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In the Name of God بسم الله
Guest Dialectician

What Are You Reading Currently? [OFFICIAL THREAD]

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(My initial target was to read 100 books in 2011 lol)

What?! You 'faarigh' insaan. :P

Trying to finish the Harry Potter series resulted in me being labelled a book worm by my family. -_-

Edited by Basim Ali

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What?! You 'faarigh' insaan. :P

Trying to finish the Harry Potter series resulted in me being labelled a book worm by my family. -_-

I enjoyed reading the Harry Potter books, I read the 4th, 5th 6th and 7th.

The last one I finished in 3 days, because at the time I didnt have internet, or games console, or anything else to do and I loved reading books, I would read like 8 hours a day.

A shame those days have now gone for me :cry:

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What?! You 'faarigh' insaan.

^_^

And tonight I have started on the first book of this year.

balkans.jpg

The Balkans: From the End of Byzantium to the Present Day by Mark Mazower.

I hardly know anything in detail about the Balkans and its history. So I randomly picked up this title on this subject in a bookshop. Hopefully, will review. But dunno when.

Find it on Amazon

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^_^

And tonight I have started on the first book of this year.

balkans.jpg

The Balkans: From the End of Byzantium to the Present Day by Mark Mazower.

I hardly know anything in detail about the Balkans and its history. So I randomly picked up this title on this subject in a bookshop. Hopefully, will review. But dunno when.

Find it on Amazon

Looks like tonight I need to start on books too, dont wanna fall behind :P

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^_^

And tonight I have started on the first book of this year.

balkans.jpg

The Balkans: From the End of Byzantium to the Present Day by Mark Mazower.

I hardly know anything in detail about the Balkans and its history. So I randomly picked up this title on this subject in a bookshop. Hopefully, will review. But dunno when.

Find it on Amazon

Prediction: this book is a bunch of [Edited Out] about how Slavs are animals who are always itching to kill each other.

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Prediction: this book is a bunch of [Edited Out] about how Slavs are animals who are always itching to kill each other.

No, exactly the opposite. This book is primarily written to demolish this assertion.

I am half way through and I find it to be a very useful account. Will review in detail inshallah.

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No, exactly the opposite. This book is primarily written to demolish this assertion.

I am half way through and I find it to be a very useful account. Will review in detail inshallah.

For reals?

Well then please write a review. I might read it myself.

BTW SC should stop censoring c.rap. I just noticed that my post has [Edited Out]. People probably think I said something else. :dry:

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No, exactly the opposite. This book is primarily written to demolish this assertion.

I am half way through and I find it to be a very useful account. Will review in detail inshallah.

woah what the hell, you started last night and are already half way through, man you win the challenge already :(

For reals?

Well then please write a review. I might read it myself.

BTW SC should stop censoring c.rap. I just noticed that my post has [Edited Out]. People probably think I said something else. :dry:

I thought you said the S version of Cra.p

Anyways, welcome back !

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woah what the hell, you started last night and are already half way through, man you win the challenge already

LOL actually I started it a night before. I'm still in the first half though, but it's not a big tome anyway. I expect to finish it soon. Come on pick up a title you are loosing time!

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LOL actually I started it a night before. I'm still in the first half though, but it's not a big tome anyway. I expect to finish it soon. Come on pick up a title you are loosing time!

I was starting to read a very interesting book yesterday, and the damn translation was so horrible it didnt even make sense, the spellings werent even correct, and I was going to read it all night :(

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I will be reading inshallah

Where the Conflict Really Lies: Science, Religion, and Naturalism [Hardcover]

418zJ1QUx-L._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU02_.jpg

This book is a long-awaited major statement by a pre-eminent analytic philosopher, Alvin Plantinga, on one of our biggest debates -- the compatibility of science and religion. The last twenty years has seen a cottage industry of books on this divide, but with little consensus emerging. Plantinga, as a top philosopher but also a proponent of the rationality of religious belief, has a unique contribution to make. His theme in this short book is that the conflict between science and theistic religion is actually superficial, and that at a deeper level they are in concord. Plantinga examines where this conflict is supposed to exist -- evolution, evolutionary psychology, analysis of scripture, scientific study of religion -- as well as claims by Dan Dennett, Richard Dawkins, and Philip Kitcher that evolution and theistic belief cannot co-exist. Plantinga makes a case that their arguments are not only inconclusive but that the supposed conflicts themselves are superficial, due to the methodological naturalism used by science. On the other hand, science can actually offer support to theistic doctrines, and Plantinga uses the notion of biological and cosmological "fine-tuning" in support of this idea. Plantinga argues that we might think about arguments in science and religion in a new way -- as different forms of discourse that try to persuade people to look at questions from a perspective such that they can see that something is true. In this way, there is a deep and massive consonance between theism and the scientific enterprise.

http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Where-Conflict-Really-Lies-Alvin-Plantinga/9780199812097

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^_^

And tonight I have started on the first book of this year.

balkans.jpg

The Balkans: From the End of Byzantium to the Present Day by Mark Mazower.

