Talking of Books
Every week co-hosts Isobel Abulhoul and Annabelle Corton are joined by an ever-changing cast of guest reviewers drawn from the UAE’s reading community. Each show features literary anecdotes and news, a star ‘Castaway’ guest recommending the three books they’d take to a desert island, in-depth book reviews, and author interviews with some of today’s greatest writers.
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Have a Literary Moment
Two books that both the most ardent and lukewarm of football fans can sink their teeth into over the final days of the World Cup.
A quick round-up of headlines from the book world.
What happens when you cross one of the most famous poets of the English Romantic period with the Breaking Bad television series.
The Books That Made Me
What are the books that made you who you are today? Everyone’s got a different story to tell.
This Saturday we talk to Sara Sadik, who describes herself as a “Palestinian/Lebanese energetic mom of 3 puzzle pieces who delivers her distinct brand of warm candid humor with an extra dose of sass in a traditional Arabic coffee cup”. Sara has had a wide-ranging career as a media expert, journalist, human rights activist, editor, and even life coach, and currently blogs at sarasadik.com about ‘Finding the Magic in Mommyhood’.
We talk to Sara about the books that inspired her growing up, the ones that continue to remind her who she is, and the ones that might make a difference tomorrow.
We take you through a range of book-specific headlines that you might otherwise have missed in the daily news, plus a scientific study on how audiobooks compare to film and television in terms of their effects on the human brain and body.
The Big Question
We look at How to Break Up With Your Phone – The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life by award—winning journalist Catherine Price. We know that phones and apps are addictive, but in this book Price takes us through tested strategies and practical tips to turn what for many is a toxic relationship, into a healthier one.
Joining us to review and share Catherine’s wisdom on the subject is Rob Sutter, who has been in technology and communications for most of his career, having co-founded and run WorkFone, a privacy-focused startup that used virtual smartphones to sever all connections between the physical user and their digital profile.
Previous to that he had the luxury of working from offices that did not allow phones at all. In his spare time, he likes to badger acquaintances with his greater theory of advertising evil.
We have so many questions for Laaleen Sukhera, curator of and co-contributor to, Austenistan, a Jane Austen-inspired anthology of stories set in contemporary Pakistan. About the book:
Heiress Kamila Mughal is humiliated when her brother’s best friend snubs her to marry a social climbing nobody from Islamabad. Roya discovers her fiancé has been cheating on her and ends up on a blind date on her wedding day. Beautiful young widow Begum Saira Qadir has mourned her husband, but is she finally ready to start following her own desires?
Inspired by Jane Austen and set in contemporary Pakistan, Austenistan is a collection of seven stories; romantic, uplifting, witty, and heartbreaking by turn, which pay homage to the world’s favourite author in their own uniquely local way.
– from the Bloomsbury India Publisher page.
It’s all about love and heartbreak on The Bookshelf this Saturday.
What if you weren’t still over an Ex, and they invited you to their wedding? In the 2018 Pulitzer Prize-winning Less by Andrew Sean Greer, the eponymous Arthur Less has this very problem. He decides to literally run away from it by declining the invitation in favour of accepting all the invites to literary festivals and events around the world that he usually declines.
Joining us for a hot-take on this book, and a wider look at memorable breakups in literature, are writer and Founder of Dubai Literary Salon, Hananah Zaheer, and Penny Mackenzie, long-time librarian at The Old Library and lifelong bookworm with a spooky knack for identifying prize-winning books.
After break-ups we move onto a tale of the ultimate long-distance relationship in debut novelist Thea Lim’s An Ocean of Minutes. As a result of a deadly flu pandemic, Polly signs up to a one-way ticket to the future to work as a bonded labourer in exchange for the cure that will save the man she loves. Polly and Frank arrange to meet 12 years in the future at a specific place, but Polly lands years later than intended and Frank is nowhere to be found.
Do you have a favourite/least favourite couple in literature? Text us on Saturday on 4001 or use the Dubai Eye Messenger App.
A song inspired by literature, either directly or tenuously. It’s as simple as that. Want to recommend a track we may not have considered? Email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.