Wednesday, February 13, 2008

WardahBooks' Best Read 2007

Well, this is a good initiative.

Wardah gives its thumbs up for the best read of the year to Syed Hossein Nasr's "The Garden of Truth".

Personally, I am not a big fan of Syed Hossein Nasr, his writing style is not sufficiently contemporary to be man-in-the-street popular, and his position is, to me, based on his previous books, somewhat rarified, if not occasionally pompous.
However, I must confess I have not read this latest book, so maybe it will be a change.
Come to think of it, Sufism in English is invariably packaged in intellectual terms, and employs formal, university language.
This adds to an exclusivity, or snobbery, that is inconsistent with the whole idea of Sufism, in that it is a phenomenon of the heart more than the mind. But I digress.

I've just read Three Cups of Tea : One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time.
A highly inspirational book that makes you wish you could just take off and build schools for poor village children in remote places.
And also to renew faith that all is not lost up there in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Bought it at Popular and read it all in one day the next day, on the train to work, during lunch, on the train back from work.

I'm too lazy to write a book review, so here is someone else's.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Some failures lead to phenomenal successes, and this American nurse's unsuccessful attempt to climb K2, the world's second tallest mountain, is one of them. Dangerously ill when he finished his climb in 1993, Mortenson was sheltered for seven weeks by the small Pakistani village of Korphe; in return, he promised to build the impoverished town's first school, a project that grew into the Central Asia Institute, which has since constructed more than 50 schools across rural Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Coauthor Relin recounts Mortenson's efforts in fascinating detail, presenting compelling portraits of the village elders, con artists, philanthropists, mujahideen, Taliban officials, ambitious school girls and upright Muslims Mortenson met along the way.
As the book moves into the post-9/11 world, Mortenson and Relin argue that the United States must fight Islamic extremism in the region through collaborative efforts to alleviate poverty and improve access to education, especially for girls. Captivating and suspenseful, with engrossing accounts of both hostilities and unlikely friendships, this book will win many readers' hearts. (Mar.)
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