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message 1: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2394 comments Mod
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Read any good books lately? We want to know about them.
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Enter your reading list and/or reviews here. Did you like it? Hate it? Feel lukewarm?

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message 2: by James (new)

James F | 1508 comments [My last book from August]

Ismail Kadare, Spring Flowers, Spring Frost [Fr 2000, Eng tr 2002] 181 pages [Kindle]

Spring Flowers, Spring Frost is a novel about Albania after the fall of the Stalinist regime of Enver Hoxha and his ephemeral successor; the title expresses the ambiguity of the post-Stalinist period. On the one hand, the end of the repressive regime; on the other the corruption and disillusionment of a capitalist restoration under the tutelage of the World Bank and the Western powers, and the return of reactionary feudal customs suppressed by the Communists.

The main character, Mark Gurabardhi is a painter employed by a government Arts Center, and the domestic part of the plot concerns his relationship to his girlfriend and model. His father was a policeman, and from time to time Mark hallucinates himself as a deputy police chief in a parallel world where he followed his father's wishes and went to Police Academy instead of the Academy of Fine Arts.

The novel opens with the unearthing of a hibernating snake, which then leads by association to the legend of the woman who married a snake, which is fully narrated in the first "Counterchapter". Throughout, there are references to myth and legend, which are initially presented as simple reflections of Mark but are later incorporated into surrealistic dream or vision sequences. Even the presumably realistic parts of the narrative, however, seem charged with symbolic meaning, such as the changing of the locks on his studio and, running through the whole book, the story of a bank robbery (ironically treated as the symbol of Western "progress".)

In the course of the book, the code of the Kanun, based on family vendetta, makes its appearance and becomes an important part of the plot, affecting Mark and his girlfriend directly.

This is the most difficult and experimental work I have read by the author; I noticed that many of the reviews I have seen misunderstand even the literal level of the plot. It was nevertheless an enjoyable and worthwhile novel and better than the last two books I read by Kadare.


message 3: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melissasd) | 825 comments Manners & Mutiny (Finishing School, #4) by Gail Carriger
Manners & Mutiny (Finishing School #4) by Gail Carriger
3 ★

Sophronia’s time at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality comes to an end and that end comes with a bang.

Sophronia really shows her strengths and knowledge in the last book of this delightful series. She’s quick on her feet and determined to make right what has gone wrong. She has learned quite a bit at finishing school and has grown up a whole lot. So have her friends. Dimity and Agatha help Sophronia out a lot throughout the book and do it with grace and dignity. Even Monique shows she cares, in her on unique way, what happens to Sophronia. I enjoyed seeing the two of them work together. Dimity’s brother, Pillover, is probably the character who grew the most throughout the series. He is smart and a true evil genius.
Like the others, this book is non-stop action from the beginning. There were even a few times that I worried about Sophronia. Will she make it out or not? Soap and she make the end of the book intriguing and although I didn’t love the series, I did like it enough to be curious about another series centered on Sophronia and Soap and the work they do for the dewan. Her first assignment sounds like a fun one with many possibilities.
This series a full of great characters, wonderful world building and intriguing plots. I highly recommend reading it if you like mechanical stuff and steampunk. This was my first steampunk series and I’ll definitely be looking for more. I’ll also be reading more by Gail Carriger. She’s a great story teller.


message 4: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melissasd) | 825 comments The School for Good and Evil One True King by Soman Chainani
One True King (The School for Good and Evil #6) by Soman Chainani
5 ★

One final adventure to find the One True King. Will it be Tedros or Rhian?

I am really going to miss this cast a fabulous characters and wild adventures. I have been mesmerized by the story of Sophie and Agatha for 7 years and now that the adventure is ending I find myself lost. What will Sophie and Agatha do now? I wish I could follow them into the next chapter of their lives.
Soman Chainani is a master storyteller with a gift for plot twists. Since the very beginning of the series the reader never knows what is coming next or how a situation is going to play out. I loved that when I thought I had it figured out the author threw out a twist.
Tedros and the Snake (or Rhian as he likes to be called) face off to see who is the One True King. The Snake lives up to his name by cheating his way through it. Tedros has grown quite a bit over the years and finally uses his head to find a way to beat him. Merlin returns, but there is a slight issues…he’s a baby. He was aged backwards while living in cave. Agatha has also grown up a lot and learns that Tedros needs to do this on his own. Sophie finally finds love and it ends up breaking her heart. The quest for the One True King reveals much about Arthur and the secrets he had.
The ending is unexpected and fabulous. My emotions were all over the place. That, to me, makes a great book and series.


