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Monthly Theme Archive 2015-2016 > Middle East (World Lit - Feb 2015) - Discussion Thread

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message 1: by Holly, That Geeky One (last edited Jan 20, 2015 04:59AM) (new)

Holly (hollycoulson) | 1949 comments Mod
This month's World Lit genre is the Middle East. We therefore are focusing on books either written or set in the Middle East, or that is written by a middle Eastern author.

Countries typically considered to be in the Middle East: Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Iraq (and Kurdistan), Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.

If you're a bit lost, check out book lists that are set in the Middle East, or the 'Best Middle East Books' list.


message 2: by Allison, Quest Hound (last edited Jan 21, 2015 02:37PM) (new)

Allison (rainy-day-reads) | 1298 comments Mod
Deanna Raybourn has two historical novels set in 1920s Syria / Lebanon (Damascus area, mainly): City of Jasmine and Night of a Thousand Stars. Both include adventure, mystery, and romance, so they would be a bit more of a lighthearted choice.

I'm planning to read Night of a Thousand Stars by Deanna Raybourn for the challenge. Can't wait - I love Deanna Raybourn and have been saving this one up.


message 3: by Faye, The Dickens Junkie (new)

Faye | 1415 comments Mod
I'm doing a lot of research right now on the Middle East (particularly Jerusalem), so this is perfectly timed for me!


message 4: by Caitlin (last edited Jan 26, 2015 11:09AM) (new)

Caitlin (0utnumbered321) Perfect! I already have 2 books on my TBR that would fit perfect in this category. The Book of Khalid as part of my personal Neversink challenge.... so that's 2 birds with 1 stone!! And if I have more time after the list of books that I already wanted to read in Feburary then maybe I can knock out The Reluctant Fundamentalist as well!


message 5: by Renee, Mistress of the Mini-Challenge (new)

Renee M | 4720 comments Mod
Love when that happens. :)


message 6: by Gareth (new)

Gareth Townsend | 166 comments I have both The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns both by Khaled Hosseini I'm going to read one of these, possibly both. Undecided which of these I'm going to read first


message 7: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Coyle | 1557 comments If I have a vote - the kite runner - my favorite of the two!


message 8: by Gareth (new)

Gareth Townsend | 166 comments I was thinking of reading the kite runner first, but I got Thousand Splendid Suns for something like 50p on Amazon so pretty much had to buy it


message 9: by Renee, Mistress of the Mini-Challenge (new)

Renee M | 4720 comments Mod
Haven't read Kite Runner, but Splendid Suns was beautifully written. I was completely absorbed from page one.


message 10: by Becca (new)

Becca Tyler (scrappybec) | 294 comments Gareth wrote: "I have both The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns both by Khaled Hosseini I'm going to read one of these, possibly both. Undecided which of these I'm ..."

Not to be picky, but ... I believe the author of these two books is Afghani and the books are set in Afghanistan. Is Afghanistan considered Middle East?


message 11: by Gareth (new)

Gareth Townsend | 166 comments I thought I was but I've just looked on Google, and it depends where you look. Some places say yes, some say it used to be and others say it's part of the 'greater' Middle East. I'm not sure where I stand now


message 12: by Gareth (new)

Gareth Townsend | 166 comments They're both on the 'Best Middle East Fiction' list though


message 13: by Allison, Quest Hound (new)

Allison (rainy-day-reads) | 1298 comments Mod
Becca wrote: "I believe the author of these two books is Afghani and the books are set in Afghanistan..."

That was my understanding, too. I think they fit in August, under South Asia/India Subcontinent.


message 14: by Renee, Mistress of the Mini-Challenge (new)

Renee M | 4720 comments Mod
Holly has a link to the list of countries for this challenge. You're right, Becca, Afghanistan is not on the list. I know that's why I had such a hard time finding books for this part of the world. There's a ton of notable titles for Afghanistan. But I had to put them aside for later in the year.

I think the GR lists are created by GR members, which accounts for the discrepancies. The nomination thread for the Group WL Read had several intestine options.


message 15: by Gareth (new)

Gareth Townsend | 166 comments I'm sure I'll find something else. I love Egypt so I'm sure I'll find something suitable. I'll check out that thread. Thanks!


message 16: by Renee, Mistress of the Mini-Challenge (new)

Renee M | 4720 comments Mod
Great to hear, Gareth. I look forward to seeing your choice.

Uh, that was supposed to be "interesting options." "Intestine options would just be messy.


message 17: by Gareth (last edited Jan 29, 2015 06:54PM) (new)

Gareth Townsend | 166 comments I've got it, I got this when I was in Egypt in July. Radical: My Journey out of Islamist Extremism it sounds so interesting, and is on a topic I'm really really interested in. It's autobiographical with a British author, but a large amount takes place during his year abroad in Egypt.


message 18: by Renee, Mistress of the Mini-Challenge (new)

Renee M | 4720 comments Mod
Cool choice, Gareth! That looks really Interesting!


message 19: by Faye, The Dickens Junkie (new)

Faye | 1415 comments Mod
Yes, and it doesn't resemble intestines at all! ;)


message 20: by Becca (new)

Becca Tyler (scrappybec) | 294 comments I just put My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk on hold at the library. The author is from Turkey and the novel is set in Turkey.


message 21: by Allison (new)

Allison Harris | 3 comments I'll be reading Persepolis for this challenge.


message 22: by Allison (last edited Feb 01, 2015 07:46AM) (new)

Allison Harris | 3 comments Actually, I changed my mind. I'm going to read Reading Lolita in Tehran instead.


message 23: by Faye, The Dickens Junkie (new)

Faye | 1415 comments Mod
I'm reading Babylon's Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo, which is indeed incredible.


message 24: by Melissa (new)

Melissa Coyle | 1557 comments Faye wrote: "I'm reading Babylon's Ark: The Incredible Wartime Rescue of the Baghdad Zoo, which is indeed incredible."

Faye, I'll look into this one, thanks!


message 25: by Gareth (new)

Gareth Townsend | 166 comments I'm over a third of the way through Radical: My Journey from Islamist Extremism to a Democratic Awakening. It's so incredibly interesting, it provides such an eye opening insight into what causes young people to adopt these extremist ideas. From what I've read so far I encourage anyone with an interest in Islam or in Extremism to read this. It's fantastic!


message 26: by Renee, Mistress of the Mini-Challenge (new)

Renee M | 4720 comments Mod
Wow! That's quite a recommendation. Thanks, Gareth.


message 27: by Renee, Mistress of the Mini-Challenge (new)

Renee M | 4720 comments Mod
Just started The Complete Persepolis. It's a graphic novel by a young woman about her experiences growing up in Iran. So far it's fantastic and it's an unusual experience reading g about a serious subject in cartoon form. It feels as if my senses are heightened.


message 28: by Karolyn (new)

Karolyn | 112 comments Read I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced, very powerful.


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