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review 2016-11-03 21:45
Sweet, thoughtful perspectives of US Muslim men.
Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex, and Intimacy - Ayesha Mattu

The stereotype in the media sees Muslim men who wear beards, make their wives cover their hair, are very religious, could be terrorists, etc. This book is a collection of essays of various Muslim men who are in/from the US and their struggles with their searches in love, marriage, partnership, etc. Like many people, really.

 

Some are funny, some are touching, some are heartbreaking. Even if you know nothing about Islam and Muslims (or even the US I'd wager) you'd still identify with many of the stories. Struggling with attraction (to women OR men), how to obey the teachings of Islam yet still find a partner, finding the right partner, the ache and pain of the end of the relationship (whether via a breakup, a death, family intervention). Maybe Islam plays a role but sometimes it doesn't.

 

That's all there is to it. I'm typically not a fan of essay collections but this held my attention. I didn't know Muslim men as well as I knew some Muslim women, but even then I could still understand and could see similarities to my Muslim female friends. But as with any collection from a diverse set of authors (they are all men but they have different ethnicities, economic backgrounds, sexual orientations, etc.) some essays are much stronger than others. Overall the collection was interesting but not every essay will hold your attention.

 

It was a good read. I'd recommend it even if you don't care for essays simply because I'm not sure if a topic like this is ever really addressed in media. Despite some of the sad stories it was a nice read and it was a good change of pace books. If you're not familiar with the US pop culture/society you might be a bit confused (it's definitely for a US-centered audience) but the stories of love, courtship, marriage, etc. are probably fairly universal.

 

I had hoped to read the companion book ('Love, InshAllah') either right before or right after this one but my library doesn't have it. Even so, I'd recommend this anyway. I borrowed from the library and that was right for me. But it would perhaps be a good gift for the right person.

 

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review 2016-03-14 15:41
The Drought: Sex, Love and Dating Disasters - Steven Scaffardi

Dan Hilles is just a normal guy with a job, a small group of friends and a long-term girlfriend, but not for long. Things start to change for Dan when he breaks-up with his girlfriend Stacey and he finds himself single again for the first time in three years. Unfortunately for him things don't change in his favour and he enters a period of drought.
With some near death experiences, more than a couple of awkward dates and some really embarrassing situations, things are getting real complicated. But Dan has a goal and he will not stop until he ends the drought.

I received a free copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

"We sang it loud. We sang it proud. We sang it with passion. We sang it completely tone deaf. But it didn't matter. It was the perfect end to the evening."

Dan has been with Stacey for three years now but she has changed a lot since he met her at university. It all goes wrong at new years even when they get into another fight and Dan decides to spend the night with his friends instead of with her. After the nearly fifty messages she left him that night alone, he decides to put an end to it. But things don't really go as planned and instead of breaking up kind of 'peacefully' he gets kicked out of the house by Stacey best friend Sophie who wants to kill him with a baseball bat. 
From that point on things change, but not for the better. Time and again Dan gets himself into the must stupid and surreal situations, even his friends are unable to help him break the drought and as it goes on Dan is getting more desperate.
Rob, Ollie and Jack try to help him as best as they can but even their knowledge combined can't save Dan from making a complete fool of himself. He even manages to get on the television twice! (not under the best circumstances but heej there is no such thing as bad publicity right?)

So yes I did read the sequel first but that doesn't matter because this book is just as awesome, funny and amusing ^_^ Why you ask? Well here is why:

This book is everything I hoped it would be. There are the familiar yet unimaginable situations he is able to get into. He does it all on his own and I have to say that is very impressive. I've got more than one favourite scene is this book but I think that this one is the one I loved the most:

"'I bumped into Simon Peterson yesterday.' Rob said. 'He lives on Mantilla Road.'
'So what?' I sneered.
'He happened to mention that he saw you on his road on Wednesday night,' Rob announced. 'He was working on his car. He would have said hello, but you sprinted past him at a ferocious pace with a dog chasing you.'
'Was it a poodle?' Ollie questioned.
'No it wasn't a poodle,' I said. 'It was a big horrible, snarling beast.'
'Simon said it was a sausage dog.' Rob said and they all started laughing again.

This is a scene where Dan is having a drink with his friends and yes they're making fun of him again. Now what happened before this is quite hilarious because it has to do with a date that would have stopped Dan's drought. Dan got a second chance with Grace and just as they were going to take it one step further, he discovers that he doesn't have any condoms with him. Getting dressed to get some at a store nearby, he runs out of Grace's house but by the time he has to get back he finds out that he has no idea how to get back at all. That is when, after walking some time, he encounters a big horrible snarling beast... that turned out to be a sausage dog.

