Oman hit the headlines recently after the passing of the country’s ruler of 49 years, Sultan Qaboos Al Said, in January 2020. These three books constitute an essential reading list for anyone with an interest in Oman - whether academic, professional or otherwise. They include both non-fiction and fiction books covering useful information about the country’s fascinating history, complex politics, and the ever-evolving cultural dynamics that make the Sultanate so special.
The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers tells the encapsulating story of Mokhtar Alkhanshali, a Yemeni-American who travels to Yemen to start a social enterprise to reignite the ancient art of Yemeni coffee. There’s only one problem – when Mokhtar set out in 2014, Yemen was on the brink of civil war.
Yemen: The poorest country in the Middle East; The corner of the Arabian Peninsula widely ignored as the oil monarchies of the Gulf rose to riches and global prominence; And now, embroiled in a deadly civil war protracted by the interference of external powers, further destabilising an already war-torn region. Yemeni politics can be highly confusing for outsiders. These 10 books will help you understand this complex country and the ongoing conflict.
By Katie Holland In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, French–Moroccan author Leïla Slimani admitted using the grisly subject matter of her novel Lullaby — the murder of two children at the hands of their nanny — to illuminate the “utterly boring and repetitive” life of a childminder, grounding the brutal crime in a … Continue reading Leïla Slimani’s Lullaby: A Post-feminist Wakeup Call
The Last Optimist in Baghdad by Dr Brian Brivati is the true story of Ghassan Jawad Kadhim – an optimist, a peacemaker, a father, a friend. An Iraqi. This moving memoir of the resilience of one man manages to tell the tale of the ceaseless endurance of Iraq as a whole, providing a poignant insight … Continue reading The Last Optimist in Baghdad