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Guest Dialectician

What Are You Reading Currently? [OFFICIAL THREAD]

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Books I Read:

 

 

The Book Thief (6.75/10)

17857648.jpg

 

 

Things I Liked About It:

- That it is narrated by death.

-The setting (Nazi Germany) which I've read little about.

-Many of the characters (especially Rudy Steiner).

-The organization of the chapters and the little notes added by death which made the book a quick read for me.

 

Things I Didn't Like:

-The book thievery (I didn't think it was as significant and deep as the author was making it out to be).

-Though I liked the idea of reading from deaths POV I did not like his outlook on life the way it was portrayed in the book. At times he seemed to show a resentment towards God which amongst other things is very unlike our islamic view of death and Azrael.

 

Unislamic Content: its safe to read except for:

-A few recurring german swear words 

-A kiss (i think?)

Edited by Yasmeena

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Everything I Never Told You (6.75/10)

18693763.jpg

 

Things I Liked About It:

-I could relate to a few of the characters.

-I enjoyed the book being centered around family life which isn't something common in young adult lit nowadays.

-The themes were ones that interested me (interracial marriage, parental influence etc) and they were dealt with in an interesting way.

-I liked the writing style and the unsettling atmosphere of the book.

 

Things I Didn't Like:

-I found a few events unrealistic. While it is true that a lot of our decisions and personality traits are based on our parents and childhood/upbringing, I found this idea to be exaggerated throughout the book. 

-I was very bothered by some of the things a few of the characters. It was disturbing at certain points.

 

Unislamic Content:

-The description is not very detailed if I remember correctly but there were a few inappropriate scenes. 

-I don't remember swearing being a big part of the book. 

- Homosexuality comes up at a certain point in the book.

 

 

 

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops (7/10)

12640991.jpg

 

Things I Liked About It:

-Its funny.

-Its short.

 

Things I Didn't Like:

-If I must complain about anything its that the absurdity of some of the costumers made me skeptical about the credibility of the book. 

 

Unislamic Content:

-None if I remember correctly. 

 

A Few Quotes:

 

“CUSTOMER (peering over): Do you have brown eyes?
BOOKSELLER: Yes, I do.
CUSTOMER: My mother told me never to trust anyone with brown eyes.
BOOKSELLER: . . . You have brown eyes.
CUSTOMER: . . .”
 
“CUSTOMER: Have you read every single book in here?
BOOKSELLER: No, I can’t say I have.
CUSTOMER: Well you’re not very good at your job, are you?”
 
 
 
 
Currently Reading: 
 
The Places in Between
95643.jpg
 
In my attempt to read more meaningful books I picked this one up. Its my first time reading a travel journal style book. I'm halfway into it and am enjoying it so far especially the descriptions and the voice of the author.
Edited by Yasmeena

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terryyy.jpg

 

My review from Goodreads.

 

Overwrought, overanalysed, somewhat cryptic and a bit repetitive - yet despite the flaws its main premise is worth exploring. I enjoyed the opening chapters in which Eagleton sets out his premise and then goes on to expand on it with an overabundance of references and allusions to already held knowledge. This right there might be the problem: Maybe I need to bone up on the intellectual history of European Enlightenment before reading an advanced level dissection of the same.
 
The central argument of the book is as follows: in ousting religion from the mainstream of society and in removing God from the heart of the individual Western intellectual discourse has not been able to replace it with an equally powerful, singular, all-encompassing value system that answers in totality to the endeavour of humankind. Reason, Nature, philosophy, arts, culture, science, the nation, Human Rights, the ersatz religion of psychoanalysis etc have attempted to replace God as unsatisfactory surrogates which, in Eagleton's words, have "acted from time to time as forms of displaced divinity." 
 
These new viceroys of God, to an extent, have filled the gaping hole left behind the proverbial death of God, but the better we understand any of these self-help keys to living the more we see their practical limits with the result that the future which a couple of generations ago was thought to have become, or in the inevitable process of becoming, godless for good, is now reverting to the discarded divine and finding in this rediscovery new answers to old dilemmas. It appears to me that Eagleton considers various manifestations of religion-inspired fundamentalism to be, at least partially, a reaction to modernity putting the divine in disrepute and treating it with curious condescension. 
 
