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
#YMERC Book of the Month
The Immortals of Tehran by Alireza Taheri Araghi
As a child living in his family’s apple orchard, Ahmad Torkash-Vand treasures his great-great-great-great grandfather’s every mesmerizing word. On the day of his father’s death, Ahmad listens closely as the seemingly immortal elder tells him the tale of a centuries-old family curse…and the boy’s own fated role in the story.
Ahmad grows up to suspect that something must be interfering with his family, as he struggles to hold them together through decades of famine, loss, and political turmoil in Iran. As the world transforms around him, each turn of Ahmad’s life is a surprise: from street brawler, to father of two unusually gifted daughters; from radical poet, to politician with a target on his back. These lives, and the many unforgettable stories alongside his, converge and catch fire at the center of the Revolution.
Exploring the brutality of history while conjuring the astonishment of magical realism, The Immortals of Tehran is a novel about the incantatory power of words and the revolutionary sparks of love, family, and poetry–set against the indifferent, relentless march of time.
#YMERC Graphic Novel of the Month
Cairo by G. Willow Wilson (Goodreads Author), M.K. Perker (Illustrator), Travis Lanham (Letterer)
A stolen hookah, a spiritual underworld, and a genie on the run change the lives of five strangers forever in this modern fable set on the streets of the Middle East’s largest metropolis.
CAIRO interweaves the fates of a drug runner, a down-on-his-luck journalist, an American expatriate, a troubled young student, and an Israeli soldier as they race through bustling present-day Cairo to find an artifact of unimaginable power, one protected by a dignified jinn and sought by a wrathful gangster-magician. But the vastness of Africa’s legendary City of Victory extends into a spiritual realm—the Undernile—and even darker powers lurk there…
Written by journalist G. Willow Wilson (Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, Cairo Magazine) and drawn by award-winning illustrator M.K. Perker (The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal), this magical-realist thriller brings together the ancient and modern Middle East.
#YMERC Arabic Song of the Month
Shik Shak Shok by Hassan Abou El Seoud
A modern yet authentic raqs sharki (belly dance), this Egyptian song is very catchy and well known all over the Middle East. “Shik Shak Shok” is by Hassan Abou El Seoud and versions of its dance and music exist in Egypt, Lebanon, even Turkey. Listen to the drums, get carried away by the ladies singing ** Reference
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.