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If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran
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HISTORY OF RELIGIONS > ARCHIVE - AUGUST 2016 - If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran

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Teri (teriboop) The book that will be the August 2016 Book of the month is If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran by Carla Power.

If the Oceans Were Ink An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran by Carla Power by Carla Power Carla Power

Synopsis:

PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST • NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST • Named A Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post and The Denver Post • Praised by Fareed Zakaria as “intelligent, compassionate, and revealing,” a powerful journey to help bridge one of the greatest divides shaping our world today.

"Carla Power's intimate portrait of the Quran captures the extraordinary, living debate over the Muslim holy book's very essence. A spirited, compelling read."-Azadeh Moaveni, author of Lipstick Jihad


If the Oceans Were Ink is Carla Power's eye-opening story of how she and her longtime friend Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi found a way to confront ugly stereotypes and persistent misperceptions that were cleaving their communities. Their friendship-between a secular American and a madrasa-trained sheikh-had always seemed unlikely, but now they were frustrated and bewildered by the battles being fought in their names. Both knew that a close look at the Quran would reveal a faith that preached peace and not mass murder; respect for women and not oppression. And so they embarked on a yearlong journey through the controversial text.

A journalist who grew up in the Midwest and the Middle East, Power offers her unique vantage point on the Quran's most provocative verses as she debates with Akram at cafes, family gatherings, and packed lecture halls, conversations filled with both good humor and powerful insights. Their story takes them to madrasas in India and pilgrimage sites in Mecca, as they encounter politicians and jihadis, feminist activists and conservative scholars. Armed with a new understanding of each other's worldviews, Power and Akram offer eye-opening perspectives, destroy long-held myths, and reveal startling connections between worlds that have seemed hopelessly divided for far too long.


Teri (teriboop) Praise and Reviews:

PULITZER PRIZE FINALIST

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST

Named A Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post and The Denver Post


“A vibrant tale of a friendship.... If the Oceans Were Ink is a welcome and nuanced look at Islam [and] goes a long way toward combating the dehumanizing stereotypes of Muslims that are all too common.... If the Oceans Were Ink should be mandatory reading for the 52 percent of Americans who admit to not knowing enough about Muslims.” ―The Washington Post

“Journalist Power writes about her year studying the Quran with a Muslim scholar she befriended while working at a think tank in London. For some, this will be a strong introduction to Islam. To others, it's fodder for discussion on the Sheikh's views, how Westerners (such as Power) interpret those views and the interplay of culture and religion.” ―The Denver Post

“For all those who wonder what Islam says about war and peace, men and women, Jews and gentiles, this is the book to read. It is a conversation among well-meaning friends--intelligent, compassionate, and revealing--the kind that needs to be taking place around the world.” ―Fareed Zakaria, author of The Post-American World

“With a journalist’s mind for the story, a born traveler’s heart for the adventure of crossing borders, and a seeker’s yen for the poetry and mysticism of belief, Power creates an exceptional record of a timeless quest.”― Merritt Tierce, a National Book Foundation “5 Under 35” honoree and author of Love Me Back

“An inspiring story of two [people] from different worlds who refuse to let religious and cultural differences, prejudice, and ignorance get in the way of their friendship, If the Oceans Were Ink is as thought-provoking as it is elegantly written. It takes a difficult, highly charged topic and puts it into terms that are not only understandable and eye-opening, but beautiful.”―Bustle (11 Beautifully Written Memoirs by Women)

“[Carla Power and Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi's] conversations break down stereotypes.... Power displays the diversity and intellectual richness of the practicing Muslim world, and shows how much we have to gain from mutual understanding.” ―Shelf Awareness

“Carla Power's intimate portrait of the Quran, told with nuance and great elegance, captures the extraordinary, living debate over the Muslim holy book's very essence. A spirited, compelling read.” ―Azadeh Moaveni, author of Lipstick Jihad

“Engaging … Together [Carla Power and the Sheikh] explore … the significance of veiling and unveiling, the struggle against unjust rulers and jihad, and contemporary wars. Power's narrative offers an accessible and enlightening route into a topic fraught with misunderstanding.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Unique, masterful, and deeply engaging. Carla Power takes the reader on an extraordinary journey in interfaith understanding as she debates and discovers the Quran's message, meaning, and values on peace and violence, gender and veiling, religious pluralism and tolerance.” ―John L. Esposito, University Professor and Professor of Islamic Studies, Georgetown University, and author of The Future of Islam

“Lively … Intelligent and exceptionally informative.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“A thoughtful, provocative, intelligent book.” ―Diana Abu-Jaber, author of Birds Of Paradise and The Language of Baklava

“Their yearlong debates on issues ranging from the veiling of women to calls for fatwas challenged their own understandings of religion, culture, politics, and friendship and offer powerful new insights into Islam.” ―Booklist

“If the Oceans Were Ink opens a door to the power of the Quran's lyrical and complex prose to inspire, comfort, and ignite hearts everywhere. A must read for anyone wishing to understand a global community's central spiritual source.” ―Dalia Mogahed, Director of Research, The Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, and co-author of Who Speaks for Islam?

