Journalist Neil MacFarquhar is a veteran Middle East foreign correspondent and was Cairo bureau chief for The New York Times. Next, he will cover Islam in North America for the Times. His new novel The Sand Cafe is set in Saudi Arabia and examines the day-to-day reporting life of foreign correspondents in the Middle East during the Gulf War.
Meg Wolitzer's novel is about lifelong friendship tinged with jealousy. It begins at a summer camp in 1974 and follows a group of friends through middle age. Wolitzer says her teen years were a rehearsal for her adult life and that today she is "different" but "in the same shell."