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In the Name of God بسم الله

What Are You Reading Currently? [OFFICIAL THREAD]

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Salam all,

 

I have kept record of the books I have read for the second year in running. The total tally was 56 last year. This year has not been better. I checked my diary to find 51 entries; I only finished the last book yesterday. My new year resolution of reading 100 average length titles fell almost 50% short. Hmmmm....

 

Of course numbers alone do not inform on the length and/or quality of the book, so reading ten titles of 1000 pages each would take more time and effort than reading thirty books of, say, 250 pages each. This year's list has been a mixed bag.

 

My last year's reading chart was dominated by titles of Islamic history and contemporary politics but this year it has been mainly literature, with a few history books and a couple of biographies thrown here and there. of 51, six have been in Urdu, two in Saraiki and the remaining forty three in English. So very biased in favour of the language of the angrez.

 

In the year '14, aside from research-oriented reading for the book I am writing, I am going to cut down on random pickings and concentrate on a strictly formulated reading list. Reading is long and life is short.

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In the year '14, aside from research-oriented reading for the book I am writing

 

What are you writing, brother, and why?

 

A book, an article - what topics?

 

And which language (or languages) - English, Urdu or Saraiki.

 

What is Saraiki, anyway? Where is it spoken?   

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What are you writing, brother, and why?

 

A book, an article - what topics?

 

And which language (or languages) - English, Urdu or Saraiki.

 

What is Saraiki, anyway? Where is it spoken?   

 

It's a literary novel, in part historical fiction, in part a contemporary tale that explores themes of degradation of politics, cultural breakdown, religious extremism, and of the question of identity of small nations, told through the personal story of a male protagonist who is abandoned at birth by his family.

 

It's in English.

 

Saraiki is an Indo-Aryan language spoken in central Pakistan. Look up

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It's a literary novel, in part historical fiction, in part a contemporary tale that explores themes of degradation of politics, cultural breakdown, religious extremism, and of the question of identity of small nations, told through the personal story of a male protagonist who is abandoned at birth by his family.

 

Very good Masha Allah

 

I am sure it will turn out well and you will join the ranks of the many Indian and Pakistani writers who have made it in the last 30 years.

 

But how will we know about it when it is finished?

 

There is an ADVERTISE HERE box on top of this page but I think you can only advertise URLs, not books.

 

The other alternative is to advertise in this forum.

 

But very few people visit this form.

 

And I think there is no forum in this site which stands out in popularity.

 

But to be honest, I would really like to read your book.

 

The topics you have touched upon sound very interesting.

 

Best wishes in your endeavor

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Very good Masha Allah

 

I am sure it will turn out well and you will join the ranks of the many Indian and Pakistani writers who have made it in the last 30 years.

 

But how will we know about it when it is finished?

 

There is an ADVERTISE HERE box on top of this page but I think you can only advertise URLs, not books.

 

The other alternative is to advertise in this forum.

 

But very few people visit this form.

 

And I think there is no forum in this site which stands out in popularity.

 

But to be honest, I would really like to read your book.

 

The topics you have touched upon sound very interesting.

 

Best wishes in your endeavor

 

Thank you for your kind wishes, brother. 

 

It will take a while before I finish the final draft, acquire an agent and seek publisher but I will make sure word spreads when the book is out, which won't happen before 2015. But Inshallah.

 

You also asked why I'm writing the book. For one, I have a story to tell that others writers haven't. For two, Pakistani English fiction has enjoyed immense popularity in the previous decade thanks to outsiders who want to make sense of this paradoxical, Kafkaesque country. I'm not satisfied with the quality of most published books and thought I could do as well if not better than them. For three, I love the art of storytelling :)

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'The Theory of Knowledge, An Islamic Perspective', Murtadha Mutahhari (ra) - a translation (by Mansoor Limba) of the farsi book 'mas'aleh-ye Shinakht' - based on a series of lectures given by the scholar Murtadha Mutahhari ®.

