The World's Literature discussion

82 views
Exploring the Middle East through Arabic literature

Comments Showing 1-50 of 75 (75 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments Literature translated from the Arabic language: March 2020...

A few months ago, I examined online reading lists in search of acclaimed stories and poetry for our forthcoming literary journey through the Middle East. It covered recommended titles from a university collection, a journal, and blogs. Afterward, I gathered some of the texts in softcover or digital editions. Before I divulge those books, I wonder which readings in translation from the lands of western Asia bookclub members want to read.


message 2: by Sue (new)

Sue | 306 comments This is something I am definitely interested in and I will try to think of specific titles or authors.


message 3: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments Sue wrote: "This is something I am definitely interested in and I will try to think of specific titles or authors."

Hi, Sue, I know that you have read many books on this topic.


message 4: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments Carol wrote: "...for clarification, we're not looking at MENA but only the Middle East. Right?..."

The sequence moves vertically around the globe. Africa and Europe are together as are North and South America. Beginning in March 2020, we are reading in the Asia and South Pacific group, specifically in the Middle East.


message 5: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments The guide is for the next selection of readings. From the same Source, there also is a checklist for 'in Africa.' That one has Egypt, a country with a footprint on both continents.

Arabic Speaking Countries in Asia
Bahrain
Iraq
Jordan
Kuwait
Lebanon
Oman
Palestine
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Syria
United Arab Emirates
Yemen
Source: https://www.arabacademy.com/countries...


message 7: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments How about we do
Frankenstein in Baghdad Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi for the country of Iraq

and

The Secret Life of Saeed the pessoptimist The Secret Life of Saeed by Emile Habiby for Palestine.



message 8: by Carol (last edited Sep 11, 2019 05:41PM) (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 14 comments So... totally understand if 634 pages does not appeal, but an alternative book for Palestine is Time of White Horses by Ibrahim Nasrallah. 2009 nominee for the IBAF, among other pluses.

Time of White Horses by Ibrahim Nasrallah


message 9: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 14 comments For Kuwait, perhaps, The Bamboo Stalk

The Bamboo Stalk by Saud Alsanousi by Saud Alsanousi?


message 10: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments Carol wrote: "...an alternative book for Palestine is Time of White Horses by Ibrahim Nasrallah...For Kuwait, perhaps, The Bamboo Stalk

Carol, what interesting recommendations you've posted.


message 11: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments The 2019 Booker International award went to the literary fiction Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi.
"the story of the history and people of modern Oman told through one family's losses and loves"



message 12: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 14 comments Beth Asmaa wrote: "Carol wrote: "...an alternative book for Palestine is Time of White Horses by Ibrahim Nasrallah...For Kuwait, perhaps, The Bamboo Stalk

Carol, what interesting recommendations you..."


Thanks. I am still searching through novels from Lebanon ...


message 13: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments Carol wrote: "...I am still searching through novels from Lebanon ..."


Carol, Amin Maalouf comes to mind even though he's written some of his outstanding books in French.


message 14: by Betty (last edited Nov 13, 2019 08:02PM) (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments The author of the Arabic Booker Kuwaiti selection, The Bamboo Stalk , has recently had translated another one of his novels, titled Mama Hissa's Mice , reviewed at https://www.npr.org/2019/11/13/778570...


message 15: by PS (new)

PS | 1 comments Hello, sorry to jump in but how about Leg over Leg: Volumes One and Two by Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq for Lebanon?


message 16: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments Hi, PS, the commenters at the group Library of Arabic Literature* enjoyed Leg over Leg. I recently browsed through most of the text on kindle and concluded that we could read this historical autobiography. The first pages opted to use racy language but not much afterward. Thanks for the reading suggestion.

* https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 17: by Betty (last edited Feb 27, 2020 11:27PM) (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments A book came to my attention :

Heaven on Earth Heaven on Earth by Fadi Zaghmout . Is it something you would like to read?


message 18: by Sue (new)

Sue | 306 comments This sounds different and interesting, Asma.


message 19: by Melaslithos (new)

Melaslithos | 40 comments Based on the book description, it sounds really interesting. I would love to have it added to the reading list.


message 20: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments Sue wrote: "This sounds different and interesting, Asma."

