Hunger Games

July 31, 2012 by  
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Book Description


Publication Date: September 1, 2009 | Age Level: 12 and up | Grade Level: 7 and up


Now in paperback, the book no one can stop talking about . . .In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Reviewed by Megan Whalen Turner
If there really are only seven original plots in the world, it’s odd that boy meets girl is always mentioned, and society goes bad and attacks the good guy never is. Yet we have Fahrenheit 451The GiverThe House of the Scorpion—and now, following a long tradition of Brave New Worlds, The Hunger Games. Collins hasn’t tied her future to a specific date, or weighted it down with too much finger wagging. Rather less 1984 and rather more Death Race 2000, hers is a gripping story set in a postapocalyptic world where a replacement for the United States demands a tribute from each of its territories: two children to be used as gladiators in a televised fight to the death.Katniss, from what was once Appalachia, offers to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, but after this ultimate sacrifice, she is entirely focused on survival at any cost. It is her teammate, Peeta, who recognizes the importance of holding on to one’s humanity in such inhuman circumstances. It’s a credit to Collins’s skill at characterization that Katniss, like a new Theseus, is cold, calculating and still likable. She has the attributes to be a winner, where Peeta has the grace to be a good loser.It’s no accident that these games are presented as pop culture. Every generation projects its fear: runaway science, communism, overpopulation, nuclear wars and, now, reality TV. The State of Panem—which needs to keep its tributaries subdued and its citizens complacent—may have created the Games, but mindless television is the real danger, the means by which society pacifies its citizens and punishes those who fail to conform. Will its connection to reality TV, ubiquitous today, date the book? It might, but for now, it makes this the right book at the right time. What happens if we choose entertainment over humanity? In Collins’s world, we’ll be obsessed with grooming, we’ll talk funny, and all our sentences will end with the same rise as questions. When Katniss is sent to stylists to be made more telegenic before she competes, she stands naked in front of them, strangely unembarrassed. They’re so unlike people that I’m no more self-conscious than if a trio of oddly colored birds were pecking around my feet, she thinks. In order not to hate these creatures who are sending her to her death, she imagines them as pets. It isn’t just the contestants who risk the loss of their humanity. It is all who watch. Katniss struggles to win not only the Games but the inherent contest for audience approval. Because this is the first book in a series, not everything is resolved, and what is left unanswered is the central question. Has she sacrificed too much? We know what she has given up to survive, but not whether the price was too high. Readers will wait eagerly to learn more.
Megan Whalen Turner is the author of the Newbery Honor book The Thief and its sequels, The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia. The next book in the series will be published by Greenwillow in 2010.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 7 Up -In a not-too-distant future, the United States of America has collapsed, weakened by drought, fire, famine, and war, to be replaced by Panem, a country divided into the Capitol and 12 districts. Each year, two young representatives from each district are selected by lottery to participate in The Hunger Games. Part entertainment, part brutal intimidation of the subjugated districts, the televised games are broadcasted throughout Panem as the 24 participants are forced to eliminate their competitors, literally, with all citizens required to watch. When 16-year-old Katniss’s young sister, Prim, is selected as the mining district’s female representative, Katniss volunteers to take her place. She and her male counterpart, Peeta, the son of the town baker who seems to have all the fighting skills of a lump of bread dough, will be pitted against bigger, stronger representatives who have trained for this their whole lives. Collins’s characters are completely realistic and sympathetic as they form alliances and friendships in the face of overwhelming odds; the plot is tense, dramatic, and engrossing. This book will definitely resonate with the generation raised on reality shows like ‘Survivor’ and ‘American Gladiator.’ Book one of a planned trilogy.Jane Henriksen Baird, Anchorage Public Library, AK
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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Hollywood Scandals

July 31, 2012 by  
Filed under Books, Political

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Book Description


Publication Date: October 29, 2010



“Fans of Janet Evanovich will love this spin off of the High Heels Mysteries!” – Jen. B, avid reader

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Gemma Halliday…

Tina Bender is the gossip columnist at the infamous L.A. Informer tabloid. She knows everything about everyone who’s anyone. And she’s not afraid to print it. That is, until she receives a threatening note, promising, “If you don’t stop writing about me, you’re dead.” Now her managing editor, Felix Dunn (from the High Heels Mysteries), has her teaming with a built bodyguard, a bubbly blonde, and an alcoholic obituary writer to uncover just which juicy piece of Hollywood gossip is worth killing over.



