Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Butterfly Mosque by Willow Wilson

I chose this book as my summer break book read after reading a short feature about it in Elle Magazine. The Butterfly Mosque is Willow Wilson's memoir. It's her journey from a liberal agnostic upbringing, to an interest in studying religions, to Islam, to Egypt, to falling in love. More than all of this to me it was about living a harmonious life where you can find room for all of the different parts of yourself. More than anything else it's a human story.

Her non-preaching, honest, raw, intelligent, and very insightful book made it such a refreshing read. I give this book 4.5/5 stars.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

So where has Asoom been all this time????

I wish I can say something more unique and original than to say I've been busy, but the truth is...I've been busy!

I've realized blogging is like working out. When you've been regularly blogging you feel like it's part of what makes your days feel balanced. Once you've gotten out of the habit it's so hard to get back on track.

In case you're wondering, alhamdulilah I'm doing well and I've been discreetly checking up on you from time to time via my google reader.

I'm thinking about starting this super secret anonymous blog about relationships, and love, and meeting guys, the balance between haraam and halaal, the lessons, the experiences, the jerks and the assholes, the complicated ones, etc...basicallly something like the muslim girl version of sex and the city.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

On Breaking Up

At times I was pretty sure he was "the one", but I've been down this road before and this time I knew to hold some of myself back. In life there are few guarantees. Having the person that once told you you're everything he ever wanted in a girl actually putting a ring on your finger is not of those guarantees. Even if he promised you on numerous occasions that he's going to do whatever it takes to make it work. Yes ladies, not even that is a guarantee. A million things might happen. one of those could be that you're not sure you want it anymore. Things are not really what they once appeared to be. Sometimes the whole thing just takes too long that something just gets ruined.

I've been officially "single" for about 3 full days now. Unlike the 3 times previous where we've decided to part ways, this time I know that I can't go back to the way things were. The circumstances around the breakup are a bit too complicated to say that one dumped the other, it was more like a tit-for-tat kinda thing. He was the first to express doubts on whether or not he wanted to continue. Then we took turns playing the victim and the apologetic and when it was my turn to be apologetic I decided that it was enough. The light switch in my heart turned off and the one in my brain turned on. I don't want to apologize about anything, and this is not the type of relationship I want.

The first thing I did was call my mom to let her know. Then I texted my best friend because coincidentally just the day beforie I was expressing my fears and frustrations about us and whether we were going anywhere because as the good Muslim girl I try to be, I don't want a boyfriend-I want an actual future-husband. Then I felt I should inform my roommate who beared witness to some heated arguments, and also just in case he tries to get a hold of her. After that I did something that I never used to do before he came into my life. I turned my phone off for the rest of the day. I wasn't interested in the barrage of missed calls or text messages that ranged from desperately pleading with me to stating I was cold and insensitive.

How am I feeling right now? honestly, I feel more relieved than anything else. I mean sure I've had moments of sadness. There are some things that provoke memories of the good times and it makes me miss him. Sometimes that's associated with thoughts on the lines of wishing that the guy I end up settling down with will have possess some of those unique qualities and characteristics that attracted me to him in the first place...but those thoughts are short-fleeting. My overall feeling is definitely one of relief. It's as if I was being held down more than I felt comfortable and now I feel like I'm floating free.

Ladies it's good to be optimistic, but when it comes to getting to know someone on a serious level be careful not to become too optimistic, you know what I mean? I think this is a mistake and a lesson I've learned. He possessed a lot of great qualities, but I was focusing on the "great" a little bit too much. I made too many concessions, I made too many excuses, I walked on too many eggshells, I gave too many second chances, I overlooked too many differences, I kept my mouth shut on too many instances, and I gave him too much time.

This is the beginning of my summer break. I don't have to work or study. I have plenty of time for myself. I'm home now with my family and around my closest friends Thus far everyone who knows has been very supportive. So Alhamdulilah it actually couldn't have happened at a better time. This might be Allah's (swt) way of answering my duaa asking to please pull him away from me sooner than later if he's not "the one".

I can't say for sure 100% that at some point we won't end up pursuing things again. What I do know though is that I can't go back to the way things were before we parted ways. I also know that right now I'm feeling quite content.

Home Sweet Home Sweet Home!

