I will be traveling a bit over the next few days, although not as much as Ibn Battouta (green line) or even so much as Marco Polo (red line).

I imagine, in my travels, I will not have any experience such as this (from Gibb’s translation of the Rihla):

I saw a crocodile in this part of the Nile [Niger], close to the bank; it looked just like a small boat. One day I went down to the river to satisfy a need, and lo, one of the blacks came and stood between me and the river. I was amazed at such lack of manners and decency on his part, and spoke of it to someone or other. [That person] answered. “His purpose in doing that was solely to protect you from the crocodile, by placing himself between you and it.”

My adventures, I imagine, will be of a somewhat different order.

In any case, I probably won’t be learning anything new about Arabic literature (in English). Meantime, you can read Ibn Battuta’s Travels for our summer reading challenge; if you haven’t yet read my article “Who Has the Power? Reading Arab Women in English,” well, you can go right ahead; if you’ve been looking for information about Arabic children’s lit, look no further; and, on the subject of travel, you can read Youssef Rakha’s travelogue (while you wait for your next issue of Banipal, in which the essay appears).

Other things I found particularly interesting in the last month: