The name Guerrand DiThon has been cursed by his family since the day he disappeaered. When a mysterious plague strikes their beleaguered village, Guerrand's name is invoked again -- as the cause of the disaster.
In The China Dream, acclaimed business journalist Joe Studwell takes to task the predictions that China will become an economic juggernaut on the world stage in the 21st century - and instead foresees an economic crisis. He argues that since the days of Marco Polo, Western nations have seen the vast population of the Middle Kingdom as a fantastic opportunity for expanding trade, investing time and resources again and again in the hope to develop it, only to see, century after century, its economy crash.
In a tiny Italian village, a young boy named Pietro is growing up tormented by bullies and ignored by his parents. When an aging playboy, Graziano Biglia, returns to town, a change is in the air: Pietro decides to take on the bullies, his lonely teacher, Flora, finds romance with the town's prodigal son, and the inept janitor at the school proclaims his love for his favorite prostitute.
"Boredom is dangerous," writes Benjamin Samuel, Co-Editor of Electric Literature, in his introduction to this issue of Recommended Reading. "It can make us lazy, complacent, and if we suffer too much of it we're liable to become boring ourselves. For the whalers at sea in Anu Jindal's Not a Bad Bunch, boredom is far more insidious; according to the ship's surgeon, who narrates the story, it's an early symptom of an infectious and barbarous madness.