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 Habibi- Craig Thompson
When this came in the mail I hugged it for a solid twenty minutes. I loved Blankets so I had high hopes for Habibi. It was good? I mean, it's rather pretty and shiny and the Arabic calligraphy that he incorporates is gorgeous, don't get me wrong. I did, however, drive myself up a wall trying to figure out what era/place he was shooting for, only to do some googling and find out it's supposed to be a "mythical Middle East-inspired landscape". Which... feels like a bit of a copout to me? I just really think he could have done something interesting with a specific time and place. tl;dr Habibi is pretty and shiny and I am just kind of a whiner.
The Colonial Present: Afghanistan, Palestine, Iraq- Derek Gregory
Freaking fantastic analysis of media portrayals of Afghanistan, Palestine, and Iraq and how they relate to colonialism. I seriously think this will eventually be seen as a classic on the level of Orientalism. It's that good. 
All Abraham's Children: Changing Mormon Conceptions of Race and Lineage- Armand L. Mauss
This was pretty solid on Mormon historical and current conceptions of race, focusing on African Americans, indigenous peoples of the Americas, and Judaism. The chapters on African Americans were a bit apologetic for the church for my liking, but the chapters on historical Mormon views of Judaism were really interesting. 
Army of Roses: Inside the World of Palestinian Women Suicide Bombers- Barbara Victor
This book pissed me off on several levels. You can take your pick from the bizarrely awful Arabic transliterations (nobody writes "Allahu Akhbar", they write "Akbar" because اكبر is spelled with a freaking ك not a خ, also "shahide" is a completely asinine transliteration of شهيد), the way she repeatedly proclaims her intent to not romanticize these women but then proceeds to romanticize how tragic she feels they are, the instance in which she lists martyrdom as one of the five pillars of Islam (page 184, for those playing along at home), or her final thesis that women are becoming suicide bombers in Palestine because they are oppressed by male Palestinians (not, y'know because they live under an occupation or anything like that). 
Gender Politics in Sudan: Islamism, Socialism and the State- Sondra Hale 
Mainly worth reading for the first chapter on anthropological fieldwork and feminism. The rest is also good, focusing on (surprise) Islamism and socialism among (mostly middle-class) women in Sudan. 
American Apocrypha: Essays on the Book of Mormon- edited by Dan Vogel and Brent Lee Metcalfe
Obtained at the library used book sale. It was pretty decent, although a lot of the essays were a bit "look, I made a list of stuff that doesn't make sense about the Book of Mormon" for my liking. Dan Vogel's chapter on anti-Masonry in the Book of Mormon is definitely worth a read, though. 


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January 2013

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