I hardly know anything in detail about the Balkans and its history. So I randomly picked up this title on this subject in a bookshop. Hopefully, will review. But dunno when.

Find it on Amazon

(This review is dedicated to baradar_jackson)

The 'Eastern Question' in Western parlance refers to the Balkans or, broadly speaking, Southeastern Europe. For long Western intellectuals have tried to create a context for the history of the mostly Christian Orthodox former colonies of the Ottoman empire and their relative place in Europe as a whole. The book under review also attempts to do just that but with a different perspective.

The main thrust of the argument of this book is two-fold: First, to show that the Ottoman ruled Balkans were thriving societies; culturally, socially and economically as opposed to miserable and backward 'lost lands' of Europe under the brutal and barbarian rule of the Turks, a view famous with Western intelligentsia well into the second half of the 20th century.

Second, the genesis of the political and social upheavals which have marked the Balkans since their independence from the Ottoman rule (the latest being the Serb-led genocide of Bosniaks and Croats in the '90s) lay not in their cultural barbarity borrowed from their previous Ottoman masters, but rather it is rooted in the European ideology of language and race-based nationalism, whose ultimate aim is to create centralised, homogenous nation-states.

Time has come to expand on both.

One marked difference between the peasant societies of the Balkans and their North European counterparts was that there was near-absence of feudal holdings in the former. The land belonged to the Sultan, people tilled it and shared the produce in the form of taxes with the imperial government. In North Europe, feudals held sway and literally owned their serfs like chattel. Through this the writer concludes that peasants in Ottoman Europe had far greater social and economic freedom than anywhere in the Europe (This however, changed a good deal in the latter part of Ottoman rule when things began to go awry for the Imperial state).

The dividing factor between the people was solely religion. Muslims, by virtue of the nature of the system, had it better. Christian and Jews were protected religions as per official view of Islam. This sanction allowed the Christians to retain not only their religion but also their languages, and consequently, their cultures. So neither the imperial religion nor the imperial language was forced down the throats of the masses. So much so that at one point Christians in the service of imperial court in Constantinople were so numerous that Greek, and Slavic languages were given preference over Turkish in official proceedings. In part due to geography, in part economy and in part the policies of the imperial state, the Balkans became diverse, racially, linguistically and religiously.

The weakening hold of Ottomans on their colonies in the Balkans coincided with increasingly assertive Tzarist Russia and Austro-Hungarian empires as well as rising powers of Britain and France. As Balkan countries started to gain independence, the first one being Greece, the new linguistic nationalists were posed with a problem. How to create homogenous nation-states with a single language (and later with a single language and a single ethnicity) in a landscape so diverse and mixed. In the end they ended up creating nation-states, spread over a period of many decades, which had large linguistic, ethnic and religious minorities (Albanians and Turks in Greece, Albanians in Serbia, Bulgarians in Romania, Greek, Turks, Jews in Macedonia, Greeks in Anatolia and in all major urban ex-Ottoman towns) and didn't know what to do with them.

The writer argues that the ideology of language and/or race based nationalism which took root gradually in Northern Europe was suddenly thrust upon the whole population of the ex-Ottoman Europe. This led to large scale population exchanges (Greeks in Anatolia were sent to Greece and Turks and Albanians driven to their respective lands. Similar exchanges took place in other Balkan countries as well), massive uprooting of people, destruction of their economic lives, and finally a violent conflict with perpetuates itself to this day.

The newly independent countries adopted capitalist economics after the total dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire. This failed as democratic institutions were weak and under the sway of larger powers who used them as their pawns in the larger struggle for their respective empires. Further, the Wall Street collapse of the '30s put an end to all hopes the nascent democracies of the Balkans might have of delivering to the people. The WWII changed things when the Balkans save Greece came under the control of Communism. It led to massive industralisation and rapid urbanisation, ending the peasant nature of their economies and lifting the peasantry out of their perpetual hunger. The three decades after Stalin-Churchill pact were most productive period for the Balkans until Communist system began to loose out to globalised Capitalist economy led by the US.

The writer puts forth the observation that the fissures and fractures induced by nationalism since the independence of Greece in the 1830s, through mid-19th century and until the WWII, when maps and populations in the Balkans changed every few years, didn't die away during the Communist period. They were harshly controlled as Communism saw itself beyond language, race and culture. But as soon as Communism gave way, the old questions surfaced again. The experiment of Yugoslavia is an example of that. The situation in Bosnia and Kosovo was another sorry chapter of the same phenomenon.

Ironically, the author says, just as it appears that the Balkans might have solved their language and ethnic-based nationalist issues, the rest of the world (read developed West) has moved on. The creation of what is today called "multicultural societies" is the exact opposite of what the Balkans have been fighting for all along, until a couple decades ago, and much more closer to how they had lived under the Ottoman rule, i.e, in multi-x societies - a label which fits a typical Ottoman town of, say 1730, to a tee.