Whether one agrees or disagrees, this coming from an atheist and proud communist is remarkable. If nothing else it shows Eagleton can think beyond dogmas and -isms from an intellectual standpoint and has the courage to hold opinions which, as Proust had said, our modern-day compartmentalised convention thinks an act of calculated cowardice, of which he has been accused of by the oversimplified new-age atheism of Hitchens-Harris variety.
 
3/5
Edited by Marbles

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The Concept Of Belief In Islamic Theology

 
by Toshihiko Izutsu
 
Good stuff, the first couple of chapters provides an amazing overview of the history of takfir ... book was written in 1980 ... amazingly relevant for today... 
Edited by skylight2

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terryyy.jpg

 

My review from Goodreads.

 

Overwrought, overanalysed, somewhat cryptic and a bit repetitive - yet despite the flaws its main premise is worth exploring. I enjoyed the opening chapters in which Eagleton sets out his premise and then goes on to expand on it with an overabundance of references and allusions to already held knowledge. This right there might be the problem: Maybe I need to bone up on the intellectual history of European Enlightenment before reading an advanced level dissection of the same.
 
The central argument of the book is as follows: in ousting religion from the mainstream of society and in removing God from the heart of the individual Western intellectual discourse has not been able to replace it with an equally powerful, singular, all-encompassing value system that answers in totality to the endeavour of humankind. Reason, Nature, philosophy, arts, culture, science, the nation, Human Rights, the ersatz religion of psychoanalysis etc have attempted to replace God as unsatisfactory surrogates which, in Eagleton's words, have "acted from time to time as forms of displaced divinity." 
 
These new viceroys of God, to an extent, have filled the gaping hole left behind the proverbial death of God, but the better we understand any of these self-help keys to living the more we see their practical limits with the result that the future which a couple of generations ago was thought to have become, or in the inevitable process of becoming, godless for good, is now reverting to the discarded divine and finding in this rediscovery new answers to old dilemmas. It appears to me that Eagleton considers various manifestations of religion-inspired fundamentalism to be, at least partially, a reaction to modernity putting the divine in disrepute and treating it with curious condescension. 
 
Whether one agrees or disagrees, this coming from an atheist and proud communist is remarkable. If nothing else it shows Eagleton can think beyond dogmas and -isms from an intellectual standpoint and has the courage to hold opinions which, as Proust had said, our modern-day compartmentalised convention thinks an act of calculated cowardice, of which he has been accused of by the oversimplified new-age atheism of Hitchens-Harris variety.
 
3/5

 

 

Salam alekum,

 

Out of curiosity, didnt it feel like he was stating the obvious the whole time? or did you learn something new?

 

Thanks

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Salam alekum,

 

Out of curiosity, didnt it feel like he was stating the obvious the whole time? or did you learn something new?

 

Thanks

 

Wasalam,

 

For Muslim societies that hadn't been through the the process of insults that modernism suffered their religion, no, this wasn't particularly enlightening on the basic level. But in the Western context, with the concerted and systematic attack on organised religion and later on the idea of God, this book comes off as a fascinating admission of the failure of non-divine fillers to answer satisfactorily to the needs of humanity. Eagleton makes the reader go through various philosophies and viewpoints of many different personalities in Europe, to compare and contrast them, and offers detailed analytical commentary to highlight major strains of Western thought that dealt with the question of religion. It was there that I found it worth the read :)

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Here's a review of Harper Lee's sequel (prequel?) to the celebrated To Kill a Mockingbird. I posted it originally on Goodreads.

 

goset.jpg

 

My rating 1/5

 

If someone described the publication of this book as a money making racket I would have no objection to this criticism. Even if the senile author had been manipulated into acceding to its publication, the kind of money that was growing on the trees would make this moral failure a mere peccadillo. Though I suspect had Mr Finch been alive he’d have taken umbrage at the misconduct no?
 
Be that as it may, this novel couldn’t have appeared at a worse time. Atticus Finch, the regressive sophist of this sequel, now retired and redundant, yet full of intellectual charm, has made his reappearance in the year when American streets are in the grip of a renewed racial rebound; the reality that once ironically hid behind rainbow songs that envisioned a colour-blind society has bounced back with its glaring contradictions and shoddy equivocations, while those who wield power have resorted to all manner of chicanery to suggest all is well.
 
