Middle East/North African Lit discussion

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2021 > Planning / Dreaming 2021

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message 1: by Melanie, Marhaba Language Expertise (last edited Sep 14, 2020 12:23PM) (new)

Melanie (magidow) | 647 comments Mod
For 2021, we are thinking of having 6 group reads instead of 4, with each of us the 3 hosts/moderators leading 2 (unless something comes up, for example sickness, or a member volunteers). Here are the 3 books I have thought of that I could lead (probably just the first 2, depending on member interest)...

1. Emily Nasrallah – Flight Against Time as early as January. It’s a woman-authored “classic” (first published in 1981) about the experience of immigrating from Lebanon to Canada. Available in paperback and Kindle, but probably not available from public libraries.

2. Omaima Al-Khamis – Voyage of the Cranes over the Agate Cities – This one I expect to be released in English translation by end of 2021. So it would be at the end of the year (and dependent upon the release of the English translation). You can read an excerpt here:
https://arablit.org/2019/08/28/specia...

3. M.I. Quandour – The Legend – This is an adventure story about horses: riding and family lines. It’s similar to the film Hidalgo (2014), covering the history of horse breeds and their roots in the Arab region. Available in paperback and Kindle, but probably not from public libraries.

Let us know if any of these spark interest. I'll let the other moderators post their ideas for books they could lead. And members, what books would YOU like to read in 2021 (from these and/or others)?


message 2: by Ayah (new)

Ayah | 1 comments Hi, thank you for you choices, but in fact I want to ask you to add some books free in pdf, or epub.
In my region I don't have Kindle. so please can you help me to read with you.
Thanks


message 3: by Richard (new)

Richard | 20 comments I love Flight Against Time. It is so beautifully written and raises so many subtle questions about identity and war.


message 4: by Melanie, Marhaba Language Expertise (new)

Melanie (magidow) | 647 comments Mod
Dear Ayah, Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience. We considered whether we should have accessibility requirements when considering books for group reads. However, we live in different regions and we want to be supportive to our members in all regions. There are also some structural issues regarding distribution of some of the books we read--they are not equally available everywhere. I don't think we need to eliminate any books on these grounds. Instead, we want to include more options. We are also planning to increase our initial group reads for 2021 from 4 to 6. Please feel free to suggest books that would work well for you. If there is ever a book you want to read that is not in a group read, you can propose a buddy read. Thank you for participating if and as you are able. We are happy to offer as many options as possible!


message 5: by Melanie, Marhaba Language Expertise (new)

Melanie (magidow) | 647 comments Mod
Richard, I'm glad you liked it and hope you'll chime into the discussion if/when the group read happens! Are there other books you'd like to read with this group in 2021?


message 6: by Marcia, Arabic Literature (in English) (new)

Marcia Lynx | 155 comments Mod
Ayah wrote: "Hi, thank you for you choices, but in fact I want to ask you to add some books free in pdf, or epub.
In my region I don't have Kindle. so please can you help me to read with you.
Thanks"


If people were interested in discussing the ArabLit Quarterly CATS issue (Fall 2020) or the CRIME issue (Summer 2020) I could make a deeply discounted version available, and also free to those who really can't afford it at any cost.

?


message 7: by Marcia, Arabic Literature (in English) (new)

Marcia Lynx | 155 comments Mod
I would also love to link up discussions here to our reading for the BULAQ podcast!

In terms of classic books that are widely available, we are planning to read Albert Memmi's PILLAR OF SALT.

Other classics we intend to revisit are the Alessandro Spina books, THE COLONIAL CONQUEST & THE FOURTH SHORE, which should be available widely and also as e-books.


message 8: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2794 comments Mod
Marcia wrote: "I would also love to link up discussions here to our reading for the BULAQ podcast!

In terms of classic books that are widely available, we are planning to read Albert Memmi's PILLAR OF SALT.

Ot..."


When are you planning to read The Pillar of Salt ?

