Sex and God at Yale: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad (Review)
reviews / August 12, 2013

Title: Sex and God at Yale: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad Author: Nathan Harden Narrator: Jack Hume Publication Year: 2012 Pages: 320 (audio length: 10 hours 9 minutes) Genre: Non-Fiction Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com From the cover: To glimpse America’s future, one needs to look no further than its college campuses. Of those institutions, none holds more clout than Yale University, the hallowed “cradle of presidents.” In Sex and God at Yale, recent graduate Nathan Harden undresses perversity among the Ivy and ideology gone wild as the upper echelon of academia is mired in nothing less than a full-fledged moral crisis. Three generations ago, William F. Buckley’s classic God and Man at Yale, a critique of enforced liberalism at his alma mater, became a rallying cry of the conservative movement. Today Harden reveals how a loss of purpose, borne of extreme agendas and single-minded political correctness shielded under labels of “academic freedom,” subverts the goals of higher education. Harden’s provocative narrative highlights the implications of the controversial Sex Week on campus and the social elitism of the Yale “naked party” phenomenon. Going beyond mere sexual expose, Sex and God at Yale pulls the sheets…

The Satanic Verses (Review)
reviews / August 7, 2013

Title: The Satanic Verses Author: Salman Rushdie Narration: Sam Dastor Publication Year: 1988 Pages: 576 (audio length: 21 hours 38 minutes) Genre: Fiction Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com (hardcover version gifted from my mother) From the cover: Inextricably linked with the fatwa called against its author in the wake of the novel’s publication, The Satanic Versesis, beyond that, a rich showcase for Salman Rushdie’s comic sensibilities, cultural observations, and unparalleled mastery of language. The tale of an Indian film star and a Bombay expatriate, Rushdie’s masterpiece was deservedly honored with the Whitbread Prize. The story begins with a bang: the terrorist bombing of a London-bound jet in midflight. Two Indian actors of opposing sensibilities fall to earth, transformed into living symbols of what is angelic and evil. This is just the initial act in a magnificent odyssey that seamlessly merges the actual with the imagined. A book whose importance is eclipsed only by its quality, The Satanic Verses is a key work of our times. I hated this book. I wanted to like it; my mother gave me her old copy a few years ago for Christmas, it was packed into a box when I moved to Abu Dhabi, and then I chose to…

The Well of Loneliness (Review)
reviews / October 19, 2012

Title: The Well of Loneliness Author: Radclyffe Hall Narrator: Cecilia Fage Publication Year: 1928 Pages: 441 (audio length: 16 hours 15 minutes) Genre: Fiction Source: Audiobook version purchased from Audible.com From the cover: Stephen Gordon (named by a father desperate for a son) is not like other girls: she hunts, she fences, she reads books, wears trousers, and longs to cut her hair. As she grows up amidst the stifling grandeur of Morton Hall, the locals begin to draw away from her, aware of some indefinable thing that sets her apart. And when Stephen Gordon reaches maturity, she falls passionately in love – with another woman. I don’t really know how to start this review except this: Ugh. For all that this is supposed to be a classic of lesbian literature, it made me want to fall asleep. I was usually listening to it as I drove to or from work, so this was a dangerous act of reading. It just bored me so much. Nothing happened! Or, rather, almost nothing happened, and when finally something did happen, it usually pissed me off. Not to mention that, despite Hall’s continuous references to Stephen as being an “invert” (aka an old…

Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies (Review)
reviews / October 16, 2012

Title: Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and Home Remedies Author: Laura Esquivel Publication Year: 1995 (first published in Spanish in 1989) Pages: 256 Genre: Fiction, Magical Realism Source: Borrowed from my friend Amanda to read for book club From the cover: Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit. The classic love story takes place on the De la Garza ranch, as the tyrannical owner, Mama Elena, chops onions at the kitchen table in her final days of pregnancy. While still in her mother’s womb, her daughter to be weeps so violently she causes an early labor, and little Tita slips out amid the spices and fixings for noodle soup. This early encounter with food soon becomes a way of life, and Tita grows up to be a master chef. She shares special points of her favorite preparations with listeners throughout the story. The only reason I read this book is because my book club was going to be talking about it in September. It had never really been on my radar, though apparently…

Yuppie Muslim (Review)
reviews / July 26, 2012

Title: Yuppie Muslim Author: Abdulla A. Salaam Publication Year: 2011 Pages: 233 Genre: Non-Fiction Source: Received as a gift from Zaid when I arrived in the UAE From the cover: The credit crunch mayhem of 2008 revealed that bankers can be bonkers and fund managers fraudulent. Priests can be molesters. It seemed that few institutions or leaders remained credible. Headlines focused on why the public cannot trust established institutions as they should be able to, forcing people to think independently. So, has the time come for us to go solo on faith? Can a yuppie (young, urban professional) Muslim be a “proper” Muslim in the twenty-first century, while still living a normal life? The intention behind this book was good. Salaam started off well, saying: I still believe in keeping my thoughts on our faith to myself, as well as keeping the thoughts of others out of my way of thinking when I find these do not match the true teachings of our faith. But I decided to write this book for one reason only. And that is to share my thoughts with the increasing number of people I find who think in much the same way as I do,…