“This first book in Halliday’s new Hollywood Headlines series is a fun story with intriguing characters and a good mystery. The action is fast paced, the hero is delightful and the heroine is spunky and independent but smart enough to know when she needs help.”
– Romantic Times


“(HOLLYWOOD SCANDALS) is fresh, funny, and has just enough heart to balance the snark.”
– All About Romance

“Gemma Halliday’s witty, entertaining writing style shines through in her new book! I look forward to seeing lots more of Tina as this series continues. A fun read!”
– Fresh Fiction

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of fun! February 17, 2010
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
This book is fun– plain and simple. It has funny, quirky characters (I just love the aunts!) that make you laugh. It’s a quick and easy read. I generally reserve 5 stars for truly fantastic books (so I don’t give them often), so 4 stars to me is still a very, very good read. I definitely recommend it. I think I read somewhere that this is going to be part of a series. If so, I am very much looking forward to the next installment.Warning to Kindle users, however. It seems that the editing on the Kindle version fell through the cracks, so to speak, about 80% or 90% of the way through the book. All of a sudden all of the quotation marks disappear! It made the last part of the book a bit of a challenge to read. :-)
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Humorous, slightly outrageous and playful October 26, 2009
By D. Merrimon Crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE™ VOICE
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Hollywood gossip columnist Tina Bender has the scoop on all the latest celebrities. She has no hesitation whatsoever to print the latest news — no matter how scandalous and she has even been known to bend the truth a little in the name of a story. When Tina receives an anonymous threat, her whole world is upturned especially when it comes to the sexy bodyguard, Calvin Dean, that her boss hires to keep her safe. How can she do her job with him shadowing her? But as the threats become more deadly, his presence might be exactly what she needs and in more ways than one. Until now, Tina’s lacks any real connection to those around her. Her love life is confined to a internet friendship with ManInBlack72 and she lives in a retirement home with her Aunt Sue. As the danger mounts, so does the heat between this gossip columnist and bodyguard. Together, they will have to sift through all the stories she has printed and discover just who might be willing to commit murder.Gemma Halliday’s sassy new Hollywood Headlines series in SCANDAL SHEET starts off with a bang. Humorous, slightly outrageous and playful, this mystery romance also touches the heart in moments amid the fast-paced race to catch the culprit. A crazy set of Hollywood characters make up the suspect list, characters just as wild as the stories Tina creates from even the slightest innuendo. Tina may ride a hot pink Honda Rebel motorcycle complete with yellow flames, but beneath the tough exterior she wears on the job, her life lacks the kind of intimacy and indeed non-virtual friendship a woman needs. Sexy, protective and yet willing listen, Cal is just the man for this independent, sassy tabloid reporter. Gemma Halliday creates a wonderful mixture of romance and mystery as Tina digs even deeper into world behind the celebrities. Delightful romantic twists and a clever mystery puzzle make SCANDAL SHEET a light romantic mystery full of smiles, laughter and perfectly placed heart-warming moments amid the humorous, zany Hollywold tabloid world. SCANDAL SHEET is reading entertainment at its best.COURTESY OF BOOK ILLUMINATIONS
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, witty and clever romance November 20, 2009
Format:Mass Market Paperback
The first book in the new Hollywood Headlines Mystery – Series by Gemma Halliday is funny, great and a joy to read.Tina Bender’s job is to find out all the dirty little secrets nobody wants to share. She is working as a gossip columnist at the infamous L.A. Informer tabloid and loves her job.
But when she starts to receive threatening notes that announce her death, her boss Felix Dunn thinks it’s time to team her up with hunky bodyguard Calvin Dean. Tina and the sexy bodyguard are attracted to each other from the beginnig and when the threats become more serious Tina is glad to have Calvin on her side.
But even Calvin can’t stop her from digging for the truth about who is willing to kill because of some Hollywood gossip.”Scandal Sheet” made me laugh a lot and I’m already excited to see how the series goes on. Tina and Calvin are great characters but I also enjoyed reading about Tina’s friends and colleagues.
Tina is a hilarious heroine, very witty and clever and you have to love her even though I’m normally not a fan of gossip. Calvin is more of a strong and quiet type but with a good sense of humour. Together they make a great couple and I guess he will have his hands full with Tina and her actions in the future.
It was also nice to meet some of the characters from the High Heel Mysteries- series again. It’s not clear where the relationship between Allie and Felix stands so that’s another thing I want to know from the next books in the series. I loved Tina’s reaction to Allie and how she doesn’t know that Allie and Felix share some past.”Scandal Sheet” is just the right book to relax after a stressful day and I will definitely read the next book in the series called “The perfect Shot” (coming fall 2010) with Cameron Dakota, L.A. Informer’s photographer, in the leading role

