‘Nights Bot’ & 6 More Literary Distractions

For the moments you’re unable to focus on a book:

1) Nights Bot

The bot’s origin story is that “@yasmineseale made me.” And, as it says, “I post snippets from a translation under way of the 1001 Nights.” In the tradition of the excellent @MobyDickatSea, there are no disappointing lines, and no effort required (outside of clicking to follow).

2) ArabLit’s SoundCloud

I’d half-forgotten we had such a thing, but you can hear Raja Alem’s “The Boa”, translated and read by Rana Ghuloom, Muhammad Abdelnabi’s “Our Story,” translated and read by Robin Moger, “The Dance of the Soma”: Yasmine Seale Translates Asmaa’ Azaizeh, and “Dragonflies”: Yasmine Seale Translates Asmaa’ Azaizeh, among other things.

Click, close your eyes, listen.

3) Mazen Kerbaj’s “Corona Diaries”

Not exactly a distraction from the current situation, but Mazen always knows how to get at things at a slant. Also, adding someone on Instagram, very low effort.

4) “The Quarantine Chronicles 😷”  / أيام الكرنتينا

Over at Cairo’s Cosmopolitan Hotel, Carol Sansour is curating a series of writers’ Quarantine Chronicles in Arabic and English.

5) Literary playlists

Listen in to playlists for:

Songs for the Years of Lead

A playlist for Rania Mamoun’s ‘Thirteen Months of Sunrise’

A playlist for Sonallah Ibrahim’s ‘Stealth’

A playlist for Haytham al-Wardany’s Book of Sleep


6) Literary podcasts

Bulaq (the podcast co-hosted by ArabLit’s M Lynx Qualey and literary critic Ursula Lindsey) is just one of the many podcasts Hazine assembled in their list of “Podcasts on the Middle East, North Africa, and Islamic(ate) Studies.”

7) Care Package #1

Sarah Rifky has bound up a literary and artistic care package for you — Care Package #1: We lack for nothing •  باريس أجمل • 予告 — may it be the start of many to come.