Monday, October 04, 2004

May I Recommend

I have a confession to make. I am a book addict, I love books. Here are some of my favorite books that I would like to share with the rest of you.

My favorite arabic novel is "Cities of Salt" by Abed Al Rahman Muneef.
مدن الملح - للكاتب عبد الرحمان منيف

I love that novel so much that I read it both in arabic and translated english and enjoyed both because the English translation is of a high quality. The story is a fictional account of modern Saudi history. It is a sharp, witty and humorous. It criticizes that society strongly yet makes you fall in love with it. When I finished reading the novel I felt a great longing to go live in the desert. It's a great shame that the author was stripped of his Saudi citizenship and forced to live in exile.



The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq
By Hanna Batatu
I consider this book the bible and ultimate source of information about modern history of Iraq. It is academic and slightly boring to read but it well worth the effort if you want to understand the history of iraq. It has been translated to arabic but I only read it in English.




Guests of the Sheik - Anthropology of an Iraqi Village by Elizabeth fernea
Short, very readable and touching story of an American woman who lives in an Iraqi village in the south of Iraq in the 50's because of her anthropologist husband.





Women of Sand and Myrrh
By Hannan al Shaykh
Stories about women in the middle east. Very approachable. For some reason I found this book very touching. I could relate to all the characters in the stories. I also have read both the english and arabic.




I would be interested to hear what other people on Iraq Blog Count like to read and if they have books that they could recommend.


28 Comments

#10/05/2004 02:28:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger ihath

I think I fixed the comments on this post.

 
#10/05/2004 02:29:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger liminal

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#10/05/2004 03:52:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger littlewhy

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#10/05/2004 06:48:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger liminal

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#10/05/2004 06:49:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger liminal

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#10/05/2004 07:03:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger liminal

First off, I agree with Ihath, Cities of Salt is a really great book. But in terms of Arabic authors, I am more to the liking of
The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist (!!!), Emile Habibi
I Saw Ramallah, Murid Barghuthi
The Long Way Back, Fuad Takarli

There are so many others, I'll put them up soon.

Now I'm reading or have read recently...and L-O-V-E:

Negative Space, Manny Farber
Gilles Deleuze, cinema 1 the movement-image
Multitude (and Empire of course!), Hardt and Negri
The Embodied Mind, Varela et al
Parables for the Virtual, Massumi
Iraq-the borrowed kettle, Slavoj Zizek
The Complete Poems, Li Ch'ing Chao
Li Sao and other poems, Chu Yuan

I also like fiction and other kinds of books, and I'll put those up a bit laterrrrrr.

Great idea ihath! Lets hear it everybody....BOOOOOOOOOOOOOKS.....

out(er) id(entity),
lim

 
#10/05/2004 07:05:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger liminal

Here are the comments that were on my post: Now, iraqi blog count'ers, please contribute...
______

#9:41 AM Assalam Aleikom Rob



America's 30 Years War by Balint Vazsonyi. It is without a doubt the most important book I have ever read.


#1:36 PM Assalam Aleikom Cb



Hi

I am an American who stumbled onto your blog:)

Here are some really good books that I reccomend for you to read.
(Maybe you have read some of them, apologies if you
have)

The Oil Junta and other essays by
Gore Vidal

Hegemony or Survival: America's Quest for Global Dominance
Noam Chomsky

Lies, and the Lying Liars Who tell them
by AL Franken

Bushwacked
by Molly Ivins

Dude, Where's My Country?
by Michael Moore

House of Saud, House of Bush
by Craig Unger

 
#10/05/2004 03:16:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger F. in Amsterdam

Without straining too far from the spirit of ihath's recommendations:

Wild Swans, by Jung Chang

(Auto)biography of a Chinese family 1870 - 1978, written by the daughter of two high-placed officials who fell into disgrace during the Cultural Revolution.

This I Cannot Forget: the Memoirs of Nikolai Bukharin's Widow, by Anna Larina Bukharin

Personal account of early revolutionary Russia.

Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie

Fictionalized retelling of the history of India since independence.

Vanity Fair: a Novel Without a Hero, by William Makepeace Thackeray

About Victorian Britain.

The Secret History, by Donna Tartt

About those most alien of creatures, modern Americans.

 
#10/05/2004 05:28:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger F. in Amsterdam

P.S.

Since ihath's request may have been addressed to genuine contributors rather than commentators, I hope I did not speak out of turn. I offer the above not as a list of literary must-reads, but as books that I have read and enjoyed.

