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Syria’s Secret Library

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  9 ratings  ·  6 reviews
The secret library is in the basement of a bombed building in a heavily shelled area of Darayya, a suburb of Damascus in Syria. Around it, shattered buildings that were once homes and offices lie in crumbling, treacherous piles. A desert of shattered grey concrete festooned with twisted metal and charred wires. Deep beneath this scene of frightening devastation lies the se ...more
Hardcover, First, 320 pages
Published November 1st 2018 by Orion Publishing Co
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3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  9 ratings  ·  6 reviews


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Snooty1
Apr 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I would have told them that the soul needs books just like the body needs food"

This book has one constant message throughout and that is...hope.
Amongst war, hunger, loss and pain, a brighter future can be salvaged and beauty is always there if you look for it.
This book illuminates the struggle in Syria, and finds the glimmer of hope and humanity that will not be put out. Members of the community in Daraya, formed a secret library. Where books can set you free.
"The books themselves help us forge
...more
Christine
Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley

Ursula K Le Guin tells the story of a place whose happiness depends on one child being miserable in “The One Who Walks Away from Omelas” and the reactions to those when they discover it. In part, our ability to exist in the world is on our ability to disregard or ignore horrors, but sometimes we refuse that happiness, refuse to bow to the horrors. In many ways, Thomson’s book makes me think of that story as well as how much we take for granted. If you teach, then yo
...more
Jypsy
May 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Syria's Secret Library is an amazing story. Think about it. Being under siege for years, would you need only food and water to survive? This story is about food for the soul. The mental aspect of survival is often overlooked. I found the story engrossing and thought provoking as a different perspective about those caught in a terrible situation with no escape. The hope found here is inspiring, yet tragic. Thanks to NetGalley for an arc in exchange for an honest review.
Geoffrey
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Note: I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley)

"Syria's Secret Library" tells the incredible true story of those who managed to improvise a library for a beleaguered community. Through the focal point of this underground oasis of books, readers are given an incredibly intimate look into what daily life during the siege of the Damascus suburb of Darayya, an experience similar to countless others across Syria in the midst of its devastating civil war. But more than anything, "Syria's
...more
Avery
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating and frustrating book, telling the story of a Syrian town of books and resistance which entered the civil war by creating their own library. It would seem like the perfect story for a BBC journalist to tell, and the journalist has done his best, maintaining genuine friendships with the people of Daraya that he never betrayed. It is an incredible read, a portrait of a part of the world where the suffering and struggle are tremendous. I devoured it in a single sitting. Yet part of the ...more
Cindy
Jun 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to decide what would be the most critical item to have on hand if your city was under siege. Food, medicine, clean water? How about books? I bet you didn't even think about books. For Darayya, a town right in the middle of Syria's civil war, books were the thing that kept people going.

Some remarkable young men decided to save as many books as they could, gathering them from abandoned buildings, digging through rubble, even under the bombing. They did this to create a hidden library whe
...more
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