Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Fierce competition between God and Dan Brown**

Top 9 (rather than 10 - presumably because all conceivable variants on the spelling of Quran were exhausted) books in Fartbook's Egypt network:

1. Harry Potter
2. The Alchemist
3. The Da Vinci Code
4. Quran
5. Holy Quran
6. Angels and Demons
7. Qur2an
8. I Hate Reading*
9. Quraan

*A UNESCO study of reading habits described in this article found that people in western Europe on average read 35 books a year, and in Senegal 4 books annually. In the Arab world meanwhile there is one book per 80 people, meaning that if a book contains an average of 300 pages, Arabs read roughly four pages a year.

But the economic hardship which lurks between the lines in these figures doesn't explain the depressing Facebook statistics. I can understand the repeated appearance of the Qu'ran of course, and Harry bloody Potter gets in everywhere, but what is the obsession with Brown? And where is Naguib Mahfouz, beloved of virtually every Egyptian I know? And how the hell did Alaa 'Yacoubian Building' el Aswany not make it in there? Who are the people who completed this survey?? I can only hope that in selecting their favourite fiction they employed the same method they use for choosing their mobile phone: which is to choose the latest, most fashionable model. Or that they failed to realise that Facebook is not an airport in the US and they are in fact allowed to mention stuff written in Arabic.

* Today's guest title contributor is Zoss.


hebe said...

how unbelievably depressing , especaially since both angels and demons and the da vinci code have pretty much the SAME BLOODY PLOT with a few variations

fully_polynomial said...

maybe this should let you rethink the book-reading requirement that you set for your (potential) pilots. someone who reads coelho and dan brown should not have anything over someone who does not. if anything, it should be the other guy who gets bonus points here.

this is like requiring that someone listens to music. a britney spears fan would fulfill this criteria but i very much doubt that that would impress you.

Basil Fawlty said...

I think you're over-stating the importance of books to people...you may think of books as literature, but most people view them as really long magazines with no pictures. I mean, most books and best-seller lists around the world are inherently embarrassing. Here in the US, it's all self-help, self-absorb and my-side-of-the-not-very-interesting-story-to-begin-with. And in the UK, it's football bios, pop star bios and, worse, big brother bios. Why should Egypt be any different?

The next question I'd ask is how about actual literature...any favorites there?

Amnesiac said...

Hebe: Tell me about it.

Fully P: Yes but you see if I refine and define the criteria for future husbands any further by specifying authors and singers I might as well just start an Amazonhusbands.com site or join a nunnery.

Basil: Absolutely top 10 lists everywhere are awful and crap sells like hot cakess. The thing which bothered me here was 1. it was only a top 9 and, 2. the lack of variety which you must admit is startling. I mean no.8 in itself made me want to cry.

Actually while I know what kind of airport reading I don't like, I would have a hard timing defining 'literature.' Traditionalists have it that literature has to be by old dead white males (usually) and few of my favourites fall into this category. My tastes are far more contemporary and although I used to love the Brontes. And it's embarrassing and cliched but one of my all time favourites is Catcher in the Rye.

Basil Fawlty said...

Catcher is wicked pissah!

(all the Southeys in the house say aaaaaaay).

Did you know Salinger is still alive and won't do interviews?

I like Robert Bolt's "A man for all seasons" as well. Leslie Thomas' early novels tickle me in places best left untickled, Hanif Kureishi has produced a few masterpieces and among the American writers...a little John Irving, anyone?

Desert Island book: Unbearable lightness of being.

Amnesiac said...

Yes and mad props, yo, to Salinger for that decision.

I found being alive unbearable when I watched 30 minutes of the film of the Unbearable Lightness.

OK if we're having a serious discussion about books and authors wot we like some of my faves (which I can remember. It's a problem) are:

Lenny Bruce: How to Talk Dirty...
Rohinton Mistry: Family Matters
Jonathan Coe: The Rotter's Club
Roald Dahl
Ahdaf Soueif
Waguih Ghali: Beer in the Snooker Club
Rabih Alameddine: I, the Divine
Graham Greene: The End of the Affair
Alaa el Aswany
Naguib Mahfouz
John Fowles: The French Lieutenant's Woman
Sebastian Faulks: Birdsong
Elmore Leonard: Cuba Libre
Catherine Cusset: La Haine de la Famille
Michela Wrong: I Didn't Do it For You
J.P Donleavy: The Lady Who Liked Clean Rest Rooms
Tennessee Williams
Sylvia Plaith: The Bell Jar
Ihsan Abdel Qodous
Robert Tressell: The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
Catherine Bronte: Wuthering Heights
Jay McInerney: Brightness Falls
William Boyd: The New Confessions

Forsoothsayer said...

hmm...i haven't read most of those. you shoulda recommended. i will download. i don't we've actually talked about specific authors or books much except ahdaf soueif and waguih, who tab3an is the shiznit.

i really disliked catcher in the rye. the guy just needed to chill.

all my friends are book readers btw (except the british one)...if you wanted to shop young, fee.

Amnesiac said...

Amnesiac: Wuthering Heights was written by Emily rather than Catherine Bronte you moron.

Forsooth: I can lend you some of them.

I think Holden was chilled, in a nervous breakdown sort of way.

I believe that I have made my views clear on the Mrs Robinson option.