Helen's Book Blog is hosting a Middle East Reading Challenge from August 1, 2010 to July 31, 2010. This is about as low-pressure as you can get. Just read the number of books you want during that time frame. There's no set number of books, just a desire to learn more about a part of the world that gets such an all-around bad rap in the news.
For books to count for the challenge, Helen says, "The author of the book may be from the countries listed below or the book can be set in one of the countries included in this challenge. Fiction, non-fiction, YA and Adult lit, graphic novels, audio books, books for other challenge... they all count."
The countries Helen has chosen to define as "the Middle East" are:
United Arab Emirates
You can see her reasons for choosing these countries and an excellent list of suggested books and authors on the Challenge sign-up page.
I don't know how many or which books I'll read. Here are a few that are already on my to-read list, so there's a good chance I'll get to some of these. There's no way I'll make time to read all of them.
Day After Night by Anita Diamant
Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji
The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani
A Woman in Jerusalem by A.B. Yehoshua
Mirrors of the Unseen: Journeys in Iran by Jason Elliot
Anahita's Woven Riddle by Meghan Nuttall Sayres
Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa
Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi
The Translator by Leila Aboulela
Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women by Geraldine Brooks
Dawn by Elie Wiesel
Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope by Shirin Ebadi
If you're interested in this challenge, make sure to go sign up at Helen's Book Blog. Even if you just read one book set in the Middle East, it's something!
Books read for the challenge: