Whatcha reading?

Whatcha reading?

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Shia Revival: Vali Nasr

This was a very educational book about who the Shia's are, what they believe, and where large numbers live. It's hard to believe in this day and age that the Sunni's and Shia's who have so much in common still have so much hatred for each other. This book really hit home who fortunate I am to live in a country where you are free to practice whatever you want. I hadn't realized Saudi Arabia had a mortality police "mutaween" (how very big brother-ish). It was also interesting to learn how Muslim countries took in the Shia refugees from other countries and failed to recognize them as people. I liked learning about the politics of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, and Jordan.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Islam and the West: Bernard Lewis

This was an interesting book covering the history of Islamic/Western relations. It was amusing to picture the dynamics hundreds of years ago when the Middle East viewed Europeans as barbarians, since they had the advancements of Greece (the Mediterranean) and China (the orient) whereas the Europeans were still farmers. It also discussed that the first book printed in England was an Arabic translation, showing the importance other places put on the Middle East. The idea that "Abd" means slave and Abdallah means "slave to God" was very interesting. As was the idea that Christianity is a larger concern to Muslims since the Jewish community doesn't try converting like both Christians and Muslims.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Girl Gone: Gillian Flynn

WOW- this was Flynn's best book to date. Throughout the beginning I felt depressed that their relationship deteriorated and the man was so clueless. It presented it like it could happen to anyone in any marriage. The honeymoon ends, you stop trying to show your best "you" and you wonder what you have in common. The next chapter was MIND BLOWING and I wanted to yell RUN, but it was still sad with how life throws you lemons even when you've spent a year trying to plan everything out completely. Theft, kidnapping... The ending was so messed up that a murder could be committed (I was still stuck on setting someone up to go to jail as revenge to someone you were madly in love with at some time) and it seemed acceptable. This book was a never ending roller-coaster.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Dark Places: Gillian Flynn

This was a witch hunt of a book. A little girl's (Libby’s) 2 sisters and mother are murdered and her brother goes to jail for the murders. She lives her life in a daze until she runs out of money and comes across people who think her brother is innocent. She had never given it any thought and never visited him in prison, but she takes the money they offer to try to find answers for them. What she finds sends the reader on a rollercoaster of emotions. The story is told through flash backs in several different perspectives and the present day investigation Libby does. Libby steals things and she unintentionally pockets something that confirms who the real murderer was..

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sharp Objects: Gillian Flynn

Wow, was this ever a creepy book. The protagonist is a woman (Camille) who grew up in a dysfunctional family... VERY dysfunctional, her Mother had Munchausen by proxy (MSBP) disease. Since adolescence Camille had been cutting words into herself and her body is covered in the scars. She had lost a little sister, who was constantly sick when little and hates going home even though she has a 13 yr. old half-sister, whom she doesn't know. When her boss at the paper asks her to go home and write about the recent murders of two little girls, Camille doesn't want to go. The murders make her look into her own life and into the facade of her town. The end is haunting. She realizes her sister didn't die a natural death and her step-sister is more sinister than their mother. Though it was entertaining it is hard to believe the monstrosities from one family who is loved and feared by the entire town.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Mediterranean in History: David Abulafia

This was a ginormous picture-ish book. The first chapter cracked me up, it seemed every page proposed an idea and then, but that's not what this book is about. It seemed like the countries got along with each other when they were equals and could charge whatever they wanted for their products. But now Egypt, Libya, and some of the Middle Eastern countries on the coast can't play anymore while everyone advances around them. The mention of the change in eco system due to the opening of the Suez Canal and the different sea life being able to comingle was something I never gave any thought to. I was interested to learn the countries also seemed to live in harmony with very different cultures and beliefs until the 3 major religions took over local beliefs and started clashing with each other. The Muslims decided they would not allow merchants to sell to non-Muslims, while non-Muslims sold to everyone and stayed wealthy. Then later as a whole they tried to stop trading iron and other materials to the Muslims so they couldn't make weapons which would be used against them. The rate at which the detail on maps and the growth of cities appeared was astonishing. I learned about "Pirenne's theory"- that it was the Islamic invasions, not the fall of Rome that ended the unity of the Mediterranean. The change in wealth countries from industry to relaxation has changed the Mediterranean we know today into beaches and resorts.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Child 44: Tom Rob Smith

