21. September 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Andrea, Drama, Graphic Novel · Tags: , , , , ,

Zahra's Paradise by Amir & Khalil, read by Andrea, on 09/21/2012

With all of the negative media attention the Middle East has gotten lately, it is sometimes hard to separate the good people from the evil. Zahra’s Paradise, although fictional, is a good way to bring what is happening over there back into perspective. This story served as a representation of what many Iranian families went through during the revolution and are going through now under a corrupted Islamic Republic. Most of the Middle East we see in the media is a bunch of angry extremists yelling and marching and burning the American flag. This story is an attempt to show Iranians are a compassionate people (no matter their religion, age, or sex) and have a strong desire to live in freedom. Their leaders are the ones who have turned religion into a cover for gaining wealth and power. Not everyone in Iran likes their country, not even Muslims as the book reveals, but they are forced to, or risk possible prison time or execution.

Basically, this heart-wrenching story is about a mother and her son (the narrator) who journey together throughout Tehran in search of Mehdi, their son and brother. Along the way, the reader is introduced to the horrors of Iran. From prisons to hospitals, morgues to cemeteries, the reader is reminded that what is shown on American news is unrelated to what Iranians go through every day. Most have no time to “hate America” or protest in the streets about the Western world. The book actually makes light of this generalization at some point. Many, as we do here in the US, are simply trying to live. What this book does is show that humanity lies even in the darkest corners of the world despite the way it is represented as a whole.

The two authors withholding their names (for very obvious reasons) kind of makes the fear Iranians live in every day that much more realistic for me. In the end of the book is a large list of people who have died under the Islamic Republic. Kinda goes to show that as far as the effects of war on a country go, we haven’t even seen the tip of the iceberg yet domestically.

03. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Andrea, Informational Book, NonFiction, Travel · Tags: , , , , ,

Day of Honey by Annia Ciezadlo, read by Andrea, on 02/03/2012

Day of HoneyDay of Honey is a celebration of food and a memoir of war and the death of many people. It is written about Ciezadlo’s life in Lebanon during its internal sectarian conflicts between Sunni and Shia muslims. I am personally interested in all information that deals with Middle Eastern countries, so I was quite excited to read this book and had particularly high expectations for it as well. Ciezadlo describes Iraqi and Lebanese people as folks not unlike Americans. She shows how, despite hardship and death, the Lebanese people have always found comfort in food. With all of the negative media portrayals of the Middle Eastern countries right now, I thought this book was another great piece of literary work to help people in the US and other parts of the world understand the war torn Middle East and its people.