Amazon Best of the Month, October 2009: Jonathan Lethem, the home-grown frontrunner of a generation of Brooklyn writers, crosses the bridge to Manhattan in Chronic City, a smart, unsettling, and meticulously hilarious novel of friendship and real estate among the rich and the rent-controlled. Lethem's story centers around two unlikely friends, Chase Insteadman, a genial nonentity who was once a child sitcom star and now is best known as the loyal fiancé of a space-stranded astronaut, and Perkus Tooth, a skinny, moody, underemployed cultural critic. Chase and Perkus are free-floating, dope-dependent bohemians in a borough built on ambition, living on its margins but with surprising access to its centers of power, even to the city's billionaire mayor. Paranoiac Perkus sees urgent plots everywhere–in the font of The New Yorker, in an old VHS copy of Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid–but Chronic City, despite the presence of death, politics, and a mysterious, marauding tiger, is itself light on plot. Eschewing dramatic staples like romance and artistic creation for the more meandering passions of friendship and observation, Chronic City thrives instead on the brilliance of Lethem's ear and eye. Every page is a pleasure of pitch-perfect banter and spot-on cultural satire, cut sharply with the melancholic sense that being able to explain your city doesn't make you any more capable of living in it. –Tom Nissley
Reporter Fazeelat Aslam and director Karim Shah reveal how thousands of families living in Pakistan's richest city, Karachi, are suffering from chronic water shortages as a result of climate change, mismanagement, corrupt officials and criminal gangs. Their eye-opening report shows how drastic the situation has become, with families who are running out of supplies sometimes having to spend half their salary buying water illegally from criminals, or wait up night after night to see if community water taps will be turned on for a couple of hours.