History repeats itself?

Having all things considered, the book categorically rejects the idea that there is something fundamentally wrong with the cultures of the Slavs which, having been 'cut off' from the 'civlised European motherland', have been tainted and brutalised during the 500 or so years of Muslim rule, a view which has been the mainstay of mainstream Western academia until recently.

There are so many other fascinating things which I must leave out and end this review or it will go on and on. My only criticism is that the author has tried to pack too much info in such a small volume - and my review reflects it. The book should have been the double of its meager size.

My book rating: 5/5

Edited by Marbles

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LOL actually I started it a night before. I'm still in the first half though, but it's not a big tome anyway. I expect to finish it soon. Come on pick up a title you are loosing time!

How many books you read so far?

Right now I am finishing up a book I started in 2011.. once that is done I will start my 2012 book reading marathon :P

although over the year I will end up reading books which I started in 2011 [i started like 6 different books towards the end of 2011 and I read them on and off :blush:]

Edited by Shia_Debater

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I recently read "After The Prophet" - Lesley Hazleton.

I'd give it a 6 / 10.

I read it on my shiny new second-hand Kindle which goes well with the Book Torrent I uploaded. :angel:

Was-Salaam

Edited by JawzofDETH

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How many books you read so far?

4 so far. The one I reviewed above, a novel set in Afghanistan by an Algerian writer, and two poetry collections in Urdu. The poetry collections are typically fast reads. I can read like two dozens of them in a month. So don't be too impressed with total count of 4 :P

I'm gonna review all of them here inshallah.

Right now I am finishing up a book I started in 2011.. once that is done I will start my 2012 book reading marathon :P

although over the year I will end up reading books which I started in 2011 [i started like 6 different books towards the end of 2011 and I read them on and off :blush:]

LOL. Having considered other factors (lack of time, formal studies etc), it appears that books have a hard time retaining your concentration. Perhaps it is do with interest: Topics you like to read vs those you end up reading? :donno: But it is normal to read multiple titles at the same. Everyone does that. For instance for me poetry and non-poetry goes hand in hand.

Hurry up!

Edited by Marbles

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Also planning to read The Science Delusion by Rupert Sheldrake

41sA%2BNZ4coL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU02_.jpg

http://www.amazon.co...27086506&sr=8-1

'Rupert Sheldrake... does science, humanity and the world at large a considerable favour.'

(Independent )

'Certainly we need to accept the limitations of much current dogma and keep our minds open as we reasonably can. Sheldrake may help us do so through this well-written, challenging and always interesting book.'

(Financial Times )

'A valuable and powerful message'

(www.popularscience.co.uk )

'The author, a biologist, takes issue with the idea that science already understands the nature of reality - and in doing so, frees up the spirit of enquiry.'

(Times )

'There is something rather odd about the current state of science. For Rupert Sheldrake, (it is) facing a 'credibility crunch' on many fronts. He presents this challenging argument by identifying 'ten core beliefs that most scientists take for granted.' He then interrogates each in turn by reformulating it, in the spirit of racial scepticism, as a question. This Socratic method of inquiry proves surprisingly illuminating. A serious mind-expanding book.'

(James le Fanu, The Spectator )

Product Description

The science delusion is the belief that science already understands the nature of reality. The fundamental questions are answered, leaving only the details to be filled in. In this book, Dr Rupert Sheldrake, one of the world's most innovative scientists, shows that science is being constricted by assumptions that have hardened into dogmas. The 'scientific worldview' has become a belief system. All reality is material or physical. The world is a machine, made up of dead matter. Nature is purposeless. Consciousness is nothing but the physical activity of the brain. Free will is an illusion. God exists only as an idea in human minds, imprisoned within our skulls.

Sheldrake examines these dogmas scientifically, and shows persuasively that science would be better off without them: freer, more interesting, and more fun.

Edited by .InshAllah.

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Currently reading Pornified by Pamela Paul. Half way through so far. I'll offer my fullthoughts once i finish.

The book is about the effects of pornography on both men and women. Really eye opening stuff. The interviews with heavy porn users are really interesting. All of them start by singing praises of porn but then ultimately end up realizing the negative, perhaps irreversible effects porn has had in their lives. Broken relationships, lack of confidence, loneliness, sexual impotency, worthlessness and so forth.

One thing i found really disturbing was a study featured in the book which concluded that men that watch pornography will be less satisfied with a birth of a daughter than men that don't. Porn literally rewires a man's brain.

Anyway, only halfway through, and i'm gonna re-read the material i already covered just because it's so comprehensive and i forgot a few things.

Shiek Hamza Yusuf did an excellent lecture on Lust and Desire on a conference on Pornography. Highly recommended.

Also Pamela Paul was also present, and she gave a overview of her book. Great stuff, but the language is really explicit in describing pornography, so proceed with caution.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8L6cTU_HNDs

Edited by Fiasco

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