It will be great to have a parallel project to read classics and the best of the Arabic literature, I remember a lot of members were interested in this area
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

#####
For those who were interested in reading about women or empowering women, please nominate...
I would like to read for Sahar El Mougy again, Marcia are any of her books available in English?
Anyone is up to read for Hanan Al-Shaykh?
Also, I was considering reading the Iranian novel Touba and the Meaning of Night.


message 9: by Melanie, Marhaba Language Expertise (new)

Melanie (magidow) | 647 comments Mod
I'm interested in Sahar El Mougy's "Noon" and could do it as a Buddy Read in Arabic if it's not available in English (as far as I know, it's not).


message 10: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2794 comments Mod
I read "Noon" several years ago, but I cannot remember it. I was thinking of "Daria", I guess I can re-read "Noon" at some point.


message 11: by Melanie, Marhaba Language Expertise (new)

Melanie (magidow) | 647 comments Mod
Ok, anything by her is fine. "Noon" is easiest for me to access, but I'm willing to read anything :)


message 12: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2794 comments Mod
Melanie wrote: "Ok, anything by her is fine. "Noon" is easiest for me to access, but I'm willing to read anything :)"

No problem, I own copies of both novels, so I will wait and see what you can reach, re-reading "Noon"will be interesting as well:)

Anyone interested in reading? :
- Message 1
- Classics , check message 7 and 8
- Certain topics ( women ...etc)
- Reading in Arabic
- Prize winning literature



message 13: by Orgeluse (last edited Oct 01, 2020 12:37AM) (new)

Orgeluse | 45 comments I would be interested in reading Flight Against Time. It would be my first Kindle-Read :)

Voyage of the Cranes over the Agate Cities also sounds interesting!

As I am not very interested in horses and cats in literature, I would not second the respective book / magazine edition ;) but I would definitely be interested in reading the ArabLit Quarterly!

I am also interested in prize winning literature and in discovering more women writers so Hanan Al-Shaykh would probably be a good choice given that her works are available in English as I do not speak Arabic.

I think a sub-group reading books in Arabic is a good idea esp. if non-Arabic speakers could also join by reading the novels in English or French.

I would also be interested in reading Women Without Men: A Novel of Modern Iran by Shahrnush Parsipur!

I appreciate very much that you plan to have 6 group reads instead of 4. As far as the nominations are concerned an idea could also be to have members make suggestions for these group reads (or some of the group reads) and to have a poll. This could perhaps raise participation in discussions.

I like your challenge but I find it hard to participate as there are no threads for individual readers being able to report on their progress over the year. As a participant I would also be interested to see what other participants read at one glance not having to jump from one challenge item to the next.

I would like to point out that I appreciate very much that you put so much effort into running this group and that you provide us members with so much background information! Thanks a lot!!


message 14: by Melanie, Marhaba Language Expertise (last edited Oct 02, 2020 12:54PM) (new)

Melanie (magidow) | 647 comments Mod
A few more books I have on my shelves and could re-read (in the case of all but Stealth) in case they spark interest in anyone else:
1. Abu Musa's Women Neighbors a historical novel of medieval Morocco
2. A Border Passage: From Cairo to America – A Woman's Journey a memoir of Leila Ahmed, an Egyptian scholar
3. Stealth a memoir of Sonallah Ibrahim, an Egyptian author


message 15: by Mahmoud (last edited Oct 03, 2020 06:41PM) (new)

Mahmoud Ashour | 8 comments From the list above I am very interested in reading Flight Against Time and Women Without Men

I am also planning to read in 2021 the following books, so If anyone of you is interested in them that would be great.

1) The Hashish Waiter by Khairy Shalaby I have recently read his trilogy (unfortunately could not find its translation) and I fell in love with this magnificent award-winning Egyptian writer and I just want to read more of his work. It is a novel that talks about the social and political scene of Cairo in the 60s I guess.

2) ًWar in the land of Egypt by Yusu Qaid. This was voted to be one of the best 100 Arabic novels. It is a novel that discusses the problems of the Egyptian oppressed class during the 70 and the 80s. The problems discussed in this novel and the previous novel are still to some degree persistent today.

3)In Search of Walid Masoud by Jabra Ibrahim Jabra Also on the same list of the 100 best Arabic novels. It is considered a classic of Palestinian literature. It talks about identity and the hardships of Palestinians.