message 5: by James (new)

James F | 1508 comments Yaa Gyasi, Transcendent Kingdom [2020] 264 pages

Yaa Gyasi's second novel, after the best-selling and award-winning Homecoming, this was not as significant as the first one, but it was still a very good book. It is written as the first person remembrances of a woman from a Ghanaian immigrant family. Gifty is currently a graduate student doing research in neuroscience at Stanford. and caring for her mother, who is suffering from extremely debilitating depression. The novel is almost entirely in flashbacks, out of chronological order, to her childhood and teens, as well as some about her own life and relationships in college. I was strongly reminded of Edwige Danticat's first novel, Breath, Eyes, Memory, which is also about a Black immigrant girl with an emotionally disturbed mother. In addition to the subjects of the Black immigrant experience (since Gifty's family, like Gyasi's own, lived in Alabama, it is probably far from typical) and mother-daughter relationships, the novel takes on the subjects of opioid addiction (both in her family and in her research) and religion. The discussion of addiction is well-done; I had problems with the discussion of religion. While the break with religion in her adolescence I could relate to, the fact that she was still agonizing about God as a graduate student in the sciences was harder to believe. The ending is also a bit abrupt, although there is an epilogue set a few years later.


message 6: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2394 comments Mod
The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg
The Red Address Book – Sofia Lundberg – 2.5**
I am so over the dual time-line device in historical fiction! Just tell the story. This seemed very disjointed, what with the drama occurring in present day – both Doris and Jenny have some serious problems – and the drama of her great lost love in the past, I just never felt connected to these characters or to the story.
My full review HERE


message 7: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2394 comments Mod
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Brown Girl Dreaming – Jacqueline Woodson – 5***** and a ❤
Jacqueline Woodson is an award-winning author and poet. This memoir of her childhood, growing up in the turbulent 1960s is written entirely in free verse. The language is appropriate and accessible for the target middle-school audience, but eloquent and complex enough to engage and interest adults.
My full review HERE


message 8: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melissasd) | 825 comments Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills
Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills
5 ★

Claudia is starting her senior year of high school with a secret… she witnessed the breakup of Paige and Iris, her school’s favorite couple. Iris threatens Claudia if she tells anyone what was said and then the two of them are paired together for a school project. Claudia’s school teams up with the local boys school for a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and she and Iris must be a part of it. Not only does Claudia find herself becoming friends with Iris, she also finds herself attracted to the popular boy from the boy’s school.

I was a bit skeptical about this book when I started it because it’s not my usual genre, but I was pleasantly surprised. The story is cute and relevant. Claudia reminded me of myself in high school and I was able to relate with what she was going through and thinking. I just wish I had been as quick with comebacks as she was.
I thoroughly feel in love with Gideon. I can see why Claudia fell for him. He’s funny and lighthearted. He is also a huge flirt and I can understand why Claudia did not trust him. His best friend, Noah, is a gem as well. Gideon is very protective of Noah and when Claudia turns down Gideon, Noah is right there to explain Gideon’s actions that Claudia has witnessed and that have made her not trust him. The two of them show you what true friendship really is.
Iris and Claudia’s friendship is a strained one that grows slowly. Iris is very standoffish and seems angry about everything. The reader never really gets a full explanation as to why she is this way, but you are able to get an idea from her home life. I love how Claudia interacted with her and helped her see life differently and, although they weren’t great friends, Claudia still made her feel accepted.
Emma Mills is a new author for me, but after reading this book I will definitely be reading more by her.


message 9: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melissasd) | 825 comments Silenced (Lucy Kincaid, #4) by Allison Brennan
Silenced (Lucy Kincaid #4) by Allison Brennan
4 ★

A call girl linked to a Congressman is found murdered and then a few prostitutes are murdered as well. Lucy works with FBI Agent Noah Armstrong to find out if the murders are related and catch a killer.

