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Nine Parts of Desire

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4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  10,047 Ratings  ·  1,006 Reviews
Prize-winning journalist Brooks spent six years covering the Middle East through wars, insurrections, and the volcanic upheaval of resurgent fundamentalism. This book is the story of her intrepid journey toward an understanding of the women behind the veils and of the often contradictory political, religious, and cultural forces that shape their lives.
Hardcover, 255 pages
Published December 1st 1994 by Doubleday (first published 1994)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Shovelmonkey1
Jan 12, 2012 Shovelmonkey1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Islam
Aaargh. I just wrote a bloody long review of this book then the ******* goodreads website ate it. Anyway, starting over....

" Read, in the name of thy Lord
Who hath created all things, who
Hath created man of congealed blood.
Read, by thy most beneficent Lord,
Who taught us the use of the pen,
who teaches man that which he knoweth not."

The Koran: The Chapter of Congealed Blood

I have been living, working and travelling in the Middle East since I was nineteen years old. That's over eleven years now. In
...more
janet
Jul 12, 2008 janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Islam and women
Recommended to janet by: Susan Michael Hoelschen
Shelves: non-fiction
Now that I have moved away from Arabia after living there for three years, I was ready to read a book about women and Islam. I tend to be dubious about any book that claims to have the real story on this topic, but found this book worth reading.
When I read the title, I thought I was going to learn more about the sexuality of Arabic women. Instead, the book was about the life of Islamic women as wives, mothers, workers, and citizens. In her attempt to understand Islamic women she also got to kno
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aleshia
Mar 25, 2007 aleshia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before reading this book, I remember looking at the woman who were completely covered by their berka and thinking how repressed they were. I felt sorry for the freedom they were denied. My landlord at the time gave me his copy and I although I was hesitant, I agreed to read it...and I am so glad I did! The book delves deep into the roots of the Muslim beliefs and allows an outsider to appreciate a custom we would otherwise know little about. I learned that most woman (interviewed) do not feel re ...more
Hafsa Umar
As a Muslim woman I was interested in reading this book as to have an idea of how Muslim women are viewed by non-Muslim westerners.I was a bit confused reading this book as most of the issues discussed such as the honor killings or removal of clitoris have never even been heard by me. A distinction between culture and religion really has to be made as I sense that the middle Eastern have very deep rooted cultures that have tangled with Islam and because they form the bulk of Muslim population,at ...more
Lindsey
Jun 30, 2009 Lindsey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I live in Dubai and know a lot of people who have read this book, besides myself. I am an American, so you'd think my perspective would be similar to Brooks', but it's not. It is true, there are extreme, evil, awful and just wrong things that happen in the name of fundumental Islam, and I know I have shared stories with expat friends about them. But I and everyone I know who has read this book have been left with a bad taste. Brooks is a very good, engaging writer, and I did learn some things fr ...more
Wendroz
Jul 02, 2008 Wendroz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
This should be required reading.... or at least strongly encouraged, this book was written in 1994. THis was entertaining with a lot of research and facts made more interesting by interviewing and living with the people she wrote about. I am buying a copy ASAP (borrowed from the library)
Brooks writes, “because this is the kind of sterile, segregated world that (fundamentalists) are calling for, right now, for their countries and for the entire Islamic world. None of these groups is saying, ‘Let’
...more
KatieMc
I read this as part of a bookclub discussion. The book was selected by a lovely woman who fled Iran 24 years ago, and had lived through the revolution, war and economic sanctions against her country. She said she started reading it a year ago but it was just too emotional and so she thought with the support of the bookclub she could get through it. I was grateful for her choice as this was interesting, informative and a unique perspective on the topic. Instead of a classic 'book report' I have d ...more
Jalilah
Hmm... Personally it always makes me uncomfortable when an outsider criticizes and analyzes a religion that is not their own. There are enough people from Muslim countries who are scathingly critical of their own culture and write about it. When someone from the West does it, it always appears to be condescending even when they are trying to be objective.
This book was written in the 90s, so while not all the information is necessarily dated, it's definitely not up to date. This was also the tim
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Dem
Aug 18, 2013 Dem rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nine Parts Of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women is a wonderful informative read.

