For every literature-lover, food-eater, cat-lover, and beverage-drinker on your gift list.
"From early boyhood I never studied during the holy month of Ramadan, although this was the month during which I read more than at any other time."
"But this Eid al-Fitr, Egyptian novelist Ahmed Naji remains in prison on his three-year sentence; Palestinian poet and artist Ashraf Fayadh remains in prison in Saudi Arabia, serving his eight-year, 800-lash sentence; Palestinian poet Dareen Tatour remains under house arrest..."
Six different Ramadans from genres, countries, and periods: 1) "Ramadan," a poem by Khaled Mattawa on Web Del Sol. Of Ramadan's spent in Libya when The spirits/ of Johnny Walker and gin/ hide in the trunks of white Peugeots./ In the nightclubs of my city, waiters/ serve only non-alcoholic beer/ and belly dancers cover themselves." Also: This month the moon becomes a … Continue reading 6 Reads, 6 Different Views on Ramadan
"One Easter Day, I went out into the street wearing my new shoes and carrying three colored boiled eggs."
In celebration of Eid, a brief excerpt from Mahmoud Darwish's "Journal of an Ordinary Grief," trans. Ibrahim Muhawi, published by Archipelago.
"In our house we break a fast / with dates from Huun / and glasses of buttermilk. / Then on to bowls of lamb soup / flavored with mint, trays / of stuffed grape leaves, / spiced fava beans drenched / in olive oil and lemon juice. / And that is only the beginning."
My piece today on Al Masry Al Youm: Nobody feels the joy of the Eid as much as children, and when we were children, we could hardly contain our excitement while waiting for it: pocket money, new outfits, new shoes. We would put on these valuable garments and go out to show them off to … Continue reading On an Eid Anniversary, Mahfouz’s Final Gifts
If you're the Christmas or the gift-buying type, then I've got some (bookish) suggestions. If you're neither the Christmas nor the gift-buying sort, then you can always use these recommendations on yourself. All are 2010 releases.
Well, all right, these aren't exactly Sonallah Ibrahim's Eid memories, as his novel Stealth (2010, Aflame) is fiction. However, the novel was based in part on Ibrahim's childhood, in part on research he did about the post-WWII era in Egypt, and of course part is pure imagination.
If your dad likes complex but ultimately heartwarming father-son relationships in (great) literature: Stealth, by Sonallah Ibrahim, has a touching father-son relationship at its core. It's also an excellent, very readable book. Although some accused Ibrahim of writing autobiography (it hews closely to his own experience growing up in Cairo in the post-WWII era), this … Continue reading Don’t Have a Father’s Day Gift? (Yes, Of Course, Literary Suggestions)