Stirring Up Trouble for Scientology

Book review: Troublemaker, by Leah Remini (Amazon / Book Depository) I love Scientology. NOT LIKE THAT! I don’t want to get put on some list, like their never-ending mailing list. But I’m obsessed with knowing about this cult masquerading as a religion. I’m a total SP! (That’s Scientololingo for a Suppressive Person, someone who hates on them.) Going Clear is an absolute must-read; in fact, it should be probably … Continue reading Stirring Up Trouble for Scientology

When Blasphemy, Heresy and Apostasy are Necessary

Book review: Heretic, by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (Amazon / Book Depository) On ______, a group of ______ heavily armed, black-clad men burst into a ______ in ______, opening fire and killing a total of ______ people. The attackers were filmed shouting “Allahu akbar!” Speaking at a press conference, President ______ said: “We condemn this criminal act by extremists. Their attempt to justify their violent acts in the … Continue reading When Blasphemy, Heresy and Apostasy are Necessary

A Lighter Side of War

Book review: The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Kim Barker (Amazon / Book Depository) Post-9/11, Chicago Tribune reporter Kim Barker accepts a position as South Asian bureau chief based out of Delhi, but more often the work entails going on embed with military units in Afghanistan. She knows nothing about these countries culturally or what to expect from the conflict. She was selected … Continue reading A Lighter Side of War

Lost and Found Girls

Book review: The Lost Girls: The True Story of the Cleveland Abductions and the Incredible Rescue of Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus by John Glatt (Amazon / Book Depository) True crime writer John Glatt’s The Lost Girls is saddled with a painfully long subtitle, I assume to distinguish it from the long list of other books named Lost Girls, and especially from other true crime books called … Continue reading Lost and Found Girls

Children of the Cult

Book review: The Sound of Gravel, by Ruth Wariner (Amazon / Book Depository) After reading and watching Going Clear last year, Lawrence Wright’s detailed expose on Scientology, I’ve been fixated on reading about extremist religions, especially those verging on the cultish. Seeing Bill Maher’s documentary Religulous around the same time further fueled this: I loved seeing him use his trademark cynicism coupled with hard, like-it-or-not-styled facts to debunk religious mythology across the … Continue reading Children of the Cult

Updating the Legacy of a War Heroine

Book review: Lindell’s List by Peter Hore (Amazon / Book Depository) Early on in reading Lindell’s List, I realized there was no way I was going to be able to keep track of all the people who were in some way involved in the stories and narrative, whether integrally or peripherally. There were so many introduced in rapid succession, and sometimes they’d be gone just as quickly, and I … Continue reading Updating the Legacy of a War Heroine

The Darkness of Someone Else’s Past

Book review: I Will Find You, by Joanna Connors (Amazon / Book Depository) Journalist Joanna Connors is unbelievably brave, whether she admits it or not. She denies it in her memoir, I Will Find You, but everything she does proves otherwise. At age 30, Connors was raped by a man hanging out in an empty theater where she showed up late for a story she was doing for her job … Continue reading The Darkness of Someone Else’s Past

On Living and Forgiving

Book review: Surviving the Angel of Death, by Eva Mozes Kor (Amazon / Book Depository) If you’re familiar with any Holocaust or Auschwitz documentaries, you’ve probably seen or heard of Eva Mozes Kor. She’s the living badass who, as a child along with her twin Miriam, survived the infamous Dr. Mengele’s nightmarish experiments on twins in Auschwitz. She later immigrated to Israel and then on … Continue reading On Living and Forgiving

Catcalls and Coming of Age

Book review: Sex Object, by Jessica Valenti (Amazon / Book Depository) This was my first experience with Jessica Valenti’s writing and I came away from it thinking she was a talented writer but a disorganized storyteller, with an important, worthwhile message but way too little faith in herself. This book could’ve been something very meaningful and impacting, and I’m torn in how to describe it because it’s … Continue reading Catcalls and Coming of Age

Please, Tell Me More.

Book review: Men Explain Things to Me, by Rebecca Solnit (Amazon / Book Depository) Last week, a man I’ve worked with for quite a long time now insisted on explaining something to me. Unlike the understandably infuriating situation described in the title essay of Rebecca Solnit’s book, this wasn’t a case of explaining a subject that a woman understands very well, in which she might … Continue reading Please, Tell Me More.

Across Land and Sea, a Teenage Refugee and Her Flight from Syria

Book review: Nujeen, by Nujeen Mustafa with Christina Lamb (Amazon / Book Depository) I fell in love with Nujeen Mustafa, like many did, when Last Week Tonight host John Oliver used BBC interview clips of the teenage Syrian refugee at a way station on the Serbian-Hungarian border as she traveled to Germany with her sister. She was so sweet and optimistic despite her unimaginably difficult journey and experiences in the … Continue reading Across Land and Sea, a Teenage Refugee and Her Flight from Syria

Fight like a girl

Book review: The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg (Amazon / Book Depository) “We all have to work very hard and ignore those people who say we should not be here.” So says a female Afghani politician, one of the subjects of Jenny Nordberg’s eye-opening narrative nonfiction account of the practice of bacha posh in Afghanistan, The Underground Girls of Kabul. The quoted politician, Azita, is the … Continue reading Fight like a girl