“A former foreign correspondent for Newsweek raised partly in the Middle East and boasting a graduate degree in Middle Eastern studies from Oxford, Power spent a year reading the Quran with a longtime friend, Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi. Their experience led them beyond stereotypes to a constructive understanding for the text's call for peace and equality. Great for book clubs.” ―Library Journal

“There are many intriguing books that trace the encounter of Westerners with Muslims from traditional backgrounds. Some of these books are love stories, others are clashes. Carla Power's If the Oceans Were Ink is something more radical, magical, and much more relevant: a religious encounter mediated through a gentle friendship, one that is committed to a dialogue and a search for truth. In a world characterized by so much tension and polemic, Power offers what might be our best hope for a better tomorrow: an intelligent friendship. Most enthusiastically recommended.” ―Omid Safi, Director, Duke Islamic Studies Center


Samanta   (almacubana) Remember the following:

Everyone is welcome but make sure to use the Goodreads spoiler function.

If you come to the discussion after folks have finished reading it, please feel free to post your comments as we will always come back to the thread to discuss the book.

The rules

You must follow the rules of the History Book Club and also:

First rule of Book of the Month:
Respect other people's opinions, no matter how controversial you think they may be.

Second rule of Book of the Month:
Always, always Chapter/page mark and spoiler alert your posts if you are discussing parts of the book.

To do these spoilers, follows these easy steps:

Step 1. enclose the word spoiler in forward and back arrows; < >

Step 2. write your spoiler comments in

Step 3. enclose the word /spoiler in arrows as above, BUT NOTE the forward slash in front of the word. You must put that forward slash in.

Your spoiler should appear like this:
(view spoiler)

And please mark your spoiler clearly like this:

State a Chapter and page if you can.
EG: Chapter 24, page 154

Or say Up to Chapter *___ (*insert chapter number) if your comment is more broad and not from a single chapter.

Chapter 1, p. 23
(view spoiler)

If you are raising a question/issue for the group about the book, you don't need to put that in a spoiler, but if you are citing something specific, it might be good to use a spoiler.

By using spoilers, you don't ruin the experience of someone who is reading slower or started later.

Thanks.


Samanta   (almacubana) You can copy and paste below to get your spoiler right:

<spoiler>Put Text Here</spoiler>


Samanta   (almacubana) CONTENTS

Introduction: A map for the Journey 1

PART ONE: THE ORIGINS
1. The Quran in Twenty-Five Words 25
2. An American in the East 36
3. A Muslim in the West 47
4. Road Trip to the Indian Madrasa 73
5. Migrant's Prayer Mat 97

PART TWO: THE HOME
6. Pioneer Life in Oxford 113
7. Nine Thousand Hidden Women 128
8. "The Little Rosy One" 138
9. Veiling and Unveiling 156
10. Reading "The Women" 175

PART THREE: THE WORLD
11. A Pilgrim's Progress 197
12. Jesus, Mary, and the Quran 214
13. Beyond Politics 229
14. The Pharaoh and His Wife 240
15. War Stories 259
16. The Last Lesson 272

Conclusion: Everlasting Return 290

Author's Note 301
Glossary 303
Notes 307
Bibliography 319
Acknowledgements 323
Index 325



message 7: by Samanta (last edited Jul 30, 2016 11:06AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Samanta   (almacubana) FOR THOSE WHO WOULD LIKE A SUGGESTED WEEKLY SYLLABUS

AUGUST 1ST THROUGH AUGUST 7TH
Introduction: A map for the Journey 1

PART ONE: THE ORIGINS
1. The Quran in Twenty-Five Words 25
2. An American in the East 36
3. A Muslim in the West 47

AUGUST 8TH THROUGH AUGUST 14TH
4. Road Trip to the Indian Madrasa 73
5. Migrant's Prayer Mat 97

PART TWO: THE HOME
6. Pioneer Life in Oxford 113
7. Nine Thousand Hidden Women 128

AUGUST 15TH THROUGH AUGUST 21ST
8. "The Little Rosy One" 138
9. Veiling and Unveiling 156
10. Reading "The Women" 175

PART THREE: THE WORLD
11. A Pilgrim's Progress 197

AUGUST 22ND THROUGH AUGUST 28TH
12. Jesus, Mary, and the Quran 214
13. Beyond Politics 229
14. The Pharaoh and His Wife 240
15. War Stories 259
16. The Last Lesson 272

AUGUST 29TH THROUGH AUGUST 31ST
Conclusion: Everlasting Return 290

Author's Note 301
Glossary 303
Notes 307
Bibliography 319
Acknowledgements 323
Index 325


Samanta   (almacubana) Those of you who are going to read If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran use the spoiler html because this is a single thread discussion.