The semester is over and I'm now at home with my family after 5 months. It feels soooooooooooooooooooooooooo good :) I had a 22 credit semester and 9 finals plus practicals, so you can just imagine my life the past couple of months-I won't elaborate on the details of my torment.

I bought my ticket the evening before I flew home and I've been here for a couple of days now. I made my sister take me from the airport to find a place that served a popular local entree that I've been deprived of. We had to go to 3 different places to find it. My dad is super happy that I'm back at home. I always thought that me and my dad have a unique relationship that noone else in the house has. We understand each other on a different level than everyone else in the house and I think my dad was really relieved that I'm home now and we can resume our deep discussions on random subjects like the good old days. I spent the next couple of days bumming it with my best friend Angela, actually more like distracting her because she has finals now.

This post is supposed to be about how great it feels to be so free. It feels pretty weird going from having to schedule like every hour in the day and still feeling constantly behind, to not having anything that I have to be doing. My break is about a month and a half long and I know that I need to get on some kind of routine and be somewhat productive before I get too comfortable and have a hard time adjusting back to study mode when I need to.

So I'm making my list of things to get done and starting tomorrow I'm aiming to get back on some form structured routine. The main project on my list is to get back in shape and lose the 10-15 lbs I gained this year. I think that's pretty doable. So starting tomorrow I'm joining the gym. I'm not going to be doing no mickey mouse cardio 30 minute workouts, I'm hitting it hard core! I mean spinning class, kick boxing, power sculpt, etc. My goal is to keep that up a minimum of 5 days week.

The second project is to do a deep cleaning of my house. My mother has been overseas on business errands for some time now and the rest of the family just hasn't been able to keep it down. So every day after I get back from the gym I'll take on one room at a time for a deep cleaning.

My third project is to get some volunteer hours in! There's a new women's shelter that's in the works of opening up soon and I've been thinking about representing in the community as a proactive hijabi muslima and seeing what I can do to help out. Nothing crazy, ideally once or twice a week.

My fourth project is reading!!!! This includes both academic stuff and leisure reading. I had a tough time this past semester and I know that this coming year is supposed to be even more sucky. I approached some of my professors to see if there's anything i can do now while I have free time now that might pay off during the semester. I got some assigned readings and if all goes as planned will be designating a couple hours a day to get ahead. I'm also making my list of fun books to read! Suggestions appreciated.....

Yes and I will probably be blogging more regularly!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

I love you my favorite khalti

BUT sorry I'm not accepting your facebook friend request. Nor will I accept your friends requests either. Especially the one who asked me if I consider a marriage proposal from her brother who lives in the blad and speaks minimal English. Seriously why don't you just make my sitti an account while you're at it? It's too much work to block you from viewing certain statuses and from viewing certain albums just in case.

I liked facebook so much better when it was just a college social network.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Everything Good Happens After 30

This is an excerpt from the book I'm currently reading: If you have to cry go outside and other things your mother never told you by Kelly Cutrone. I've just turned 26 but for some reason reading this put me in a good mood. I've had a lot of fun and experienced so much life, however my 20s is (and will be) characterized by lots and lots of hard work and instability. It gets old and I definitely don't want to be living like this forever. Most of my friends my age are "settled" by now, but I've chosen to take a different path in life that although has been a fun ride, the pressures and the uncertainties it comes with is just wearing me out.

I'd like to think that by the time I'm 30 I can start really reaping the benefits from the seeds I have worked to sow in my 20s.

According to Cutrone, here are ten other things to look forward to after you turn thirty:

1) Salary Increase. Hell Yea! Depending on what I choose to do I'd either just finished my residency or already have been working for a year.

2) After having gone through a plethora of designers for clothing, it's time to step it up a notch and charge headlong into the land of overpriced luxury accessories, where I hope you'll encounter some of the same landmarks I did: Globe-trotter, Asprey, Louboutin, Vuitton, Bulgari, Hermes, Roger Vivier. Knowing me I'll be very excited over this one. Some people love painting, some people love photography, some people love cooking, I love fashion!

3) A baby. If you want one. Once me and my future hubby's jobs are stable I will want one. I'll also want help. Ideally it would be a mother or mother-in-law but a nanny might have to do. I don't want to give up my career I'd prefer find the perfect balance between motherhood and being a productive achiever in my field.