The author an Austrailian reporter who spend the late 1980s and early 90s in the Middle East as a reporter, and during her time there decided to get to know the women of Islam and spent a lot of time interviewing and getting to know these women of different social status and different ages to bring us a very interesting account of Islamic history, Islamic women and the traditions of today.

I love reading about
...more
Anna
Feb 10, 2009 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm currently obsessed with this book. It's coming up in all my conversations. I even made my 102 students listen to a page and a half or so. Fascinating, horrifying, and terribly important stuff for anyone who cares about women and girls, religion, war and peace. I'm reading and re-reading (when I should be reading and writing other stuff!) and hoping I remember it all.
Chris
A very detailed examnation of first hand experiences with Islamic women in the Middle East. I hadn't read anything by Brooks before, though two of her novels are in my TBR pile, and picked this up at Borders going out of business sale because it looked interesting.

Brooks is one brave mama, I must say.

The presentation is rather interesting and it is somewhat surprsing, at least to the reader, that even women who are fundamentalist or anti-American (or Anti-Jewish even) are presented in such a lig
...more
Karima
Sep 04, 2014 Karima rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Nobody
Recommended to Karima by: The F Word
Shelves: feminism, islam
I hated this book. Right from the introduction I got annoyed and knew I was gonna be in for an annoying ride. She starts off this book saying outright that Muslim women are oppressed. What the hell?

bell hooks,Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black, writes "When we write about the experiences of a group to which we do not belong, we should think about the ethics of our action, considering whether or not our work will be used to reinforce and perpetuate domination."

In this case I think sh
...more
Chrissie
Definitely worth reading, but do NOT listen to the audiobook narrated by the author. She is a good author, but not a good narrator. Dreary, let me just leave it at that......

The writing reflects that she is trained as a journalist. However, the book is rather unstructured and reads as a group of different stories. Story after story of different Muslim women's experiences in the Middle East in the early 90s. Even if it isn't totally up-to-date you have to understand the past to understand the pr
...more
Meredith Watts
Nov 28, 2007 Meredith Watts rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in the Muslim world
This book is by the author of last year's Pulitzer winner "March", Geraldine Brooks. This was written based on her experiences as a reporter in the Middle East, trying to understand what it's like to be a Muslim woman in a number of different Islamic countries. Along the way, she studies the Koran, shedding some light on Mohammed's writings. My book club read this book long before the current interest in all things Islam. I would recommend it for that reason; Brooks has no political agenda. She ...more
Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship
This is a fascinating, if poorly titled, work of nonfiction. Brooks spent several years as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, where she spent time with hundreds of women – some of them newsworthy in their own right, others just average people.

