The Buried: An Archeology of The Egyptian Revolution, by Peter Hessler
This was one of the May selections from Book of the Month Club. I chose it because it is about an American’s personal experience living in Egypt. I’ve always had a fascination with Egypt because… well… I am Egyptian, sort of.
Okay, well actually, my father’s from Egypt. I’ve never been. In fact, I never grew up with the culture. I don’t speak Arabic, I never saw the pyramids; you get the picture. So Hessler’s book intrigued me. My hope was that it would tell me what it was really like to live in today’s Egypt. So far, it doesn’t disappoint.
Peter Hessler, who is a staff writer for The New Yorker and a contributing writer for National Geographic, moved to Egypt at the start of the Egyptian Arab Spring. As an American, he had a big learning curve when it came to living in Cairo. Luckily, he met many people who were willing to help him along the way.
Throughout the book, Hessler explores not only the recent Egyptian revolution, but he also discusses the ancient culture. Yet, my favorite part of this book is Hessler’s personal encounters with the everyday people of Egypt. Through these people’s stories, the reader learns about what it’s like to live in modern Egypt.
Clock Dance, by Anne Tyler
I’m actually listening to this one on audio. The only downside to that is that I usually only listen to audio books on my commute to and from work and unfortunately, my commute is very short. I’m on my third week listening to this book and I still have 3 hours left until the end. That doesn’t seem like it is very long, but it’ll take me a few more days to get through it.
Here’s the Goodreads synopsis:
Willa Drake can count on one hand the defining moments of her life: when she was 11 and her mother disappeared, being proposed to at 21, the accident that would make her a widow at 41. At each of these moments, Willa ended up on a path laid out for her by others.
So when she receives a phone call telling her that her son’s ex-girlfriend has been shot and needs her help, she drops everything and flies across the country. The spur-of-the moment decision to look after this woman – and her nine-year-old daughter, and her dog — will lead Willa into uncharted territory. Surrounded by new and surprising neighbours, she is plunged into the rituals that make a community, and takes pleasure in the most unexpected things.
This is my first time reading anything from Anne Tyler. It’s a relatively fun book with quirky characters. So far, there’s nothing too crazy going on with the plot. It’s just a nice story about an older woman and her everyday experiences.
I will say that the most interesting part of the story is Willa’s relationship with the male characters. To put it bluntly, they are awful! I feel like Willa is constantly disrespected by these men. And the most frustrating part is that (so far in the book) she really hasn’t stood up to them. Her second husband refers to her as “little one,” and he says it in such a demeaning and patronizing way.
Again, I have 3 more hours left in this audio book. My prediction is that Willa will eventually speak up for herself a little more and she will follow her own path in life.