Books Aloud – October 2007

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I’jaam: An Iraqi Rhapsody
Sinan Antoon
City Lights Publishers
Street: 06.15
I’jaam, a fictional manuscript, transports the reader back to Saddam’s Iraq. The narrator of the story is a young college student who despises his country’s government and is eventually taken into custody by them. His time spent in Iraqi prison is a horrifying one. His stories move from prison life, to memories of his old life and finally to bizarre and terrifying hallucinations. I’jaam personalizes the experience of an Iraqi prisoner under the reign of Saddam. It makes a story that we’ve read a million times, a story that we can relate to on a human level. Antoon’s well-crafted prose gives light to an important story of human struggle that is often left untouched. –Jeanette Moses

South Park and Philosophy
Richard Hanley
Open Court Publishing Company
Street: 03.01
For nearly a decade now, South Park has yet to fail the general American populous with the pointed political satire of Matt Stone and Trey Parker. Sure, it started out as a method for testing the patience of the FCC with cutting-edge fart jokes, anal probes and ice cream, but in recent years the show has evolved into something more. But is the show really any deeper than political commentary and Oprah's neglected vagina? Richard Hanley, associate professor of philosophy at the University of Delaware, seems to think so. At least, that was what I was expecting when I began to read South Park and Philosophy. Unfortunately, what is disguised as a professional of philosophy's opinion on the controversial show, proved to be nothing more than the author's nostalgic meanderings on his favorite parts of the show, with only bits and pieces of actual insightful information. Sure, the book is witty and does look at South Park, but it fails to bring any sort of philosophy into the picture that is anything beyond the obvious. –Ross Solomon

With A Camera From Marc
Jai Tanju
Street: 2007
I went to the local coffee shop and ran into my friend Danthrax (a.k.a. Ducky). As we sat, he read to me his memoirs to a friend. It was a perfect time to peruse this new book, which is filled with photos taken with a camera given to Jai Tanju from Marc Johnson (hence the name). These photos are a wonderful collection of moments that needed documentation, which Jai delivers with once in a lifetime scenes captured with uncanny composition. This is one of the best art books I have acquired. I can only hope that one day I will be able to create something of this caliber for the public to gaze into. –Adam Dorobiala


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