Sunday, October 26, 2008

Jewel of Medina Update II

Finally. I now have a copy of The Jewel of Medina in my personal library - although I'm still not sure about the book's literary merits, if any. I've flipped through it and read several paragraphs from different sections of the book and I'm a little nervous that it might be more of a "historical romance" than quality historical fiction. I'll know soon enough because I'm adding it to the stack of books I'm reading right now, bringing that stack to a total of five.

I did not expect to find the book on display so I went directly to the "Js" of the Barnes and Noble fiction section where I managed to overlook it on my first attempt. Frankly, all this time, I was expecting to find one of the quality-sized paperbacks instead of a hardcover and that's the main reason that I missed it. The Barnes and Noble employee I approached for help seemed to know nothing at all about the book's history but, as he looked it up in the computer system, I filled him in a bit and it seemed to ring a bell. He said there should be one copy on the shelf and more in the back and, as we walked back to the J-section of the store, he speculated that this must be the book of which his District Manager strongly suggested only one copy be placed on display at-a-time. Apparently, in this part of the Barnes and Noble world, it has been decided that no attention will be drawn to the book, that it will be displayed on the appropriate part of the fiction shelves spine-out so that the cover art catches no one's eye, and that replacement copies will be put on the shelf only if someone happens to notice that a copy has sold despite all the obstacles against anyone actually spotting the book. All in the name of "bookseller safety" according to the employee with whom I spoke. Whatever...

One of the blurbs on the book's back cover is particularly interesting. It comes from Irshad Manji, Director of the Moral Courage Project. Manji says:
"Sherry Jones does an extraordinary service to Islam in popularizing - and humanizing - a Muslim heroine. It's the kind of history that I never learned in my mosque or madressa. As a faithful, feminist Muslim, I say 'mashallah' for this riveting novel."
I'm looking forward to finally reading it for myself now.


  1. I'm looking forward to seeing your thoughts on this book.

  2. I'm about 80 pages into the book at the moment, Samantha, and it's feeling like a "3-book" right now. It's certainly complimentary toward Muhamed, so I don't understand the stink caused by that fool University of Texas instructor.