Koolaids: The Art of War- Rabih Alameddine
SO GOOD. It's a novel about AIDS and the Lebanese civil war told through journal entries, letters, news articles, and dialogue. It is better than I can possibly convey. Go read it. Now.
Prisoners: A Jew and a Muslim Across the Middle East Divide- Jeffrey Goldberg
I wanted to like this. I really did. I think my problem is that it starts out strong but eventually just kind of withers. In the beginning Goldberg does a really good job expressing his inner conflict about his own Zionism versus his discomfort with how he saw Palestinians treated while he was a member of the IDF, and it makes for compelling reading. However, during the course of the book, he spends more and more time talking about a specific man who was a prisoner at the prison he worked at during his stint in the IDF, who he has somehow become friends with, and at the end of the book seems to conclude that because this particular man holds political ideas that he disagrees with he is somehow representative of all Palestinians and Muslims and that he has had too much faith in this man, and by extension all Palestinians and Muslims. Overall, kind of disappointing, especially given the strong start.
For Bread Alone- Mohamed Choukri
This was... okay? I wonder if a few of my problems with it were translation-related. One that I think would have existed in any language was the fact that he seriously spends a third of the book talking about his penis, which, y'know, if you're into that, great, but it just got to a point where it was egregious. He also wins the prize for Worst Penis Euphemism I Have Ever Read: "bald, blind dragon".
Sexism and God-Talk- Rosemary Radford Ruether
Please ignore the awkward title and believe me when I say this is actually really good. It gets bogged down in repeating itself a bit from time to time but overall it's pretty great.
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist- Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Recommended to me by the super-awesome Isabel on tumblr once she ascertained that I am not averse to reading YA. I liked Norah in the book much better than I did in the movie, and the writing was pretty good. I was kind of shocked (prude alert, I guess) by how sexual it was, but Dorian pointed out to me that most teenagers are sexual, so. Yes! Recommended, overall.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks- E. LockhartAnother Isabel recommendation. SO GOOD, YOU GUYS. SOOOOOOO GOOD. There is not enough capslock or Os in "sooooo" to convey how good it is. If I recall correctly Isabel initially described it as "like if F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote a feminist YA novel set in a boarding school", and I found it to be as advertised. I'm getting this for my younger sister, for sure.