I fully accept that nobody might care about this review but me, but the feminist in me had some things to say about it so I couldn’t help myself. Yes, this is a nonfiction biography BUT it is considered the definitive biography on Catherine the Great so if you care I guess this would be a book for you? I’m probably talking to dead air here. That’s cool. I’ll keep my nerd self over here.
I’m back with this week’s From the Notebook to discuss the recent change in my reading tastes, and the freak out that is causing in my personal identity. I’ve always been a teen reader, but I haven’t read a teen book since October. WHAT IS HAPPENING?
It’s finally time to get down to this wrap up stuff. 2016 wasn’t that great of a reading year, overall, though I did read 80 books. I felt like a lot of it was meh, but there were 5 that really stood out. They were a super mix of books, really representing the weird and new turns that my reading was taking me. I’m starting to read a lot wider and broader, and consistently stuff I didn’t think I’d ever enjoy. Let’s take a look at my list!
As promised in my August wrap up, my review of Yes, Please. I laughed out loud, but was also kind of confused. The best part was definitely the genuine human aspects of the audiobook. I really felt like Amy and her friends were including me in some intimate moments rather than just reading something they’d written and then edited heavily. The “plot” aspect of it, however, was missing entirely and caused for some disconnection. Either way, a great audiobook to listen to!
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 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.
Up until this point, I haven’t been too impressed by the books that I’ve been reading for my Spiritual Journeys class. Stephen Dubner’s Choosing My Religion was written poorly and lacked much depth. The second book, Monique and the Mango Rains by Kris Holloway, was even more surface level with a hidden amount of white privilege on top. I still haven’t finished the third one due to missed classes.
This book, however, changed everything. Here, at last, was the deep kind of inter-religious engagement that I had been looking for all this time, with an author I trusted to do the subject justice.