This book was so much fun to read and even though I read the second book first it didn't affect me at all because everything that happened was just as unexpected. The amazing characters combined with the easy use of language, the everyday scenes and hilarious situations made for a great book.
Again this book brings the whole dating-scenario from a totally different perspective. Not from the female point of view but from a man's and that makes it all the more fun to read. It is that I am a woman myself but by reading this I understand that most man don't understand women at all, sometimes even I don't understand women (or myself for that matter) at all.
Some of the language and scenes might be a little too harsh or descriptive for some people but that just made it better in my opinion.

Overall I think the book was great and it was so much fun to read. I would recommend this book to everyone who loves romance/comedy/chicklit kind of novels. I give this book four stars because me really likey.

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video 2016-03-05 21:26

Sex, Love & Dating Disasters The Flood by Steven Scaffardi | Official Book Trailer

 

One bet, four girls, eight weeks, multiple dates. What could possibly go wrong?

Following his traumatic eight month dry spell, Dan Hilles is back in the driving seat and ready to put his dating disasters behind him.
 
But if only it were that simple.
 
After a drunken afternoon in the pub, fuelled by the confidence of alcohol, Dan makes a bet with his three best pals that will complicate his love-life more than ever when he brazenly declares that he could juggle multiple women all at the same time.
 
With just eight weeks to prove his point, Dan is about to find out how hard it is to date a flood of women without them all finding out about each other, especially when they come in the shape of an ex-girlfriend, a stalker, the office ice queen and the one that got away.
 
The Flood is the hilarious follow-up to The Drought by lad lit author Steven Scaffardi, chronicling the adventures of unlucky-in-love Dan Hilles. Available at Amazon and all good book retailers from January 2016.

Source: stevenscaffardi.blogspot.co.uk
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video 2016-03-05 21:19

Sex, Love & Dating Disasters: The Drought by Steven Scaffardi | Official Book Trailer

 

Steven Scaffardi's The Drought is the laugh-out-loud tale of one man's quest to overcome the throes of a sexual drought. After the stormy break-up with his girlfriend of three years, Dan Hilles is faced with the daunting task of throwing himself back into the life of a single man. With the help of his three best pals, Dan is desperate and determined to get his leg-over with hilarious consequences!

Source: stevenscaffardi.blogspot.co.uk
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text 2016-03-04 20:49
Fabulous Five Friday: (Sub) Genre Kryptonite (3/4/2016)
Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell - Susanna Clarke
Bad Feminist: Essays - Roxane Gay
Falling in Love with Hominids - Nalo Hopkinson
What French Women Know About Love, Sex and Other Matters of the Heart and Mind - Debra Ollivier

I haven't been posting these regularly like I had originally planned. My workload has been increasingly unwieldy lately, plus I've taken on some freelance. I'm hoping this new installment will be a renewal and I will be able to start posting weekly again.

 

(I got the term “genre kryptonite” from Book Riot. It is essentially defined as a genre/type that is a personal weakness, i.e. something that you just can’t resist. The term confused me at first, as I associate kryptonite with something that can destroy you, but that’s not how it’s being used here. These are also a combination of genres and subgenres.)

 

Nonfiction books about Jane Austen. I have a Jane Austen shelf. I must have read at least 30 nonfiction studies of her work by now, and I never get tired of it. Of all my reading habits, this one makes me miss my college library the most. Since I’ve already done a F5F for Austen I won’t bother listing titles. The link if you would like suggestions: Fabulous Five Friday debut.

 

Georgian/Victorian/Gilded Age fantasy. Fantasy is often focused on medievalism and pre-modern tropes, which is great but overused. I love that fantasy set in the 19th and early 20th century mashes together my favorite historical period to study with magical elements, and the best examples often have that delicious social complexity that makes novels from that period so enjoyable for me. My ultimate favorite in this category is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

 

Books about feminism and gender. This covers an immense array of possibilities across fiction and non-fiction. I’m especially partial to essay collections and literary studies that use gender studies and feminism as the key reference point. The representative title for me currently is Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist.

 

Short story collections and anthologies. I’m especially partial to short speculative fiction and “weird” stories, often by authors like Kelly Link, Nalo Hopkinson, Hannu Rajaniemi, Jane Yolen, Alison Nutting, Neil Gaiman, and many others, though I’m also partial to themed anthologies that give you a lot of variety. I’ve collected way more than I’ll ever read, but I’ll keep getting them anyway. My current favorite (most likely since it’s the most recent collection I’ve read) is Nalo Hopkinson’s Falling in Love with Hominids.

 

Books about Parisian and overall French culture. Francophilia is not rare, but I still find my attraction to these books a bit weird. I’m especially drawn to those “how to be French” lifestyle books, even though they really offer nothing more than surface-level, unrealistic aspirational stuff. But I find something fascinating in looking at a culture that is so incredibly focused on assimilation, and yet cares so little for people’s opinions. One of my favorites is What French Women Know by Debra Ollivier, since she combines her outsider view with an insider’s access (she is an American married to a Frenchman).

 

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