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Review Challenge > Middle East and North Africa

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message 1: by Diane , Armchair Tour Guide (new)

Diane  | 12971 comments Post reviews here for books set in either the Middle East or North Africa.


message 2: by Cindy (new)

Cindy | 17 comments Pontius Pilate

Learning about the Roman Empire has never been high on my list. But Paul Maier presents this account of Pontius Pilate in a way that brings the first century A.D. to life. Maier helps us to imagine the social & political forces of the day, helping us to appreciate the difficulty of Potius Pilate's decision to have Jesus crucified. Fascinating!

Not a group read
I read July 2016
My rating: 5-stars
Region: Middle East/Israel


message 3: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer S. Alderson (jennifesalderson) | 138 comments My 4 star review of Jill Dobbe's non-fiction novel, KIDS, CAMELS, & CAIRO (read and reviewed in September 2016):

Kids, Camels & Cairo provides a fascinating insight into Egyptian culture and city life, as seen through the eyes of a Western educator working in a Muslim school in Cairo. I was drawn to this story because of my own stint as a volunteer teacher in Nepal and was curious to see how similar our experiences were. Many scenes were all too familiar yet fun to relive, even the more painful ones!

Her descriptions of the landscape, people, sights and smells of the cities and countryside were also quite good. The way she described Luxor immediately brought me back to my own short vacation to the city.

Anyone who's volunteered or worked overseas will relate to her trials and tribulations, as well as those small successes that kept her going while so far from home. This is a fun, interesting read I would recommend to anyone thinking about moving abroad or wants to know what it's really like to be on your own in a very foreign land.


message 4: by Cindy (new)

Cindy | 17 comments Jennifer wrote: "My 4 star review of Jill Dobbe's non-fiction novel, KIDS, CAMELS, & CAIRO (read and reviewed in September 2016):
This sounds very interesting!


message 5: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer S. Alderson (jennifesalderson) | 138 comments Cindy wrote: "Jennifer wrote: "My 4 star review of Jill Dobbe's non-fiction novel, KIDS, CAMELS, & CAIRO (read and reviewed in September 2016):
This sounds very interesting!"
I really enjoyed it! If you read it, I'd love to hear what you think about it....


message 6: by Kenneth (new)

Kenneth Cline | 8 comments Tracking the Queen of Sheba: A Travel Memoir of YemenKenneth Cline
Hi to everyone interested in the Middle East. Those with a particular interest in that most peculiar country of Yemen might want to know that my account of a 1984 archaeological expedition to the far eastern wilds of Yemen, Tracking the Queen of Sheba), is available for a free download today, Jan. 4, on Amazon. I would love to hear your comments, pro and con!


message 7: by Dana (new)

Dana | 13 comments I would highly recommend Rabih Alameddine's An Unnecessary Woman. Read and reviewed 3 March.

It took me a while to pick up this book, in spite of others’ recommendations, as I couldn’t muster the patience for what I gathered to be an introspective novel. Instead, I found myself fascinated by the cerebral, witty and somewhat cynical Aaliya who, throughout her musings, does not betray a shred of self-pity.

Completely alone, with only her literary mind and her unpublished translations for company, Aaliya seems to have tailor-made her life to suit her temperament and dedicate herself to worthwhile pursuits: literature, philosophy, metaphysics and translating books of her choice for pure pleasure. Having tried marriage, she wished she'd been aware back then of Chekhov's truism that "If you're afraid of loneliness, don't marry". She has no interest in her three neighbours, "The Witches", whom she avoids at all cost. What matters to her are her home, “her shelter”, the crates containing her works, and two people from her past: Hannah and Ahmed. And although she does not care much for her mother, a “narcissist” and “a modern-day succubus”, a disturbing incident involving her mother leaves Aaliya shaking and consumed with anguish. Nevertheless, one wonders whether Aaliya is truly happy in her isolation or whether she’s deluding herself in believing that it was what she aspired to.

This is a poignant, mesmerizing portrait of a seventy-two year-old woman taking stock of her life and coming to terms with loneliness, loss, aging and death; an existence summed up by the Epicurean epitaph: Non fui, fui, non sum, non curo: “I was not, I was, I am not, I do not care”. Absolutely brilliant!


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