I never took a World Religions class, so I’ve had to piece together my understanding of other religions from conversations and books. From that standpoint, If the Oceans Were Ink is one of the most important books I’ve read. To counter misunderstanding and division after 9/11, American journalist—and secular feminist—Carla Power spent a year studying the Quran with her friend, Shiek Nadwi. Their conversations and travels, relayed in Power’s excellent prose, provide an invaluable introduction to the basic tenets of Islam and the distinctions between its origins and its later cultural trappings. A model for respectful interfaith dialogue.