Rummanah Aasi


  I first discovered the Middle East Reading Challenge during this past Ramadan. For those who are unfamiliar with Ramadan, Ramadan is the holy month of fasting for Muslims. I'm only familiar with a few of the Middle Eastern countries and their cultures, but I would love to learn more. One of my reading resolutions for 2011 is to diversify my reading list. This is one of the perfect ways to do so. I originally had the intention to sign up for this challenge during Ramadan, however, things got busy and I completely forgot. Since we are a few weeks left in December, I thought I would sign up now and start the challenge in January.

The Middle East Challenge is hosted by Helen over at Helen's Book Blog. The purpose of the challenge is to read books that take place in this region and to gain a better understanding of the people and cultures of this region.

What Helen considers Middle Eastern: "The Middle East is a nebulous term with each person defining it in a different way (it's also a very Euro-centric term so please forgive me for that). However I am going to use it for lack of a better way to define the area covered by this reading challenge. So, what is the Middle East? Traditionally it included only the countries in Asia plus Egypt. Some define it as countries with Arabic as the dominant language, while others say it is all Islamic countries. For the purposes of this challenge I am going to stick with the more traditional/geographic approach including the countries around the Arabian peninsula. I struggled about what to do with Turkey and have chosen to leave it out as they currently choose to be associated more with Europe. Likewise, I am not including the "stan" countries as they are culturally, linguistically, and ethnically different (and, officially, they are in Central Asia)".

What books qualify for this reading challenge?
The book can be set in one of the countries included in this challenge. Fiction, non-fiction, YA and Adult lit, graphic novels, and audio books count. Books from other challenges also count too.

What are the dates of the challenge?
The challenge will run August 1, 2010 through July 31, 2011.
You don't have to have a blog to participate in this challenge. You can sign up here. I hope you will join me. 
Although there are no levels set for this challenge, my goal is to read at least one book from each country. I will compile my list of books here.

Books Read for the Middle East Challenge

The House of Wisdom by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland (Iraq)
The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf by Mohja Khaf (Syria)
Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferrais (Saudi Arabia) 
Island of Animals by Denys Johnson-Davies and Sabhia Khemir (Iraq) 
Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani (Iran) 
Butterfly Mosque by G. Willow Wilson (Egypt)
7 Responses
  1. Jenni Elyse Says:

    What an interesting challenge. I hope you enjoy learning more about the Middle East. I might take up this challenge as well. I just have to look at all I have going on next year. ;)


  2. Isn't it, Jenni? There is so much I don't know about the Middle East. All of the countries are unique in their own way and share similarities with one another. I hope you can join me. It would be really cool to compare reviews and lists.


  3. That's cool--I'll be especially interested to hear about any YA books you recommend from the challenge.


  4. BookQuoter Says:

    Although I will not be joining the challenge, I will surely be closely following the books you review, as I always like to read books written by international authors.


  5. Hallie and BookQuoter: I think the exciting part of this challenge is actually finding the books. I'll keep you guys posted. :)


  6. I remember reading this post, but I didn't comment. Very bad of me, my apologies! I am so glad that you are participating in this challenge. It's great to have another Teacher Librarian who is paying attention to this part of the world. Welcome!


  7. LOL, Helen! That's quite okay. I'm having a blast with this challenge. I just wish I had joined earlier.


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