"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Thursday, September 29, 2011

September Books

Good day to you!  Hope everyone is well and enjoying the last few hours of September 2011. I seriously cannot believe we are marching towards Christmas at such a fast clip!  This year has flown. Of course I say this most every year now that I'm out of high school chemistry and algebra classes. 

Here's the list of books I finished this month.


Sounds of the River by Da Chen -- This memoir was about the author's life in college after leaving the countryside and going to Beijing - the big city - to pursue his English language studies. I enjoyed hearing how a tanned southerner from the country with a heavy accent viewed big city life and how he was treated by "white" Chinese. I enjoyed tales about his college classes, his roommates, his spiritual life and how he didn't toe the party line good enough for the Communist faithful.  I learned about bribes and how important they are in making things happen. I realized Chinese are a lot like men in other countries in their talk of girls. I enjoyed Da's interactions with foreigners - those from countries such as Cambodia as well as Europeans and Americans.  It was interesting how the Communists tried to keep their people away from the foreigners so they wouldn't be tainted with western thoughts and materialism and liberalism and capitalism (all that bad stuff we offer that has contributed to Chinese jobs since we buy a lot of their manufactured stuff).  Da shared about the time he worked as an English interpreter and an NBA group came through.  I enjoyed hearing his impressions of these guys and his adventures with them.  I liked his interaction with a few Christians he met. He was even given a Bible by a Norwegian and he was able to give it to his favorite professor from home who was overjoyed at receiving an English Bible of her own.  The last chapters dealt with his friendship with an American couple and his trying to get to America.




The Dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon -- The subtitle reads "Five Sisters, One Remarkable Family, and the Woman Who Risked Everything to Keep Them Safe" - this book was about Kamila Sidiqi and her life in Afghanistan especially after the Taliban came to power.  Left in charge of a large family, Kamila looked for opportunities to support her younger sisters and brother and used her skills to open a dressmaking shop in the house. This book shares some of her adventures in securing new clients for her work and the ways she opened up her house to many women in the surrounding area who also needed to contribute towards the survival of their households.  I loved Kamila's attitude of looking out for others by providing work for more than just her family members.



The Unexpected Adventure by Lee Strobel and Mark Mittleberg -- "Taking Everyday Risks To Talk With People About Jesus"  -- I didn't have any more library books because I decided to not read one that I had left in the stack as it didn't interest me much. So while waiting until the next day to visit the library, I found this one on my bookshelf and decided to read it in the meantime. I'm glad I did as it make me happy to read the authors' adventures in telling others about Jesus.  I especially enjoyed the part about serving others (pg. 64), coming out of our cocoons (pg. 76), embracing divine interruptions (pg. 95) and the challenge to never give up praying for people (pg. 151).


God Against The Gods by Jonathan Kirsch -- "The History of the War Between Monotheism and Polytheism"  -- see previous post


The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus by Amy-Jill Levine  -- see previous posts


My Tears Spoiled My Aim and Other Reflections on Southern Culture by John Shelton Reed -- This book was a series of essays discussing such things as what and where is the South, who is a Southerner, violence in country music, Southern culture, the Southern diaspora and even how Southern women were portrayed in Playboy.   Parts of it made me laugh especially when the author told stories of people he'd met or heard about or quoted letters to the editor of newspapers and magazines discussing Southern and Northern issues.  I have always been fascinated by that stuff so it was great.  I think my favorite chapters were "Life and Leisure in the New South" which talked about Southerners' characteristic easy-going lifestyle (read: we are lazy) and things we like to do in our free time.   "Refugees and Returnees" was also a fun chapter for me.



Married to a Bedouin by Marguerite van Geldermalsen -- If you want to read about a woman from New Zealand on a backpacking trip through the Middle East with a fellow adventurer who meets a Bedouin in Petra by chance, falls in love, marries and makes her home in a cave, this book might be of interest to you.  I enjoyed reading of Marguerite's years among the Bedouin, her help in their clinic, the food they ate, the things she finds worth mentioning. Yesterday I read of a man collecting money to pay a debt his tribe owed because someone killed a man in another tribe. Asking money of people to settle a debt like that just isn't what I'm used to. Also Marg's turn to get a gold tooth - a symbol of her father in law's generosity to his family. Yeah.  Well, it was really just a gold piece glued over her real tooth, but still. They find that attractive?  I don't think I'll ever get used to women being just another piece of property that you can buy if you come into money.  Marg's talk of a guy getting extra money and deciding whether to get a concrete floor, a new mule or marry again...ah.  According to her a lot of the second wives came from Egypt and they "brought an accent I couldn't understand, a standard of ululation I could never attain and pretty soon were producing a generation with fresh genes at a rate I had no desire to match."  (pg. 211)



Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam by Zainab Salbi -- very interesting book about a lady who describes growing up as the daughter of Saddam Hussein's pilot and "friend"; I greatly enjoyed her story and learning about the perspective of one who was impacted by Saddam's control and her feelings about sanctions on her people and the wars fought by Iraq (on Iran and invading Kuwait - she claims many Iraqis didn't like Kuwait because the latter came across as privileged and they though the other Arabs would support their efforts.)  She didn't like the sanctions on her people: punishment for a punished people. They would only hurt the ordinary people not Saddam who was entrenched in power.  While she was happy Saddam was removed from power, she hated the fact that, again, ordinary people would be hurt. Ordinary boys like her brothers would be drafted and the country was so destroyed.