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The Last Lecture [ROUGHCUT] (Hardcover)

February 26, 2009 by  
Filed under Books, Political



Editorial Reviews: Review
“We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.”
–Randy PauschA lot of professors give talks titled “The Last Lecture.” Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them. And while they speak, audiences can’t help but mull the same question: What wisdom would we impart to the world if we knew it was our last chance? If we had to vanish tomorrow, what would we want as our legacy?

When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn’t have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave–“Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”–wasn’t about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because “time is all you have…and you may find one day that you have less than you think”). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.

In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come.

Questions for Randy Pausch

We were shy about barging in on Randy Pausch’s valuable time to ask him a few questions about his expansion of his famous Last Lecture into the book by the same name, but he was gracious enough to take a moment to answer. (See Randy to the right with his kids, Dylan, Logan, and Chloe.) As anyone who has watched the lecture or read the book will understand, the really crucial question is the last one, and we weren’t surprised to learn that the “secret” to winning giant stuffed animals on the midway, like most anything else, is sheer persistence. I apologize for asking a question you must get far more often than you’d like, but how are you feeling?

Pausch: The tumors are not yet large enough to affect my health, so all the problems are related to the chemotherapy. I have neuropathy (numbness in fingers and toes), and varying degrees of GI discomfort, mild nausea, and fatigue. Occasionally I have an unusually bad reaction to a chemo infusion (last week, I spiked a 103 fever), but all of this is a small price to pay for walkin’ around. Your lecture at Carnegie Mellon has reached millions of people, but even with the short time you apparently have, you wanted to write a book. What did you want to say in a book that you weren’t able to say in the lecture?

Pausch: Well, the lecture was written quickly–in under a week. And it was time-limited. I had a great six-hour lecture I could give, but I suspect it would have been less popular at that length ;-).

A book allows me to cover many, many more stories from my life and the attendant lessons I hope my kids can take from them. Also, much of my lecture at Carnegie Mellon focused on the professional side of my life–my students, colleagues and career. The book is a far more personal look at my childhood dreams and all the lessons I’ve learned. Putting words on paper, I’ve found, was a better way for me to share all the yearnings I have regarding my wife, children and other loved ones. I knew I couldn’t have gone into those subjects on stage without getting emotional. You talk about the importance–and the possibility!–of following your childhood dreams, and of keeping that childlike sense of wonder. But are there things you didn’t learn until you were a grownup that helped you do that?

Pausch: That’s a great question. I think the most important thing I learned as I grew older was that you can’t get anywhere without help. That means people have to want to help you, and that begs the question: What kind of person do other people seem to want to help? That strikes me as a pretty good operational answer to the existential question: “What kind of person should you try to be?” One of the things that struck me most about your talk was how many other people you talked about. You made me want to meet them and work with them–and believe me, I wouldn’t make much of a computer scientist. Do you think the people you’ve brought together will be your legacy as well?

Pausch: Like any teacher, my students are my biggest professional legacy. I’d like to think that the people I’ve crossed paths with have learned something from me, and I know I learned a great deal from them, for which I am very grateful. Certainly, I’ve dedicated a lot of my teaching to helping young folks realize how they need to be able to work with other people–especially other people who are very different from themselves. And last, the most important question: What’s the secret for knocking down those milk bottles on the midway?

