As the new year is finding its feet, it is time to bring those resolutions into effect and if you planned to turn off the TV and pick up a book every once in a while here are a few new books that might inspire you to do just that.
The Twelve Rooms of the Nile
By Enid Shomer
Enid Shomer imagines a fateful meeting between writer Gustave Flaubert and nursing-beacon Florence Nightingale as they travel up the Nile. Both have not yet become who we will remember, Nightingale has not yet taken a stand, nor has Flaubert written a controversial word of Madame Bovary.
As they travel through nineteenth century Egypt they form a friendship that will affect both their lives even if they are complete opposites in character. Flaubert is a man of the world who has freely sampled the darker sides of society while Nightingale is an innocent with radical ideas about society.
Critics laud Shomer’s prose and storytelling talent as the characters she has created share their hopes, dreams, ambitions and adventures during the novel. In real life both characters were in Egypt but they never met; a fact that might be hard to believe after reading The Twelve Rooms of the Nile.
Casting off The Veil
By Sania Sharawi Lanfranchi
Huda Shaarawi is remembered as being an Egyptian activist and feminist. Instead of leading a life of leisure as her birth in a wealthy family had primed her for, she chose to become educated and be part of the liberation movement against the British occupation.
She became a household name when she led a walk of veiled women across Cairo to free resistance leaders in 1919.
After she returned from a conference of the International Alliance for Women’s Suffrage in 1923 to Cairo she and two companions removed their face veils at the train station, causing many women to follow their example in a historically significant moment for Egypt.
Shaarawi continued to influence the social and political climate during her lifetime, as described in the comprehensive book written by Sania Sharawi Lanfranchi.
By Nadine Naber
After 9/11 life for Arab Americans changed, and the misconceptions about this segment of the US population have grown. Nadine Naber explores the lives and stories of young, second generation Arab Americans living in California. Most of the characters are activists, and Naber follows their complicated and intricate political and cultural processes as they carve out a place in American society.
The writer aptly describes how cultural concepts of religion, family, gender and sexuality influence the identities and struggles of the young adults, in ways that are both contrary and similar to the general American population.
In Arab America Naber gives clear descriptions of what life in the US is like for Arab Americans, and she places her story against a context of analysis which creates a deeper understanding of the way these Americans live and think.