By that I mean there are countless people around still blaming the victims of racial framing who are vindicated by Atticus’ intellectual (and inexplicable) metempsychosis from a young lawyer fighting for justice for the oppressed race to an ornery old man who is unsettled by the “slow pace” at which the blacks are making “progress.” Sounds familiar? Yes, the judgments are still in the coming; yes, the black community must still get a certificate of progress from their previous oppressors; yes, now that they have stopped treating them as subhumans, by opening an equal playing field before them (in theory), they want them to be quick to dissolve the weight of the past and join in the patriotic song-singing and nationalistic flag-waving, to live happily ever after, till kingdom come.
 
I did not think much of the first installment. Its flattened prose aside, its symbolic cardiac arrest apart, I have some strong objections to how it is conceptualised. In my opinion the character of Atticus Finch is an exhausted moral allegory for a tormented racial conscience that offers a saccharine palliative to assuage the collective guilt born of centuries of atrocities inflicted upon the "lesser races.” Yet at the same time he so plainly and obviously symbolises an internalised thought process social theorists have labelled the “saviour complex.” So Mockingbird series is not about human rights and equality for black people but something else entirely. I tried to look at it differently but couldn’t ignore the fine print even though my emotions had been manipulated into applauding the great “moral message” floating on the surface of the novel.
 
Mockingbird has failed me and I have failed the Mockingbird. Dear Harper Lee, I beg your pardon.

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The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

 

Corrie ten Boom is one of my heroes because of her love for people, including her enemies. God used Corrie ten Boom to minister to people with special needs before the Nazis came to her homeland. Then, God used Corrie ten Boom and her family to help and hide Jewish people from their persecutors. After her father died in a Nazi prison, Corrie and her sister were taken to a concentration camp. There, God used her and her sis to give hope and encouragement to their fellow prisoners. After her sis died in the concentration camp, God rescued Corrie and sent her to show and preach love for her enemies. While at first it was hard for her to forgive her enemies, God helped her to truly forgive them and love them as Jesus Christ commanded. Corrie ten Boom is truly an inspiration!!!

 

The-Hiding-Place.jpg

Edited by Christianlady

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(salam)

 

Ibn al-Hussain, (salam)

 

Is this written in a format and theme similar to Edward Said's Orientalism ?

 

No, not really (though I haven't read all of Said's book, only about 60 pages or so). But this book I'm reading currently, called Islam in Liberalism by Joseph Massad seems to be written in a similar theme and format.

 

I am currently on chapter 2, this is what the author writes in the beginning of chapter 1 and 2:

 

Chapter 1: The Democracy Offensive and the Defenses of "Islam"

 

This chapter principally argues that the assumption of democratic identity by the "West" and of despotic identity as the West's other, represented by the figure of "Islam," is both an act of self-constitution and projection as well as an imperial strategy that uses cultural assimilation and othering as tactics of economic and political domination.

 

Chapter 2: Women and/in "Islam": The Rescue Mission of Western Liberal Feminism

 

In this chapter, I will review the process of universalizing US and West European liberal feminisms on a global scale and the methods and tools by which they came to dominate the discourse and policies of emancipating Muslim women from gender-based discrimination in their societies and countries and how Western liberalism links and delinks the latter to "Islam." I will focus on the linkage of such emancipation to liberal definitions of rights, and specifically of women's rights as human rights. I will also show how this is a direct outcome of the weakening of the Soviet Union during the last decade of the Cold War, leading to its final collapse in 1991, thus neutralizing socialist and anti-imperialist resistance to Western liberalism and its developmentalist and anticaptalist agenda, which would be replaced by the successful rise of a US-led neoliberal order and its corresponding political agendas of globalizing capital that have dominated the globe since.

 

 

Chapter 3 is titled: Pre-Positional Conjunctions: Sexuality and/in "Islam"
Chapter 4 is titled: Psychoanalysis, "Islam", and the Other of Liberalism
Chapter 5 is titled: Forget Semitism!
 
Wassalam

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Mircea Eliade study on the History of religions and beliefs. A very interesting study so far, the author's approach is considerate and interesting. Just started on it so still can't give a deeper review. I have received very good recommendations on this author, and his work is said to be a very beautiful read.

