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suggest books!

I'm in the library, surrounded by books, which is a bit overwhelming after six years in a country where the best places to acquire books are a record store and an office supply store.

So... what should I be reading?


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 30th, 2010 06:14 pm (UTC)
Have you read the four book Sharing Knife series by Lois McMaster Bujold?
Jun. 30th, 2010 09:05 pm (UTC)
Nope! The first one was checked out, but I added it to my wishlist. :-)
Jun. 30th, 2010 09:40 pm (UTC)
I haven't read those, they don't quite sound like my thing, but the Miles Vorkosigan series by her is a great time.
Jun. 30th, 2010 10:10 pm (UTC)
Heh, I was assuming she'd read the Vorkosigan books. So, seconded. If you haven't read those (Marjorie), you should.

And yes, the Sharing Knife books are very different. I fell madly in love with the characters after I quit approaching them with my Vorkosigan expectations.

For that matter, her other series about Chalion is awesome, too.
Jun. 30th, 2010 08:42 pm (UTC)
What are your favorite genres?
Jun. 30th, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
I dunno, I seem to read a lot of sci fi and alternative history. The last few books I've read (not counting baby-related things) were Anathem, which was amazing; the Scott Pilgrim books; the first book in the Dresden Files series, which was kinda trashy but fun; and the Neverending Story, for nostalgia value. :-)

I ended up checking out the latest Terry Pratchett and a book fo short stories by Haruki Murakami.

Edited at 2010-06-30 09:04 pm (UTC)
Jul. 1st, 2010 12:00 pm (UTC)
I can't imagine you haven't read Cat's Cradle, Dune, or Nineteen Eighty-Four, some of my favorite sci fi. But if you'd like to expand your horizons a little bit, consider Naguib Mahfouz (I loved my translation of Children of Gebelawi) or Sudeku Mehta (Maximum City is my favorite piece of non-fiction). In terms of books I learned from, Jane Jacobs' The Death and Life of Great American Cities is probably unmatched, but I don't know if you share my interest in cities.
Jun. 30th, 2010 08:46 pm (UTC)
<< where the best places to acquire books are a record store and an office supply store. >>

do you mean: "books that I can read"?
Jun. 30th, 2010 08:58 pm (UTC)
Jun. 30th, 2010 09:21 pm (UTC)
Factoids on reading in the Arab world, from the 2003 UN Arab Human Development Report:
  • The Arab world contains 5% of the world's population, but publishes only 1.1% of the world's books.
  • More books are published in Turkish than in Arabic each year, despite the fact that there are four times as many Arabs as Turks.
  • Of books that ARE published in Arabic, 17% are religious in nature. The worldwide average is 5%.
  • Annually, 4.4 books are translated into Arabic per million Arabic speakers. In comparison, 519 books are translated into Hungary per million Hungarian speakers, and 920 into Spanish per million Spanish speakers.
  • More books are translated into Spanish every YEAR than have been translated into Arabic IN TOTAL since the freaking Abbasid Caliphate.
  • Arab readership is so low that a book can become a bestseller by selling 5,000 copies.

So, in other news, as difficult as it is to find good English-language books in Qatar, the situation is equally grim for Arabic-language books.

Edited at 2010-06-30 09:47 pm (UTC)
Jul. 3rd, 2010 11:13 pm (UTC)
on a sort-of related note: did you see that egypt arrested a publisher that dared to re-release A Thousand and One Arabian Nights, because although its one of the most renowned works of Arabic literature in history, published initially like, 300 years ago, its too controversial for egypt today.

that caused me to go on a mini-rant in my Arabic class. "Mini" because my arabic skills are too limited to fully express my frustration. In English it would have been a full-sized rant.


Jul. 5th, 2010 06:37 pm (UTC)
I didn't see that! Wow.

That human development report does talk some about the role of censorship in inhibiting the book trade in Arab countries. It can't be fun to run a book past 22 countries' censorship ministries before publishing it.
Jun. 30th, 2010 09:51 pm (UTC)
Got Fight by Forrest Griffin
Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
Jun. 30th, 2010 09:56 pm (UTC)
lol, those suggestions don't leave you very anonymous.

I seem to have Edward Abbey's Brave Cowboy on my wishlist, which I assume you recommended at some point.
Jul. 1st, 2010 12:05 pm (UTC)
Perhaps, but Desert Solitaire is better. After reading Desert Solitaire, then read the Monkeywrench Gang or Brave Cowboy.
Jun. 30th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
Do you like Barbara Kingsolver? Her most recent (I think) is Lacuna, which is brilliantly crafted. Slow to unfold, but really lovely.
Jun. 30th, 2010 10:21 pm (UTC)
I bet you would like White Teeth by Zadie Smith if you haven't read it. On Beauty was good too.
Jul. 1st, 2010 03:27 am (UTC)
2 suggestions
I came across this which might interest you,
It is a blog "GOATMILK: An intellectual playground edited by Wajahat Ali"

As far as books, I enjoy Louise Erdrich, my favorite is "Th last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse"
Best wishes.
Jul. 1st, 2010 12:11 pm (UTC)
Jonathan Littman - The Fugitive Game
Lawrence Lessig - Free Culture
William Gibson - his older work
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )