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auspex

Novel Tease

Random meanderings about the books I love—or don't. 

Interspersed with observations about my hobbies: Beer & Wine, Bridge, Bikes and Bow-wows.

Currently reading

The Book Thief
Markus Zusak
Pontypool Changes Everything
Tony Burgess
From Muhammed to Burj Khalifa: A Crash Course in 2,000 Years of Middle East History - Michael Rank

For a journalist, Michael Rank's written English is pretty poor, though that unfortunately is pretty much the state of journalism today. The most egregious error being that Muhammed <i>"taught his followers the major tenants of the religion."</i> "<b>Tenets</b>", dammit! He's also inconsistent in the use of the prophet's name. The cover says <i>"From Muham­med to Burj Khal­ifa&hellip;"</i> while the title page gives: <i>"From Muham­mad&hellip;"</i>


I'm uncomfortable about the way he addresses Islam in places. Why does Rank use deliberately provocative language like <i>"After claiming to receive a prophecy from God"</i>, when talking about Muhammed? <i>"After receiving a prophecy&hellip;"</i> would be palatable to Muslims and non-believers alike. Or, "<i>he also stated that pagans and unbelievers cannot approach the Sacred Mosque, a statement which the Saudi Arabian Grand Mufti used in March 2012 as a pretext to call for all churches in the Arabian peninsula to be bulldozed."</i> Given that he doesn't explain this statement at all, it merely appears intended to show the irrationality of Islam.


Still, this book does almost exactly what it promises: <i>"By the end you will know as much about the Middle East as you would after a year-long college course [and] sound highly knowledgeable about worrd affairs to your friends and associates."</i> The first claim is arguable — I learned more about the