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The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature

February 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Books, Political

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This New York Times bestseller is an exciting and fearless investigation of language

Bestselling author Steven Pinker possesses that rare combination of scientific aptitude and verbal eloquence that enables him to provide lucid explanations of deep and powerful ideas. His previous books including the Pulitzer Prize finalist The Blank Slate have catapulted him into the limelight as one of today s most important popular science writers. In The Stuff of Thought, Pinker presents a fascinating look at how our words explain our nature. Considering scientific questions with examples from everyday life, The Stuff of Thought is a brilliantly crafted and highly readable work that will appeal to fans of everything from The Selfish Gene and Blink to Eats, Shoots & Leaves.

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2 out of 5 stars Why is Pinker in Harvard   January 24, 2009
M. Jensen (Cleveland)
0 out of 2 found this review helpful

This book astounds me. As a real student of cognitive science, it absolutely astounds me that Pinker is at Harvard. So many others (Len Talmy, Adele Goldberg, Charles Fillmore, Giles Facounier, Mark Turner, Per Aage Brandt) are doing so much more with linguistics. 

Pinker’s books are fun to read, which makes them easily accessible to the public. Not to say that real academic writing should be impossible to understand, but Pinker writes with a purpose: the purpose to sell books. To me, this is just plain sad, that a Harvard professor is setting the standard for writing books with misleading arguments just to turn a buck. 

If you are really interested in language and thought you should check out “Cognitive Linguistics” from oxford press by Croft and Cruse; “Towards a Cognitive Semantics” by Len Talmy, which can be found online at his website (just search for it), or even a book by Mark Turner, “The Way we Think”– this last one isn’t as good, but it’s a little more readable than the other two. 

Pinker is outdated, and just like the whole mindset of Ivy League schools, he won’t bother changing because they’re on top of the world, not matter what they palm off as truth!

4 out of 5 stars Worthwhile, but could have been shorter   January 8, 2009
Joseph Oppenheim (San Diego, CA USA)
1 out of 1 found this review helpful

There were things I liked about “The Stuff of Thought” and things I didn’t. I would have preferred the book to be shorter. I certainly could take away many profound observations. However, I don’t think Pinker had to go into so many examples, although I am sure many readers will like that. Anyway, here are some important things which I will remember from the book. 

1. We can learn a lot about people from the way they put together words. Pinker shows many examples. 

2. What is an event? 9-11 was an event, however there were also many events which went into effecting it. 

3. Words take on new meanings to reflect on how the world works. 

4. Learning a language is really a remarkable process. Pinker discredits linguistic determination, that is the brain learning language to generate thinking. He asserts that thoughts effect language. Meanings are stored, not the exact combination of words which reflect them. Personally, I think both can work in parallel, when learning a language, but Pinker makes a good argument. 

5. Metaphors are very important. They are an essential part of thought. “To think is to grasp a metaphor”. He shows the use of metaphor in Leviticus, which makes one think even more that biblical scripture, at least the Torah, should not necessarily be taken literally, more like a living document which encourages deeper thinking especially as times change. 

6. The chapter on profanity is certainly interesting. The amygdala, in the brain, is important in storing memories with emotion. Bilingual people react more to taboo words in their first language, rather than their second. Aphasia, loss of articulate language, victims retain the ability to swear. This shows more memories of thought formulas rather than rule combinations. Such swearing in Tourettes’s Syndrome is called copolalia. 

7. The basal ganglia in the brain, when weakened, taboo thoughts are more easily released. There is a “Rage Circuit” which runs from the amygdala to the hypothalmus – limbic circuitry. 

8. Implicative language, like with sarcasm and politeness, versus direct. Hierarchical and “culture of honor” societies use politeness more. 

9. Pinker brings up UN Resolution 242, about the Israeli – Palestinian situation, showing how the wording was intentionally made ambiguous, so each side could more likely agree to it. Best to get some agreement, so at least there is somewhere from which to proceed in negotiations. There again, words reflect thoughts, to often encourage further thinking. 

So, the book is certainly worthwhile, despite its perhaps unnecessary length.

