Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

The Blood of the Moon

I just finished reading The Blood of the Moon by George Grant. I really appreciated this introduction to the history of conflict between Islam and the West. Most of the conflict that goes on in the Middle East is steeped in history and religion and cannot be solved with political initiatives or U.N. tinkering. It was especially fascinating to see the obsession with cultural history that seems to be a characteristic of many Middle Eastern countries. It's a bit like the nationalism that swept through Europe in the 19th century. It was also surprising for me to see how much the U.S. has been involved in setting up and toppling regimes, and how often we have supported both sides in a conflict or even turned a blind eye when tyrants have slaughtered their own civilians if it is politically expedient to do so.

My only complaint is that the book was too short and left me with too many questions. I guess that just the nature of an introduction, though. There's a nice bibliography at the end that I plan to plunder.

Also, I am told that many people have complained about the non-standard translation of the Koran used by Grant in this book. Specifically, the opening quote appears to be one verse off in its reference and has an odd translation that doesn't appear in most English renderings. According to his preface, he used a translation created by the St. Catherine Bible Society in Bethlehem. I guess I'll try to get my hands on a copy of that translation and check it out.

4/5 stars