Jan 4, 2013

The 2013 Middle East Reading Challenge

This year I challenged myself to read 70 books and being a sci-fi fan, I will also try hard to diversify the books I read. Otherwise, I keep reading sci-fi books and forget the other joyful genres of literature. When I came across Maphead's "2013 Middle East Reading Challenge", I decided to go through my shelves to see how many Middle Eastern authors I already had. I was happy to find 7 books. Almost all of the books have been on my shelves for over a year and non of those books are sci-fi. In addition to this, I'm also hosting a monthly event in my blog for Turkish book bloggers. Every month we choose an author and the participants read whichever book they want written by that author. For this month the author we chose is Naguib Mahfouz, an Egyptian author. In short, all was set for me to join the challenge.

Well, I challenge myself to be a diplomat for this challenge and here are the books I intend to read:

1. The Thief and the Dogs / Naguib Mahfouz / Egypt
2. Khan al-Khalili / Naguib Mahfouz / Egypt
3. Leo Africanus / Amin Maalouf / Lebanon
4. İhtiyara Suikast / Abdelrahman Munif / Saudi Arabia (I'm not sure if this book has an English translation)
5. Paper - The Dreams of A Scribe / Bahiyyih Nakhjavani / Iran
6. Rooftops of Tehran / Mahbod Seraji / Iran
7. The Sand Fish: A Novel from Dubai / Maha Gargash / United Arab Emirates


  1. LOVE IT!
    Welcome to the Middle Eeast Reading Challenge! Great choice of books!

  2. #2 is "Khan al-Khalili" in English. It's one of my least favorite books of his - which is saying almost nothing, since ALL his books are amazing - it just isn't QUITE as wonderful as the Palace Walk trilogy or "Cairo Modern", which I all WILDLY LOVED. I liked "Khan al-Khalili," I just didn't WILDLY LOVE it!

    Munif has many books translated in English but I can't make a connection between "Ihtiyara Suikast" and any of his English titles. Either it is not available in English or there is a HUUUGE gap between the translated English and translated Turkish titles -- I think the latter case is more likely!

    I've not read that particular book by Maalouf but I have enjoyed other works of his very much (especially "Origins").

    I still owe you an email, hope we'll meet soon, this month was awful for me at work!

    1. Thanks a lot for the heads up for Khan al-Khalili.

      I absolutely agree with you about Munif book. Turks canbe really creative when it comes to book titles and book covers (Remember the Asimov book we bought together).

      I've read a few Maalouf books before and I liked them all and Pelin thinks this is a great book so I'll give it a try.

      I'm again busy with travels and work. We just came back from UK. I'll probably go to Izmir during the second half of Jan. We may meet this Saturday but let's fix it during the week.