February 13, 2013 § Leave a comment

After lunch today, with the five-hour stream of piano students and their parents starting up the stairs, i left to work elsewhere. Ended up six blocks west at the local branch of the public library, where i generally sit at the large table in front of the big windows. By the large-print books and the meagre CD stacks. Already distractable and halfway through editing an essay on autopilot, i started drifting. i fell asleep and for five seconds dreamt of Saskatchewan. And then i woke up and found myself staring at MS Word again.

But this Saskatchewan was not the prairie province we rode through on our continental train trek two months ago (the polar express bearing Christmas), the province that later swallowed my new gloves whole at the family gathering. Instead it offered a five-second vision of undulating pasture sharply cut by a coolie. And beyond its furthest reach against the clumps of grass and a rail fence the impassive prairie sky. It looked more like the hills you hit halfway back from Milk River than anywhere i remember in Saskatchewan. Yet dreams are a form of revelation, stretching between the prophetic and imaginative faculties.

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February 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

Listing books that caught my eye forthcoming through June, i need to first recognize that after years of work, volume 1 of the Qur’an encyclopedia project is finally complete. Unique in English-language scholarship, it is intended as a contribution to, as well as an authoritative reference work on, (Sunni) Muslim scholarship on the Qur’an. It reflects the prejudices of the commentary traditions, as opposed to somehow standing outside them. See here to “look inside”, 18 pages picked from across the first volume. It is due to arrive back from the printer’s in a few weeks. wal-hamdu li’llah.

In any case, that list:

  • Indira Falk Gesink, Islamic Reform and Conservatism: al-Azhar and the Evolution of Modern Sunni Islam (IB Tauris, February 2013)
  • Anne Norton, On the Muslim Question (Princeton UP, February 2013)
  • Stephen P. Blake, Time in Early Modern Islam: Calendar, Ceremony, and Chronology in the Safavid, Mughal and Ottoman Empires (Cambridge UP, February 2013)
  • Behnam Sadeghi, The Logic of Law Making in Islam: Women and Prayer in the Legal Tradition (Cambridge UP, Feburary 2013)
  • Aron Zysow, The Economy of Certainty: An Introduction to the Typology of Islamic Legal Theory (Lockwood, March 2013)
  • Faisal Devji, Muslim Zion: Pakistan as a Political Idea (Harvard UP, April 2013)
  • Marion Holmes Katz, Prayer in Islamic Thought and Practice (Cambridge UP, April 2013)
  • Janina Safran, Defining Boundaries in al-Andalus: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Islamic Iberia (Cornell UP, April 2013)
  • Mohammed Hamdouni Alami, Art and Architecture in the Islamic Tradition: Aesthetics, Politics and Desire in Early Islam (IB Tauris, April 2013)
  • Giorgio Agamben, The Highest Poverty: Monastic Rules and Form-of-Life (Stanford UP, April 2013)
  • Sidney H. Griffith, The Bible in Arabic: The Scriptures of the ‘People of the Book’ in the Language of Islam (Princeton UP, May 2013)
  • Bonnie Honig, Antigone, Interrupted (Cambridge UP, May 2013)
  • Marianna Klar, Interpreting al-Tha’labi’s Tales of the Prophets: Temptation, Responsibility and Loss (Routledge, May 2013)
  • Samir Haddad, Derrida and the Inheritance of Democracy (Indiana UP, June 2013)
  • Aziz Esmail and Abdou Filali-Ansary (eds), The Construction of Belief: Reflections on the Thought of Mohammed Arkoun (Saqi, June 2013)

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