I really liked concept behind this mystery and the cast of characters made the story believable and relevant. So many lost girls get sucked into prostitution and have no way out. It gets so bad for some that they are unable to trust anyone, even someone trying to help them. One character in the story makes a comment about killing just the prostitutes because no one will really investigate those murders. This is a sad but true fact.
Lucy is waiting to go to the FBI academy and is given the opportunity to work with Noah Armstrong as an analyst. She’s really good at it, but oversteps the bounds and gets Noah into some hot water with his boss. I was very disappointed with her numerous times throughout the book. The overstepped too many times even though she had been spoken to about it and she is still having issues getting over her abduction and rape seven years ago. I don’t see her making a very good agent until she can get that under control. Also, I’m sick of hearing about it in every book.
I love Sean Rogan, but he’s another one who likes to cross the line. He means well, but he interferes with Lucy’s job too much. I would love to see Lucy in action without Sean being a part of it. I would also love to see a series just about Sean.


message 10: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2394 comments Mod
Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout
Olive Again – Elizabeth Strout – 4****
The book is character-driven and Strout excels at revealing these characters by their actions and conversations with one another. I just love Olive, even if I don’t much “like” her. I can’t really say she’s mellowed much as she ages, but there is something so real, so vulnerable, so recognizable in her. I think there’s definitely some of me in her (or some of Olive in me).
My full review HERE


message 11: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2394 comments Mod
Go See the Principal True Tales from the School Trenches by Gerry Brooks
Go See the Principal – Gerry Brooks – 2.5**
Gerry Brooks is an elementary school principal in Lexington, Kentucky. Apparently, he’s also a YouTube celebrity of sorts. I don’t have any children. I’m not a teacher. It’s been a long time since I’ve personally been in school of any kind, let alone elementary school. I would probably have found this funnier if it was closer to home and I could relate. As it was, I thought it was more “instructional” than entertaining.
My full review HERE


message 12: by James (new)

James F | 1508 comments Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus [1831] 273 pages + 5 secondary articles (82 pages)
Thomas Carlyle, On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History [1840] 152 pages

Everything I read leads to adding something else to my list. I read Eun-Jin Jang's No One Writes Back last year for a Goodreads Group; this alluded to W. Somerset Maugham's The Moon and Sixpence, so I added it to my list; I got around to reading The Moon and Sixpence last month, which was very loosely based on Gauguin, so I added several books sitting on shelves in my garage about Gauguin; these mentioned the period with Van Gogh at Arles, so I checked out Zegers and Druick's Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Studio of the South from the library. That book mentioned that both Van Gogh and Gauguin were influenced inter alia by Thomas Carlyle's Sartor Resartus and On Heroes and Hero-Worship, so . . . Here I am reviewing Carlyle.

What eventually became Sartor Resartus ("The Tailor Re-Tailored") began as a short story for Fraser's Magazine, which was rejected. The original story forms approximately the first "Book" of the novel. It is based on a very modernist-sounding premise, namely that it is a review article by an anonymous English "Editor" on a German book published in Weissnichtwo by Stillschweigen & Co., Professor Diogenes Teufelsdröckh's Die Kleider, ihr Werden und Wirken, which is of course totally imaginary. (For the language-challenged, the title is Clothes, their Origin and Uses, the author's name means "Devil's excrement", and it is published in "I know not where" by "Keep Silent & Co.") Some critics, incredibly, apparently became angry at the "hoax" and "deception"; of course this was written before that technique of fiction had been used by so many other writers from Kierkegaard to Lem, but still. . . This first book is a fairly amusing satire on German pedantry, overblown language, and British and European customs/costumes. After it was rejected, Carlyle added two more "books" and resubmitted it as a serial, which was how it was published initially.

I think whoever wrote the description on Amazon, "a send-up of German Idealist philosophy", didn't read the rest of the book. The second book is a biography of Teufelsdröckh, supposedly reconstructed from six paper bags full of autobiographical fragments and miscellaneous papers; essentially it is a Bildungsroman in the German style, describing his fall into materialism and unbelief and subsequent epiphany and conversion to Post-Kantian Idealism in religion, here rather superficially presented as a sentimental Romantic Christianity -- as always when European ideas cross the Channel and even more so the Atlantic (Sartor Resartus was first published in book form in Boston, at the urging of Ralph Waldo Emerson) they tend to become trivialized. (If he had been around today, I would have called him "New Age" guru.) The third book returns to the theme of the "Clothing Philosophy" which now becomes an obvious and explicit allegory for this philosophy, the world as the garment of God and so forth. Teufelsdröckh, despite his exaggerated prose (which is hard to distinguish from Carlyle's own overinflated Victorian writing) ceases to be a figure of fun and becomes a relatively serious porte-parole for Carlyle.