Hello everyone. I am an ordinary westerner by the name of F., seeking to learn by reading Iraqi blogs. I live in the world's most boring country, and I aspire to be the world's most boring man.

 
#10/05/2004 07:09:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger ihath

F. in Amsterdam,
Consider yourself blessed. Most people would rather live in the most boring city in the world than Baghdad, the most interesting city in the world right now.

I loved Wild Swans, what an amazing story.

 
#10/05/2004 08:57:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger Dean Esmay

The recommendation above of books by Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, Molly Ivins, Michael Moore, etc. deeply disturbed me. I hope no Iraqis take those books or their authors seriously. They are all by very hard left wing, militant haters. Think of them as the American version of Ba'athists for that is the closest to what they are. Hatred and distortion is all they sell.

If you would like to know more about America, and not the paranoid hate-fantasies of the likes of Chomsky and Moore, try these books:

What's So Great About America by Dinesh D'Souza

A History of the American People by Paul M. Johnson.

There are others of course. But stay away from hate-literature. Names like Zinn, Chomsky, Ivins, Moore, etc.---these represent the most hateful and distorted of American popular literature.

 
#10/05/2004 10:18:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger liminal

Dean, out of all due respect...please let me get this straight. You are militant loving? I don't quite understand this. And if you wouldn't mind...I would have to most respectfully disagree with you about some of those authors. Howard Zinn is a Professor at Boston University who wrote The People's History of the United States. It's a very important history book. Naom Chomsky was the first white professor in the United States to stand up for Blacks during the Civil Rights Movement, so just for that he deserves an enormous amount of respect...that is, if you really are American. No offence...but Naom is also a reknown linguist at MIT, too. Have you read any of his early books? Anyway, I believe it's important to read widely. I'll certainly take your recommendation to heart. I hope you reconsider the value of men like Howard Zinn and Naom Chomsky, though.

Thanks,
Lim.

 
#10/06/2004 02:29:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger Rob

I couldn't agree more with Dean Esmay. Chomsky, Franken, and Moore are some of the most anti-America, anti-freedom people writing books these days. They are the people who would have resigned American soverignty to France and Germany and the Iraqis would have NEVER been freed. Sure, go ahead and read their books. But realize they hate that you are free.

 
#10/06/2004 02:33:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger emigre

I guess this means a trip to the bookshop soon. Anyway, my current fav's;

Stasiland ~ Anna Funder
(bleak tales from the former east Germany).

Conquerors Road ~ Osmar White
(an eyewitness account of Germany 1945).

Haroun and The Sea of Stories ~ Salman Rushdie
(one of the best kids books i've read in a long time).

Summer Will Show ~ Sylvia Townsend Warner
(out of print, i scour second hand book stores for anything by her).

I used to read the I ching occasionally, but it's been gathering dust in my bookshelf for a few years now.

 
#10/06/2004 02:34:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger emigre

Dean & Rob

I guess this is what you call troll exchange? You troll our blog we'll troll yours? "Deeply disturbed" ? Pffft. Lol. As if men with weblogs weren't disturbed enough already.

 
#10/06/2004 07:33:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger Mister Ghost

Well naturally I love Ghost Stories, especially if there's some truth and evidence to them, and this is one of the better ones: Girl Says Bones Belong To Ghost

 
#10/06/2004 08:02:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger Mister Ghost

The renown Dean Esmay, oft mentioned by Big Glenn - that's Blogging Royalty, Emigre, you should be thankful not scornful for him perusing your blog.

Now back to reading habits.

Before he became a Total Moonbat, Hunter S. Thompson
was great. Hell's Angels and Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas are excellent.

I enjoyed the books by and about Howard Stern, but he's become a Raving Moonbat these days too.

Right now I'm reading No Touch Monkey! And Other Travel Lessons Learned Too Late by Ayun Halliday,
and it's suppose to be a humorous travel book, but I'm finding it depressing.

I finished Sylvia Browne's Visits from the Afterlife and got some information out of it, but her Afterlife was too formulaic for me. She had everthing compartmentalized into perky categories.

One of the best books I read this year was Three Men Seeking Monsters by Nick Redfern. It was like
a True Scooby Doo Adventure come to life with everything from a Mystery Machine van that they travelled in, to a Spooky Mansion they visited that had hidden passage ways and cells in the basement with chains, a five-foot, 300-pound Irish Witch with a Hook Nose who reeked of evil as did her isolated cottage; and some of the best personal experiences with the paranormal, that you'll ever read.

