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This summer, take some of these books with you (or all of them!)

From July 23, 2021 until September 01, 2021

As has become the tradition at this time of year, Casa Árabe is suggesting a selection of books by Arab authors or with Arab themes to keep you company this summer. Some of them will be presented at our headquarters in Madrid and Cordoba next fall.

With this list, we are also giving a preview of some of the new titles to be presented at Casa Árabe during the last quarter of 2020, as well as bringing back some of the most successful interviews from the first half of the year.

As for the newly published titles, we would like to highlight:

- Abd al-Raḥmān al-Dahil: The Émigré Prince (published by Utopía Libros). After the success of “Ibn Hazm’s Cordoba” (2016), Daniel Valdivieso has made a comeback with this work devoted to the last of the Umayyads. We will be presenting the book on Thursday, September 3 in Madrid. We are also devoting two sessions of our reading workshops to it, as part of the event series “Delving into Al-Andalus.”  

- South Africa and the Road to Freedom (Ed. Catarata). This year marks the anniversary of negotiations to put an end to the apartheid regime in South Africa. Enrique Ojeda takes a look back at that time in this work, which we will be presenting on September 14 along with Casa África.

- A Door Painted Blue (published by Ediciones del Viento). Sergio Barce looks back at his childhood in Larache, Morocco to bring back the memory of a time and people who will never return. The presentation will be taking place on Thursday, September 16.

- Danger: Refugees (Ediciones de la Torre). This is the third book by journalist Eduardo Moyano about the phenomenon of migration, this time using film as a point of reference. We will be presenting it alongside the Spanish Commission for Refugee Aid (CEAR) on September 20.

Popular Uprisings After the Arab Spring (2011-2021) (Ed. Catarata). Ignacio Álvarez-Ossorio, Isaías Barreñada and Laura Mijares provide an overview of the Arab Springs and the latest increase in uprising against authoritarian regimes. We will get the chance to present it on September 22

Nor can we leave out:

- The Aguirre Schools of Madrid: Neo-Mudéjar, building and craft  (Ed. Asimétricas). Alejandro del Real Mateos authored this work about Casa Árabe’s headquarters in Madrid as an example of Neo-Mudéjar architecture, a historically oriented trend which arose in the late nineteenth century. The book, the first monographic study on the building, was published with the cooperation of Casa Árabe.

- Architecture for the Poor: An experiment in rural Egypt  Ediciones Asimétricas has published its third book on Egyptian architect Hassan Fathy. In the book, Fathy himself recounts his experience in the conception, planning, design and construction of New Gourna.

- Noor: The gastrocultural reinterpretation of Al-Andalus  (Montagud publishers). Cordoba chef Paco Morales is publishing a book in which he unveils the secrets of his restaurant Noor, along with 65 recipes, dozens of culinary techniques and a detailed historical contextualization of Al-Andalus gastronomy from the tenth to fourteenth centuries.

Among the books we presented during the first half of the year, we would like to remind you of:

- My Home Is Anywhere (Libros.com). Journalist Carla Fibla offers an emotional yet rigorous approach to what it means to be a migrant in a society with a constant influx of enriching people who reconstruct the concepts of belonging and territoriality.

- Hassan Fathy: Against the current (Ed. Asimétricas). Published on the occasion of the exhibition by the same name which you can still see at Casa Árabe, this choral Spanish-Arabic bilingual work includes the ideas and works created by the ingenious Egyptian architect. You can watch the book presentation here.

- The Messiah of Darfur (Armaenia ed.) is a moving story of conflict and adventure, love and revenge. It is a tale filled with humor and magic about the ongoing war in Darfur. The author, Sudanese writer Abdelaziz Baraka Sakin, spoke about the story here thanks to a collaborative effort with Casa África.

- The Arabian Nights: Telling a tale or dying  (Graphiclassic). This study published by Graphiclassic, with 236 extensively illustrated pages, delves deep into the content of this Middle Eastern literature classic and its widespread influence in all arenas. It includes a post-script with a variety of anecdotes, curiosities and unknown facets of the work.

- History of Egyptian Islamism (published by Tirant lo Blanc). This book provides a historical analysis of Egyptian Islamism stretching from the early Islamization of Egypt to the present day, when Islamists, removed from politics, have been torn apart by repression, seclusion and the senselessness of terrorism. This all leads to a final reflection by the book’s author, Sergio R. Carranza Förster, about the future of Islamism, which you can see in the book presentation video.