"Any society that stops questioning its leaders is vulnerable to dictatorship, and Amo used our own traditions against us to help instill and perpetuate fear. To the traditional concept of ayeb, which dealt with things that were forbidden by cultural courtesies, and haram, which dealt with things that were forbidden by religion, Amo seemed to add a third, mamnu'a, which just meant forbidden....We lived in fear. Fear had spread through our society the way color does when you put a single drop of tint into the water to dye eggs..."  (pg. 117)


Wrong About Japan: A Father's Journey With His Son
by Peter Carey -- I would have appreciated this book more if I actually cared about manga and anime. I still liked the part where the Japanese guy told about his memories of the US's attack on his country. Did you know dropping bombs sound like heavy rain?



In the Sea There Are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda -- this is based on the true story of Enaiatollah Akbari an Afghan boy who was taken to Pakistan by his mother and left there while he was sleeping. He was only about ten.  But she felt he had a better chance of surviving there than within their family's village due to their being Hazara and Shia, two things Taliban apparently don't like.  This story was Enaia's adventures living in Pakistan, later escaping and living in Iran, later moving on to Turkey, Greece and finally Italy where he was blessed to find a family to foster him and give him a home.  Enaia graduated from high school earlier this year and plans to study in Italy so he can support his mother and siblings (whom he was reunited with) who live in Pakistan.

This book challenged me to be kind to strangers among me especially foreign ones. Maybe they are refugees in need of a friendly helper.



The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared
by Alice Ozma -- I got this on the new book shelf at the library because it seemed rather cute.  The author and her father decided to read together for 100 nights.  There were rules such as they had to read at least ten minutes, her father read out loud to her and it had to be before midnight to count. The streak happened and was extended. Extended until Alice went off to her first year of college, in fact. The book is more than about reading books. It's about a single father through his daughter's eyes. It's about a quirky elementary school librarian who did his best to instill the love of reading into children. And it has funny, imaginative and sometimes sad tales of Alice's life.


Seeing Vietnam by Susan Brownmiller -- the subtitle is "Encounters of the Road and Heart" which about sums it up.  The author went to Vietnam on assignment for a travel magazine. Her job was to explore the country noting must-see places and points of interest.  I enjoyed seeing Vietnam through her eyes especially as she told about places through the politics and world situation of when she was growing up and seeing all the conflict with Vietnam. Several times I had to stop and think about why my country had to be involved in hurting others, killing them and harming future generations. It's so sad what we will do all because we fear something and/or want control.  Heartbreaking. 

But the book was really good. I enjoyed the author's encounters with natives, her official tour guides and flashbacks.

7 comments:

Wafa' said...

I used to have this book ( Married to a Bedouin by Marguerite van Geldermalsen ) don't know what happened to it but will buy it again.

And I think I will read these,too:
-Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam by Zainab Salbi
-in the Sea There Are Crocodiles by Fabio Geda
-the Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma
the last one sounded great.

Thanks for sharing your September books with us ( sometimes I feel like you are sharing it with me personally, lol ) :)

Susanne said...

I love that I write these just for you! :D

S.A. said...

AND ME TOOO RIGHT?!!! lol

I love these posts! I wait for them. I just went to the book store the other night with my daughter and saw the In The Sea There Are Crocodiles. I looked at it, looked at the author's name on the front and for some reason moved on. It was weird really? I went back to it again...did the same thing and then left to go upstairs to the history section--ultimately picking up a book on De Tocqueville and another on stories History has forgotten.(only two this time ;) )

Phew...all that to say, I WISH I WOULD HAVE PICKED IT UP?! I don't know why I didn't. You know what else is strange. My daughter wandered over to where I was and I saw her looking at the books, slowly moving closer to me and when she got next to me she said "did you see that book In The Sea There Are Crocodiles" I said yes, it looks interesting and she said "I know" --she didn't touch either lol

Anyway, THANK YOU for your monthly list. I think I will go back to the store tomorrow and get that one, plus The Misunderstood Jew. Sounds interesting.

By the way, I miss you and hope that you are doing great! I am working on a website--paid for and everything. Just trying to figure out how to fix it. As soon as I do, I will definitely email you. It should be interesting--or not lol We shall see.

Lots of love and hugs
Shell

Susanne said...

Shell!! Of course I write these for you too! Haha....actually I didn't know you read them, but I'm glad you do. I remember you always liked reading. Have you read any good ones lately? You really need a blog for reviewing books even if it's just to say one sentence about a lesson learned from it. :)

Oh, can't wait to see your website! Hope you are well. VERY nice to see you again!

Becky said...

It always amazes me how insanely much you read! Thanks for sharing all of your reviews (even if they do make me feel guilty for not reading more).

Susanne said...

Becky, I'm always impressed by how much you read despite being a busy lady so don't feel guilty at all! :-P

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