Thursday, October 25, 2007

Good Books

I love reading books. A number of years ago I was in a book club - well, maybe I should call it a book duo since it was just my friend Jen and I, but I digress - and I invariably found myself especially drawn to novels that were historical and took place in foreign lands and cultures.

Anyhow, lately I've been reading a rash of books that seem to take place in Islamic culture. Perhaps my interest is due to all the news out there related to this topic. But it has been fascinating and informative to learn more about how people, particularly women, live in other parts of the world. Wow, are we "western" women fortunate. We don't even know how absolutely fortunate and blessed we are to live in a free and relatively "equal" society. For example, in the US, I can get a free basic education. There are resources for me to attend college. I can choose my marriage partner (and expect them to be a partner, not my master). If that spouse is abusive, I can call the police and expect some protection. I can leave an abusive situation if I choose to, without permission from anyone else. I can work to support myself and my family. I can think for myself. I can drive a car. I can leave my house on my own, without a husband or male family member to escort me. I have equal protection under law. My testimony in court has the same weight as that of a man. . . I could go on and on.

So, if you are a reader and, like me, enjoy other cultures, here are the books I've read and enjoyed lately.

Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat
This is a true story of a young woman who was imprisoned in Iran (in the era of the Ayatollah Khomeini) for questioning the government. She escaped the firing squad at the final moment and later was forced into marriage by one of her captors. This was my favorite book of the three listed.

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Again, a true story written by an African woman who escaped a forced marriage and the "imprisonment" of Islam. It describes her life journey from childhood up through the point of her becoming a Dutch parliament member and surviving numerous serious death threats by Muslims for her stand on their treatment of women.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (also wrote The Kite Runner, another great book)
A fictional book about Afghanistan before, during, and after the Taliban. It chronicles the life of two women living through this period of time. This book draws you in. I read it in about 4 days (which is probably a record for me since having kids!)

Enjoy the books and again, thank the Lord for the blessing of being a free woman in this world!

1 comment:

ErinOrtlund said...

We read A Thousand Splendid Suns for my book club. And yes, it does make you appreciate our position as women in the western world! I'm so glad to live in this place and time. I will definitely put the other two on my book list. I'm drawn to the same kind of books, so keep the recommendations coming!