The title gives a false impression of the book on two counts: first, while sex and marriage are discussed, these topics are not the primary focus; and second, the book doesn’t pretend to discuss the lives of Islamic women everywhere – Brooks travel
...more
Sara
Feb 19, 2015 Sara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-books
I had a really hard time getting through this book for two reasons- first it was extremely repetitive, covering the same subjugation of women in Muslim countries. Second I became frustrated with these same issues and found myself boiling with rage, mostly because I see so many of these things happening in our country in the radical right's war on women. The religious fundamentalists of all denominations seem to have an irrational fear of women as an educated, equal segment of society. This book ...more
Ladan F
Aug 16, 2007 Ladan F rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: religion
This is an absolutely fascinating book. Brooks doesn't really bog the reader down with too much "research" - she gives you a good historical and literary background, but she fleshes out that framework with anecdotes from her meetings with Muslim women. Though it is obvious that Brooks abhors the treatment of women under most forms of Islam, she is very careful to show that this is mostly a political issue and NOT actually advocated in the Koran.
Shahd Fadlalmoula
How does one start to review this book without pointing out the obvious?*sighs*
She is an Australian who hasn't even bothered to learn the language of the Quran, and readily provides distorted translations which make her lose credibility. I also wish she was more careful with her choice of words and her relay in a lot of parts. Like I don't want someone who doesn't know anything about Islam to read this and think Muslims go to shrines and offer "prayers to saints" (we only offer prayers to God, F
...more
Ramiz Qudsi
I have read at least 10 books about the history of Islam and have never come across the fact that Ayesha took arms against the Caliph himself, or that Fatima never approved of one of the Caliphs. Both are arguably the most prominent women in Islam. Surprisingly, Mom (a well read woman in Islamic history) didn't know either.
I guess we (the Islamic scholars) tend to write the history forgetting any instance which may stain the otherwise pristine sheet of Islam. Unfortunately though, the history sh
...more
Gustine
Aug 04, 2009 Gustine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Before writing Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks worked as a reporter (Middle East correspondent) for The Wall Street Journal and lived in numerous countries throughout the Middle East for almost a decade. She seems to have been personal friends with everyone: dinners with Queen Noor of Jordan, casual visits with Khomeini’s daughters in Iran, conversations with a woman who personally helped hold the American Embassy hostages at gunpoint in Iran in 1979—all are discussed in the book as though it’ ...more
Deborah Blair
Sep 22, 2012 Deborah Blair rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the best books that I have read that helps Western women really understand what is going on with women in Islam. Because we often do NOT understand, in being "western" we can often cause more harm than good.


In working to help Christian and Jews of the west to understand women of Islam, I have often used this as a reference, a recommendation for church groups, and for people helping women refugees and immigrants from Islamic countries integrate here in the west.

Along with comparat
...more
Louise
May 12, 2013 Louise rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Islam means submission. This is just one of the facts that I learned from this book. It became not just a fact but an insight as I continued reading it.

The book's excellence is demonstrated in that 13 years after its publication it is still being read. Since its publication there have been many books on this topic, including social studies and personal narratives, but this one still stands out.

Brooks spent 6 years in traveling to Middle Eastern Islamic countries covering the plight of women. Whi
...more
Noel
Jul 27, 2009 Noel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was written in 1994, pre-9/11 and pre my interest in the Middle East. I mean I knew a little bit about a couple of countries, but not much. This book changes that. I had read Brooks book, Year of Wonders about the plague, and March, about the Civil War – both excellent books, but I had no idea she was an accomplished journalist whom the Wall Street Journal had sent to the Middle East as a foreign correspondent – and not for six month, but for 6 years. Her curiosity, open mindedness and ...more
Jeanne
Mar 01, 2008 Jeanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Have you ever wondered about the women covered from head to toe? You know that they are Muslim, but do you know anything beyond that?

Geraldine Brooks, in her highly accessible book, explains the plight of Muslim women in the Middle East. She travels from country to country, meeting women and sharing stories with them. From her time with Queen Noor in Jordan to her belly dancing stint in Egypt, Brooks learns about women and their religion and their religion's limitations.

Sometimes frightening and
...more
Chrissy
Aug 27, 2008 Chrissy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVE Geraldine Brooks. I think she is an amazingly insightful woman who has an incredible ability to clearly present a difficult concept. I feel like I have a much clearer sense of the Muslim religion and how men and women who practice it interact with each other and the rest of the world. She did an amazing job of personalizing all of these women and their lives and stories for someone from a completely different background. I think that everyone should read this book, especially given the wo ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Apr 24, 2007 Jenny (Reading Envy) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read06
An interesting look inside various groups of Islamic women, contrasted with what the Koran says, what the cultures practicing Islam have ended up doing, and other surprises. Good for a general overview, and good for breaking stereotypes. Has a good glossary and excellent bibliography at the end.
Coffee Bean
It was gruesome, harrowing, unbelievable. Wish it were a fiction, rather than a fact. After reading the book, my respect for the Muslim women, especially those who thrived in spite of all the religious obstacles grew multifold. It was a quick and thorough journey from the times of Nabi to the present day Muslim countries, well told and breathtaking.
This is my first time -reading the history of Nabi ,his household and the birth and flourishing of Islam. I encountered a platitude of courageous la
...more
Farhan Khalid
Oct 27, 2015 Farhan Khalid rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arabian
مایوسی اور آسمانی راحت کی تلاش 

