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Xdyj's books

I'm a Chinese student studying in the U. S.. I like reading and talking about books I like or dislike.
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Islamic Law and Constitution

Islamic Law and Constitution - Abul A'la Maududi, Abul A'la Maududi An early text on political Islam written by one of its most important ideologues. Also contains accounts of some early attempts of his party to Islamize Pakistan. Available for free online. The guy who wrote the preface tried very hard to convince reader that Maududi was the next Iqbal. imho although they often use the same terms, their visions are not quite the same.

The Bell Jar

The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath

5 stars for the sheer awesomeness of Sylvia Plath's language.

The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State - Friedrich Engels, Ernest Untermann A starting point of Marxist feminism. I kind-of like Engels' irreverent sense of humor.

Towards Understanding Islam

Towards Understanding Islam - Abul A'la Maududi, Abul A'la Maududi A concise introduction of conservative Islam. not interesting if you're interested in the author's own ideas. Available for free, don't pay for it unless you want to financially support tyranny.
What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank - Nathan Englander I like the way he writes about Jewish/Israeli history & cultural traditions & how they affect people's lives.

The Merkabah Recruit (Merkabah, #1)

The Merkabah Recruit (Merkabah, #1) - L.Z. Marie Get it for free in a promotion. The humor & the relationship between characters are nice. I was a bit bored by some of the long expository sections & only skimmed through them.

The Green Book

The Green Book - Muammar al-Gaddafi I find it reasonably well-written & quite interesting, though sometimes not very consistent.

The Woman Who Flew

The Woman Who Flew - Nasreen Jahan The depressing life of a young lower-middle-class Bangladeshi woman who seeks solace in her imagination & art. I like the author's use of stream-of-conscious, the dream-like writing style, the description of early 90s Dhaka as a vibrant yet oppressive city, and her nuanced treatment of topics like politics, poverty, social norms, gender & sexuality.
The Hours - Michael Cunningham The movie is quite good though.
The Wretched of the Earth - Frantz Fanon, Richard Philcox, Homi K. Bhabha, Jean-Paul Sartre A Marxist analysis on colonialism & its effect as well as decolonization process & pitfalls to avoid. I'm not sure if it is influenced by Maoism to some extend. IMHO some things are easier said than done, as half a century after the publication of this book the FLN & most other third-world socialist movements have failed to live up to their promises. Also, while the militant, revolutionary FLN has run their country to the ground, the largely pacifist, fabianist INC is leading an emerging superpower.

Return of the Pharaoh: Memoir in Nasir's Prision

Return of the Pharaoh: Memoir in Nasir's Prision - زينب الغزالي, Zainab Al-Ghazali An interesting, if somewhat biased, account of the years of the great Gamal Abdel Nasser from the perspective of an imprisoned Ikhwan (Muslim Brotherhood) activist & one of his most bitter enemy. Can be found for free from various Ikhwan propaganda sites. Don't pay for it unless you hate secularism or liberal democracy.
The House of the Spirits - Isabel Allende It's an epic, tragic story of passionate love, spirituality, and women and men in a lost revolution. Allende is an amazing story teller though sometimes I did want to take a break while reading it because of the depressing subject matter. Like her other writings it deals extensively with the experience of women & the themes of feminism and social justice, and the complicated way faith and mysticism affect people's life. Another thing I like about it is that Allende told the stories of even the most unsympathetic characters (e.g. Esteban Trueba) with compassion & ended the long, brutal tale with a sense of reconciliation.
Empire - Michael R. Hicks An old-fashioned space opera. Interesting in its reconstruction of old tropes to fit them into more contemporary social mores.
Wolf Totem - Jiang Rong Read it years ago in Chinese. The story & writing is amazing and the message of environmentalism & humanism is nice. In the last part there is a long controversial semi-nationalist rant that can be read as endorsement of social Darwinism & is often called out as fascist by western leftists & liberals. Personally I think that part is deeply flawed but probably not quite fascist or racist if read in the context of contemporary China.
A Grave Talent - Laurie R. King The characterization is nice & the writing is good, but the mystery plot line is a bit too conventional imo.
Apeshit - Carlton Mellick III A parody of slasher sterotypes. imho it's not as weird or as deep as I expected.