And the Arab Author on the ‘1,001 Books to Read Before You Die’ List Is…Is…


Unless I’m missing something, but I can’t see anything else. Of course, this is understandably an English-centric list (with sprinkles of Spanish translation, the great Russians, and a liberal dose of Haruki Murakami) but: Elmore Leonard before Taha Hussein? The Old Man and the Sea instead of Munif’s Cities of Salt? Lord Jim but no Season of Migration to the North? The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (?!) but no Ibrahim, no Khoury, no al-Hakim, no Ghanem, no Idris?

Not even a tiny squinch of Mahfouz?

It does—as By the Firelight points out—at least include the book from which it takes its titular inspiration: One Thousand and One Arabian Nights, at number 996.

I should have learned from my wrangling with the Arab Writers Union’s “top 105” list that lists are foolish things. Still: We need a better PR department.