Two Graphic Novels, Illuminating Memoirs from the Middle East that are Fun to Read

Panel from Persepolis

For most westerners, the Middle East is a frightening and poorly understood part of the world. It’s impossible to develop an appreciation for the diversity of its people, its rich history, and the range of life experience in the region if you only rely on western news reports. In the…

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Black Authors Matter, Marguerite Abouet’s Positive Images of African Life

Aya de Yopougon, Volume 1

Given the disturbing events of recent weeks, a new movement, labeled with the hashtag #BlackoutBestsellerList, encourages people to purchase books by black authors between now and June 20. The goal is to push black authors to the top of bestseller lists around the world. There are, of course, countless exceptional…

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The real frontline in the battle against Muslim fundamentalism

Review of “Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here, Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism”, by Karima Bennoune. I started reading this book a few years ago and while I find it to be an important and well-researched account of Muslim-led efforts throughout the world to combat Islamic extremism,…

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Pierre Dragon Describes Life of French Anti-Terrorism Officer

RG used book cover.

Whenever I visit France or Quebec, I make it a point to visit as many bookstores as I can squeeze into my packed travel itinerary. Compared to the United States, the brick-and-mortar bookselling business is still thriving in France. The French people are not only buying books, they’re selling their books…

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Suite Française, historic novel and tragic account of the woman who wrote it

Book cover of Suite Française

I recently read Suite Française, a poignant novel by Irene Némirovsky that would have remained hidden from history were it not for the courageous actions of her daughter, Denise Epstein. In 2004, sixty-two years after Némirovsky’s death in Auschwitz, Suite Française appeared in French libraries for the first time. It…

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Kobane Calling, Captivating Account of Kurdish Struggle in Syria

Cover of Kobane Calling

Kobane Calling, a new graphic novel by Italian cartoonist, Zerocalcare, provides a riveting account of the author’s humanitarian trips into war-torn Syria. Enlightening as well as entertaining, the book is fascinating on many levels and well worth your time and/or money. Originally written in Italian, a French version appeared last…

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