The "Editor" does from time to time make various very English philistine objections before essentially agreeing with the Professor, which seems to disturb many modern literary critics. I think Carlyle is basically using this device to divert the reader's critical attention from the content to the "Editor"'s bad arguments, and hence "slip" the philosophy in. There are no actual arguments for it (he pores scorn on logic); it is just asserted over and over again, with much invective against atheists, materialists, and Carlyle's particular bête noire, Bentham and the Utilitarians, and like Plato's Ideas, the reader is just supposed to "see" it.
(See my thread for the secondary articles.)

------------------------
On Heroes, Hero-Worship, and the Heroic in History is a series of lectures given about a decade after Sartor Resartus was written, and presents a similar thesis in non-fictional form. It is one of the worst books I have ever read. Carlyle is again attacking the modern world for "materialism", "mechanism" and of course "utilitarianism", and assuming without argument the same Idealist philosophy as in the first book. He maintains (I would usually be using the word "argues" but he again doesn't give any arguments, just invective) that the proper attitude for all decent people is "Hero Worship", uncritical admiration of some "great man", and complete unquestioning obedience to him. It's hard to read this without a shudder after the twentieth century with its Führerprinzip and its "cults of personality", especially in the context of praising everything "Teutonic".

The first lecture is on the hero as God, which presents a euhemeristic account of Odin as a "great man" who was promoted to godhood: "We will fancy him to be the Type Norseman; the finest Teuton whom the race had yet produced. The rude Norse heart burst up into boundless admiration round him; into adoration. He is as a root of so many great things; the fruit of him is found growing from deep thousands of years, over the field of Teutonic Life." and so forth. He saw Nature as a reflection of Divinity; i.e. he was a precursor of German Idealism as interpreted by Carlyle. His achievement was to instill "Valor" and lead his people to conquests.

The second lecture is on the hero as prophet, and focuses on "Mahomet" and the founding of Islam. What is his greatness? "He sees what, as we said once before, all great thinkers, the rude Scandinavians themselves, in one way or other, have contrived to see: That this so solid-looking material world is, at bottom, in very deed, Nothing; is a visual and factual Manifestation of God's power and presence, -- a shadow hung out by Him on the bosom of the void Infinite; nothing more." In other words, a precursor of German Idealism as interpreted by Carlyle.

The third lecture is on the hero as poet, and treats of Dante and Shakespeare. A lot of superlatives and idolatry of both as "Great men"; he doesn't in my opinion understand either one of them. Of course, they saw through the world of phenomena to the divine noumenal world behind it. . . The fourth lecture is on the hero as priest: Luther and Knox. The fifth lecture is on the hero as Man of Letters: Johnson, Rousseau and Burns.

The final lecture is on the hero as king: Cromwell and Napoleon. What he sees as greatest about Cromwell is that he ruled without Parliament; what was greatest about Napoleon was that he made himself Emperor.


message 13: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2394 comments Mod
Long Road to Mercy (Atlee Pine, #1) by David Baldacci
Long Road To Mercy – David Baldacci – 4****
This is a fast-paced mystery / suspense / thriller with a kick-a** female heroine – or two. I really liked FBI agent Atlee Pine, who is physically and mentally strong, intelligent, determined and well able to take care of herself, and others. But I loved her assistant, Carol, who rises to the occasion and shows that she’s more than up to the task of besting the bad guys. This is a team to watch!
My full review HERE


message 14: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2394 comments Mod
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
A Short History Of Nearly Everything – Bill Bryson – 3.5***
Well, the title pretty much gives you a synopsis of what this nonfiction work is all about – “nearly” everything. Bryson allowed his curiosity about scientific discoveries to lead wherever it might take him, and he organized his findings in a somewhat chronological order (hence the “history”). It is information, if dry, at times. It’s also entertaining, even funny, in places.
My full review HERE


message 15: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melissasd) | 825 comments Dark Witch (The Cousins O'Dwyer Trilogy, #1) by Nora Roberts
Dark Witch (The Cousins O’Dwyer #1) by Nora Roberts
4 ★

Iona Sheehan moves to Ireland with the hope of finding family and her future. She ends up finding both, and love. Her cousins, Branna and Connor O’Dwyer, invite her to live with them and she gets a job at the local stables run by Boyle McGrath. There is one thing that Iona wasn’t counting on… an ancient evil that wants to destroy her and her family.

