Book recommendations

I’ve recently been asking friends and total strangers for their tips on books that transport, inspire, and quite simply help me forget the drudgery of middle age. Here is a list in progress, which I plan to update as more ideas come in. I’ll put in some affiliate links — the gift certificates I get from my US account are handy for buying distant friends gifts, or treating myself to the odd ridiculous purchase. Or, you know, more books. And I’ll mark off volumes as I’ve read them, or add notes of my own.

Leila Aboulela, Minaret (read this, lovely and lyrical)

Ayad Akhtar, American Dervish

Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman

Xhenet Aliu, Brass

John Bellairs, The Face in the Frost

Chico Buarque, Budapest

Meghan Daum, The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion

Umberto Eco, The Name of the Rose

M. F. K. Fisher, The Gastronomical Me

Julien Gracq, Balcony in the Forest

Elizabeth Jane Howard, Cazalet Chronicles

Siri Hustvedt, The Blazing World

Han Kang, The Vegetarian (read this, blew my mind, could not put it down)

Anything by R. A. Lafferty

Ben Marcus, The Flame Alphabet (read this, amazing, exactly what I want in a novel)

Flann O’Brien, The Best of Myles

Anything by Helen Oyeyemi

Anything by Richard Price

Anjali Sachdeva, All the Names They Used for God

James Salter, A Sport and a Pastime

Essay on Jarrar, Kahf, and Aboulela

I have a new essay on fiction by emigre Muslim women novelists in a collection published by the NRW Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Künste. The piece is meant for a nonspecialist audience, and is in German — but I’d be happy to share an English version of it with anyone interested.

Link to a pdf of the published essay is here: Englischsprachige fiktionale Texte muslimischer Autorinnen. Möglichkeiten der Repräsentation

Symposium on Migration

I’m pleased to post a link to a report on a symposium on „Plurale Gesellschaft? – Wirkungen von Flucht und Migration“ that took place on April 12, 2018. The event was organized by the Migration working group of the Junges Kolleg of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts. We’ve also put out a book of essays, but for now you can read about the event (in German) here:


Flucht und Migration