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Archive for the ‘book review’ Category

So a comedian and a sociologist walk into a bar to study modern ideas of romance. No seriously, they did. In fact, the walked into multiple bars, focus groups, reddit conversations and even comedy shows where they convinced audience members to give them access to their social media chatter, and voila, comedian Aziz Ansari and sociologist Eric Klinenberg co-wrote, co-researched (and possibly co-ramen-ed) a book on Modern Romance.

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No God but God by Reza Aslan was an excellent book on Islam which presented Islamic history to a non-Muslim audience as well as served as a refresher course for most of us Muslims too.

It was astutely written if with a Shia slant,  so you come to Zealot knowing that it too has Aslan’s interpretation of a historical Jesus. It isn’t exactly an academic piece of writing, (for that there are many other writers) though it draws from some of his own research.

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The Lowlands

What can one say of the bard of Bengalis across America that hasn’t been said? Sorry, I mean the bard of Rhode Island Bengali academics. She who represents them with dignity and poise and examines with a clinical eye the unhappiness and aspects of their daily lives with fine-tuned precision? Much of what I have to say has probably already been said.

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I first heard of Ayad Akhtar when he won the Pulitzer for his drama “Disgraced”. Desi, Muslim, Pulitzer not words you often hear together so I was surprised that I had no idea who he was. So I tracked, (ok ok TBH tracked down) his first novel, American Dervish about growing up Muslim in America.

Narrated by a young adolescent boy Hayat Shah, whose mundane if somewhat fraught secular family life opens up to a world of spiritual and social turmoil by the arrival of his mother’s best friend Mina, and son Imran, from Pakistan. Mina, escaping the fallout of a bad marriage, learns to breathe a bit more freely in the Midwest, falls in love with Hayat’s father’s colleague Nathan, and this sets much of the stage for telling of this coming of age story.

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