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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?


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.