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review 2018-07-31 21:51
Abraham's Other Son: Islam Among Judaism & Christianity
Abraham's Other Son: Islam Among Judaism & Christianity (Question and Answer Format) - Philip G. Samaan

Many Christians have no idea what the religion of Islam actually is and for many who have read the Old Testament, they forget that Islam began among the descendants of Abraham’s other son Ishmael.  Dr. Philip Samaan attempts to give Christians, in particular Seventh-day Adventists, a glimpse of actually Islam and Muslims in Abraham’s Other Son: Islam Among Judaism & Christianity.

 

The first two-thirds of the book Samaan focuses primarily on everything related to Islam beginning with Abraham, Hagar, and Ishmael in the Biblical record before turning his attention to Muhammad as well as the rise and spread of Islam.  After the historical portion, Samaan then looks at the faith of Islam itself and its similarities and contrasts to Judaism and Christianity.  Then after covering Jesus in Islam, the book turns to focus on Christ for nearly the last third of the book until the last chapter covers how Christians—Seventh-day Adventists—can witness to both Muslims and Jews.

 

Born in Syria into an Orthodox Christian family, Samaan not only grew up amongst all three faiths but has studied them diligently bring extensive knowledge to this book.  However, while Samaan is particular knowledgeable on the subject went to write, it felt that he wrote parts of at least three different books in this roughly 280 page book.  Not that the material cover wasn’t insightful, but when the book ignored Islam for long stretches which felt weird given that it was to be the main topic.  While the book structure was a little surprising, the biggest drawback is the editing of the text which could have been tightened up in several spots and in some places were determinately to the understanding of what Samaan was discussing.

 

Abraham’s Other Son is an informative book on the history of Ishmael and his descendants in Muslims around the world.  While Philip Samaan’s book is not perfect, it is able to give Christians—not only Seventh-day Adventists—a true glimpse at what Islam really is and its relationship to Judaism and Christianity.

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review 2018-05-25 19:43
Women of Our Time: Golda Meir
Golda Meir: A Strong, Determined Leader - David A. Adler

When I was a child we had a cat which my mom christened Golda My Ear (he was a yellow tabby) which was a clever play on words that went completely over my head. Therefore, when I came across a book while shelving entitled Golda Meir: A Strong, Determined Leader it felt like fate was telling me to take it home and read it. (It's so short that I finished it on my first train home.) David A. Adler decided to write about Golda for the "Women of Our Time" biography series which covers a wide array of spectacularly talented, intelligent, and strong women. Prior to reading this book, I had no knowledge of who Golda Meir was which is pretty shocking seeing as how she was Israel's Prime Minister. She grew up in Russia but her family moved to Milwaukee when she was a young girl in the hopes that they could improve their quality of life with the opportunities that America promised were available to all within its borders. Much like her sister, Golda was homesick and longed to be a part of the larger Jewish nation and to build it in Israel. That determination never left her and she made it a reality after she married and moved to Palestine to be an active participant in the political party that wanted to build the Jewish nation. It covers not only her childhood and her move to Palestine but also her political career as Prime Minister and her meetings with Nixon (as well as her secret missions to the enemy's camps). Lest you picture her as a pacifist, she was not against using weapons to protect her people against the encroaching Arabs, Egyptians, and Syrians which threatened daily to drive them out of the space they had carved for themselves. Overall rating from me is 8/10 because I wanted a little more depth to the narrative.

 

As this is written with a younger audience in mind the chapters are very short and not exactly chock full of details. If you want the bare facts (or want to teach them to your child) then this is a great resource. I think this book and the rest of the books in the series would be a great resource in a classroom or home library as the women discussed come from different parts of the world and worked in various fields/capacities. It can never hurt to teach children about powerful women who paved the way!

 

Source: Penguin Random House

 

What's Up Next: Yes Please by Amy Poehler

 

What I'm Currently Reading: The Outsider by Stephen King

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review 2016-08-02 16:06
The man known as the "greatest novelist of the 20th century"
Proust: The Search - Benjamin Taylor

Deanna Tiao from Yale University Press reached out to me for a review of the following book.

 

Benjamin Taylor's Proust: The Search is a part of the Jewish Lives series from Yale University Press. This biographical account details Proust's journey as a writer and his penultimate work In Search of Lost Time. I have to admit that until I read this book the only thing I knew about Proust was that he was a wordy writer and Steve Carell's character from Little Miss Sunshine was obsessed with him. He was most certainly a flawed man who had to contend with poor health, prejudices against his sexuality, and preoccupation with his chosen craft. The majority of his time was either spent wooing young men or feverishly writing. It seems he was quite feverish in his wooing as well although all of his romances were of short duration. He was passionate, intelligent, and ambitious. While this book is a part of the Jewish Lives series, Proust was not in fact religious. His mother was Jewish and because of that he would often speak up for the Jewish people but as often as not he would stay mute when others would decry the faith...except in reference to Alfred Dreyfus. During the course of the Dreyfus Affair, as it later came to be called, Proust was very interested in the proceedings and outspoken in his beliefs that a miscarriage of justice had occurred. Up until this point, he had been mainly concerned with other writer's and their works but after this he began to reflect on human nature and the changes that occur over time. I've decided to give In Search of Lost Time a shot and I've added it to my TRL. Taylor has certainly hyped it up and only time will tell if it lives up to it. (haha joke about time haha) Fans of biographies will most certainly enjoy this and if you've never really given Proust much thought then a read of this book might just change your mind. 8/10

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2015-07-27 03:01
Review: Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman
Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots - Deborah Feldman

I’ve been a bad bad reviewer. I haven’t managed to read more than a single book this entire year. Okay, one and a half if I’m being honest…I am halfway through another. But, in my defense I did give birth and now have a 5 month old daughter. So I’ve been a teensy bit busy. But I found time to read! While I’m at work pumping milk for my baby, that’s a whole half hour that could be spent reading instead of browsing Facebook or playing Candy Crush.

 

This was a quick read but a good one. Feldman paints a vivid picture with her words and transports you directly to her world. I was engrossed in the story. One would like to think that things like this don’t happen in a free country, but alas it does. I lived through a similar religious experience (with a different religion of course) and was interested to see how much these experiences overlap. Not surprisingly, the answer is quite a lot. Religious abuse is a real thing.

 

While I am aware of the accusations of exaggeration and lying by the author, I personally choose to give the benefit of the doubt. People do behave this way. People in such strict religions do these kinds of things. And when someone dares to leave the flock, their former community throws mud all day long to try and discredit them. I can’t say for sure that is what is happening in this case, but it seems logical.

 

As a woman and a mother, I found the book infuriating. I can sympathize with how utterly out of the place the author felt in the world that she had been born into. Her yearnings for more were palpable. I found myself rooting for her to succeed and break free from what felt like such a confining life. I can’t say much more about this book except that I found it very compelling.

 

And now I hear someone yelling at daddy for a nursing, so I will wrap up. Hopefully I can make at least one more review this year…we’ll see lol.

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text 2015-05-23 05:38
Reading progress update: I've read 99 out of 272 pages.
Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots - Deborah Feldman

I've been much too negligent about blogging and reading lately....but then having a three month old will do that to you.

 

So far this book is really interesting. I was raised in a veeery strict religious household and I can identify with a lot of the author's feelings of being suppressed and smothered by what was expected of her as a good Jewish girl.

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