Saturday, September 13, 2003

In the Bookstore

My parents were in town this weekend, and we went to Border's where I noticed that Bernard Lewis has published a new book, The Crisis of Islam. Interestingly, it was dedicated to Harold Rhode, whom Josh Marshall blogged about here, describing him as "at the center of all the grand-planning for America's new role in the Middle East." Lewis is often listed as the U.S.'s leading voice on the Middle East, but in reality much of his approach is out of step with the field today, conflating past and present, religion and other aspects of society, in ways most believe are deeply flawed. And he's definitely come to have a political horse to root for: The neocon approach to foreign policy. Let the reader beware!

On an unrelated note, I see where there is now a fantasy series based off the Ramayana, the first volume of which is Prince of Ayodhya. I'm not sure how much it follows the traditional narrative, but that doesn't bother me, as epics often have a rich history all their own, and producing an innovative retelling is often in the spirit of the cultures which created them. I do hope it catched on, as I think there are rich and untapped fields in the legends and stories of the non-Western world.

UPDATE: Oh, yes, and I also saw Caramelo by Sandra Cisneros, the author whose Woman Hollering Creek was the subject of my senior seminar paper in college. I'm not sure when I'll get around to reading it, but I've always really enjoyed Cisernos's style. And that reminded me to do this search, which revealed that Chitra Divakaruni has a couple of books I haven't read. I loved her The Mistress of Spices when I read it a couple of years ago, though the style of her other books is reputedly different, and that was a lot of the attraction.


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