Around the World for a Good Book selection for Egypt.
Author: Ahdaf Soueif
Title: I Think of You
Publication Info: New York : Anchor Books/Random House, 2007
This collection of short stories, some of which are connected around the same characters, tells stories of women coming of age in Cairo, London, and New York between the 1960s to 1980s. As an expatriate tale it’s important to realize that these are the stories of a more privileged class than a representative Egyptian work. Nevertheless, Soueif’s protagonists deal with struggles including discrimination, failed marriages, and miscarriage. Souief’s writing style is spare and these feel more like vignettes than stories. Her lyrical approach seems to be trying to capture emotions more than stories, but doesn’t go far enough to make a connection with the reader.
Author and Narrator: Bruce Feiler
Title: Walking the Bible
Publication Info: HarperAudio (2005)
So, I read and reviewed the book Where God Was Born without realizing that it was a sequel to a previous journey until the author responded to my review on Twitter (oops!). This journey goes to the places of the five books of Moses in Turkey, Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. Feiler summarizes the stories of patriarchs Noah, Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses alongside his own travel adventure. He depicts his personal religious journey as desire to be at the exact places being replaced by an understanding of the symbolism of the land. Feiler also engages in dialogue with many people Jewish and Islam about the differences between Jewish scripture and Quran. No matter what order you read them in, these two books are terrific companions to anyone’s spiritual journey.