Her conversational tone pulls the reader in, so that I felt like a new friend she was explaining her customs to, and not an unwelcome voyeur peeking through a window. Humorous, lighthearted, respectful but not unduly submissive, Soad Nasr's book gives a glimpse into one woman's life in the Middle East that will break down stereotypes and create space for real understanding.
Ahmed and the misguided uproar over his clock immediately reminded me of a novel that I love, Amy Waldman's The Submission. Typically, I turn to fiction to escape my day-to-day life, but sometimes we need to read stories that force us to reflect on and question the strangeness that is our reality, and this emotionally gripping and thought-provoking novel has stayed with me for that very reason.
Don't get me wrong. I like Sarah Vowell. But her new book, Lafayette in the Somewhat United States, is something of a puzzle. Vowell's funny. She's smart, quick, and clever. If you've heard her on "This American Life," you'll know she's a sound artist -- working her antic way through the great collection of words left, boxed up, in history's archives.