1. Read message 4 and that message shows you the rules for the buddy read discussion and how to do the spoiler html.

2. Message 5 actually shows you the spoiler html code. Use it on this thread.

3. Where is the Table of Contents and the reading syllabus? - Message 6 and 7.


Samanta   (almacubana) All, we do not have to do citations regarding the book or the author being discussed during the book discussion on these discussion threads - nor do we have to cite any personage in the book being discussed while on the discussion threads related to this book.

However if we discuss folks outside the scope of the book or another book is cited which is not the book and author discussed then we do have to do that citation according to our citation rules. That makes it easier to not disrupt the discussion.


Samanta   (almacubana) Chapter Overviews and Summaries
Week One


(view spoiler)


message 11: by Teri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teriboop) Introduction and Kick off for our August discussion on If the Oceans Were Ink

Welcome to our August discussion on If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran. This should be a very informative read that will lead us to a great discussion. Please be mindful and respectful of everyone's opinions.

Samanta will be joining us this month as our backup moderator. She has started us off with the week one chapter overviews and summaries in message 10 above.

Please introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your interest in this book.

I am looking forward to exploring this topic with you all.


message 12: by Eva (new) - rated it 4 stars

Eva | 19 comments Had this book already on my TBR for quite some time and was happy to see that the HBC chose it as their Book of the Month for August.
I hope this book will help to perhaps get a more differentiated picture of Islam religion and their core beliefs.


Helga Cohen (hcohen) | 591 comments This is a good choice for right now. There is so much Islamaphobia in the country. I hope to learn more about the Muslim religion and a more in depth view.


message 14: by Teri (last edited Aug 01, 2016 08:14AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teriboop) Welcome Eva and Helga. I am excited about this book and I agree Helga, this is a very timely read. I think it will not only give non-Muslims a deeper understanding of Islam, but also give everyone a new insight in to religion and your own personal faith.


Samanta   (almacubana) Hello Eva and Helga!

Glad you decided to join us for this discussion. I am also very excited to read this book with you because the subject is one I'm very interested in and the book sounds very promising.


Samanta   (almacubana) Week One Discussion Questions – Introduction – pages 1 – 25

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Samanta   (almacubana) Muslims Go to Catholic Mass Across France, Italy to Show Solidarity
by The Associated Press


Members of the congregation of Santa Maria Trastevere in Rome during a multifaith service Sunday organized by Italy's Islamic Religious Community.

ROUEN, France — In a gesture of solidarity following the gruesome killing of a French priest, Muslims on Sunday attended Catholic Mass in churches and cathedrals across France and Italy.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene said that a few dozen Muslims gathered at the towering Gothic cathedral in Rouen, near Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray where the 85-year-old Rev. Jacques Hamel had his throat slit by two teenage Muslim fanatics on Tuesday.

"We are very moved by the presence of our Muslim friends, and I believe it is a courageous act that they did by coming to us," Dominique Lebrun, the archbishop of Rouen, said after the service.

Read te whole article here: NBC News


message 18: by Teri (last edited Aug 01, 2016 02:20PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teriboop) Hi Michele! Glad to have you join us. Don't forget to use spoiler tags for responses on questions relating to the book.

Michele - Chapter 1 Questions - Extremism in Religion

(view spoiler)


message 19: by Teri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teriboop) Hi everyone! I hope you all are starting to dig into the first few chapters. Samanta has posted some great questions in message 16 to get us started.

I think this book will be enlightening on the overall topic of Religion, as well as the specific topic of Islam and the Quran.

Question - On reading faith based texts

(view spoiler)


message 20: by Teri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teriboop) All ~ We do have a spoiler thread open that we'll be placing information in to enhance our discussion. You can locate it here:

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


Samanta   (almacubana) Week One Discussion Questions – Chapter 1 – pages 26 – 37

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message 22: by Teri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teriboop) Responses to Chapter 1 Questions

Great questions, Samanta!

(view spoiler)


message 23: by Samanta (last edited Aug 02, 2016 09:40PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Samanta   (almacubana) Response to Teri

Thank you! This book is so intriguing, the questions just pop out in my head and cannot be stopped :D

(view spoiler)


message 24: by Teri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teriboop) A Conversation with Carla Power and Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi

A short conversation between Carla Power and Sheikh Mohammad Akram Nadwi can be found on her website at:

http://www.carlapower.com/?page_id=90


message 25: by Michele (last edited Aug 02, 2016 04:39PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Michele (micheleevansito) Response to Chap. 1 Questions

(view spoiler)


Samanta   (almacubana) Response to Michele on Chapter 1 Questions

Thank you for the insight, Michele.