The science fiction theme set far in the future....


message 21: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments Melaslithos wrote: "Based on the book description, it sounds really interesting. I would love to have it added to the reading list."

The reviews of it are mostly good. Some of the 2020 shortlist from the International Prize for Arabic Literature is another option: https://www.arabicfiction.org/en/node...


message 22: by Tamara (last edited Mar 06, 2020 12:30PM) (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 20 comments Hello, I'm tamara. Born in Iraq; raised in England; have lived in the U.S. for 40 years.

I just saw you are reading Frankenstein in Baghdad on my home page and decided to join the group. I'm glad I found you and only wish I'd found you sooner. Anyway, I hope you don't mind but I have some suggestions.

Another great book for Iraq is The Book of Collateral Damage by Sinan Antoon. I read it last year and thought it was great.

I've got Mama Hissa's Mice to read as soon as I finish the book I've started.

Salt Houses by Hala Alyan is a great novel if you're looking for suggestions for Palestine.

And one of my favorite short story collections of all time is Distant View of a Minaret and Other Stories by Alifa Rifaat (Egypt).

I'll try to post some more suggestions as they come to me--if no one minds :)


message 23: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments Tamara wrote: "Hello, I'm tamara. Born in Iraq; raised in England; have lived in the U.S. for 40 years..."

Hi, Tamara, and welcome. Thank you for several reading recommendations.


message 24: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments Melaslithos wrote: "Based on the book description, it sounds really interesting..."

The title was at the public library. I'm Looking forward to it.


message 25: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 20 comments Beth Asma wrote: "Tamara wrote: "Hello, I'm tamara. Born in Iraq; raised in England; have lived in the U.S. for 40 years..."

Hi, Tamara, and welcome. Thank you for several reading recommendations."


Thanks. I'm looking forward to seeing some book recommendations from the folks here.


message 26: by Suzann (new)

Suzann | 60 comments Not one of the upcoming titles available in either UNC libraries or public libraries. Glad you're bringing attention to these titles.


message 27: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments Suzann wrote: "...Glad you're bringing attention to these titles."

Suzann, My goodness. Well, I agree with you that celebrating literature is a global endeavor. Thanks for your comment.


message 28: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments You might be interested in the Banipal book club at the Arab British Centre, London, https://www.banipaltrust.org.uk/library/



Textile Cover - Google Art Project
Visual culture from the al-Sabah collection Kuwait: Textile Cover of silk, metal thread and cotton, dated 801-900


message 29: by Tamara (last edited Mar 27, 2020 05:22AM) (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 20 comments Finished Mama Hissa's Mice by Saud Alsanousi and translated from the Arabic by Sawad Hussain. It takes place over a thirty year period in Kuwait and is a compelling narrative of the devastating impact of war and sectarian violence.
(edited to show the correct link to my review)
My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 30: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments Tamara wrote: "Finished Mama Hissa's Mice by Saud Alsanousi...."

I couldn't find your review but did note that another Kuwaiti book by the same author is on our to-read list in the next few months.


message 31: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments Tamara wrote: "Finished Mama Hissa's Mice ..."

OK. It's accessible through both your Bookshelf on Goodreads and your Book Reviews on the web. It sounds fascinating. I'm sure that some of us will want to read it. Thanks.


message 32: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 20 comments Thanks for pointing that out. It must have been some sort of glitch.
Anyway, here's the link to my review:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 33: by Ahmad (new)

Ahmad Sirhindi Lucknowi | 1 comments Hello freinds,

My name is Ahmad and I am new to this website. Because of the corona virus I have a lot of free time therefore I have decided to revive my old passion for reading. I am interested in philosophy, history, politics, economics, religion, geography, science and a lot of other things!