4) The desire and the emotional wherewhithal to date three men at the same time without remorse. This one is obviously not for me. As a Muslima, I'm looking forward to being committed to ONE man.

5) Vacations outside the USA sans youth hostel. HELL YEA! I love traveling but I'm always looking for the budget ways to go such as looking into off-peak times and pricelining everything. I'm looking forward to being able to comfortably see parts of the world.

6) Self-control. This is the time when we ride the lion; the lion does not ride us. Like Durga, we sit on top of it and enjoy the ride. I just hope this one is true. If it is that would be an amazing thing especially where weight loss and spending habits are concerned. I can definitely say that the ability to exercise self-restraint and not giving into every whim and indulgence has improved as I've gotten older and more mature, and that's a very liberating feeling.

7) Property ownership, or maybe just your own apartment. I've had my own apartment, and the man in my life has been fortunate enough to experience property ownership in his mid-20s. I do have a very cute place, but I am looking forward to getting to remodel, furnish, and decorate my own place the adult-way and not the broke-student way. Definitely something to look forward to!

8) The ability to buy your own muscle car, if you want one. Not really
into cars that much, I'm happy with the one the Baba gave me. I'd trade this perk for vacations and designer clothing.

9) Decrease in overall paranoia and hysteria, which leads to... At this moment in life that sounds like the best thing to look forward to out of everything in this list LOL

10) Better sex. Definitely better sex. Yet to experience this one so this doesn't apply to me either.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just keep Swimming Just Keep Swimming Just Keep Swimming

I don't know how some people can do this. They keep going and going and going. You don't soee any apparent signs of the pressure taking its toll on them. You don't hear them complain or grunt. No matter what they're always in class, on time, in dress code. You don't see them downing coffee cup after coffee cup nor do you spot them nodding off in lectures. They're completely calm during their patient examination checkouts as the preceptor is assesing their every move. They just do it!

Me on the other hand. I'm totally spent. I turn to Nemo for valuable advice: Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming. Just keep swimming, swimming swimming. We swim, swim, swim. ...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

on brain farts and such

I'm having the biggest brain fart right now. I'm done! that's it neuroanatomy will not stick. It's really frustrating to realize how limited your human mental capacity actually is. The final is Friday and I have borderline grade. I pretty much have to pass the exam to pass the class, but my brain kind of decided to shut down. It's probably my protective survival instant that's kicked in...."hibernate" or "explode".

A person can only take so much before things start to crack. Quotes like "impossible is nothing" and "where there's a will there's a way"are such lies. Clearly those authors didn't go to med school.

I went from being a ball of walking panic to "I don't give 2 ishs" mode. I'M DONE!
I miss having a life.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

My Birthday Goodies!

When you get older you kind of stop expecting gifts on your birthday, the celebration is more in the gathering. So in that sense this particular birthday was a pleasant surprise :)

Included were books, chocolate-covered apples, and Saints couldn't have been more collectively thoughtful at the moment!

Hopefully the great start is indicative of the rest of the year. I just feel it in the air that 2010 is going to be a good one :)

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Not the best looking, but the best tasting FATOUSH!

I don't know why my fatoush isn't photogenic. Trust me, it was like amazing! Probably the best I had and this is coming from a salad-a-holic. I've been making this regularly like 3 times a week since I first made it a couple of weeks ago.

Thank you guys for your suggestions on my previous fatoush post. I cut up the typical vegetables (no onions for me though. Romein NOT iceberg lettuce) along with avocado cubes. In a separate bowl I mixed the following:

fresh lemon juice
chopped garlic
chopped fresh mint
fresh thyme (za3tar)
olive oil

I mixed this dressing mixture with my veggies. Then I mixed in just a little bit of goat cheese. Then when ready to eat I topped it off with the Whole Foods pita chips. Not the kind in a bag with the rest of the chips, but the kind they sell in the plastic container in the bakery section.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

I almost forgot it was my birthday.....

I was too distracted having a panic attack (as I usually am the evening before a major exam) until my roomie came to my room at midnight to sing me Happy Birthday. So began the train of text message which always make me smile. I turned 26 today!