ان کے خیال میں تمام عورتیں خطرناک ہیں

اسلامی دنیا کے سنگم قاہرہ ائیرپورٹ پر اسلامی لباس کی تقریبا ہر تفسیر دیکھی جا سکتی تھی

حجاب قاہرہ کی پرہجوم گلیوں میں اسے تحفظ دیتا ہے

انہیں میرے جسم کی بجاۓ میرے ذہن سے واسطہ پڑتا"
" ہے

دو اسلام

اسلام دو طرح کا ہے: امریکی اسلام اور آنحضرت کا اسلام. ترکی میں امریکی اسلام رائج ہے

توریگ قبیلے کے مرد پردہ کرتے ہیں ، عورتیں نہیں

ان کے مطابق، مرد اور عورتیں ایک دوسرے کی آنکھوں اور دل کے لئے ہیں، نہ کہ صرف بستر کے لیے

حجاب، ایک فیشن

بیروت
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Susan
Apr 06, 2012 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
Very interesting non-fiction book written by an author I knew for her excellent fiction. I had no idea that Geraldine Brooks started her career as a journalist. She talked extensively to women from many walks of life, although more wealthy than not, in many different Islamic countries. Some of these countries are very strict and fundamentalist, such as Saudi Arabia; others are more liberal, such as Egypt. The book was written many years ago. Many countries have become more fundamentalist since t ...more
Gale
Jan 01, 2008 Gale rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was written in the mid-1990's after Brooks had been stationed as a journalist in the Middle East. I read it before and after 9/11. I think it is still highly relevant today.

Each chapter features an aspect of Islamic culture/beliefs that are practiced today- the wearing of the veil, education of women, clitorectomys, etc. The chapters begin by connecting the issue to the time of Mohammed. Brooks then explores the subject in several Muslim countries that interpret and enforce the issue d
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • Paradise Beneath Her Feet: How Women are Transforming the Middle East
  • Price of Honor: Muslim Women Lift the Veil of Silence on the Islamic World
  • Women and Gender in Islam: Historical Roots of a Modern Debate
  • The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation of Women's Rights in Islam
  • Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran
  • The Caged Virgin: An Emancipation Proclamation for Women and Islam
  • The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran
  • Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran
  • Baghdad without a Map and Other Misadventures in Arabia
  • Jasmine and Stars: Reading More Than Lolita in Tehran
  • Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark
  • In the Land of Invisible Women: A Female Doctor's Journey in the Saudi Kingdom
  • A Winter in Arabia
  • Veiled Courage: Inside the Afghan Women's Resistance
  • Daughter of Persia: A Woman's Journey from Her Father's Harem Through the Islamic Revolution
  • In Search of Islamic Feminism
  • Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject
  • Censoring an Iranian Love Story
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Australian-born Geraldine Brooks is an author and journalist who grew up in the Western suburbs of Sydney, and attended Bethlehem College Ashfield and the University of Sydney. She worked as a reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald for three years as a feature writer with a special interest in environmental issu
...more
More about Geraldine Brooks...

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“While I would champion any campaign to support Muslim women who do not wish to cover. I would now also protest vigorously for the right of a woman to wear that covering, if it is what she wants and believes in. Ayatollah Khomeini and Jacques Chirac have much more in common than either of them would care to acknowledge. Each tried to solve overarching social problems by imposing his will on the bodies of women.” 3 likes
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