Ibn, what's your view on Massad argumentation so far? I made a quick search and he seems to be controversial. Would like to know if you found him actually controversial or maybe not sophisticated enough in his study.

Edited by Bakir

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This is long haul. Starting up on the 5-part exhausting survey of what it took Britain to become the empire where sun never set. Since the book is held together by a series of academic essays I might read it selectively. This is also good because such a big project in the hands of a couple of historians would have subjected it to an irremediable bias. With the multiplicity of views this shouldn't be a problem. 

 

emp.jpg

 

 

Volume I of The Oxford History of the British Empire explores the origins of empire. It shows how and why England, and later Britain, became involved with transoceanic navigation, trade, and settlement during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. As late as 1630 involvement with regions beyond the traditional confines of Europe was still tentative; by 1690 it had become a firm commitment. The Origins of Empire explains how commercial and, eventually, territorial expansion brought about fundamental change, not only in the parts of America, Africa, and Asia that came under British influence, but also in domestic society and in Britain's relations with other European powers. 

 
The chapters, by leading historians, both illustrate the interconnections between developments in Europe and overseas and offer specialist studies on every part of the world that was substantially affected by British colonial activity. Their analysis also focuses on the ethical issues that were presented by the encounter with peoples previously unknown to Europeans, and on the ways in which the colonists struggled to justify their conduct and activities.

 

 


Also dipping into the following collection of academic essays. What an excellent compendium it is turning out to be.

 

culture.jpg

 

Book blurb:

 

 

A grand synthesis of unprecedented scope, Literary Cultures in History is the first comprehensive history of the rich literary traditions of South Asia. Together these traditions are unmatched in their combination of antiquity, continuity, and multicultural complexity, and are a unique resource for understanding the development of language and imagination over time. In this unparalleled volume, an international team of renowned scholars considers fifteen South Asian literary traditions—including Hindi, Indian-English, Persian, Sanskrit, Tibetan, and Urdu—in their full historical and cultural variety.

 
The volume is united by a twofold theoretical aim: to understand South Asia by looking at it through the lens of its literary cultures and to rethink the practice of literary history by incorporating non-Western categories and processes. The questions these seventeen essays ask are accordingly broad, ranging from the character of cosmopolitan and vernacular traditions to the impact of colonialism and independence, indigenous literary and aesthetic theory, and modes of performance. A sophisticated assimilation of perspectives from experts in anthropology, political science, history, literary studies, and religion, the book makes a landmark contribution to historical cultural studies and to literary theory in addition to the new perspectives it offers on what literature has meant in South Asia.

 

Edited by Marbles

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Woohoo.

 

Found a free copy of one of my favourite books online. It's an introductory text on the philosophy of science, and very readable.

 

What is this thing called science. A. F. Chalmers

 

http://copyfight.me/Acervo/livros/CHALMERS,%20Alan.%20What%20is%20This%20Thing%20Called%20Science%20(3.%20ed.).pdf

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Woohoo.

 

Found a free copy of one of my favourite books online. It's an introductory text on the philosophy of science, and very readable.

 

What is this thing called science. A. F. Chalmers

 

http://copyfight.me/Acervo/livros/CHALMERS,%20Alan.%20What%20is%20This%20Thing%20Called%20Science%20(3.%20ed.).pdf

I just finished re-reading with perusing your link. From two places --African views on stairs and Eddington-- I know I read this before in the distant past. This updated edition has Deborah Mayo's "error theory" (from 1996)

 

The book is a read for undergraduates, although many will not understand the references.

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This is long haul. Starting up on the 5-part exhausting survey of what it took Britain to become the empire where sun never set. Since the book is held together by a series of academic essays I might read it selectively. This is also good because such a big project in the hands of a couple of historians would have subjected it to an irremediable bias. With the multiplicity of views this shouldn't be a problem. 

 

emp.jpg

 

 

 

Also dipping into the following collection of academic essays. What an excellent compendium it is turning out to be.

 

culture.jpg

 

Book blurb:

 

I hope the latter will be followed by a review :P 

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I hope the latter will be followed by a review :P

 

Hopefully, bro, if I can get my head round it. Each essay would require a separate review though. But a book worth reading for anyone interested in South Asian history, its literatures and cultural outlook.