I only got 3 hours of sleep thanks to an 8 AM killer exam, but alhamdulilah it went well and I just have to make it through the rest of classes so that I can enjoy an evening dinner at a beachside restaurant with about 10 of my favorite people in this city. My intuition says I will be getting some things in the mail soon, we'll see. After that it's back to reality-the books that is!

Of course it would be much nicer if I was home now with my family and friends, or if my cutesy futesy could be here....but alhamdulilah for everything I have so much in life to be thankful for.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The practice of getting back up on your feet....... much easier said than done.

I either despair and surrender a little bit too easily, or I simply have way too much on my plate for a single person to handle. One or the other just has to be true because this can't be normal everyday life stuff. Maybe it's a little bit of both.

Academic-wise this semester I've been doing "okay," not great and not too bad...until 3 weeks ago. 3 weeks I totally bombed an exam...and I mean did like really bad. It didn't feel good to perform so horribly. This isn't's doctor school and they fail people out. It's a race just to keep up sometimes.

So instead of moping around or having a panic attack I decided to do what any type A -minded person would do: Identify the problem and do something about it! The bad number was enough to motivate me to want to work extra hard and make 90-somethings on the next exams (I have exams every single week). So I pretty much studied my ass off for the next test. I spent ten hours on a saturday studying...10 whole hours! I'm talking minus the breaks too. I spent even more than that on Sunday studying and woke up before the crack of dawn on Monday to do a final review. At that point I had pretty much studied more for that exam than any other test this semester. I felt on top of the world and so ready to go out and conquer.

The outcome? it was HARD! but I was relieved when everyone else thought it was hard too. However, when the grades were posted I couldn't believe that despite all of that hard work I boasted about, my test grade was still below the class' average. I mean I didn't do bad on it I still got a B, but it was 3 percent points below the class' average and I'm pretty confident I studied more for that test than the average person in the class.

Again I decided that I won't freak out, I'll identify where I went wrong and I'll do something about it! The next exam we had was rumored to be the hardest exam we will have to take all semester and I was determined to prove myself. I joined a hard core study group for it and actually started preparing for it like 2 weeks before the exam. ALOT of hours went into preparing for that exam. I just took it this past Friday and no joke it was pretty brutal however I felt good about it. I identified the tricks, eliminated the distractors, knew all the formulas I needed to know, and beat it....or so I thought!

I spent the morning after smiling until the answer key was posted during lunchtime . My content was quickly replaced with panic as I was comparing my answer sheet to the posted key and putting a red X where I missed a question. My hands started shaking and I couldn't even bring myself to count how many I got wrong and calculate my grade. I handed it over to my friend to do who then announced to me my grade in a sympathetic tone. To say that I was devastated wouldn't be an overstatement.

I wouldn't be so upset right now if I didn't work so hard. My confidence in my abilities is questionable, my sense of self-control and discipline shaken, and the fear and anxiety has set in. I'm trying to be positive and remember to just put my faith in God, but I feel like I've been knocked off my horse too many times too close in proximity that I really just need a little bit of time to get back up. Unfortunately life doesn't always give you that option.

So in the meantime I've been faking being ok hoping that at some point while following the same routine the calmnesss will come back and settle in on its own...and it's actually starting to. Today I've been feeling better than yesterday and even had some spurts of energy and motivation here and there. I've taken it upon myself to do some major organizing of my notes and desk and it really helped declutter my mind. I know that if I do well on this week's test I'll feel awesome. There is a brightside. The worst is over and I still have a passing average in that class. Plus, the Saints did actually win the Super Bowl!

So I think I'm starting to climb back up on that horse again.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Early Valentine!

A dozen roses in a vase, a box of assorted chocolates, and a note saying "I wish I was there to give them to you in person" delivered to me...............How cliche, yet how so happy it made me!

Whatever your relationship status is, Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Post-Saints win: Project WHO DAT cookies!

In honor of my team, the Saints, going to and winning their very first Super Bowl-I made from scratch 100 + almond cookies and brought them to hand out to my entire class. I iced the words "WHO DAT" in black and gold. If you know anything about me you'd know that this project was a major undertaking. The kitchen is not my favorite place and I have never in my life baked anything from scratch. Alhamdulilah they were actually freaking delicious. My friend the Persian Princess was convinced I bought them from the Italian bakery and just iced them myself. Sorry to disappoint but I definitely made them all on my own!

