The list author says: "Iím a University Prof. of Middle Eastern politics, religion, literature, and film and I would like to share my suggestions with you. My choices reflect the "real" Middle East, a place and a culture hard to define. The works I suggest offer great insight to understanding this part of the world; they expose how conflicts and political strife affect everyday people (on their way to work, falling in love, raising families) who get caught in the midst of these impossible situations (occupation, war, etc.). I hope you enjoy and benefit from my selection."
"Excellent book, funny, and extremely insightful. It's a woman who goes about her daily life while facing occupation and war. It presents us with the human face of Israelis and Palestinians, forced to interact not as enemies or occupiers/occupied, but as human beings. A must for those interested in understanding the Arab/Israeli conflict and the toll it takes on people on both sides."
"A bloggerís life in Baghdad before and after war. She provides insight into a situation we only hear about on the news. Riverbend is an educated woman who loses her job at the beginning of the war. She discusses what clothes she can or can no longer wear, the effects of power cuts on family life, women's rights, etc. Itís a Brilliant work."
"Hilarious novel about 4 characters in London: Moroccan prostitute (Amira), Lebanese gay man (Samir), Iraqi woman (Lamis), British man (Nicholas). Samir wants to come out, Lamis and Nicholas fall in love, Amira impersonates a princess. Exploring the power of fantasy in shaping one's perception of the other, Al-Shaykh illustrates how people from different cultures communicate."
"Borneman analyzes social interactions, focusing on the relation between politics, economics, family relations, and sexual desire. All come together in this beautifully written book that transports us to a different world while enabling us to see and understand it."
"Excellent movie about the cosmopolitan Middle East that is rarely seen in the media. The film shows the vibrancy of Egypt's secularism, where Jews, Muslims, and Christians transcended their religious identities through culture."
"This a funny and a very moving film about the effects of war on people. Caught in the Lebanese conflict in 1975, three kids try to orient themselves in a new reality shaped by the collapse of social and political order."