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Nine Parts of Desire

Geraldine Brooks, who worked as a foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, lived, worked, and traveled in the Middle East for six years, writes this book about Muslim women. As the book is described on the back, "Nine Parts of Desire is much more than a captivating work of firsthand reportage; it is also an acute analysis of the world’s fastest-growing religion, deftly illustrating how Islam’s holiest texts have been misused to justify the repression of women." Brooks writes from her personal experience, combining anecdotal stories with the past and present, all weaving together perfectly. Mostly, I stay away from non-fiction because of how boring I usually find non-fiction books. But this book was different; it was interesting and a captivating read. As the NYT Book Review says, "[Brooks] avoids both the sensational and the stereotypical...a valid, entertaining account of women in the Muslim world." She writes about a range of topics - from the Prophet Muhammad's wives to jihad to Queen Noor to clitoridectomy. Muslim women, she argues, are blamed for everything by Muslim men. The title of her book is from a quote by Ali ibn Abu Taleb (husband of Fatima, Muhammad's daughter, and founder of the Shiite sect of Islam) - "Allah created sexual desire in ten parts; then he gave nine parts to women and one to men." While this book may seem very religious, it is more of a study of women than of Islam - it's a study of how women are oppressed because of interpretations of the Koran. Rating: ★★★★

Young Adult Books

Letters To A Young Contrarian