5 out of 5 stars A bible for any creator of an artificial language   December 24, 2008
Mr. Cecil Ponsaing (SE Queensland Au)
1 out of 1 found this review helpful

Not having read the whole book yet, but being in the process, and having been asked by Amazon to write a review; … 

… In reading the book, I am being overloaded with tons of interesting language- thought correspondences and their opposites, which one just does not think about when one just speaks a language and, indeed, when one “just” learns another one. There are so many logical extras to language, which non linguists never think about. But if you want to create a language, this book would be one that you would have to know backwards; like a conscientious christian knows his bible. Without this book it will be very hard to make your artificial language consice and better than the natural languages, and then, your artificial language, your creation, will just be another one in the long line of failed artificial languages.

5 out of 5 stars Fascinating, deep, and satisfying   December 7, 2008
John S. Fry (Menlo Park, CA USA)
1 out of 1 found this review helpful

In his inimitably thoughtful and engaging style, Pinker explains the field of conceptual semantics to the lay reader, and shows what modern theoretical linguistics reveals about how human beings think. The book is in some sense an integration of Pinker’s previous books The Language Instinct, Words and Rules, and How the Mind Works. 

Human thought, Pinker argues, is built around certain primitive concepts, including space, force, dominance, agency, animacy, sex, and contamination. In the most interesting chapters he shows how our human conceptions of space, time, and matter are reflected in linguistic features like tense, aspect, and the count/mass distinction. The relatively recent research results of Beth Levin and her colleagues in the area of lexical semantics, summarized in Chapter 2, are particularly illuminating, as they reveal how seemingly random variations in verb subcategorization patterns actually reflect deep, underlying conceptual schemas in the mind. 

In the final chapters Pinker offers the optimistic conclusion that we need not be permanently shackled by our limited primate brains; scientific progress relies on our remarkable ability to extend our knowledge to new domains through the use of metaphor, analogy, and linguistic combinatorics. “The goal of education,” Pinker concludes, “is to make up for the shortcomings in our instinctive ways of thinking about the physical and social world.” 

5 out of 5 stars Evolution of language   November 30, 2008
Ilya Grigorik (Toronto, ON, Canada)
Being a newcomer to the analysis and debate of linguistics, the opening parts of the book felt a little heavy – Pinker assumes a certain level of knowledge of the topic area. Having said that, I am glad I persisted as I later found many interesting parallels to the study of NLP (Natural Language Processing) in the computer science community, and eventually the ‘academic’ is replaced with hundreds of references and insightful case studies on how we use our language, why we structure it the way we do, and what it says about us. 

The book really picks up in the latter half as Pinker picks apart numerous examples of our speech, and life situations (politics, power, sex, and so on), and explains the language and foundation behind it. Linguistics offers a fascinating perspective on how our minds operate, and this is a great introduction. I am looking forward to reading more about the topic in the feature.

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February 9, 2009 by  
Filed under Books, Featured, Political

51eyher785l_sl160_Editorial Reviews:

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In this profoundly affecting memoir from the internationally renowned author of The Caged Virgin, Ayaan Hirsi Ali tells her astonishing life story, from her traditional Muslim childhood in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, and Kenya, to her intellectual awakening and activism in the Netherlands, and her current life under armed guard in the West.One of today’s most admired and controversial political figures, Ayaan Hirsi Ali burst into international headlines following an Islamist’s murder of her colleague, Theo van Gogh, with whom she made the movie Submission.

Infidel is the eagerly awaited story of the coming of age of this elegant, distinguished — and sometimes reviled — political superstar and champion of free speech. With a gimlet eye and measured, often ironic, voice, Hirsi Ali recounts the evolution of her beliefs, her ironclad will, and her extraordinary resolve to fight injustice done in the name of religion. Raised in a strict Muslim family and extended clan, Hirsi Ali survived civil war, female mutilation, brutal beatings, adolescence as a devout believer during the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and life in four troubled, unstable countries largely ruled by despots. In her early twenties, she escaped from a forced marriage and sought asylum in the Netherlands, where she earned a college degree in political science, tried to help her tragically depressed sister adjust to the West, and fought for the rights of Muslim immigrant women and the reform of Islam as a member of Parliament. Even though she is under constant threat — demonized by reactionary Islamists and politicians, disowned by her father, and expelled from her family and clan — she refuses to be silenced.

