Book Review Time: No God But God by Reza Aslan & Brida by Paulo Coelho



I always felt that history is not the genre that I have the temperament for, neither had I ever read a book on Islam before. So I just randomly picked this up hoping to learn things beyond what we're exposed to as part of Muslim households, I'm sure the fact that I was soon going to move to the
birthplace of Islam triggered the purchase. However, the book turned out to be so much more.

It's remarkable how Reza Aslan managed to cram so much into a few pages while maintaining the beauty and complexity of the subject - offering not just a religious history but a crisp political statement on the current affairs pertaining to Islam. Aslan's clear prose made it possible even for someone as illiterate on the subject as me to be able to grasp the complicated nature of the history that is mine, the history that is so relevant in the 21st century, the history that influences Islam's position in the modern global culture. My favourite chapter comes towards the end where Aslan brings in the role of internet and social media in Islam's evolution, discusses how the war on terror has shifted power scales in the Middle East, explores the contemporary Muslim womens' movement and lifts the veil from the hijab controversy in Europe. Starting from the pre-Islamic times in Arabia and ending with the role being played by Muslims living in North America and Europe in changing the face of Islam today - the book is an extensive journey worth taking.

It is easily one of the few books that truly added to my knowledge and left me feeling a lot more learned than I actually am. Plus if I could read 300 pages of a non-fiction with so much interest, there has to be something about the writing style that draws you in - I would say Reza Aslan knows the art of bringing history alive with his words.

Goodreads rating: 4.13/5
My rating: 4.8/5 (I think I have a crush on Reza Aslan)
The 0.2 I reserved is for the portrayal of some prominent figures that I wasn't comfortable believing and some dry patches where things got too detailed for my liking.




Okay this one was just NOT for me. It was fairly short, just about 200 pages, so barely took me 4 hours in total to finish it. But ancient witchcraft and ritualistic magic are just not the topics I enjoy reading. Almost the entire book is one vague concept after the other. I kept waiting for the author to explain some of it at one point, but no. 

Another reason I did not enjoy the book was because I'm a sucker for dialogues and this one seriously lacked real conversations. All characters were extremely miserly with words and talked in ambiguities throughout. The author expected the reader to believe that they're all thinking the same thing at the same time and somehow, it is all supposed to make sense. I kept hoping that things would come full circle towards the end and I would feel stupid for not being able to see it coming. Sorry, never happened, just finished it feeling HUH?!?

Goodreads Rating: 3.46/5
My Rating: 3/5



2 comments

  1. Hey, I'm an American Muslim, your review made me want to read No God But God. I also feel I do not have the patience to read history books but this sounds very interesting, I'll definitely want to give this a try :)

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