To be honest, Iona really got on my nerves in the beginning. She talked too much and came across as ditzy. That impression did change, but it took a minute. Her back story is a bit sad and you can’t help but feel bad for her and pray for happiness to find her.
The author does and amazing job with dialect. I felt like I was reading the book with an Irish accent. The difference between the American Iona and the Irish characters is very distinct and believable. The setting in Ireland is described vividly and beautifully. I did a bit of research myself to get a better visual of the land. It really makes you want to visit Ireland.
The book starts out from the very beginning of the O’Dwyer family legacy and gives the reader a great background for the story. The author did not seem to miss anything. There were no lingering questions or confusion. I look forward to reading the next book in the trilogy, which follow two other characters, but still has the main focus of the fight with evil that the family must defeat.


message 16: by James (last edited Sep 28, 2020 10:57PM) (new)

James F | 1508 comments Douglas W. Druick and Peter Kort Zegers, Van Gogh and Gauguin: The Studio of the South [2001] 418 pages

A large (13" x 10") format book, this was based on an exhibition of the two artists' works in Amsterdam and Chicago, sponsored by the Van Gogh Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. It has 510 illustrations, more than 60% in color and many half or full page. As great as the illustrations were, the text was important, unlike many art books; each painting is analyzed and placed in the context of their development. The focus of the book was on the mutual influence of Van Gogh and Gauguin. The first chapter, "Origins", traces the beginning of the two artists' careers before they came into contact; the second chapter, "Encounters" is about their first discoveries of each other; the third chapter, "North vs South" deals with their correspondence before the move to Arles. The fourth and longest chapter is of course on the period they worked together at the Yellow House, the "Studio of the South", divided into sections of about a week each. The fifth chapter, "Correspondence" is on their exchanges of letters (and paintings) after the breakup, through Vincent's suicide; and there is a coda on Gauguin after that, focusing on the "myths" of the two painters and what Gauguin said and wrote about Vincent. Each chapter and section is divided into alternating subsections on each of the two painters and their works.

One of the most impressive things about the book is that it was based on new research on the paintings themselves as physical objects, the types of canvas they used and the types of grounds and means of preparation (the details of the methodology and the results are presented in an appendix), which allowed for the paintings to be put into order and roughly dated even within the Arles period, showing that they were part of a discussion between the two artists on style and technique as well as their general views on art. The authors argue that Van Gogh won Gauguin over to a view of art as a sort of substitute for religion and themselves as apostles; both men were influenced by Carlyle's discussion of Heroes and Hero-Worship and saw themselves as the Hero as Artist. They were also both influenced by Zola's L'Oeuvre. Gauguin, on the other hand, was far more in touch with the movements in modern art, the factions of impressionists, neo-impressionists, and so forth. Both were influenced by Japanese art, and Gauguin extended the interest to other so-called "primitive" non-Western art. Both artists influenced each other on color and technique.

This is one of the most informative and interesting art books I have read in a long time.


message 17: by Melissa (new)

Melissa (melissasd) | 825 comments False Front (Bishop Security #1) by Debbie Baldwin
False Front (Bishop Security #1) by Debbie Baldwin
4 ★

Emily Webster was kidnapped as a child and when she was rescued it was never publicized. She became known as the twenty-first century Lindbergh Baby. With her father’s help she is now living as Emma Porter. She works for an online news agency and is given the assignment to interview Nathan Bishop, a womanizing dare-devil who runs his family’s defense contracting company. Emily remembers Nathan as the boy who lived next door to her growing up that she loved. They must now work together to stop an arms dealer with a lethal bioweapon. Will Nathan finding out the truth about Emily destroy everything?

This is an action packed read that moves smoothly and quickly. It is full of great characters that give the story a very authentic feel and gives the characters depth. Each character has his/her own skills and personality that really make them people that I, myself, would enjoy meeting.
Emily’s story is unique in the fact that her rescue was never made public. Her father is a powerful man, but I feel that at some point the truth would have come out. Nathan is a strong man who knows what he wants and gets what he wants. Not in a bad way, just a determined way.
I enjoyed that storyline as well. I liked how the author combined Emily’s abduction years ago with the events going on now in the book. Everything came full circle and no question was left unanswered. From the reason she was abducted the first time to why he’s still looking for her now.
The only downside I found was the romance between Nathan and Emily. It was extremely quick and extremely sexual. I understand that they have known each other since they were kids, but it felt like, for much of the middle of the book, it was just the two of them getting intimate. I’m all for a good romance, but this was a bit much (for me).
I looked forward to future books in the Bishop Security series. As I said, the people on Nathan’s team are great. I’m hoping that future books will give the reader more information on these characters.
(I would like to thank the author for my complimentary copy. This review is my own words and thoughts.)


