One of the most fascinating and mysterious literary phenomena is the process by which one author, Shakespeare, Pushkin, Dante, or in this case, Hafez, comes to loom so high above all their talented and successful contemporaries. Most poetry lovers outside of Iran will not recognize the names of any of Hafez’s rivals and colleagues, and would be surprised to learn that they once enjoyed reputations equal to his.

Arrivals & Departures: Journeys in Poems, Reena Kapoor (August 2020)
Arrivals & Departures: Journeys in Poems, Reena Kapoor (August 2020)

Arrivals & Departures is Reena Kapoor’s debut poetry collection. This anthology takes readers on a journey through a multitude of places, time periods, and emotions, including the nostalgia of one’s homeland, the suffering and resilience of women who experienced India and Pakistan’s 1947 Partition, parenthood, and life’s other simple pleasure. Kapoor draws readers into new worlds with her words and allows them to find themselves within.

Sophia Chang is one of the most influential managers and producers in hip-hop music, yet few would recognize her name. The daughter of Korean immigrants, Chang grew up in an academic family in Vancouver. How did someone with such a presumably pre-determined path end up in New York’s hip-hop scene (and why have many of us remained oblivious of her until now)? Chang hints at part of the answer in the title of  her new memoir, The Baddest Bitch in the Room.

“Decoupling” is the international relations word-of-the-day. American politicians have long criticized the massive trade deficit between the United States and China, but pandemic-driven disruptions to supply chains and deepening tensions between Beijing and Washington have now encouraged policies to start rolling back the links between the two economies. And it’s not just the United States: Europe, Japan, and Taiwan have all mooted policies to reduce their reliance on Chinese manufacturing.

On the first page of Return to Sri Lanka, Razeen Sally endearingly describes himself as a wonk, ie a technocrat. A political economist and policy advisor on international trade, his writing normally appears in academic journals; this is his first attempt to write something more personal. He was born and grew up in Sri Lanka, but as an adult he lost touch with the country. This book is a personal rediscovery and an exhaustive look at the history and culture of the island.