Best Translated Book Award Longlist: Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s ‘Montecore’

As you might imagine, I was a bit disappointed by the 2012 "Best Translated Book Award" fiction longlist, which boasts 25 books that should represent the "best of translated fiction" available in the U.S. Last year, there was one book translated from the Arabic (Adania Shibli's Touch, by Paula Haydar). This year, there were none. … Continue reading Best Translated Book Award Longlist: Jonas Hassen Khemiri’s ‘Montecore’

The Arab Writers Union’s ‘Top 105’ of the 20th Century

Regular readers have seen this list before. However, as new books have appeared in translation, it's time for an update. Below, you'll find the best hundred (well, really 105) Arabic novels as selected by the Arab Writers Union. The rankings are sometimes puzzling, and one imagines there was a good deal of horse-trading involved, but lists are nevertheless fun.

Antoon: Five Could’ve Been Fifty, Youssef: Fifty(-Nine) It Is!

Sinan Antoon responded to my book request just after I'd posted the list for Take the Arabic Lit Summer Reading Challenge, and Win. If you don't know who Antoon is, for goodness sakes! His I'jaam was one of Katrina Weber's choices. He said, "So here are my five. But it could've been fifty of course: … Continue reading Antoon: Five Could’ve Been Fifty, Youssef: Fifty(-Nine) It Is!

5 Arabic Books (in English) to Read ‘Before You Die’

Well, perhaps this one was a bit morbid: The "Five Before You Die" was a feature we ran back in the summer 2010; by now, there are now many more great Arabic books available in translation, but this remains a strong list from translators, authors, critics, and publishers. Shakir Mustafa Although he might not put … Continue reading 5 Arabic Books (in English) to Read ‘Before You Die’

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

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

Update to the List of 105 Best Books in Arabic (and Their Availability in English)

Reader John Alvey generously devoted some time to finding works that I missed from the original list of the Arab Writers Union's "Best 105 Books in Arabic." He also added notations for those translated into other European languages. My additions (generally the authors' names, so you don't have to go back and check against the … Continue reading Update to the List of 105 Best Books in Arabic (and Their Availability in English)

What Did I Learn from The Top 100 (+5) List of the ‘Best Arabic Fiction’?

First off, I've certainly become convinced that lists are odd artifacts, and that lists voted on by a group of nervous, self-interested humans are probably the oddest of all. For those who have not yet experienced the Arab Writers Union's "top 100 novels in Arabic," which is actually a list of 105, here it is: … Continue reading What Did I Learn from The Top 100 (+5) List of the ‘Best Arabic Fiction’?