Article by Jeremy


This festival serves as an opportunity for people to visit their families and honor their elders, but it also has a mischievous element that makes it a popular attraction for tourists, despite its taking place during the hottest part of the year. Throwing water on friends, family, and even strangers is a common tradition during this time. The water is supposed to bring good luck and karmic cleansing to the soaked, and also provides welcome relief from the relentless sun. Songkran is also a popular time for the Thai to make resolutions and give their houses a thorough cleaning, much like New Years in the US.

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Wave Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307962690
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf - March 5th, 2013

This beautiful and affecting memoir was written by a woman who lost her entire family in the 2004 South Asian tsunami. Despite the grim subject matter, the book is said to be inspiring and uplifting, and the writing is spare and lovely. Give this one to people who specifically mention enjoying memoirs. It certainly wouldn't be appropriate for people who seem to only want to read 'happy' books but I think the people who do read it will enjoy it.

The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans Cover Image
ISBN: 9780674059870
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Harvard University Press - March 1st, 2012

This title is a bit older than the others on the list but I think its semi-regional appeal and fascinating story will make it a hit. This is the history of the founding of New Orleans, from prehistoric times to Louisiana statehood. The book's thesis is that New Orleans has never been a perfect city but its citizens have improvised it from the ground up, making it unlike any other town. Perfect for history buffs and people who don't mind digging into something a little bit meatier.

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594487293
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Riverhead Books - March 5th, 2013

Here's the fiction title on this rotation. This is the story of a young poor Pakistani man who makes it rich by commodifying the most precious resource around: water. Hence the cover. Mohsin Hamid writes about Middle Eastern experience like no one else - his writing is edgy and smart and gets deep into topics that challenge American assumptions about this part of the world. The book is written in a fast paced second person in the style of the self-help guides to 'getting filthy rich' that apparently abound these days all over Asia.

Storm Kings: The Untold History of America's First Tornado Chasers Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307378521
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Pantheon - March 5th, 2013

The central United States is the only place on earth with perfect conditions for tornadoes. This is the early history of human interaction with these storms, from colonial times to the mid-20th century. This book covers a lot of ground, but includes stories about devastating storms of the past, the dawn of scientific study of supercells and the beginning of the National Weather Service, and even some of the earliest experiments done to understand how tornadoes develop. Perfect for science geeks and American history buffs alike.

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