Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Bookseller of Kabul The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad

This is a fascinating look at life in Kabul, both during and after the Taliban. The author spent several years, off and on, with a bookseller and his family, and got to see a lot of the culture first-hand.

It was my first in-depth look at the repression of women by so-called "Islamists", and it's frightening and very sad. And almost impossible to believe that it's still going on, in the 21st century!

The sad lives these women lead, even after the overthrow of the Taliban is heart-breaking. One young woman wanted to be a teacher, but because she would have to go to school with men, she couldn't make herself go. She was free to do so, but she'd been brought up during the stringent separation of the sexes enforced by the Taliban, and she just couldn't mingle. It was heart-breaking. I wanted to go there and rescue her, somehow!

I highly recommend this for anyone interested in women's rights, religious fundamentalism or just plain cultural interest. It was well-written and fascinating to read.

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