If you're so exhausted after your long, hard day that you can't even summon the energy to order pizza, what book do you pick up to spoil yourself a little, as you pour yourself a bowl of cereal? Why, The Taliban Shuffle
, of course—Kim Barker's hilarious memoir of her benighted rovings through Afghanistan and Pakistan, where she landed in 2003 as a war correspondent for the Chicago Tribune
, and stayed seven years. The war zone she describes feels like Never-Never Land. In Afghanistan, slim, young soldiers wear eyeliner, tuck yellow flowers behind their ears and adore "anything fluorescent or sparkly;" in Pakistan, men in crowds always pinch her bottom—even at Benazir Bhutto's funeral. Meanwhile, regional women pity her for being single, and fuss over her terrible hair. The movie made from the book, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot
, emphasizes the dangers of Barker's work; but the book is straight-up funny—the self-deprecating story of a woman who finds dating more daunting than covering a war.