I wanted to put a smile on everyone's face just like I'll be smiling for a while. GEAUX SAINTS!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

On the lookout for FATOUSH recipe suggestions!

Ok people. I'm always craving fattoush and that is resulting in frequent trips to the nearest middle eastern restaurant about 15 minutes away. However, I realized I've been spending way too much money on eating out and I need to make my own fattoush!

Mind you I actually do make a pretty good fattoush, but it's not authentic fatoosh it's actually quite americanized. Basically what are the best herbs and spices to add to fatoush and in what form (dry? fresh?)? I google recipes and I get frustrated with the variation...I just want someone to tell me what's BEST to use!

Also how do you make lemon work when adding to salads? Everytime I add lemon juice (even if freshly squeezed) it just taste I'm eating lemons! I can't get it to mesh and blend well with salad. Do you have to do something to it first and not just add it straight on to the salad like you would with dressing?

Inspire me! Maybe I can have a bowl ready this evening to share with my study group.

Monday, February 8, 2010

someone pinch me I think THE SAINTS WON!

One of the happiest moments of our lives. The most watched event in TV history ever.

Although the whole world, every celebrity, apparently the Vatican, and all their mamas was rooting for Saints to win it, people didn't really think they actually could. "I'm happy for New Orleans but let's be real for a second. We all know they're not going to win. Manning is a machine!" I heard on my morning radio program just a couple of days before the big game.
They started off rough 0-10 colts before the Saints scored their first points. They finished off Manning and his teammates 31-17. WHO DAT SAYIN DEY GONNA BEAT DEM SAINTS!

I will remain in a state of highly exaggerated euphoria for a longgggg time. I'm on top of the world!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Bringing New Orleans to Miami: WHO DAT!

I love my team. I'm so proud of them. This is our very first Super Bowl and I got to be part of history as Miami was transformed into New Orleans for the weekend.

The magnitude of what the New Orleans Saints Victory over the Minnesota Vikings to become the NFC champions and make it to the Super Bowl is something that non-Saints fans may not understand. This is more than just a game. It's a symbol of resilience, recovery, and revival. The victories of this team brought inspiration and joy to a beat down city. It created an attitude of "if they can do it, so can we!"

I just feel sorry for the Indianapolis Colts and their fans right now that they have to be our contendors. Saints fans from all over poured into Miami outnumbering the Colts fans 10-to-1 easily....a South Beach business owner was quoted as saying it seems more like 100-to-1. No other NFL team has a culture like that of the Who Dat Nation (collective term for Saints fans). This is being called the least-neutral Super Bowl in history. Not even President Obama, Katie Couric, or Carrie Underwood who will be singing the nathional anthem at the game could hide their partialism for the New Orleans Saints to win the Super Bowl tonight!


Saturday, January 30, 2010

The New Marriage Rule: Age Matters

I recently read this article in the new Cosmo that claims that when it comes to being in a successful marriage the age you (the girl) got married matters. They set the magic number at 25; however I didn't quite understand if they were suggesting that magic number to be the minimum age or the prime age.

So why 25?

Turns out, the more years of higher education a woman has under her belt on her wedding day, the lower the chances that she’ll get divorced…and by 25, you’re more likely to have earned a degree or two. “Educated women tend to be more confident about who they are and less willing to settle for a man who doesn’t meet their standards,” explains Terri Orbuch, PhD, author of Five Simple Steps to Take Your Marriage From Good to Great.

I can relate to that statement. Not that I define myself by my academic achievements, but it's definitely a contributor to my self-confidence.

Odds are that by 25 you’re also supporting yourself, so there’s less incentive for you to rush into marriage because you’re seeking financial security from him.

Makes sense! At this point in life I'm not financially independent, but I know that in the future I will have the means to be. I would never rush into a marriage for financial security....maybe other types of security would cause me to be rash and jump into something, but it definitely wouldn't be financial security!

One of my friends who got married young was pretty blunt about the fact that financial security was a big part in her decision.

At 25, you’ve had time for some crucial life experiences, including a relationship or two that may have improved your Mr. Right radar.

