I finished “Infidel” this week end, but I feel like I’m still digesting it. The book is a memoir of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s life as a Somali who also lived in Saudi Arabia, Kenya, then emigrated to Holland and now lives in the US, but in addition to telling the complex and compelling story of Ali’s physical journeys, “Infidel” also captures her emotional and intellectual journey from a purely Islamic mindset to a secular Western point of view. Her treatment of this sensitive topic is excellent – she tells her story honestly but without melodrama, and confines herself to analysis based on her own observations rather than rhetoric. For these reasons, this is an important book for our times, and I would urge you to read it. I can’t agree with all of Ali’s conclusions about the best alternative to Islamic thought, but her penetrating views gave me a lot to think about.
For a change of pace after “Infidel” I decided to read “Franny and Zooey.” It’s such a delightful book, if only for Salinger’s hilarious and wonderfully crafted descriptions of his characters. He gives plenty of detail, but none of the phrases is wasted or even remotely trite. Most of all I have to give him credit for his excellent use of italics in dialogue. Most writers who try to write as their character is speaking just get annoying really fast, but Salinger uses just the right amount of restraint to allow even the dialogue to describe and illuminate the characters.
The story itself is a little bizarre, but this is a great book to read for sheer enjoyment of the writing techniques employed.
1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians
1 Kings, Psalms, Matthew, 1Timothy
“Savage Kingdom” by Benjamin Woolley
“By the Banks of Plum Creek” by Laura Ingalls Wilder (to Hannah – I know, I’m going really slow on this one)
“Training Hearts, Teaching Minds” by Starr Meade (as a family)