Read Your Way Around the Muslim Ban Countries

PotUS 45’s current travel restrictions, dubbed the ‘Muslim travel ban’ have been little out of the news all week as restrictions are put on all travellers, as opposed to those involved in criminality. If you’re outraged by this movement that has left both foreign travellers and Green Card holders stranded, then you may be looking to show some support, and as always we’re doing that in a bookish way, recommending authors from the Muslim ban countries.

We can’t change the world, but we can expand our perception of it, and so today we’re recommending a book from one author from each of the countries affected and it makes for an excellent reading list!

Iran

Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi

Persepolis is a graphic autobiography by Marjane Satrapi depicting her childhood up to her early adult years in Iran during and after the Islamic revolution. The title is a reference to the ancient capital of the Persian Empire, Persepolis. Originally published in French, it has been translated into several languages including English.

Persepolis US
Persepolis UK

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Marjane Satrapi was born in Rasht, Iran, and grew up in Tehran in a middle-class Iranian family. Today the author lives in France and has dual nationality to the two countries.

Iraq

A Sky So Close – Betool Khedairi

This stunning debut novel from Betool Khedairi centres around a young girl, coming of age. Born to an Iraqi father and English mother, the narrator struggles with themes that are universal.

A Sky So Close US
A Sky So Close UK

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Betool Khedairi was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1965 to an Iraqi father and Scottish mother. Today she lives in Amman, Jordan.

Libya

Gold Dust – Ibrahim al Koni

Gold Dust is a classic story of the brotherhood between man and beast, the thread of companionship that is all the difference between life and death in the desert. It is a story of the fight to endure in a world of limitless and waterless wastes, and a parable of the struggle to survive in the most dangerous landscape of all: human society.

Gold Dust US
Gold Dust UK

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Ibrahim al-Koni was born in Libya in 1948. A Tuareg who writes in Arabic, he spent his childhood in the desert and learned to read and write Arabic when he was twelve.

Somalia

Maps – Naruddin Farah

“Maps” is the first novel in his acclaimed Blood in the Sun trilogy, set in his native land. Askar lost his father in the bloody war between Ethiopia and Somalia, and his mother died giving birth to him. Taken in by Misra, a kindhearted woman, he grows up in a small village. But as an adolescent, a true child of his times, he begins to feel suffocated there and goes to live with his cosmopolitan aunt and uncle in the capital.

Maps US
Maps UK

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Nuruddin Farah was born in 1945 in Baidoa, Somalia. He is the author of numerous novels, novellas, short stories, and plays. His novels have been translated into many languages and have won numerous international awards. He now divides his time between Cape Town, South Africa and Annandale, New York.



Sudan

The Kindness of Enemies – Leila Aboulela

The Kindness of Enemies is told from the perspective of Natasha Wilson, who knows how difficult it is to fit in. Born to a Russian mother and a Muslim father, she feels adrift in Scotland and longs for a place which really feels like home.

The Kindness of Enemies US
The Kindness of Enemies UK

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Leila Aboulela is the author of many novels and has collected many literary accolades, she grew up in Khartoum, Sudan and now lives in Aberdeen.

Syria

Syrian Stories – Gladys Matar

“Syrian Stories” is a compilation of intriguing short stories that tell about what is going on in the author’s society. It is not about the war in Syria, rather about the people who find themselves trapped in pain and joy together.

Syrian Stories US
Syrian Stories UK

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Born to Wade Matar, a pioneering architect and Leila Richo, an artistic home maker, Gladys Matar grew up in Latakia, the city with the distinction of being the most important port of Syria.

Yemen

A Land Without Jasmine – Wajdi al-Adhal

A Land without Jasmine is a sexy, satirical detective story about the sudden disappearance of a young female student from Yemen’s Sanaa University. Each chapter is narrated by a different character beginning with Jasmine herself.

A Land Without Jasmine US
A Land Without Jasmine UK

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Wajdi al-Ahdal is a Yemeni novelist, short story writer and playwright. He was born near Bajil in the province of Al Hudaydah and studied at the University of Sanaa.

With special thanks to reading addict June Senghi who helped compile this list.

FRA Readers’ Choice Top 20: October

By | Hit of the Lits! | No Comments
Another month has flown by and it’s time for a new Top 20. Each month we list your top 20 reads of the month, chosen by members of our reading group, The Cwts @ Reading Addicts.

This month we see the same book in the number 1 spot for a second month, it’s proven to be a massive bestseller and is now the top of our top 20 for two months running! Have you read any of the books below? We hope you enjoy the recommendations. Read More

FRA Readers’ Choice Top 20: September

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Another month has passed as the year races by and now we’re into September and if you’re looking for some reading suggestions then we have the FRA Top 20, chosen by members of our reading group, The Cwts @ Reading Addicts.

Every month we ask the group members to let us know what their favourite read was from the previous month. Those results are then collated, giving us a top 20 recommended reads for the following month. Here’s September!  Read More

Obama Shares What He’s Been Reading This Summer

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It’s always interesting to know what any public figure has been reading lately, but even more so when that public figure also happens to have been the 44th President of the United States. Every so often, Barack Obama takes to his official Facebook page to let us know what he’s been reading and what he’d recommend.

Obama published a post on Sunday evening detailing five books, both fiction and non-fiction, that he’s been reading over the Summer. “One of my favorite parts of summer is deciding what to read when things slow down just a bit, whether it’s on a vacation with family or just a quiet afternoon,” he wrote. “This summer I’ve been absorbed by new novels, revisited an old classic, and reaffirmed my faith in our ability to move forward together when we seek the truth. Here’s what I’ve been reading: Read More

4 Brilliant Leon Uris Books

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Leon Uris (3rd August, 1924 – June 21, 2003) was an American author of historical fiction who wrote many bestselling books. Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Uris was the son of Jewish American parents Wolf William and Anna Uris. His father was a Polish born immigrant, his mother a first generation Russian American.

Uris was six years old when he was first recognised for his literary skills when he wrote an operetta inspired by the death of his dog. He would go on to write many bestselling works, based around major political and historic events. Today we’re going to recommend four books you may like to try. Read More

FRA Readers’ Choice Top 20: August

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Those who have been around a while will remember our Hit of the Lits feature, a top 20 of the books you’ve loved in the previous month. Well on popular request we’re giving this feature a reboot with a new name and a new layout.

Last month we created a poll in our reading group The Cwts, and that poll has run all month giving you the chance to add your favourite read from the last thirty days. With July now over we have our top 20 for August and here it is, the readers’ choice top 20 for August.

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Obama Reveals What He’s Been Reading Prior to Visiting Africa

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For the first time since he left office, the former President of the United States, Barack Obama, has returned to Africa where he spent time in both Kenya (his ancestral home) and South Africa. There he met 200 young leaders from all over the continent and made a speech to commemorate the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela.

Prior to his visit, Obama published a post on his official Facebook page where he wrote about his love for his ancestral home, and revealed what books he’s been reading in the build up to his trip. As you would expect, the books are from and about the continent of Africa and show what a diverse, historic, sometimes troubled, but also extraordinary continent it is. Not only has Obama recommended the books, but also provided a quick insight as to why he found them interesting. Read More



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