 

Tareekh Islam, `Asr Payambar A`dham (History of Islam, The Era of The Prophet - farsi), Muhammad Hadi Yusufi Gharawi - A very summarised version (800 pages) of larger volumes by the author on the same topic. Translated and summarised from Arabic to Farsi by Husayn `Ali `Arabi

 

Muhammad Hadi Yusufi Gharaqi is currently one of my favourite living Muslim historians, alongside Rasul Ja`fariyan. 

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I'm multi-reading, which I generally try to avoid.

I'm reading:

1. Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting The Planet by Ibrahim Abdul-Matin

2. Geaux Local: Exploring New Orleans Beyond The French Quarter & Living Like a Local by Eric Sarrett

3. Brody's Ghost Book 2 by Mark Crilley

4. How to Live on 24 Hours a Day by Arnold Bennett

Plus some work related publications, plus I can't help but read everything my children read.

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(salam)

 

I finished Lemay by Barrett Tillman. This is about Gen. Curtis Lemay, of whom it was said, "If you have a problem, give it to Lemay."

 

I have started the Twilight War (on Iran) by David Crist. I cannot tell yet if this is a political diatribe or not.

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(salam)

 

notme:

I'm multi-reading, which I generally try to avoid.

I'm reading:
1. Green Deen: What Islam Teaches About Protecting The Planet by Ibrahim Abdul-Matin
2. Geaux Local: Exploring New Orleans Beyond The French Quarter & Living Like a Local by Eric Sarrett
3. Brody's Ghost Book 2 by Mark Crilley
4. How to Live on 24 Hours a Day by Arnold Bennett

 

#1 and #4 seem interesting, cool list!!

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I have started on the following two, my first books of this year.

 

 

identity-maalouf_zps112de44e.jpg

 

In the Name of Identity: Violence and the Need to Belong by Amin Maalouf

 

(translated from the French by Barbara Bray)

 

 

joke_zpsba697d60.jpg

 

The Joke by Milan Kundera

 

(translated from Czech by multiple translators including the author himself)

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Risalat Al Basaer fil Masaer by Jamal Alghitani

a letter of insights into fates.

 

It is an Arabic literature book, a story, a group of stories or biography of Cairo in 1970. He aimed to capture the life of ordinary people around him, turn it into a speaking image that can live through time, the language is captivating, it is as eloquent as any great poem from the Abbasid era.

 

فيا اهل الوقت الذي لا نعرف من امره شيئا ، يا اهل ازمنة لن نبلغها، ستقصر عنها اعمارنا، يا من ستسعون في دهر خلا منا، و من اثارنا، و ما يمكن ان يشير الينا. يا من سستسعون في دنيا لن نتفس هوائها، لن نبصر مباهجها، لن نعرف ملذاتها، يا من لم تعرفوا ما عرفناه، و لم تشهدوا ما عشناه، و لم تعاينوا ما عايناه، اعلموا ان ما مر بنا ثقيل، و ان ما عرفناه مضن و ما قايسناه صعب مر.

 

41b7Q5JJ-SL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-stic

The evolution of Love! 

It is a german book… I have yet to figure out what is he trying to prove.

 

296957_110303085443_A-Brief-History-of-T

I once read an article in some journal about time, it was too intriguing but this book is not, I am trying to hook my brain with it.

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2. Geaux Local: Exploring New Orleans Beyond The French Quarter & Living Like a Local by Eric Sarrett

4. How to Live on 24 Hours a Day by Arnold Bennett.

I finished these two. I forgot when I posted this^ that I also started listening to an audiobook, The Johnstown Flood, while I was on assignment to a branch office in September, but I stopped listening when one day I saw a pedestrian by the side of the road who had been hit by a car and killed. I couldn't bear to listen to a book full of death anymore for a while. Well, I picked that one up again. I laughed out loud at the part where it talked about rumors about looting and other atrocities by the Hungarian workers, because it seems to me that at any given time there is some group to vilify. Tomorrow it might be me and you.