(view spoiler)


message 27: by Helga (last edited Aug 03, 2016 12:31PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Helga Cohen (hcohen) | 591 comments Response to Chapter 1 Questions
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message 28: by Serene (new)

Serene Erby | 5 comments Michele wrote: "Jumping in to join the read on this one.

Reason? I know there is another Islam, one that is not extreme and not on tv all the time. I used to work with a modern muslim woman and learned something..."

To me, prejudices and stereotypes exist when you know of no one of that group, i.e. Jews are all xxx, Muslims are all xx, gays are all xxx. When you actually get to know people of different groups, I think you get that everyone is so much alike but that we are all individuals as well.


Samanta   (almacubana) Helga wrote: "Response to Chapter 1 Questions
1. How much do you know about the teachings of Quran?
I don’t know very much about the Quran or the teachings and know that I have heard many misunderstood passages ..."


Response to Helga

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Samanta   (almacubana) Week One Discussion Questions – Chapter 2 – pages 27 – 36

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message 31: by Teri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teriboop) Response to Helga - Hebrew Bible

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message 32: by Teri (last edited Aug 03, 2016 11:57AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teriboop) Serene wrote: "Michele wrote: "Jumping in to join the read on this one.

Reason? I know there is another Islam, one that is not extreme and not on tv all the time. I used to work with a modern Muslim woman and l..."


I agree, Serene. We're all people, all human and yet everyone is unique. We all have feelings, and we all experience and deal with them in many different ways. Hopefully this book will help us break or see through the stereotypes.


message 33: by Teri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teriboop) Response to Chapter 2 Questions

(view spoiler)


message 34: by Michele (last edited Aug 03, 2016 02:40PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Michele (micheleevansito) Response to Samanta on Chapter 1

(view spoiler)


Ann D I am happy to join this discussion. I had Muslim students while I was teaching English as a second language. I am very interested in learning more about their religion, I know that it was a very important part of their lives.

I am confused about all of the spoiler threads. I thought that as long as the questions and responses did not get ahead of the suggested schedule dates, there was no need to use spoilers. Yet, I see that even questions for the first 3 chapters are listed as spoilers, even though the discussion of these is supposed to be from August 1-7.

Please clarify the rules.

Thanks.


message 36: by Teri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teriboop) Ann wrote: "I am happy to join this discussion. I had Muslim students while I was teaching English as a second language. I am very interested in learning more about their religion, I know that it was a very im..."

We use spoilers for even the past and current weeks. Some folks have not started or get behind and in order to not spoil it for anyone - we just put anything that discusses specific topics from the book in spoilers.


message 37: by Teri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teriboop) And we're happy to have you join us, Ann!


message 38: by Michele (last edited Aug 03, 2016 02:58PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Michele (micheleevansito) Response to Chap. 2 Questions

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Samanta   (almacubana) Week One Discussion Questions – Chapter 2 – pages 37 – 48

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message 40: by Teri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teriboop) Michele wrote: " Response to Chap. 2 Questions "

Response to Michele - Chapter 2

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Michele (micheleevansito) Response to Teri - Chap. 2

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Ann D Answers to week 1 discussion questions:
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message 43: by Teri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teriboop) Ann wrote: "Answers to week 1 discussion questions:."

Response to Ann - Chapter 1

(view spoiler)


message 44: by Teri (last edited Aug 05, 2016 08:33AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teriboop) Samanta wrote: "Week One Discussion Questions – Chapter 2 – pages 37 – 48."

Chapter 2 Discussion Questions

(view spoiler)


Samanta   (almacubana) Teri wrote: "Samanta wrote: "Week One Discussion Questions – Chapter 2 – pages 37 – 48."

Chapter 2 Discussion Questions

1. I try to stay informed of world events, at least the "headlines". I try not to be suc..."


Response to Teri - Chapter 2 questions

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Ann D In response tp Terri's questions in message 44
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Ann D message 46
Samanta

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Samanta   (almacubana) Ann wrote: "message 46
Samanta

[spoilers removed]"


Response to Ann

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Donna (drspoon) Week One Discussion Questions – Introduction – pages 1 – 25

Hello all. I am new to the discussion having just started the book. I think it's an excellent choice for a group read given that, when it comes to diverse cultures and religions, it's my firm belief that knowledge and understanding build bridges.

(view spoiler)


message 50: by Teri (new) - rated it 4 stars

Teri (teriboop) Donna wrote: "Week One Discussion Questions – Introduction – pages 1 – 25

Welcome, Donna! Glad you are joining us.

Response - Introduction

(view spoiler)


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