4) The Bamboo Stalk by Sau Alsanousi This one will be my first Kuwaiti novel to read and It talks about the Kuwaiti society and the life of foreign workers in Kuwait.


message 16: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2794 comments Mod
Orgeluse wrote: "I like your challenge but I find it hard to participate as there are no threads for individual readers being able to report on their progress over the year. As a participant I would also be interested to see what other participants read at one glance not having to jump from one challenge item to the next. ..."

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, we are studying how to arrange things.

I do not get what you want? in the thread "2020 challenge lists " members are talking about their lists and their reads , beside having a thread for each category for recommendations. what is missing?


message 17: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2794 comments Mod
Mahmoud wrote: "From the list above I am very interested in reading Flight Against Time and Women Without Men

I am also planning to read in 2021 the following books, so If anyone of you is interested in them that..."


Interesting collection, part "prize winning literature"and part "classics".
I already read "In Search of Walid Masoud" and "The Bamboo Stalk" , great choices.


message 18: by Orgeluse (new)

Orgeluse | 45 comments Niledaughter wrote: "Orgeluse wrote: "I like your challenge but I find it hard to participate as there are no threads for individual readers being able to report on their progress over the year. As a participant I woul..."

I have just realized that it is possible for members to open a thread under "2020 challenge", so I actually could have opened one for my personal 2020 mena challenge. If this will also be the case in 2021, I am perfectly happy. Anyway, thanks again for organizing this group! I appreciate it very much!!


message 19: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2794 comments Mod
Orgeluse, Thank you :)

Mahmoud, di you read The Lodging House?

####
For a while, I was considering reading Utopia, I think it is the only novel available in English for Ahmad Khalid Tawfiq. It is a dystopian novel, yet it is not what Tawfik is most famous for, he is very well known for horror and science fiction, he wrote about 200 title in these genres. Netflix’s first Egyptian original series will be based on his series Paranormal.
https://egyptianstreets.com/2020/08/3...

https://www.netflix.com/eg-en/Title/8...


message 20: by Mahmoud (new)

Mahmoud Ashour | 8 comments Niledaughter wrote: "Orgeluse, Thank you :)

Mahmoud, di you read The Lodging House?

It is on my to-read list but unfortunately, I have not bought a copy yet (Arabic books are not easily accessible here in Montreal).



message 21: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2794 comments Mod
Mahmoud wrote: "Niledaughter wrote: "Orgeluse, Thank you :)

Mahmoud, di you read The Lodging House?

It is on my to-read list but unfortunately, I have not bought a copy yet (Arabic books are not ..."


Sorry about that. We were thinking of having a poll for reading from Best Arabic novels and winning prize literature next year, so The Lodging House would be a good nomination, I guess we will see by then :)


message 22: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2794 comments Mod
This is our primary plan
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Soon there will be a discussion to nominate books for "Empowering women"as a topic .


message 23: by Zainab (new)

Zainab | 3 comments Hi.. I liked the idea ,,but how can i join the group .??


message 24: by Zainab (new)

Zainab | 3 comments it is on my to-read list (The Folk of the Air1&2&3 ) in janury 2021


message 25: by Zainab (new)

Zainab | 3 comments how can i join the group..??!!


message 26: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2794 comments Mod
What group?
( the Folk of the air) will not be read here, I think you have mistaken the group.


message 27: by Nan (new)

Nan Carter | 161 comments Niledaughter wrote: "Marcia wrote: "I would also love to link up discussions here to our reading for the BULAQ podcast!

In terms of classic books that are widely available, we are planning to read Albert Memmi's PILL..."


Marcia wrote: "I would also love to link up discussions here to our reading for the BULAQ podcast!

In terms of classic books that are widely available, we are planning to read Albert Memmi's PILLAR OF SALT.

Ot..."




Marcia wrote: "I would also love to link up discussions here to our reading for the BULAQ podcast!

In terms of classic books that are widely available, we are planning to read Albert Memmi's PILLAR OF SALT.

Ot..."



message 28: by Nan (new)

Nan Carter | 161 comments Any books that show up on an Empowering list whether current authors or classic would be fine with me.

I would like to read The Story of Zahra, Hanan al Shaykh. It’s on the Arab Writers list of 105 best books of 20th century. This book could fit several categories.

