Monday, November 22, 2004

illuminations

My book order arrived this week. They follow no particular pattern (story of my life) and are a cocktail of religion, fiction, non-fiction, literature. An obvious missing ingredient is politics. I seem to have developed a phobia to any politics based books probably due to the 'disillusionment' that BuLahab so often talks about. Im so sick of verbose theories and the myriad of books discussing the dichotomy between East and West, the reasons behind 9/11 etc etc and the endless political cycle in Bahrain. I seem to take only the minimum dose of politics that is necessary to survive, which consists of newspapers and current affairs. Even with this amount I feel like im overdosing and can't escape this engulfing topic however hard I try to avoid it. I keep saying to myself leave the politics to the players on the field, at the end of the day there's no point in wasting (valuable?) brain energy on it, it can be a cancer that eats you up without you realizing and sends you early to the grave. Maybe its just my personality, firey and passionate, that always leads me to where the action is in order to judge for myself.

In real life, my political views are kept private, maybe that is why i'm using this blog to vent out these views as there is no other medium outside cyber space. My friends and I would rather spend the time spent in each other's company discussing more pleasant worldy affairs, such as the latest gossip on the social front and where to get the latest limited edition LV/fendi handbag. Where my interest in politics did grow was when I became involved with Bahraini student activists who impressed me with their knoweledge and energy and who actually tried to do something about their strongly held views. This was kind of an eye-opener for me.

My book consignment consisted of:

-Al-aqni3a (arabic)- Nazik Saba Yard (novel)
-Salam Pax The Baghdad Blog (trying to see what the fuss was about)
-Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (ditto)
-Muhammed - Karen Armstrong (I like this lady-supposedly the best biography of the prophet (as) around)
-An Introduction to Arab Poetics -Adonis (curious)
-The Sorceress Woke Me Up - Qassim Haddad (supporting local talent)
-In the Shade of the Quran - Sayyid Qutb (a seminal must-read)
-Fooled By Randomness - Nicolas Nasim Taleb (brash choice-easy read)
-Shumaisi - Hamad Al-Turki (ditto)
-Harry Potter in Arabic (for my lil bro)

Would be nice to hear the opinion of anyone who has read these, or of any other recommended books.

PS does anybody know if it is safe sending banned books by DHL in the Gulf, do customs actually check inside?

Posted by BB @ 11/22/2004 06:01:00 PM

Read or Post a Comment

Sayyid Qubt - the bridge between Al Afghani and Al Qaeda. His work says everything about the vacuity of Islamist political thought, so I suppose he's seminal reading if you're one.

This was the man who went to hicksville USA in the 1940s and somehow failed to recognise that it's one of the most religious societies in the world. How did you miss that one? Great analysis, mate.

Writing in 1948 he also predicted that the West was on the edge of a precipice and about to fall. Er, yeah right.

Besides his dismal cliches and moronic prophecies, the other themes that reoccurs in his writing are his obviously profound and unresolved sexual issues. He was an obsessive about women - going on and on about their 'bulging breasts', 'thristy lips', 'provocation', and 'flirtatious'. The little guy was particularly paranoid that women were trying to seduce him, boasting that they were never able to. I wonder why that was bachelor boy?

Incidentally some of his ideas find echoes in the language used by Bush's millenarial supporters out in the midwest today, who share his contempt for liberal Western societies and general ignornance of the outside world. (The BBC's Power of Nightmares touched upon this - thanks for posting the link to that btw)

Posted by Blogger Scorpio @ 11/22/2004 08:00:00 PM #
 

I think you have to put it aside once in a while. I love your honesty on the matter. My husband calls me a news addict but I just like to know what's happening around me. Knowing eventually leads to wanting to do something about it, then extreme frustration when it seems so impossible. Even I have to stop or insanity starts knocking on the door.

Let me know what you think of the DaVinci Code. I read Karen Armstrong's Muhammad and was quite surprised.

Posted by Blogger sume @ 11/22/2004 08:05:00 PM #
 

turki al hamad's book is good, I enjoyed it. al shmaisi is the second part however, have you read al3udama? there is also a third part: al karadeeb. It shows the dangers of being a political activist in the gulf!

Posted by Blogger homer simpson @ 11/22/2004 09:21:00 PM #
 

I've only read parts, but Qutb's Garden is an interesting read,... flawed theories, but interesting nonetheless in the way they captures the mood of a very specific segment of the Muslim population at a certain time. Reading some Maududi will compliment the Qutb very well.

When you're done with those, try moving on to Olivier Roy and Vali Reza Nasr to get the theories about the theories. Fascinating stuff.

Posted by Blogger Chanad @ 11/23/2004 04:15:00 AM #
 

BuLahab: yep i read 3udama...i thought it was a very dry translation, especially the dialogue, and I can understand why Alhamad would use the third person in arabic, but the first person narrative would have been much more effective in english. Karadeeb isnt published in English yet thought? Seems like we have to wait till the third one to come out to finally get to more pertinent issues ;)

Ethnic: i'm saving Da Vinci for the plane...if its as good as people say then im gonna have to pay Milan another visit and pre-book the Last Supper...apparantly there is a two-day waiting time which meant I couldnt visit last time i was there :(

Scorpio: will read Qutb and judge it myself, your response is so predictable.

Chan'ad: thanks for the recommendations...all these books cost a bomb!! Maybe you'll lend me them one day ;)

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 11/23/2004 02:45:00 PM #
 

sorry that was me Bahrania..i can't log in for some reason

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 11/23/2004 02:47:00 PM #
 

why don't you just read the arabic ones? I haven't read the english ones, but I'm sure the arabic ones are much better! Al Kashkool bookshop has them in Bahrain, and Al Saki has them in Bayswater.

Posted by Blogger homer simpson @ 11/23/2004 02:51:00 PM #
 

Oh, Milan! Snap some photos please. They're making a movie of The DaVinci Code starring Tom Hanks. Tom Hanks? Next book for me is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I'm so behind on my reading. Do you get your books from Amazon or the local bookstores?

Posted by Blogger sume @ 11/23/2004 02:55:00 PM #
 

My arabic isnt so bad but it is such an effort to read!!! I actually didnt know it was translated cos one of my friends passed it on.. and actually as im reading in English, in my head i subconsciously translate BACK into arabic..its not so hardcore in that sense...

Does Amazon have arabic books? Im a regular at Fakhrawi's bookstore Alsihla branch... but they are restricted on the books they are allowed to order, but they're own publications (not on the above list) are pretty good too.

Posted by Blogger Bahrania @ 11/23/2004 03:31:00 PM #
 

hey bahrania, how about a decent cookbook :-)
changaize

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 11/23/2004 04:12:00 PM #
 

changaize!!

yeah sure i think i can read one of those, does it include recipes on the best way to poison chauvinistic men?

Posted by Blogger Bahrania @ 11/23/2004 07:12:00 PM #
 
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