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Who owns the good religion?

Those acquainted with Zoroastrianism, at times called the Good Religion, and the Parsi community know of the heated debate that surrounds conversion. People often believe that today’s Zoroastrianism or the Parsi community do not allow or frown upon conversion into the religion. Another fiercely debated issue is the acceptance into the Parsi community of children from mixed marriages, particularly when the father is not a Zoroastrian.

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Winterbienen

I’m currently reading Norbert Scheuer’s new novel Winterbienen (‘Winter Bees’). I’ve just started it, and so far like it very much. It plays during World War II, and I found the following paragraph reminiscent of the current situation in Iran:

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Saša Stanišić: Herkunft

Am Flughafen. Ich bemerke, dass ich mein Buch vergessen habe, will aber unbedingt etwas lesen. Ich frage im kleinen Buchladen nach “Winterbienen”. Die Verkäuferin, die sich gut auskennt, lächelt. Ich Frage nach dem Grund: “Wir haben das Buch lange hier gehabt, niemand hat danach gefragt. Also haben wir es weggelegt”. Ich kaufe mir “Herkunft”. Es ist ein großartiges Buch, ich weiß aber nicht, ob es ein Roman oder eine Autobiographie ist. Im Englischen würde man es wahrscheinlich “autofiction” nennen.

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Stille!

Not my style of literature, but whoever writes about walking, mountains and silence gets my attention! Werner Herzog’s (@wernerhurtzog) “Vom Gehen im Eis” and Robert Walser’s “Der Spaziergang” remain clear favourites.

Kann ich der Welt nicht durch Gehen, Klettern oder Segeln entkommen, habe ich gelernt, sie auszusperren.

Kagge | Stille
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There There!

“There There”, a beautifully written novel and incredible storytelling by Tommy Orange. I sometimes read e-samples before buying a book. This one’s caught my attention immediately and read it to the end. I got off the plane and almost went to Dussmann shortly before midnight to buy the book. Luckily they had an open Sunday the next day. I look forward to reading more by @thommyorange.

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Japanese cat writing

I love cats, but am not crazy about them and certainly not a cat vs dog person. I like cats a reasonable amount. A while ago, however, I stumbled upon Junichiro Tanizaki’s cat story, read it out of curiosity and absolutely loved it. Months later, I caught myself remembering it as a B&W film, so lucid and expressive is its language and storytelling.

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Honeymoon in Tehran

I receive a number of search hits from people who look for my name in connection with Azadeh Moaveni and her book Honeymoon in Tehran.  I also receive occasional questions. While it is true that my name is mentioned in that book, I wish to distance myself from Azadeh Moaveni and her book Honeymoon in Tehran. Those who know me more closely know that I never read that book with the exception of two paragraphs in the pre-publication phase.

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Year 2016 in numbers

Bibliographia Iranica started in May 2015. Although I had received positive feedback about my bibliographic posts on my own blog, it was unclear how well a dedicated bibliographic website for Iranian Studies would be received. I am glad to say that the academic as well as the general reception of our collective effort here at Bibliographia Iranica has been very positive and encouraging. And we know that our user base continues to grow. And so, before the new year advances too far and becomes old news, we should review the statistics for the past year.

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A safe haven for Syrians

30 people within Cambridge, and another 40 in the surrounding areas have pledged to house refugees. This is just within the last few days and to just one organisation. Another 5,495 have volunteered within the UK to help once the refugees arrive. Please help to increase these numbers. Pledge your support here:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/uk_refugees_volunteer_thank_you_3/

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“Thinking of going to Calais?”

If you are planning to go to Calais as a volunteer, please read this piece by Alison Playford.

Thinking of going to Calais? I’ve just got back and would like to share some thoughts with you.

It appears that a large wave of European citizens are in the process of taking ‘aid’ to Calais and other areas in Europe where migrants and refugees are camped or travelling.

People in the UK and across Europe who are distressed to see pictures of drowned children want to help. I am glad to see this response, but would like to add a few points to the debate, as I think that we are in danger of perpetuating the problem by framing the situation through the political lens of those who created it.