From The Medieval Review, a review of Arabic Literary Salons in the Islamic Middle Ages: Poetry, Public Performance, and the Presentation of the Past by M. Samer Ali. From FiveBooks, Tariq Ramadan on Islam in the West. From New English Review, Emmet Scott on a series on Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited. From Rorotoko, Stephen J. Shoemaker on his book The Death of a Prophet: The End of Muhammad's Life and the Beginnings of Islam. From LPBR, a review of The Long Divergence: How Islamic Law Held Back the Middle East by Timur Kuran. From Frontline, “terrorism has no place in Islam”: An interview with Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri, scholar of Islamic theology and jurisprudence and author of Fatwa on Terrorism and Suicide Bombings; and it is not surprising that the legend of Saladin as a liberator who restored Arab pride and honour has acquired a renewed vogue. Sex and Islam do mix, but not in America. A review of Did Muhammad Exist? An Inquiry into Islam's Obscure Origins by Robert Spencer (and more). The King, the Mufti and the Facebook Girl: Who decides what is licit in Islam?

A new issue of International Viewpoint is out. The secret ingredient: Liquor companies love to claim they use closely guarded, centuries-old recipes — usually it’s just marketing. From Conversations with History, an interview with Stuart Altman on the struggle to reform healthcare in the US (from March 2012). An interview with Gideon Lewis-Kraus on pilgrimage, authenticity and traveling in a world of infinite choices. How hard can it be to measure a wall? Julian Champkin on the wonderful ever-lengthening Great Wall of China. David Sessions on how kids are not the best thing in the real world. A review of Celebrity Inc.: How Famous People Make Money by Jo Piazza. Jonathan Krohn, CPAC's boy wonder, is bucking the received wisdom that people become more conservative as they get older, a shift he attributes partly to philosophy (and more). The Library of Congress says it will preserve everything from a tinny 1888 recording of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to Prince’s incendiary album “Purple Rain” as part of its latest slate of entries to the National Recording Registry. From America, Adam D. Hincks on wonders of the universe: New scientific discoveries and old truths.

From Christianity Today, do pets go to heaven? An author, a professor, and an animal advocate weigh in. Scientists have found the secret recipe behind the spectacular variety of dog shapes and sizes, and it could help unravel the complexity of human genetic disease. World's ugliest dog: Kastalia Medrano on the evolution of Mugly's frightful features. Can the bulldog be saved? The short, brutish life of the bulldog is putting the future of the breed at risk. Colin Dayan reports on a legal case that may lead to the elimination of pit bulls nationwide. "Dog bites man" is not supposed to be news, but in Kashmir a barbaric man-animal conflict is playing out in the streets of Srinagar. Dog domestication may have helped humans thrive while Neanderthals declined. A look at why some wild animals are becoming nicer. Why can't all animals be domesticated? Ferrets eat babies, shred human tissue and drink blood — The hush-hush life of forbidden pet ownership. No pet for you: Want to adopt a dog or cat? Prepare for an inquisition at the animal rescue. Cats iPhone Kardashian Osama bin Laden: Cats are the mass entertainment of our time — how did our feline friends get bigger than Jesus?