I’d also to read along with BUlAQ podcast books.

I’d be interested in a discussion of In Search Of Walid Masoud. I’ve recently read it and am interested in what others have to say. It is also on the 105 list.

A thread for current prize winners would be helpful in keeping up with what’s currently being published. Like the recently translated book by Hoda Baraket.

Thank you for all the time you spend organizing this list. It really helps me to find books I never would have found on my own.


message 29: by Melanie, Marhaba Language Expertise (new)

Melanie (magidow) | 647 comments Mod
Sorry, I should have announced here that I've opened this thread for brainstorming books we'd like to read on "empowering women." It will be open for discussion through October. I plan to collect all the suggestions from this thread, on November 1st, for a poll which is to run 2 weeks. Thank you for any ideas!


message 30: by Ardene (last edited Oct 17, 2020 02:26PM) (new)

Ardene (booksnpeaches) | 113 comments I am interested in Flight against time.

I'm also grateful to hear about the BULAQ podcast, as I've been absent for a year. This is new to me, and promises to be informative.

Edited to add - I'd be interested in reading the Arab Lit Quarterly 2020 Summer issue on crime or the Spring 2020 issue with the theme of the road. These are both available in pdf or epub format, though they aren't free.


message 31: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 790 comments Is anyone interested in doing another challenge in 2021?
I am!
I am perfectly fine doing the same one as last year on regions, but we could also do one based on themes for example, like a book with an empowering women theme, a book about immigration, war zones etc


message 32: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2794 comments Mod
Jalilah wrote: "Is anyone interested in doing another challenge in 2021?
I am!
I am perfectly fine doing the same one as last year on regions, but we could also do one based on themes for example, like a book wi..."


Great !
Yes, we can change no 3 with "empowering women" .

Ardene wrote: "I am interested in Flight against time..."

Great !


message 33: by Gina (new)

Gina Wilkinson | 13 comments Niledaughter wrote: "Marcia wrote: "I would also love to link up discussions here to our reading for the BULAQ podcast!

In terms of classic books that are widely available, we are planning to read Albert Memmi's PILL..."


For empowering women from the Middle East, how about 'The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree'?

The author is journalist a, Shokoofeh Azar and her book was nominated for the Booker Prize for novels translated into English. She grew up in Iran and was jailed three times for penning articles critical of the regime. Eventually she fled, enduring a harrowing journey by boat to Australia, where she now makes her home.

Shokoofeh is not Arab, but she is from the Middle East so I thought I'd share this idea. All the best! Gina


message 34: by Marcia, Arabic Literature (in English) (new)

Marcia Lynx | 155 comments Mod
Ardene wrote: "I am interested in Flight against time.

I'm also grateful to hear about the BULAQ podcast, as I've been absent for a year. This is new to me, and promises to be informative.

Edited to add - I'd b..."


Ardene we could make a special code so that an issue of the magazine is free for this group, if people promised not to share it beyond the group.


message 35: by Marcia, Arabic Literature (in English) (new)

Marcia Lynx | 155 comments Mod
Also so our first "book club" episode of BULAQ will be on Seasons of Migration to the North (Nov. 19), but I wonder if this group would be willing to nominate books for future book-club episodes?


message 36: by Ardene (new)

Ardene (booksnpeaches) | 113 comments Marcia wrote:

Ardene we could make a special code so that an issue of the magazine is free for this group, if people promised not to share it beyond the group.

This is a generous offer. I was thinking initially of Ayah in post #2, who needs epub or pdf format. Not sure where she is or if she's interested in this.

Ayah, what do you think? What region are you in?

Is anyone else out there that would be interested in reading an issue of the magazine?

Marcia wrote (post 35) Also so our first "book club" episode of BULAQ will be on Seasons of Migration to the North (Nov. 19), but I wonder if this group would be willing to nominate books for future book-club episodes?

I'd be interested, but I'm not knowledgeable about literature in this area, so . . . I'd probably just pick something off our shelves that looked interesting to me.


message 37: by Marcia, Arabic Literature (in English) (new)

Marcia Lynx | 155 comments Mod
Ardene wrote: "I'd be interested, but I'm not knowledgeable about literature in this area, so . . . I'd probably just pick something off our shelves that looked interesting to me.

