So, it’s my birthday today.
I have to share my happiness with you. My happiness comes in (one of) my favourite form – books. Since today, I have a couple of new ones! I am such a party person, that I started reading them already. So, this on the photos + cup of tea = my happy day.
My new little treasure is this beauty – Tablet & Pen: Literary Landscapes from the Modern Middle East, edited by Reza Aslan. Authors from Morocco to Iran, from Turkey to Pakistan – short stories,memoirs, essays, poetry, small biographies – amazing collection. It’s a rare anthology, and I’ll sure be posting more about it, as I read through it. For now, I will share just one poem, actually – a part of the poem (I opened it randomly today, always love to do that). It was written by the great Forugh Farrokhzad, one of Iran’s most influential female poets of the twentieth century.
A window for seeing
A window for hearing
A window like a well
That plunges to the heart of the Earth
And opens to the vast unceasing love in blue
A window lavishing the tiny hands of loneliness
With the night’s perfume from the gentle stars.
A window through which one could invite
The sun for a visit to abandoned geraniums.
One window is enough for me.
The second book I got is The patience stone by Atiq Rahimi. The novel tells the story of a woman whose husband has been wounded in battle in a country resembling Afghanistan and now lies as paralysed as a stone. In Persian folklore, Syngue Sabour is the name of a magical black stone, a patience stone, which absorbs the plight of those who confide in it. It is believed that the day it explodes, after having received too much hardship and pain, will be the day of the Apocalypse. But here, the Syngue Sabour is not a stone but rather a man lying brain-dead with a bullet lodged in his neck. In 2008, Rahimi won The Goncourt Prize for this novel, and I am very happy about reading it sometime soon.
Birthday presents aside, these days I am also reading Gerner’s & Schwedler’s Understanding the Contemporary Middle East (second edition). It’s a great collection which address a range of crucial issues the region faces in the 21st century: there are chapters addressing geography, history, politics, economics, international relations, the israeli-Palestinian conflict, the status of women, religion, class and ethnicity, patterns of population growth, and the literature of the region. There are numerous maps and photographs, which illustrate the issues and help readers a lot.
These books help us get a better insight, help us learn and grow. These words, black on white, fight the stereotypes with knowledge and details, with beauty and discoveries.
All in all, if you are looking for some new good books, be sure to put these on the list! Enjoy!