of the city of Odesa is also a fascinating and entertaining read. – Willis

Read: Questions of Iron & Blood,” by Chip Brewer. This thrilling mystery is perfect for the beach or the long train ride to get there. The book is a revisionist history of the Boston Marathon bombing, and I recommend it to anyone who’s ever wished they were a private investigator, connecting the clues on the wall with red string before it’s too late. – Riley

Read: The Snakehead.” Like everything Patrick Radden Keefe writes, this is a work of historical nonfiction that reads like a suspenseful, far-fetched novel. This deep dive by PRK – a longtime writer for The New Yorker – into the human-trafficking trade that brought a huge number of Chinese migrants to America in the 1980s and 1990s, gives great insight into those who smuggle people for a living and those desperate enough to make the perilous journey to the US by sea. – Gabrielle

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