But you guys might know what works best as a book-club read? We're still trying to figure that out...I wanted to suggest some obscure novels and Ursula told me no, no, no. :)


message 38: by Melanie, Marhaba Language Expertise (new)

Melanie (magidow) | 647 comments Mod
Marcia, you can always run ideas by the group and you can also consider books we're already reading as a group. I'm happy to weigh in with opinions ;)


message 39: by Rana (new)

Rana Asfour (goodreadscombookfabulous) | 13 comments Hi. I just joined this group and reading the comments I want to read all the books that've been mentioned coz they sound awesome ;)
But was wondering do you all read the books at the same time and discuss together on a certain date? or do you just read the books and everyone pitches their thoughts as they get along with the reading?
I've never done goodreads groups so I hope my questions makes some sense.
thanks :)


message 40: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2794 comments Mod
Gina wrote: "In terms of classic books that are widely available, we are planning to rea..."

Thanks for nominating The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree. I am sorry the poll was already set when you nominated it, but you can still share nominations for the future in here:
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

Rana wrote: "Hi. I just joined this group and reading the comments I want to read all the books that've been mentioned coz they sound awesome ;)
But was wondering do you all read the books at the same time and..."


Salam Rana,
Welcome onboard :)
We will read 6 official reads this year, which we will discuss in the group according to a timetable , but the list is not final yet, except for March/April as we will read Flight Against Time, plan will be updated here:
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

We have an ongoing poll now for reading books about empowering women in January/ February in here:
https://www.goodreads.com/poll/show/2...

Please vote, we may end up by choosing more than one book :)


message 41: by Ardene (new)

Ardene (booksnpeaches) | 113 comments Welcome Rana!

Rana wrote: But was wondering do you all read the books at the same time and discuss together on a certain date? or do you just read the books and everyone pitches their thoughts as they get along with the reading?

Your question does make sense to me. We usually read and comment at our own speed.

I find this group helps me find and read novels (and sometimes nonfiction) that aren't in the mainstream where I live. If there has been a previous group read, I can go back to the thread and add my own comments.

reply | flag *


message 42: by Rana (new)

Rana Asfour (goodreadscombookfabulous) | 13 comments Ardene wrote: "Welcome Rana!

Rana wrote: But was wondering do you all read the books at the same time and discuss together on a certain date? or do you just read the books and everyone pitches their thoughts as ..."


Thank you Ardene. This clears up the matter :)


message 43: by Rana (new)

Rana Asfour (goodreadscombookfabulous) | 13 comments Niledaughter wrote: "Gina wrote: "In terms of classic books that are widely available, we are planning to rea..."

Thanks for nominating The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree. I am sorry the poll was ..."


Thank you and I look forward to reading with you guys :)


message 44: by Rana (new)

Rana Asfour (goodreadscombookfabulous) | 13 comments Melanie wrote: "For 2021, we are thinking of having 6 group reads instead of 4, with each of us the 3 hosts/moderators leading 2 (unless something comes up, for example sickness, or a member volunteers). Here are ..."

I'm a YES for all three of them. Haven't read any of them.


message 45: by Melanie, Marhaba Language Expertise (new)

Melanie (magidow) | 647 comments Mod
Dear All,

I have happy news: "The Book Smuggler" (which is the title they've chosen for the English translation of the award-winning "Voyage of the Cranes") is out now in ebook and paperback formats. See here for more details:
https://hoopoefiction.com/book/the-bo...

We're hoping to have a group read of this book in Nov.-Dec. Please mention here if you're interested in joining the conversation. Thanks!


message 46: by Niledaughter (new)

Niledaughter | 2794 comments Mod
I will try to join if I can reach a copy :)


message 47: by Carolien (new)

Carolien (carolien_s) | 36 comments I'd like to join.


message 48: by Inji (new)

Inji | 44 comments Very interested in reading the Voyage! Similar journey to Leónida l’Africain


message 49: by Rana (new)

Rana Asfour (goodreadscombookfabulous) | 13 comments very interested. Yes please


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