Alif the Unseen – favorite quotes

One of the best books that I read last year was Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson. It’s an unconventional story about a modern-day hacker in the Middle East who stumbles across a magical tome and finds himself caught between a totalitarian government and a world of supernatural beings who belong in myths more than reality. The premise alone was enough to get me to read the book, but I found some wonderful gems along the way that kept me thinking long after I finished reading. One of those quotes came from an imam in the novel who was imprisoned for his connection to the hacker protagonist. It follows:

“I have had much experience with the unclean and uncivilized in the recent past. Shall I tell you what I discovered? I am not the state of my feet. I am not the dirt on my hands or the hygiene of my private parts. If I were these things, I would not have been at liberty to pray at any time since my arrest. But I did pray, because I am not these things. In the end, I am not even myself. I am a string of bones speaking the word God.”

Beautiful!

And a quote that made me chuckle:

“You’ve got Internet in the Empty Quarter?” he asked in an awed voice.
Cousin, said the shadow, we’ve got WiFi.

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Book Review: Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & SaintPastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint by Nadia Bolz-Weber
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Smiley TV preachers might tell you that following Jesus is about being good so that God will bless you with cash and prizes, but really it’s much more gruesome and meaningful. It’s about spiritual physics. Something has to die for something new to live.”

And just like that, Nadia Bolz-Weber had my attention. I first heard of Bolz-Weber through a Presbyterian friend of mine, and she intrigued me with her tatted up arms and no-nonsense attitude. Going in to this book, that is pretty much all that I knew about her. I quickly discovered that we had nothing in common–she was a stereotypical black sheep and I was a goody two shoes–but I thought, “Well, I can still glean something from her story.” Boy did I ever! I never thought I could relate to another person so well.
Continue reading

Book Review: The Metamorphosis

The MetamorphosisThe Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis is the sort of book that everyone tells you that you must read, very much like Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary. Unlike Madame Bovary, however, I actually enjoyed The Metamorphosis, although, as a reader, I was left with the same sort of melancholia with both stories. Continue reading

Book Review: Renting Lacy

Renting LacyRenting Lacy by Linda Smith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having read Linda Smith’s other book (From Congress to the Brothel: a Journey of Hope, Healing, and Restoration) published through the nonprofit Shared Hope International, I knew I needed to read this book as well. Human trafficking of any kind is a heinous crime, so I knew that this was going to be a hard read as it deals in the realities of trafficking situations. Continue reading

Book Review: The Year We Were Famous

The Year We Were FamousThe Year We Were Famous by Carole Estby Dagg
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In 1896, the Estbys’ homestead in Spokane, WA, is in threat of foreclosure. On a whim, Helga Estby makes a bet with a publisher in New York City that she and her daughter Clara will walk across the country in seven months’ time so that they can save their farm. Continue reading

Review: From Congress To The Brothel: A Journey Of Hope, Healing, And Restoration

From Congress To The Brothel: A Journey Of Hope, Healing, And Restoration by Linda Smith

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A few weeks ago, Linda Smith came to our church and spoke about her journey from working in the US Congress to founding Shared Hope International–an organization that works to end human trafficking both stateside and overseas and that also works to help rescue trafficking victims and rehabilitate them. (Such sterile words for such vital work!) After service, I had the privilege of taking her out to lunch to talk about her work, and I walked away with a copy of this book. Continue reading

Review: One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are
One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Content wise, this is a wonderful book–life changing even. However, I know that the style that Ann Voskamp uses won’t resonate with all readers–could even turn some people off by it–so that’s why I dropped a star. Continue reading

Review: The Scene Book: A Primer for the Fiction Writer

The Scene Book: A Primer for the Fiction Writer
The Scene Book: A Primer for the Fiction Writer by Sandra Scofield

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Scofield’s approach to fiction writing is very accessible. She includes multiple examples from various texts to illustrate the different principles she discusses in this book, which I enjoyed because there were so many different styles of writing included. Continue reading