As with most of Gladwell's books, this was interesting and thought provoking but lacked substance. I feel like his books are exercises in mind expansi...moreAs with most of Gladwell's books, this was interesting and thought provoking but lacked substance. I feel like his books are exercises in mind expansion rather than statistical analysis or reflections of universal truths. That isn't by any means a bad thing. (less)
This book brought up so many complex emotions for me...I don't know where to start. It is beautiful and haunting. Like Maus or Palestine, but set in t...moreThis book brought up so many complex emotions for me...I don't know where to start. It is beautiful and haunting. Like Maus or Palestine, but set in the now. This is happening now.
In 2009 Iranian's took to the streets to protest Ahmadinejad's electoral "victory." I remember images on the news of crowds swathed in green; an upheaval I couldn't fully fathom. The scene quickly changed to sports or the Kardashians or the latest political talking points. No depth. No history. No follow up. Zahra's Paradise is a fictional tale based in the reality of what happened next. It takes you into the human heart of conflict and oppression.
Mehdi's family last saw him as he rounded the corner with friends to join the protest. Millions of people had met up in Freedom Square; connected through twitter; smart-phoning a revolution. And like many others, he never came home. Zahra's Paradise follows his mother and brother as they search for him and for answers from the labyrinthine, despotic, bureaucracy that control their fate. Their lives touch others who have suffered greatly. Their stories interweave through fluid verse, mythological allegory and drawings that will make you weep.
Through the suffering there are moments of strength. Perseverance, rebellion, acts of great kindness, honor, the depth of a mother's love. People of faith are crushed by those who claim to speak for their faith. They rise up and yell "Allahu Akbar"- God is Greatest. Man is flawed. God will persevere over the evil of this world. It is a hope, it is a prayer, it is a battle cry against those who would distort God's word.
It would be so easy to read this as a history...as something that happened in a once gruesome past. The images of cell phones, cranes, and modern cars pull the story back to present. This is happening now. There are likely still men and women in prison that were picked up on that day; that are being picked up today. There are still mothers seeking their lost sons.
The last pages of this book are the most heartbreaking. The facade of fiction is cast aside and there are pages, pages, pages of names of those who have been lost. This was and is real and the authors have chosen to remain anonymous to protect their own families. (less)
Amy Webb delivers a poignant, honest portrayal of the modern search for love. I was quickly captured by her first person narrative that managed to eng...moreAmy Webb delivers a poignant, honest portrayal of the modern search for love. I was quickly captured by her first person narrative that managed to engage (and not pander to) her audience in exploring her quest for her perfect match.
Her world of internet dating is as gruesome as the one I remember, but with spreadsheets in hand she decides to "game the system." Early in the book she dates widely, trying to meet her familial obligations as well as play the numbers. If I just date enough men, she rationalized, I will eventually meet my match. Date after horrific date leads her mathematically inclined brain to come up with a rating formula. (I have to wonder how I would have rated some of my online dates... how would the guy who asked if I would like to kiss his butterfly tattoo rate? Not well I'm sure.) She decides to use reason and logic to weed out the men who would never make her happy. With the realization that they would have to like her back, she then tackles the question of what women do right when designing online profiles.
Along with the enjoyable narrative, the reader gets some interesting background on the history of online dating and some helpful hints on how to get over your ego and write a "super profile."
Because of Amy Webb's brutal honesty and charming neuroticism, what could come across as a conceited endeavor to find the "perfect man," instead reads as a modern tribute to the search for love.
Data, A Love Story is a rallying cry for every woman who has been told to settle. While her goal was to find a husband, I think it does criticize the crazy notion that, in this day and age, any mate is better than going alone. (less)