#YMERC2020 June Part 1

Ahlan wa sahlan!

Thank you for joining in with us in the Year of the Middle Eastern Reading Challenge (YMERC).

As promised, I will begin each month with:

  • A book by a Middle Eastern author
  • A graphic novel by a Middle Eastern author and/or Middle Eastern illustrator
  • A new Arabic song to listen to throughout the month

At the end of each month, I’ll post:

  • My reviews on the books and graphic novels of the month
  • A Middle Eastern movie or TV show that I enjoyed that month

I’m really excited to share with you our FIRST ever #YMERC2020 titles!

#YMERC Book of the Month

The Unexpected Love Objects of Dunya Noor: A Novel by Rana Haddad

Aspiring photographer Dunya Noor discovers early on that her curious spirit, rebellious nature, and very curly hair are a recipe for disaster in 1980s Syria. And at the tender age of thirteen, she is exiled to live with her grandparents in England.

Many years later in London, she meets Hilal, the son of a humble tailor from Aleppo and no match for Dunya, daughter of a famous heart surgeon. But, dreamy, restless Dunya falls in love with Hilal and they decide to return to Syria together, embarking on a journey that will change them both forever.

Rana Haddad’s vivid and satirical debut novel captures the essence of life under the Assad dictatorship, in all its rigid absurdity, with humor and an unexpected playfulness.

#YMERC Graphic Novel of the Month

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane SatrapiMattias Ripa (Translator)

Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.

Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.

#YMERC Arabic Song of the Month

Song by Palestinian-Chilean singer, Elyanna – Ana Lahale ft. Massari.

Elyanna is the 18-year-old Palestinian-Chilean singer and songwriter, who is being referred to as the Arab Rihanna.

Don’t forget to spread the word on WordPress, Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #YMERC2020.

*The beautiful blog graphic is done by liv_does.

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