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He might not have the high pop-culture profile of Michael Crichton, that other bestselling writer who attended Harvard Medical School, but 36-year-old Ethan Canin — author of The Palace Thief, a 1994 book of novellas — is among the country’s most acclaimed fiction writers. While at work on his second novel, Canin found time last year to edit a book of stories, with proceeds to benefit the national anti-hunger group Share Our Strength. The anthology, Writers Harvest 2 (New York: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1996), includes works by Julia Alvarez and Melanie Rae Thon. We asked Canin what’s caught his eye lately. Here’s what he said about the film Shine:

“It’s about a young, brilliant pianist with mental illness, and as I was watching it (and listening to it), I was overcome with the sense of the angel of music — this graceful thing that touches down now and then on earth and produces such a soul-cracking gift. That’s how I felt listening — that my soul had been cracked open.”

Also recommended by Canin:

Legends of the Fall (New York: Delta Trade Paperbacks, 1994) by Jim Harrison. “What I love about Harrison’s work is the absolutely arresting rhythm of the language, the long comma-less sentences that seem to speak themselves out loud as you read. He’s one of the writers I read when I want to be inspired to write.”

The Night in Question (New York: Knopf, 1996) by Tobias Wolff. “His books are very readable, which sounds like a pale compliment but in fact is a huge compliment. I like his stories about childhood particularly, the sense of a kid who is just a little desperate, just a little ragged, just a little bit outside the shining light.”

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Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

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