message 18: by Book Concierge (new)

Book Concierge (tessabookconcierge) | 2394 comments Mod
Loretta Lynn Coal Miner's Daughter by Loretta Lynn
Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner’s Daughter – Loretta Lynn & George Vecsey – 3.5***
This autobiography takes the reader from Loretta’s birth to stardom. Originally published in 1976, the 30th-anniversary edition includes a forward with some additional information. I found this very interesting. She tells her story in a forthright and honest manner, relating both the good and the bad.
My full review HERE


message 19: by James (new)

James F | 1508 comments Tariq Ali, Night of the Golden Butterfly [2010] 275 pages

The fifth and last novel of the Islam Quintet is set in the present, probably not too long before the book was written. The premise is that Plato, a painter from Pakistan, commissions the narrator, Dara, an old friend from Lahore living in exile in London, to write a novel about his life. The book then describes the narrator's relationship with Plato and various other friends from the Partition of India and Pakistan through the present in flashbacks. (Dara is the same age and has much in common with Tariq Ali himself.) The foreground is occuppied by the personal relations of the characters, but the background describes the political and social realities of the country. The climax of the book is the unveiling of a symbolic painting by Plato, which defines the four "cancers" of the country: America, the military, the mullahs, and corruption. A character called Naughty Lateef satirizes the Westerm media's use of women "victims" from the Islamic countries to justify hatred for Moslems and by extension the foreign policy of the Western powers. Plato's girlfriend Zaynab, a real victim ("married to the Koran" to deprive her of an inheritance), emphasizes that the problem is not Islam but the backward economic structures, which use Islam as an excuse -- not much different than the "Christian" Right here. "So they're all doing religion, I thought to myself. And France, like Italy, despite pretensions to the contrary, is a Catholic country. The veneer of the Enlightenment is wearing off very fast."

I was a bit surprised and a little disappointed that, as with the earlier books, there wasn't actually much about those economic issues, especially given Ali's background, but the central organizing theme of all five books is the relations between the Islamic world and the West. (Maybe I shouldn't say "West", since one of the most interesting parts of this volume is the story of Jindié's ancestors in the nineteenth-century Moslem revolt in Yunnan against the Manchu dynasty, a historical event I hadn't ever heard of before.)

Other major characters are Plato and Dara's old friends Zahid (husband of Jindié), who became a famous doctor in the United States, joined the Republican Party, and then was caught up in the reaction after 9/11 and moved to London, and "Confucius" (Hanif), Jindié's brother, a once dogmatic Maoist who suffers from total amnesia (obviously symbolic.)


message 20: by James (new)

James F | 1508 comments Nizar Qabbani, Journal of an Indifferent Woman [1968, tr 2015] 88 pages

Nizar Qabbani (1923=1998) of Damascus was one of the most popular poets of the Arab World. Although best known for his erotic love poetry, he was particularly concerned with the freedom of women. In this book of poetry, he writes as a woman expressing her longing for freedom and her anger at the way love is banned by the male-dominated culture. This was an ebook free with Kindle Unlimited, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys modern poetry with a bite to it.


message 21: by James (new)

James F | 1508 comments Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch [1990] 384 pages

Another fantasy for the blog at work. This was a collaboration between Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, when both were still starting out. I haven't read anything by Gaiman before, but the style is definitely Pratchett, with the bizarre ideas presented deadpan and occasionally footnoted, as in the Discworld books. The subject is the Apocalypse, with the Antichrist and the Four Horsemen and everything; the main characters are an angel and a demon who have been around since the Creation (4004 BC) and don't want the world to end. It's very humorous, and takes on a lot of subjects, although some of the language and jokes are a bit too British to follow.


message 22: by James (new)

James F | 1508 comments Nizar Qabbani (Kabbani), Arabian Love Poems [1993, rev 1998] 223 pages

This anthology was the first work of Qabbani (or Kabbani, as it's spelled in this book) to be made available in English; it was reprinted in this revised edition shortly after his death in 1998. Most of the selections are taken from two of his collections, The Book of Love and 100 Love Letters. It's all love poetry (what he was most famous for) and it is very good, although I found his Journal of an Indifferent Woman more interesting. I'm just not very good at reviewing poetry.


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