Oh, it is.

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Thoughts on something I read recently:

 

letter-tariq_zps15fc397c.jpg

Back in 2001, during an anti-war demonstration in London, Tariq Ali had an encounter with two young Muslims who were shocked to learn that an anti-imperialist of his stature sets no store by religion, any religion.

 

Those young men were at a loss to understand how a person of Muslim background without faith in Islam could stand up to the crimes, excesses and injustices perpetrated by big powers in the Muslim world.

 

Later, he wrote an open letter which is a critique of extremist religion as well as American imperialism.

 

Every time the West intervenes in Muslim countries it sets them back many decades. They intervening powers create exploitative economies run by corrupt politicians on American life-support and unstable, undemocratic governments to do their bidding. This has caused massive discontent among people and they have increasingly turned towards extremist strains of politicised religion to fight American imperialism.

 

This is ‘anti-imperialism of the fool’. They cannot improve anything by going back to a mythical past which did not even exist for seventh century Muslims, if the ‘Emirate of Afghanistan’ (under Taliban), Saudi Arabian radicalism and Iranian clerical system are examples to go by.

 

He rejects the notion that Muslims must imitate Western neoliberalism to modernise themselves in order to be able to fight hegemonic powers. Rather, they must find new ways and ideas which are more advanced than what’s on offer in the West.

 

Yet he does not elaborate except for advising Muslims to support separation of politics and religion, let go of mystified theological debates that serve no tangible purpose to improve peoples’ condition, and instead pay attention to things that matter, by which he means working for the establishment of equitable economic systems and providing people with basic human rights to education, health and food.

 

Enlightenment in the lands of Islam will not come from the West; they will have to work for it themselves. The internal debates about the role of religion in politics and public space will determine which course Islamdom takes, and he hopes Muslims will not waste any more energies on theological wranglings, sectarian fights and trivial things but get down to business sooner rather than later.

 

The letter gets somewhat confusing when he mentions celebrations by some Muslims in the wake of 9/11 attacks and says this has nothing to do with religion. He points out to similar reaction among other people like the congratulatory emails that went around in Russia and the case of Argentine students who walked out of the class when their professor criticised Osama bin Laden.

 

This behaviour is credited to the disenchantment people feel worldwide with the American Empire. 9/11 attack was not a “cause to celebrate”; it actually showed “terrible weakness” of the Third World in the face of American imperialism.

 

For Tariq Ali, it is still the economy, stupid. Nothing else matters.

 

Bloglink

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I finished "reading" an audiobook The Johnstown Flood by David Mccolough. The final chapter was surprisingly thought provoking for a simple history of a well known event that happened more than a century ago, or maybe it only seemed so in light of the recent chemical spill in West Virginia.

My friend's novel is coming out soon. I will need to read that for sure, but I'll wait to give details after it is released.

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I finished Amin Maalouf's "In the Name of Identity", a thoughtful dissertation on the clash engendered by modernity between an individual's many identities and allegiances. He argues for a new approach that doesn't box people into exclusive singular identity based either on or nationality, or ethnicity, or language, which, according to him, is the main source of so much violence of the current (read past) century. Detailed review later.

 

I am still reading Milan Kundera's novel "The Joke" and loving it so far. It details the first days of the Communist takeover of Czechoslovakia after WWII. A young student Comrade is expelled from the Party and branded an 'enemy' of people when a joke goes wrong, which triggers a seemingly never ending succession of bad luck for him. Kundera's writing is powerful, condensed, and fast paced, just as I like it, unlike those long winding narratives that drag and drag for pages without offering anything concrete.

 

In between heavy readings I have picked up the following:

 

 

71QHE6ZX97L.gif

 

A collection of poems originally written in English by the Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali who single-handedly acquainted America and the West with the ghazal genre and initiated a whole bunch of native English writers trying their hand at the ghazal.

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