I was feeling inspired this afternoon so I decided to post more bookish links. Inspired as I was it still took a lot of thinking, as well as a little hemming and hawing before I could produce the final product. Happy reading!
- Conservative British pundit and journalist Douglas Murray created quite a stir with his new book The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam in which he argues Europe, especially Western Europe is in danger of losing its treasured cultural identity due to declining birth rates and immigration, primarily from the Islamic world. Seen as reactionary and racist by some, prescient and insightful by others, Murray has been a sought after interview guest of late, appearing on NPR and well as Sam Harris’ Waking Up. Maybe you’re like me and you’ve placed a library hold on his book. If that’s the case, there’s a ton of stuff you can read while you’re waiting. Start with Bruce Bawer’s While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West Within and from there proceed to Christopher Caldwell’s Reflections on the Revolutions in Europe: Immigration, Islam and the West, George Weigel’s The Cube and the Cathedral: Europe, America, and Politics Without God , Ian Buruma’s Murder in Amsterdam: The Death of Theo van Gogh and the Limits of Tolerance and Claire Berlinkski’s Menace in Europe: Why the Continent’s Crises is America’s, Too Lastly, be sure to read Doug Saunders’ The Myth of the Muslim Tide: Do Immigrants Threaten the West? because he also looks at the challenges facing Europe and comes to very different conclusions than Murray.
- Speaking of immigrants and refugees, last week the New York Public Library posted on Twitter 16 Books About Refugees for Kids and Adults. Sadly for me, of the 16 books mentioned the only one I’ve read is Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. But if you’re looking for other books about immigrants and refugees, feel free to explore Firoozeh Dumas’ Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America Fabio Geda’s In the Sea There are Crocodiles, André Aciman’s Harvard Square and David Laskin’s The Long Way Home: An American Journey from Ellis Island to the Great War.
- Last year for Book Blogger Appreciation Week in my post Five Books that Represent Me I listed five books I felt represented me in some way or another. One of those books, Alex Haley’s The Autobiography of Malcolm X inspired me with its passages of Malcolm X spending many an evening in his prison cell devouring books on history, colonialism and philosophy. If you wanna see what he read, check out the post on the blog Abagond.
- Another book I featured in the Five Books that Represent Me post was Michael Shermer’s Why People Believe Weird Things: Pseudoscience, Superstition, and Other Confusions of Our Time .Not long ago Shermer was interviewed by The Reading Lists. His interview, “A Scientific Masterclass of Books” has some great reading suggestions. I also recommend his Baloney Detection Kit video available on YouTube .
- Elena Ferrante’s novels have taken the world by storm. Nevertheless she remains a mysterious figure, refusing to grant interviews, employing a pseudonym and living life well under the radar. Because of her extreme secrecy, attention has shifted to her American translator Ann Goldstein. Besides Ferrante’s translator, Goldstein’s also an editor at the New Yorker. She’s also the skilled translator of Algerian-Italian novelist Amara Lakhous. I’ve featured two of his novels on my blog, Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio and Divorce Islamic Style. Both are great.