Well more to come. . .

 
#10/06/2004 09:19:00 am Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

For the lovers of books:

http://www.gutenberg.net/

(just in case you didn't know about it)

 
#10/06/2004 10:32:00 am Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

I have also a big confession to make: I love Chomsky ... There's also a documentary 'Managing Consent' about how Cambodia, Vietnam - wars, were told in 'The Media'.
We could use such a work again, considering Afghanistan and Iraq now.

Gore Vidal, Paul Auster (In the country of last things; Mr. Vertigo and New York Trilogy for example), Don Dellillo (Underworld) are some anglosaxon writers i'm really fond of. Bob Woodward, Seymour Hersh are some of my favourite journalistic writers.

Latinamerican ones: Eduardo Galeano, Pablo Neruda, Julio Cortazar (Rayuela), Garcia Marquez.

Balkan, two female writers: SLavenka Drakulic -'Nationality - none' and Dubravka Ugresic - 'As if I'm not here'. Hannah Arendt has to be around me for some wisdom in miserable moments as a consequence of reading too many blogs, or rather: the comments... Marguerite Yourcenar, and the Spanish Merce Rodoreda.

mmm, i'll go back to bed and hide in books today!
-cecile-

 
#10/06/2004 03:09:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger emigre

Mister Ghost

On clarifying subtle nuances re blogger etiquette between lower and upper classes;

1. Blog peasantry do not bow and scrape to blogger aristocracy, it embarrasses the upper classes (who, being relatively equitable, enjoy mingling with the lower classes without fanfare).

2. Credibility is maintained by saying what one thinks, not what one thinks one ought to say.

3. When certain exchanges have occurred a certain respect prevails, regardless of class or opinion.

4. A weblogger's log is his/her palace so thank yourself lucky to be here.

5. If you want to invest shares on troll exchange you need to publish something on your own blog first.

 
#10/06/2004 06:19:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger Dilnareen

Thanx for sharing that im writing those down, so far im just sticking to books that require little mental energy to process.

I've always had a hard time finding modern books about the middle east in most cases its divided into two:
The ones written by foreigners are usually so condescending (or sometimes even faked) while the ones written by middle easterners always hum to the tune of "look how great we are".

The last reasonable book I read was An Ambassador's Wife In Iran by Cynthia Helms. Of course there are the wardi volumes and kanaan makiyas lying around that i like quoting from even though i never got round finishing them off.

I do like chomsky though the guy has a brilliant mind and as linguist he is pure genius

How about non-fiction light .. a friend recommended that i read this "Journey from the Land of No : A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran" by ROYA HAKAKIAN

anyone else read it yet.. i was about to buy it once but ended up getting "the lovely bones" a book that definitly didnt live up to its hype.

 
#10/07/2004 01:51:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger littlewhy

Here's an Iraqi exile with his new blog:

iraqithoughts.blogspot.com

 
#10/07/2004 02:16:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger Rob

Me, a troll? WTF?

 
#10/07/2004 05:02:00 am Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

Rabies cases appear in Iraq

What can you expect from headhunting savages, they contaminate their own societies, I can only expect the number of aids will rise dramatically. Strange that such is the will of god.

Madtom

Madtom thisfckingwar@yahoo.com

 
#10/07/2004 09:13:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger Bruno

Madtom --

Great to hear that the descendant of a people that indulged in quaint practices as outlined in the Spanish Inquisition feels he has the moral authority based on lineage to make a sweeping statement like that. I wonder when Riverbend will post pics of her shrunken head collection.

Stop wasting bandwidth.

 
#10/07/2004 09:24:00 am Assalam Aleikom Blogger Bruno

Oh, and just to show I am taking part in the discussion, I do recommend:

Stephen Donaldson
David Gemmell
JRR Tolkein
Iain M Banks
Raymond E Feist

Are all authors to watch out for, writing in the fantasy and science fiction genres.

For something serious:

"Black holes and Time warps" by Kip S Thorne

is a book dealing with complex topics in a lucid way, if you are interested in understanding how the Universe works, and what might one day be possible.

 
#10/07/2004 02:03:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Anonymous Anonymous

....nice timing.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/3720874.stm


^^

 
#10/09/2004 04:34:00 pm Assalam Aleikom Blogger liminal

ghassan kanafani, men in the sun

 

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