Says Ivy, "So let me get this straight, Anne Frank’s Diary has been banned in Lebanon for reasons that are beyond me, yet a Lebanese Magazine named Nadine ( which I find myself sometimes strangely drawn to at my local hairdresser) published a picture of Libya’s KooKoo Ghaddafi’s son’s wife, the Lebanese Aline Skaff on the cover of their latest issue and get this: provocatively showcasing her areola?!"
Reading Arabia: A lecture on Reading in the Arab World
"Yahoo Maktoob recently released some research on reading habits in the Arab world."
"Here are the findings, my observations in brackets:
1. A quarter of people in the Arab world hardly ever or never read books for personal enjoyment (I would think that this figure is much higher, closer to 50%)
2. People in Jordan, Lebanon and Algeria read the least, with more than 30 percent of respondents in these countries stating that they hardly ever or never read (how embarrassing for Jordan!)..."
Continues Roba, herein lies the 'rub':
"The best selling titles in Arabic are intellectualist, pushing away the younger generations from reading. Reading, after all, is all about enjoyment. It is only after you know how to enjoy the act of reading with truly entertaining books that you will start enjoying reading heavier content a la Edward Said."
"We need more Arabic pulp fiction. We need more best sellers that have nothing to do with politics, history, and religion. We need mysteries like Nancy Drew. We need romances like Sydney Sheldon. We need thrillers like Stephen King."
"The act of reading isn’t just about learning. It is also about enjoyment."
Is this fact lost on our sometime Arab pleasure-seekers? who diverge between high end intellectual or political savvy readers, to avoiding the activity and books all together.
A married couple, self professed travel junkies, give us their lens-on-Jordan first impressions:
"For the last several days we’ve been making our way around Jordan – from the capital of Amman to the edges of the Rift Valley, from the north, now to the south. Although we still have much more to do and see, we thought we’d take a breath and share some of our first impressions of Jordan — from the cultural, to the human, to the culinary."
Ali introduces us to one of those conscience-grappling moments that happen in a world of haves and have-nots:
"Yesterday I went to give Abu Kayed his late rent. His son Mohammad came down to take the envelop. But Mohammad seemed very pale and sad. I asked him, what is wrong?
He told me: Do you swear you won’t tell anyone especially my parents?
I said: ofcourse, boyscout promise
He said: We don’t have food at home, nothing!"