Now that I can definitely attest to! My priorities and "make-it-or-break-it"s are definitely different than what they were when I was 18 fresh out of high school, and when I was 22 fresh out of college, and even when I was 23 fresh out of my masters program. This is mainly due to experiences that I've had with guys who I thought could really be "the one".

Agree? Disagree? either way the article is an interesting, easy read.

The New Marriage Rule: Age Matters

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Guess whose going to Miami?????

It's black and gold to the Super Bowl baby! Both the Saints and the Vikings played equally sucky driving the game into a very tense over time. It was all in Hartley's hands as he has to make a field goal from 43 yards away.

I cried and cried and cried and I was so happy. We will remember this moment for the rest of our lives:

So now it's time to party in the MIA

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Bring 'Em To The Dome!!!

Forty minutes till game time and we are ready!!!!

"It's our house It's our house It's our house!"

No matter what ends up happening tonight I'm so proud of my Saints!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A little bit of what I've been up to lately

So everytime I want to resume blogging I decide there's too much going on and don't know where to start. Then I get overwhelmed with deciding what topic to blog about and decide "efff this". So I decide to do some micro-blogging for those that still take interest in this blog.

1) This semester is raping me. 23 credits, 11 classes. Literally speaking school is my life 90% of the time. I take comfort in telling myself that one day it'll all be worth it and that I'm taking my expanding ass to Costa Rica for Spring Break.

2) I paid what felt like a million dollars to attend a Saints game-my first and only of this season. I decided it was worth it considering the amazing season they've had and that was something I wanted to be part of. They lost that day to like the worst team ever. The best team in the NFC loses to the worst team in the NFC and coincidentally this has to happen on the one game I could attend. The arab in me wanted to rip the chair off the ground it was attached to and toss it down below.

3) Randy came to visit. Ever since her divorce to butt-face she's definitely been making some serious changes in herself. She's not so much that materialistic diva I grew up with. Regardless of that we spent her time here going to some of the most exclusive spas and eating out at some famous restaurants.

4) I'm renting a really nice condo, in a really nice building, in a trendy hip part of town. We just got served papers that our place is going into foreclosure. I don't understand what these landlords are doing with our rent money if they're not paying their mortgages!

5) MTV's The Jersey Shore has been one of my favorite guilty pleasures. A couple weeks ago I was out with a friend and I had to go to the bathroom really bad. I couldn't hold it anymore so I ran to the closest restaurant and guess who I sighted there? Snookie!

6) Socially speaking things have been weird. I've been losing ties to some of my closest colleagues. This is mostly due to the fact that clubbing and drinking is not something I do and that they have found shopping, eating out, hookah cafes, and the movies to become less exciting. I also feel pretty disconnected with the arab/muslim crowd of my class. For the most part it's a group of fake, insecure people who try too hard to fit in. Actually my new class is largely like that. It's like go back to high school people!

7) Things in the love department however have been going great. Allahu a3lam though. I try not to over-analyze, obsess over everything, and have all kinds of demands and expectations like I used to. We've successfully worked through some rough patches and were able to come out of them with greater admiration, respect, and understanding for the other. Whatever is meant to happen will happen and for right now I'm very content with the way things are.

8) One of my greatest fears in life came true. A person that is very dear to me admitted to me recently that around a year ago she had discovered my blog (the old one actually). She was able to easily figure out it was me and to also easily figure out where I was talking about her. She was hurt about some of what I said and thought I was a "complete bitch". She made the decision to not tell me about it then.

Monday, January 4, 2010

ZEITOUN: You have to read this book!

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers is the true story of a Muslim family's experience during and after Hurricane Katrina. It's the story of a tragedy that unfolded out of a different kind of tragedy. It's a tale of of family, faith, the unconditional human bond as well as a story of catastrophic incompetence, xenophobia, and injustice that will leave a mark on you if not make you cry.

The book starts out slow and sweet with an autobiographical tone recalling the upgringing of Abdulrahman in a Syrian coastal town and Kathy's independent conversion into Islam. However once the action picks up the story sucks you in with suspense. The story took a turn that I definitely wasn't expecting when I knew I was reading a book about the effects of the great storm. I actually read the second half in one sitting and when it finished I wanted more!

Kudos to Dave Eggers for taking interest in the story of Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun!