What We Are Reading Today: The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

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Updated 14 February 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak

“The Forty Rules of Love,” written by Elif Shafak, is truly a life-changing book. I have found myself quoting and referencing it in daily life.

The central theme of the book is Sufism and preaching the religion of love. The main character, Shams of Tabriz, is a wandering dervish, while Rumi is a great scholar.

The way the book is written, the readers live the events mentioned through many of the important characters. Readers also live through the story of Ella, a middle-aged women living in 2008, with children and a husband seemingly living the perfect life.

Then she starts reading the story of Shams and Rumi, and while reading sees shifts in her own life and discovers herself. Throughout the book the readers are told the 40 rules covering aspects of life that readers of all ethnicities and backgrounds will find helpful and applicable.

The book carries so much weight that after reading a particular chapter I had to put it down and absorb what I had just read, taking longer than I would have with any other book.

The book is full of lessons while telling a beautiful story of all kinds of love. The popularity of the book makes it easier to find in bookstores. Jarir Bookstore almost always has a copy of the novel. The audiobook on audible.com is also beautifully read out — perfect for those wanting to delve into the story but don’t have enough time to read.


What We Are Reading Today: The Privatized State by Chiara Cordelli

Updated 26 November 2020

What We Are Reading Today: The Privatized State by Chiara Cordelli

Many governmental functions today—from the management of prisons and welfare offices to warfare and financial regulation—are outsourced to private entities. Education and health care are funded in part through private philanthropy rather than taxation. Can a privatized government rule legitimately? The Privatized State argues that it cannot.

In this boldly provocative book, Chiara Cordelli argues that privatization constitutes a regression to a precivil condition—what philosophers centuries ago called “a state of nature.” Developing a compelling case for the democratic state and its administrative apparatus, she shows how privatization reproduces the very same defects that Enlightenment thinkers attributed to the precivil condition, and which only properly constituted political institutions can overcome—defects such as provisional justice, undue dependence, and unfreedom. 

Cordelli advocates for constitutional limits on privatization and a more democratic system of public administration, and lays out the central responsibilities of private actors in contexts where governance is already extensively privatized. 

Charting a way forward, she presents a new conceptual account of political representation and novel philosophical theories of democratic authority and legitimate lawmaking.

The Privatized State shows how privatization undermines the very reason political institutions exist in the first place, and advocates for a new way of administering public affairs that is more democratic and just.