I was recently given a (very, very) early birthday present by my husband, who surprised me by getting me not one, not two, but several of the books I’d been hoping to read. He was almost as excited to give them to me as I was to get them. So here they are:
Updraft, by Fran Wilde
I don’t actually know very much about this book, but I have heard that it has fascinating world-building and explores some interesting themes.
Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho
I am so terribly excited about this one (just started it!) I LOVED Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and I love this style of story. I have simply been craving something like this for a long time, something fun and clever. I hope to highly recommend it when I’m done.
Eugenics and Other Evils, by G.K. Chesterton
Ah, Chesterton. He is one of my favorite authors. Alongside C.S. Lewis, he is an author of whom I will read just about anything. I love his essays, I love his Father Brown stories, I find most of his fiction highly odd and random, but I usually end up liking it anyway. This one is…basically what it says on the tin.
What’s Wrong with the World, by G.K. Chesterton
Similar to the above. Chesterton was a critic of many societal trends in his days, and a devout catholic. He was always liable to say things that were going to offend someone from Calvinists to Capitalists, from Protestants to Progressives. The faint of heart and conviction may find him a bit frustrating. He does love his paradoxes.
Christians and Jews in the Ottoman Empire, edited by Benjamin Braude
This is a history which fascinates me. Ever since reading Salonica: City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims, and Jews 1340-1950, I have wanted to read more about the Ottoman Empire, although with a focus on the Arab regions of the Ottoman Empire, and particularly on the religious minorities (Jews and Christians, among others).
Defending the West: A Critique of Edward Said’s Orientalism, by Ibn Warraq
This is an intriguing one, which I will have to wait on until I obtain a copy of Said’s classic Orientalism, a work that is usually required reading as regards the Middle East, yet somehow I haven’t read it. If I’m going to read the rejoinder, it only seems fitting I should read the original argument, and let the two have a reasonable discussion that I get to listen in on!
Ibn Warraq is a pseudonym, by the way, which is an important note, as the author feared that he, like Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, would be targeted for the critiques of Islam inherent in his work. According to his bio he was born in India and migrated to Pakistan in 1947, and eventually went to school in the UK.
Republic of Fear, by Kanan Makiya
This was ALSO originally published under a pseudonym, but for slightly different reasons. It was published just before the second Gulf war (known in the US as THE Gulf War) while Saddam Hussein was still very much in power. It is essentially a detailed account of how Saddam ran his lethal regime, and very aptly named.
So there you have it. Lots of fun to be had, arguments to be heard, thoughts to be provoked.