Reading From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odyssey, by Pascal Khoo Thwe. It's a memoir by a James Joyce-reading tribesman living in the throes of Burma's military dictatorship. You can't quite read the text on the cover, but the Chronicle notes, "The best memoir you will read this year."

The reader picked up this book because he's drawn to historical fiction. Recently he's read (the amusing and contemporary, but not historical) An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude, by Ann Vanderhoof and Infamous Scribblers: The Founding Fathers and the Rowdy Beginnings of American Journalism, by Eric Burns, who he said had a good interview on the Daily Show. Journalism, apparently, had a major role in kickstarting the American Revolution.

He's also been reading Edward Said's Orientalism...for the past year. Here's a review of the book where critic, Malcom Kerr, compares Said's efforts to a pro football player trying to be a competitive swimmer. He acknowledge's Said's talent as a writer, but believes this book just doesn't showcase it.

For some good poetry, the reader recommends Into the Fire, by Jack Gilbert.

A note to Shannon: the author whose name I was trying to remember was Caroline Paul and the book, East Wind, Rain. Also, is your mother's book online? And, I did find your friend's book, The Gentleman from Finland--it looks like a fun read. Thanks for sharing your table!