Hope you're all well!


message 34: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments Ahmad wrote: "Hello freinds,.."

Welcome, Ahmad. Many of us have shifted our priorities, too, some for the better, like more quiet time.


message 35: by James (new)

James F | 128 comments I noticed that the readings skip August and September. Have those not been decided yet, or is it a mistake?


message 36: by James (new)

James F | 128 comments I just realized that it might be because the July reading is five books.


message 37: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments James wrote: "...five books..."

I think that you suggested The Islam Quintet If you don't want to read all the books in that series, then we can do the one(s) you recommend.

I'm finding Daughter of the Tigris very suspenseful.


message 38: by James (new)

James F | 128 comments I'm fine with doing the whole series if others want to; I'm planning to read them all anyway. I just missed that when I noticed the two "skipped" months.

I'm glad you're liking Daughter of the Tigris, I bought it and am planning on reading it later this month if I have time. (Because of the "work from home" I have to read eight books from different "genres" and I used The President's Gardens for my "contemporary literary fiction" so I may not be able to finish it this month.


message 39: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments James wrote: "...I used The President's Gardens for my "contemporary literary fiction"..."

You probably are well-acquainted with al-Ramli's oeuvre now, having read many of his works. Congratulations. Good luck and persistence with the eight-book challenge.

Daughter of the Tigris is set amid an anarchic Iraq from just before and to just after the foreign occupation and deposing of the country's leader. During the invasion, no one feels safe even with bodyguards or in villages. In Baghdad, Qisma and Tariq resolutely form one of the many elaborately structured political parties.


message 40: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 20 comments I finished The Law of Inheritance by Yasser Abdellatif, translated from the Arabic by Robin Moger. It's a series of vignettes that flash back and forth in time, capturing the zeitgeist of Cairo in the 1990s. I thought it was quite good.

My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 41: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments Tamara wrote: "I finished The Law of Inheritance..."

Thank you for the review. I see that you like the story(s) very much.


message 42: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 20 comments You're welcome.
Take care and stay safe.


message 43: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments Tamara wrote: "...Take care and stay safe."

And good health to you, too.


message 44: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 20 comments I read Gilgamesh: The Life of a Poem by Michael Schmidt. It's an exploration of the various aspects of the ancient Mesopotamian poem, including its translations and interpretations. It's not for everyone, but if you're like me and love the poem, you'll enjoy this.

My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 45: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments Tamara wrote: "I read Gilgamesh: The Life of a Poem by Michael Schmidt. ..."

Thank you for your review. I plan to read the book.


message 46: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 20 comments Great! I hope you enjoy it, Beth.


message 47: by Wanda (new)

Wanda (wanda514) | 25 comments B. Asma wrote: "James wrote: "...five books..."

I think that you suggested The Islam Quintet If you don't want to read all the books in that series, then we can do the one(s) you recommend.

I'm finding Daughter..."


Hello All. I am very excited to be able to participate in The Islam Quintet. Count me in.


message 48: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments Wanda wrote: "...Count me in."

Hi, Wanda, and welcome. I'm hoping to begin reading at the least the first of the series early to be ready with a post on July 1. Is this an adventure or what?


message 49: by Wanda (new)

Wanda (wanda514) | 25 comments B. Asma wrote: "Wanda wrote: "...Count me in."

Hi, Wanda, and welcome. I'm hoping to begin reading at the least the first of the series early to be ready with a post on July 1. Is this an adventure or what?"


Yes; it is! I am glad for this lengthy read. I am working from home now and in between assignments, I enjoy reading and listening to classical music - I cannot imagine ever returning to the office.


message 50: by Betty (last edited Jun 30, 2020 06:34PM) (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3639 comments Wanda wrote: "I enjoy reading and listening to classical music..."

The novel Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree is a family saga around the year 1500 near Granada and a Moorish history in Al-Andalus. I'm unfamiliar with 'Andalusian Classical Music,' described in Wikipedia;' the topic is something that could interest me.


« previous 1
back to top