This Book really pulls you in, but was disturbing. It started out in a Village in the Ukraine in 1933 where everyone is dying of hunger. One woman kept a cat alive through the whole ordeal while she herself staves after letting the cat free. A little boy sees the cat head to the woods and he and his brother hunt it. The eldest boy is murdered in the woods and the little boy can't find any trace of him. The book then fast forwards to 1953 in Moscow where a little boy is thought to be murdered, but since in this society "there is no crime" it gets covered up. The investigator catches a cold after diving into an icy river to retrieve a person they suspect of being a spy. He realizes after bring him in that the man is in fact innocent. When he stays home to fight his fever the boss sends a doctor to make sure the investigator- Leo is in fact sick. The doctor, after seeing he is sick tells Leo's attractive wife that he will tell the truth if she sleeps with him, she puts a knife to his neck even though she knows it may result in her death. When Leo goes back to work he finds out his wife's name is mentioned in the "spy's" confession before he was killed. It was obviously added by the doctor. Leo has to follow his wife and determine if she is in fact a spy, knowing it would mean her death. He loses her on the train and goes to his parent's to ask their advice. They tell him to turn her in, that the three of their lives are more important than hers. Just then there is a knock on the door and it is his wife, he finds out she has been eating dinner with them once a week and his parents have grown quite attached to her, but are willing to sacrifice her life. During dinner he finds out she went to the DR after work and found out she is pregnant. When Leo has to report to his boss, to his surprise he says his wife is innocent. The story progresses to more and more suffering. Leo finally admits there is a murderer and sets out to find him defying the country. The story twists and turns explaining the first chapter in a way I would have never guessed. Child 44 ended up being the murdered child of one of Leo's friends. This was an excellent book.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Eldest: Christopher Paolini

The second book in the inheritance series and seemed to go on forever. In this one we learn there is another rider and dragon living among the elves, and he is an elf. We also glimpse into Bron's importance previous to the book. Roran plays a huge part in this story and is it interesting how the two cousins live very parallel lives. Eragon falls in love with the Arya, elf princess and is thwarted. Eragon and Saphira get trained by the older dragon and rider, but in the end when they battle against the empire they are still not strong enough to win. Eragon and Saphria only get away by two chance of Luck- that Roran shows up and kills the twins who had magical powers and turned evil, and that the other rider Eragon has to fight is Murtaugh, his old friend who is more powerful and lets him go, just this once. A prophesy is told that Eragon will be betrayed by a family member. We are lead to believe it is Roran. After the Ra'zac come back to Carvahall and destroy everything Roran proposes to Katrina who is taken by the Ra'zac. Fueled by his own selfish need he has the town follow him on a journey to get her back and shows up right as good and evil are battling.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Finger Lickin' Fifteen: Janet Evanovich

This book was packed with bizarre things happening, even more than the previous books. Lula witnesses a murder and is then chased by the murderers. Her house has been damaged by them and she moves in with Stephanie. Lula snores. Stephanie and Morelli are fighting again and Stephanie moves in with Ranger. Ranger's accounts keep getting broken into and Stephanie picks up some work at Rangeman trying to find the burglars. A head is found without a body and is identified as a famous BBQ sauce celebrity. There is a BBQ contest in town that Lula and Grandma Mazur enter hoping to catch the killers. A body is found without a head. Joyce is hired at Vinnie’s bail bonds since Stephanie is falling behind. Havoc ensues. Lula gets her man at the BBQ contest, ruins her BBQ, Joyce gets shot, but is ok,and Ranger gets the burglars.