When Michael Met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah – A much-needed, humanizing discussion about the refugee crisis

Summary:

When Michael meets Mina, they are at a rally for refugees – standing on opposite sides.

Mina fled Afghanistan with her mother via a refugee camp, a leaky boat and a detention centre.

Michael’s parents have founded a new political party called Aussie Values.

They want to stop the boats.
Mina wants to stop the hate.

When Mina wins a scholarship to Michael’s private school, their lives crash together blindingly.

A novel for anyone who wants to fight for love, and against injustice.

My review:

It’s been such a long time since I have read a book that possessed such electrifying energy. I don’t find it difficult to put a book down, but with When Michael Met Mina, I genuinely struggled. Needless to say, I was addicted.

When Michael Met Mina is a powerful combination of political discourse and lived experiences, contributing to the conversations and debates surrounding the ongoing global refugee crisis. Read More »

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

sorcerer

At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, freed slave, eminently proficient magician, and Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers—one of the most respected organizations throughout all of Britain—ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up.

But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain—and the world at large…

I received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho is absolutely gorgeous. Of the books that I have read in 2015, I do not think a book has warmed my heart more. For anyone who loves an imaginative fantasy interlaced with undisguised socio-political awareness and commentary that features endearing, loveable characters, Sorcerer to the Crown will be a chocolate box – delightfully unexpected and satisfyingly sweet.

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The Soul of Man Under Socialism by Oscar Wilde

soul of manNB: This isn’t a comprehensive review – I think a compilation of annotation and notes would be more appropriate.

Oscar Wilde writes beautifully, and in The Soul of Man Under Socialism, it shows. In this essay, Wilde critiques capitalism, advocates for enlightenment and ‘individualism’, and expresses disdain for how the public dictates Art and what is ‘popular’ –

… the artist can fashion a beautiful thing;and if he does not do it solely for his own pleasure, he is not an artist at all.

Though I do not agree with anarchism (but given what happened to him, I cannot blame him for having this world view) and some of his arguments, Oscar Wilde offers an interesting perspective on the potential of human flourishing under socialism. Wilde talks a great deal of ‘individualism’ – a term which, I think, means self-actualization – which is greatly inhibited under capitalism.

It is mentally and morally injurious to man to do anything in which he does not find pleasure, and many forms of labour are quite pleasureless activities, and should be regarded as such … Man is made for something better than disturbing dirt.

Wilde is not saying that work is bad and we should all hand in our resignations tomorrow, but he is saying that manual labour, where you are the appendage of the machine, prevents us from living life and experiencing its beauty, to create, and to understand ourselves and realizing our inherent talents. Wilde saw freedom as freedom to become who we are, and become the best we can be.

Up to the present, man has been, to a certain extent, the slave of machinery, and there is something tragic in the fact that assoon as man has invented the machine to do his work, he began to starve.

Poetic.

Rating: 4/5

Book Information:
Book Name: The Soul of Man Under Socialism
Author: Oscar Wilde