We always see the countries of the Islamic world in the news, but our knowledge of them is often so poor that the news can be hard to understand. How do people live their lives in Islamabad, Fez, Cairo, or Tehran? What are their experiences and histories? Through the titles in the Muslim Journeys theme “Points of View,” readers will encounter individual experiences that help make news events three-dimensional. Some are memoirs and some are novels, but all represent great storytelling.
The Muslim Journeys Bookshelf given to the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System includes books selected to breathe life into Western understanding about Muslims throughout the world. We invite all of our patrons to check out this rich collection of materials at the Central Library!
In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar: A coming-of-age story set in Tripoli, the capital of Libya, told through the eyes of a 9-year-old boy in the year 1969. It puts a human face on the events following from the toppling of the Libyan monarchy by a young officer named Muammar Qaddafi.
Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi: Entertaining autobiographical graphic novel that covers the overthrow of the Shah of Iran, the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini, and the Iran-Iraq War. Whether having a conversation with God or with her dear grandmother, the author’s girlhood self illuminates this tumultuous time in Iran for us - from the inside. Patrons should also check the catalog for the film adaptation of Persepolis and the sequel to the book, Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return.
House of Stone by Anthony Shadid: More than 100,000 inhabitants of the land that would later become Lebanon left their towns and villages to immigrate to the United States around 1900. The author’s family ended up in Oklahoma, and after pursuing a career in journalism, the author set out to return to the ancestral village in Lebanon and rebuild his grandfather’s stone house. The result is an amazing tale that is both funny and bittersweet.
Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie: A young woman begins to receive letters written in the private code of her missing mother and her mother’s lover, a famous poet who was supposed to have been murdered years before. This young woman sets out to decode the letters, hoping to learn the fate of her activist mother. In the meantime the reader is swept along on a tour of Karachi, Pakistan, during the tumultuous 70s and 80s.
Dreams of Trespass by Fatima Mernissi: Autobiography about growing up in the 1940s in a Moroccan “domestic harem” that illustrates a vanishing tradition of communal life in the Islamic world. The “harem” provided both sanctuary and limitations. It hemmed its residents in but also made them care about one another and pay attention to each another in ways unfamiliar to most Westerners.