BEIRUT: Summer reading is a time for indulging in books on the balcony, beach, or late at night in an easy chair; opening a page and entering into a whole new world – but first one has to discover what to read.
In order to find out, Annahar spoke with a number of Beiruti bibliophiles who revealed their top summer reads!
The manager at library Antoine told Annahar that "during summer time, people ask for books that are simple and easy to read," noting that they usually ask for French novels, books that are made into movies, and trendy books cited on social media.
Antoine's official reading lists recommends 14 books in English, 12 in French, and 13 in Arabic. The manager highlighted that shoppers were mainly interested in Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, Un Appartement à Paris by Guillaume Musso,and A Small Death by Mouhammad Hassan Alwan, the winner of the 10th International Prize for Arabic Fiction.
Many readers expressed their interest in books that they first heard about online.
"While checking Twitter, I came across Antoine's sponsored French book Ta Deuxieme Vie Commence Quand Tu Comprends Que Tu N’en Na Qu’une by Raphaëlle Giordano, and as soon as I read the description I went to the library to buy the novel," said Hanine El Mir, a student at the American University of Beirut.
The manager at Virgin Megastore Downtown noted that the summer's classic bestselling books are The Forty Rules of Love by the award-winning novelist Elif Şafak; the drama-mystery novel turned into a movie Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, and Mitch Albom's memoir Tuesdays With Morrie.
Also, according to Virgin Megastore’s manager, Une Vie Parfaite by Danielle Steel; Un Fauteuil sur la Saine by Amin Maalouf; and Hitler's autobiographical book My Struggle, are all trending this summer.
While many bookworms look for specific books to read, Nour Ghawi, author of the book L’Ombre d’Un Pissenlit noted that she likes to read all types of books during summer; however, she has a weakness for the great French classics.
"If kings are the masters in our world, then great classics occupy the throne of books, they have an incredible ability to change the real into virtual and the virtual into reality. And if people aspire in summer to travel in space, literary classics are a machine to go back in time," she expressed.
Ghawi is a big fan of Amin Maalouf, thus for her, among all the books of this award-winning author, the Rock of Tanios, is "undoubtedly the most moving and the most succulent."
"The Rock of Tanios is not simply a history book, but a world apart that mixes mystery, honor, love, hate, and treason," Ghawi told Annahar.
Many other Lebanese are also great fans of this well-known author, Camille Mroue, a political science graduate highly encouraged the reading of The Crusades Through Arab Eyes by Maalouf. "I recommend this book to everyone; since today, many people see the world as being in the grip of a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West," said Mroue noting that this book gives a new perspective on this clash.
As for his summer reading, Mroue is currently reading the book Stoner by the American author John Williams. He said, "I chose to read this book this summer because I recently graduated and I felt that this book might give me an insight or a warning about what the future might be holding."
According to many graduate and university students, readers prefer to read smaller books in summer. Nour Oueidat, a Beirut Arab University graduate, currently reading Ghostwritten by David Mitchell. "Because there's so much to do in summer, my attention span shortens, and I would read less throughout the week, so I try to pick out entertaining and easy to read books."
While many readers opt to reading lighter books in hot weather, many leave their winter "heavy" books for summer. Omar Mahmoud, a second-year architecture student at the Lebanese University told Annahar, "I tend to leave heavy-to-read books for the summer. Last summer I read Dan Brown's novel The Da Vinci Code, and I am currently reading the Arabic version of his book Inferno."
Moving on to recent authors, Jerry Ghazal, author of the book Bicaswad recently released a sequel "Bicaswad Audiobook." Bicaswad was a bestseller book in Virgin Megastore and Antoine Library for 14 weeks. According to social media mentions and interactions, this audio book is on high demand this summer.
"I did this project for the people who don't have time to read, who get stuck in traffic searching for ways to make time fly, and mainly for the blind or visually impaired to provide them with an alternative to reading," Jerry Ghazal told Annahar noting that the audio book feature 14 tracks, a theme each, along with music.
With this variety of books, and the emergence of audio books, there's a summer read for everyone, so leave your summer bucket list open and be prepared as new upcoming 2017 books will be released soon!
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