29. Ten Things I Hate About Me
, by Randa Abdel-Fattah
I liked this a lot more than Does My Head Look Big In This?
Real, honest examination of passing, dual consciousness, and holding on to one's cultural identity.
One thing that got on my nerves about it was the protagonist's older sister, who is one of these
"smart kids" and uses (or is portrayed as using) strings of big words that actually don't make much sense. That's a particular pet peeve of mine...
(complete edition), by Marjane Satrapi
I really liked this. Comparing this to a lot of other books that portray authoritarian regimes, real or fictional, really illustrates for me one of the main things that 50books_poc
is about: the viewpoint matters
So many books depict the horrors of a regime and the devastation it wreaks on the citizens, emphasizing how resistance is crushed and the people's spirits are broken. This shows oppression, but not the breaking of spirits; it shows the little everyday resistances, the extent to which the regime does not control the people, the fact that the people are emphatically still human and life is still life.
And the book is not about
that. It's about the author's own story.
31. No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam
, by Reza Aslan
I read this on sheafrotherdon
. I agree with her assessment: it's really beautifully written, really clear, and really engaging. (And I find most books of history to be excruciatingly boring.)
The author starts with a depiction of the society in which the Prophet Muhammad lived and goes on to explain the social and religious reforms that he championed, the reception of his message, and the evolution of Islamic thought, practice, and politics from then until the present day. I kept thinking, "Oh, that makes so much sense
now!" or "Now
I understand what people mean when they say..." (It shed a lot of light on books on Islam that I've previously reviewed here.)
At the end, he argues for a reformation within Islam - new ways of understanding the religion, formulations of an indigenous Islamic conception of democracy. (It actually reminded me a lot of what I said in my review of The Whale Rider
- he doesn't think of it in terms of a conflict between Western conceptions of human rights and the traditions of Islam, but in terms of Islam evolving, reforming itself from within.)