Whatcha reading?

Whatcha reading?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Black Swan: Nassim Nicholas Taleb

This is an interesting, serious read. A lot of the things he mentioned were obvious when you think about it, but most people don't- like "Beginner's Luck" where the people who aren't lucky at the beginning get out, so the lucky people, who continue playing- all claim the same thing-you're lucky in the beginning. The Italian Toddler story was interesting too, in a war torn country were millions were being killed and the people were worried about one little boy who fell in a well in Italy. They had 1 face to picture and worry about which seemed more real than the mass of people they may not have known.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Two for the Dough: Janet Evanovich

The second book in the series. Stephanie is still working for her cousin Vinnie (bail bonds) and trying to apprehend Joe Morelli's cousin Kenny Mancuso. Kenny had worked with two buddies to steal high powered guns off a military base. One friend worked as a mechanic and borrowed a truck that came in for overnight maintenance; the other friend was an undertaker and bought surplus military caskets off the military base, which was where they hid the guns to get them off base. The guns were then to be sold on the black market. Another entertaining read where Stephanie takes her grandmother along with her on stakeouts at the funeral home.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A God Who Hates: Wafa Sultan

This book was as hopeful and uplifting as it was depressing. I liked how the book was started with a biography showing firsthand how she has seen women damaged and then moved on to society as a whole. She mentions that the children (which has become 40% of the population) in the Muslim world are either brainwashed or looking to the west for opportunity and knowledge. Yet many who live in the United States bad mouth it when talking to other foreigners. The story she told about coming upon two young boys ripping feathers out of birds and believed they were superior to a grown woman was terrifying. Wafa also talks about the difference in non-Arab Muslims and Arab Muslims since the Koran is written in Arabic, which many non-Arabs can't read. She mentions those who don't know what they are saying in the rote prayer aren't as damaged because they don't know the words of hate they recite. She Says the Koran is a book of violence "Muslims are the inalterable product of what they read. They are negative people, and their negativism is reflected in all their attitudes toward life."

Sunday, March 24, 2013

The Trouble With Islam: Irshad Manji

I really liked the writer's voice in this book; her statements were so straightforward and spunky. "What makes us righteous and everyone else racist?...I am a Muslim Refusenik. That doesn't mean I refuse to be a Muslim; it simply means I refuse to join the army of automatons in the name of Allah". The section explaining the error of expecting 70 virgins as a reward for martyrdom was hilarious. There is some belief that the word was translated wrong and was actually Raisins. (They were expensive delicacies.)This section was educational. I didn't know some the text in the Koran was translated into Arabic from Judeo-Christian culture. Later in the book there is this quote "That is why", says Sardar, " Whenever the shai'ah is imposed- out of context from the time when it was formulated and out of step with our- Muslim societies acquire a medieval feel. We see that in Saudi Arabia, Iran, the Sudan, and Afghanistan after the Taliban." Ok, I guess I am just going to quote all the "ah ha" moments from this book "In North Africa, Jews and Christians wore shoulder patches with pictures of pigs and monkeys, respectively... In Baghdad, seat of the Islamic enlightenment, the Dhimmi peoples dressed in clothes bearing yellow symbols- a marker resuscitated by the Nazis." I really enjoyed reading this; it was equal parts educational and entertaining.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Wanted Women, Faith, Lies, and the War on Terror: Deborah Scroggins

I liked how the author picked two completely different people on their views towards Islam and alternated chapters between comparing their lives. It was obvious Scoggins didn't like Ayaan Hirsi, she remained neutral when discussing Aafia Siddiqui (until the end), but inserted her own judgments on Ayaan. Some were that she didn't think through her speeches, she didn't consider other Muslims who weren't extremist, etc. It bothered me because it seemed like she was promoting Aafia through judging Ayaan (until you get further into the book). Aafia was an interesting person. She kept pushing her husband to join the jihad, yet when the FBI starts investigating her she flees back to Pakistan fearing for her life. It was as though she thought her life was more important than her husband's. She was obsessed with being a martyr's wife. I can't believe she would put her children through that and they never did determine what actually happened to her baby. Aafia's story is sad because you feel for the children's father. The children were taken from him and even when they showed up again, living who knows what sort of life, he wasn't allowed to have them back. I learned through this book that Ayaan's book Infidel was actually written by a ghost writer. I was also surprised that Ayaan was upset about Holland cancelling her protective service when she gained American citizenship. First off, they advised her they were stopping at a certain date, extended it, advised her again and she still didn't think it would happen. Plus her actions are what caused her to need bodyguards in the first place and she was no longer a citizen of the country paying for the protection because of lying on the immigration paperwork!. The Book did a good job on summing up the comparisons between the two women with very strong, very different beliefs. Ayaan fought with words for peace and seems to live happily ever after; Aafia was plotting murder and will spend the rest of her life in prison.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The Rajneesh Chronicles; The true Story of the Cult the Unleased the AFirst Act of Bioterrorism on U.S. Soil: Win McCormack

This was a scary read. I had only heard of the Rajneesh cult poisoning and knew nothing about how they operated, or who they were. The way they took over the town of Antelope Oregon is frightening and could still happen so easily today because in a democracy, the majority win. The entire time the town of 40 was being taken over by religious fanatics the townspeople could see what was happening, why they wanted into the school system, though they had their own schools etc., but were powerless to stop them. “Antelope seems likely to join a long list of American Communities that have been utterly changed by the perfectly legal settlement of a different group, but the change here is so sudden and yet so complete, and contrasts both in power and in values between the two groups so sharp, that locals feel not only outnumbered but also strangers in what they had thought to be their land." There were a bunch of great quotes in this book "The greater a man's brilliance, the greater number of truths he has insight to...the more dangerously destructive that man has the power to be- if his core is evil" Once the cult was dismembered the evidence of the AIDS virus and salmonella was found. The destruction this cult could have done is unsettling. The leader predicted 2/3rds of the world's population would die of AIDS. It appeared he was going to be responsible for it.