Ultimately a celebration of triumph over adversity, Hirsi Ali’s story tells how a bright little girl evolved out of dutiful obedience to become an outspoken, pioneering freedom fighter. As Western governments struggle to balance democratic ideals with religious pressures, no story could be timelier or more significant.

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4 out of 5 stars May change your idea of Islam February 5, 2009
Richard S. Bragaw (Arlington Heights, IL)
1 out of 1 found this review helpful

So well written is this book that one of the members of our Book Club raised the question, “Is it too well written?” We don’t think so, but the story Ali tells will stick with me for a long time. I have a different idea about Islam and terrorism. I have more sense of what life may be like in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, and Holland. An excellent autobiography.

4 out of 5 stars Gripping Memoir February 2, 2009
voracious reader (Houston, Tx.)
In this gripping memoir which is a true page turner, the author tells of her harrowing life under the represive hand of Islam and her escape to freedom in the west. She describes the horrors of genital exision which itself is worth the price of the book. Her command of English is remarkable. She is clearly a linguist. This talent allows her to rise to prominance in the Dutch culture and government. However, the prose is not elegant. Noni darwish who wrote Now They Call Me Infidel is a better writer. Her prose is more succint. For this reason alone I gave the book 4 stars instead of 5. I think nearly every reader will find this book easy to read. It is a good choice for book clubs, because it open many discussion topics. Of great interest is the unlikely possibility for mideast peace when Muslims teach their children in schools that Jews are evil and have horns growing out of their heads. They are called donkeys and monkeys. Christians and the western world are also berated though to a lesser degree. Perhaps, this is because there are so many more Christians who would take offense and perhaps even refuse to deal with muslim countries. She dispells the notion that islam is a peaceful religion by quoting violent passages straight out of the Koran. I think this memoir should be required reading for all high school students both here and abroad. If only it were required reading in Muslim schools here and abroad including schools in the mideast, then real progress might be made in Israel.

5 out of 5 stars One of the great books of recent times January 22, 2009
Joseph C. Sweeney (Portland, Maine)
“Infidel” is a glimpse into the Muslim world not often viewed by the West. This is Islam as it is practiced by a couple of billion people around the globe. The courage of the author is almost without parallel, and this is a contemporary book that simply MUST be read by all!

5 out of 5 stars INFIDEL is Excellent reading January 8, 2009
James L. Eller
A story of a young girl who grew up in a poor country under ISLAM. Her story of how she lived in different countries and why she decided to leave
ISLAM. Her trials and tribulations are real and very well written.
You will not want to put this book down after you start reading.

5 out of 5 stars The courage to break free from religious oppression! January 5, 2009
Donald R. Burleson (Roswell, New Mexico)
If ever there has been a rousing testimonial to the indomitability of the human spirit, the incomparable Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s book is precisely that. This should be required reading for all those politically correct dopes who go about saying that Islam is a religion of peace, that the Quran doesn’t really “mean” all those genocidal things it says, and that women really aren’t treated so badly in the Islamic world. This valiant woman proves them dreadfully wrong, and does so with an equanimity of spirit that is a marvel to behold. The chapter “Leaving God” is itself worth many times the price of the book, for it showcases what is possible, for the human mind, even under the most trying of circumstances–to leave behind the stranglehold of religion and live a rational life, even when one has been raised in the stultifying oppression of a religious state and culture. The author correctly argues that, unlike what goes on in Islamic countries, in the West we have had the wisdom to leave religion out of public life and policy and government for the most part, and have moved on to the sorts of accomplished social organization only possible in a secular world, and she chronicles her own liberation not only from the seventh-century barbarism of Islam but from the “mind-forged manacles” of religion generally, as she realized soon after the religion-inspired horrors of 9-11 that she had long been an atheist at heart. Bravo to Ayaan Hirsi Ali for forging a monument (much at her own peril, for she lives under a perpetual death-sentence from radical Muslims) not only to the cause of the freedom and dignity and human worth of women everywhere, but to the potential freedom of the human mind from religious caprice and superstition. A must-read!

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