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Martine’s Must Reads April 2021

Martine’s Must-Reads for April

1- Bombs, Bullets, and the Tank at the Office: Protecting America on Diplomacy’s Front Lines By Carol Stricker

Carol Stricker shares stories from her distinguished career over 25 years with the U.S. Department of State. From Angola to Zimbabwe and often in harm’s way, she kept embassies running, ran an embassy as acting ambassador, and helped on such diverse issues as eliminating thousands of nuclear weapons in Ukraine and working to stop genocide in Burundi.

With a dash of humor, a dose of history and some lessons for today, Ms. Stricker recounts her globe-spanning adventures as a diplomat protecting America’s strategic interests and American citizens abroad. 

She ends with a call to action to all Americans to support and defend democracy and diplomacy and to honor those diplomats who have died in service to their country.

This is a great book from one of AAFSW’s long time and hard working volunteers. If you are new to the Foreign Service or about to join the diplomatic world, then this is a perfect book for you. 

2-Ticking Clock: Behind the Scenes at 60 Minutes By Ira Rosen

When producer Ira Rosen walked into the 60 Minutes offices in June 1980, he knew he was about to enter television history. His career catapulted him to the heights of TV journalism, breaking some of the most important stories in TV news. But behind the scenes was a war room of clashing producers, anchors, and the most formidable 60 Minutes figure: legendary correspondent Mike Wallace.

Based on decades of access and experience, Ira Rosen takes readers behind closed doors to offer an incisive look at the show that invented TV investigative journalism. With surprising humor, charm, and an eye for colorful detail, Rosen delivers an authoritative account of the unforgettable personalities that battled for prestige, credit, and the desire to scoop everyone else in the game. As Mike Wallace’s top producer, Rosen reveals the interview secrets that made Wallace’s work legendary, and the flaring temper that made him infamous. Later, as senior producer of ABC News Primetime Live and 20/20, Rosen exposes the competitive environment among famous colleagues like Diane Sawyer and Barbara Walters, and the power plays between correspondents Chris Wallace, Anderson Cooper, and Chris Cuomo. 

Recommended by our great AAFSW volunteer Carol Sparhawk.

3- The Women of the Bible Speak: The Wisdom of 16 Women and Their Lessons for Today By Shannon Bream 

People unfamiliar with Scripture often assume that women play a small, secondary role in the Bible. But in fact, they were central figures in numerous Biblical tales. It was Queen Esther’s bravery at a vital point in history which saved her entire people. The Bible contains warriors like Jael, judges like Deborah, and prophets like Miriam. The first person to witness Jesus’ resurrection was Mary Magdalene, who promptly became the first Christian evangelist, eager to share the news which would change the world forever.

In this book, Fox News Channel’s Shannon Bream opens up the lives of sixteen of these Biblical women, arranging them into pairs and contrasting their journeys. In pairing their stories, Shannon helps us reflect not only on the meaning of each individual’s life, but on how they relate to each other and to us.

I like this book and I think if you choose to read it you will enjoy it: it is very educational. 

4-The Book Thief By Markus Zusak

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist – books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.  

This is a great young readers book and adults will also enjoy it. 

5- Easy Brain Exercises for Adults: 100 Puzzles, Memory Games, Math Riddles, and Other Activities on House, Pets, and Backyard By Loyal Sheep Publishing 

This book is a brain activity book — but not a basic one. It contains ten types of easy activities in 10 different chapters (100 activities in total) to help stimulate your memory and not leave you feeling bored or discouraged.

It not only contains puzzles, like word searches and sudoku, but also write-in activities that require brainstorming like math riddles, mazes, and coloring pages! You can see examples on the back cover.

Most activities revolve around house, pets, and backyard topics, which makes this book easy going and fun and at the same time could help you recall and cherish some great memories. 

I recommend this fun book that I think anyone can benefit from because we are all spending more time at home these days, with the COVID-19 pandemic, and we want to stay active — not just physically, but also mentally.