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Hopefully, bro, if I can get my head round it. Each essay would require a separate review though. But a book worth reading for anyone interested in South Asian history, its literatures and cultural outlook.

 

Thanks, I might give it a try. Is it one worth purchasing or should I trawl the 4 corners of the internet in hope of an online copy :P

 

Edit: I found a neat blog that you may have come across before: Mughalist

Edited by Ali Musaaa :)

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Thanks, I might give it a try. Is it one worth purchasing or should I trawl the 4 corners of the internet in hope of an online copy :P

 

Edit: I found a neat blog that you may have come across before: Mughalist

 

Oh, I have an e-copy. If you inbox me your email I will send it to you. If I like the book I buy it for future reference. I think I'll get a hard copy too!

 

Thanks for the link to blog. I have seen that one. Wonderful stuff there.

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Oh, I have an e-copy. If you inbox me your email I will send it to you. If I like the book I buy it for future reference. I think I'll get a hard copy too!

 

Thanks for the link to blog. I have seen that one. Wonderful stuff there.

 

Agreed. It's an excellent blog. I also really like: https://ballandalus.wordpress.com- excellent stuff here as well. 

 

Thank you for the offer. But I did some research of my own and stumbled upon a PDF as well :P 

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Agreed. It's an excellent blog. I also really like: https://ballandalus.wordpress.com- excellent stuff here as well. 

 

Thank you for the offer. But I did some research of my own and stumbled upon a PDF as well :P

 

You, sir, are a veritable internet book hunter!

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Woohoo.

 

Found a free copy of one of my favourite books online. It's an introductory text on the philosophy of science, and very readable.

 

What is this thing called science. A. F. Chalmers

 

http://copyfight.me/Acervo/livros/CHALMERS,%20Alan.%20What%20is%20This%20Thing%20Called%20Science%20(3.%20ed.).pdf

 

I had taken notes from this read and finished researching these this morning. This clarified a few of the examples in the book. I looked up Deborah Mayo and found her work more suggestive than new or applicable. Accounting for cumulative error has been standard practice for over a century.

 

Note: notme's signature block summarizes this book adequately, I noticed this morning.

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Woohoo.

 

Found a free copy of one of my favourite books online. It's an introductory text on the philosophy of science, and very readable.

 

What is this thing called science. A. F. Chalmers

 

http://copyfight.me/Acervo/livros/CHALMERS,%20Alan.%20What%20is%20This%20Thing%20Called%20Science%20(3.%20ed.).pdf

Assalamallikum,

 

Since the theme of this book is paradigms in science, Thomas Kuhn's paradigm shift, and error statistics, I found this doing research today:

 

"A Computer Just Solved a 120-year-old Mystery --WlTHOUT the Help of Humans"

Tufts' University Biology

The article mentions new paradigms in research. Is a short article.

Date: Thurs18June15, when l did a "print preview" of the collection of shorts, it was found on pp.12-14

http://www.mono-live.com/2015_06_01_archives.html

 

Note: Link is not adequate: Search by first half of title. Sorry.

Edited by hasanhh

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Occasionally when time permits, I've been reading random articles from these links and I recommend others that might be interested in their content to give them a read as well. The first one is one of my favourites and the other three are generally interesting and informative as well.

http://www.ancient-origins.net/history-archaeology

http://www.messagetoeagle.com/category/alternative-history/ancient-people/

http://lostislamichistory.com

http://thehumanevolutionblog.com

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About finished Margaret MacMillan's Dangerous Games (2009) subtitled The Uses and Abuses of History.

 

The games she is defining are those historical moments that are misunderstood or misused.

 

For High School or College students, this is a book to read though to be aware of the themes and historical reactions.

 

It is really a book best absorbed by the post-grad and older readers.

 

 

here is a quote from pages 153-154:

 

"Each historical event is a unique congeries of factors, people or chronology. Yet by examining the past, we can get some useful lessons about how to proceed and some  warning about what is or is not likely to happen. We do have to be careful to cast our gaze as widely as possible. If we look only for the lessons that reinforce decisions we have already made, we will run into trouble."

Edited by hasanhh

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