- I Am Alone (Los Libros de las Malas Compañías) by Beyrouk. ”I Am Alone” takes us to a city located on the border of the Mauritanian Sahara, accompanied by a cosmopolitan character who touched the sky with his hands as a result of opportunism and corruption, being sunk into hell when luck turns on him. We got to talk with the book’s author thanks to a collaborative effort with Casa África.

- Old Saddlebag. (Sial Pigmailion). Author Abdo Tounsi draws on his “old saddlebag” of memories, experiences and anecdotes gathered throughout a lifetime, and transforms them into fictional stories based on human relationships, while also mentioning some historical facts.

- The Doctor from Mosul (Ed. Kailas), by Óscar Mijallo. In the midst of the Battle of Mosul, Dr. Ayash risks his life to fight ISIS and try to save his patients. Having vanished after the Islamists’ retreat, a French-Spanish aid worker will do everything possible to find him. It is a novel which interweaves the stories of different characters, bringing anonymous, unfairly unsung heroes to the forefront.

In the Country of Others (Cabaret Voltaire). This is the first volume in a trilogy that begins in the 1950s, following the life stories of characters inspired by the family of the author, Leila Slimani, and the change in a country, Morocco, which overcame its colonial period to rise up as an independent nation. You can watch the interview we held with the author.

- The Tangiers Front (1936-1940). (Marcial Pons) Bernabé López will be introducing to us a chronicle about the two faces of this international city, during the dramatic years in which it became the true war front where nearly fifteen thousand Spaniards co-existed, all in their own trenches.

- Feminisms Face to Face with Islam (Catarata). In this book, Laura Mijares and Ángeles Ramírez show the wide range of stances among different forms of feminism, as well as practices with respect to the hijab, a garment that can contribute to oppression or be used to stand up to it, depending upon the context. They explained this to us at this event.

- Jerusalem, the Holy Captive (Península). Journalist Mikel Ayestaran provides a chronicle of Jerusalem, written in the first person on the basis of tales told by neighbors from all four boroughs in the Old Town (Muslim, Jewish, Armenian and Christian). Through them, the author discusses what life is like in a city captive to its own sacred status, yearned for by Jews, Muslims and Christians alike, a Holy Land in which the past inevitably swallows up the future. We talked with the book’s author on Book Day, and you can watch it here.

- Another Bone for the Tribe’s Dog (Ediciones del Oriente y del Mediterráneo). Posthumous book of poems by Iraqi poet Sargon Boulus. His poetry is wisely eclectic, because he combines many cultural references enlivened by the author’s unique biography. Published and translated by Luz Gómez, with whom we spoke about the work here.

- There Is No Holy Land for the Vanquished, by Javier Martín and The Libyan Crossroads, Deadly Passage to Europe, 2011-2020,  by Ricardo García Vilanova, both deal with the causes and reasons for the migration crisis shaking up the Mediterranean and Sahel region. The result of a decade of work by the two reporters, it immerses us in the lives of men, women and children trapped in a whirlwind of uprootedness. Take a look back at our dialogue with the authors here.  

- Our Unexpected Brothers (Alianza Editorial). Amin Maalouf dreamt up a complex, nervewracking thriller with roots in mythology that tunes in to the crisis which our world is currently living through. Although written before the pandemic, it is impossible not to find echoes of it in these disoriented times, when our planet is threatened like never before  (J.-C. P. Livres Hebdo). Here you can watch the book presentation we held.

If you prefer reading journals, you must not miss out on these:

- Hesperia, Culturas del Mediterráneo is an academic journal aimed at larger audiences which focuses on the cultural world, taking a look at the great changes taking place today, with a special interest in the Mediterranean region. Issue 17 is a monograph fully devoted to the topic of the United Arab Emirates. You can watch a video of the journal’s presentation here.

- Afkar/Ideas is a quarterly journal which shifts between articles for specialists and the general public; it is a space for reflection and debate about North Africa and the Middle East, and their relations with Europe. Issue 62 analyzes the most notable events in 2020: the consequences of the pandemic and the rollback in freedoms throughout the region, as well as the Abraham Accords for normalizing Israel’s relations with certain Arab countries. Watch the debate about it here.

- Baynana (Between Us). An online magazine in Arabic and Spanish started up by Syrian refugees residing in Spain, with the support of Fundación Por Causa. Its purpose is to increase visibility of the everyday reality of migrant and refugee communities in Spain, addressing issues of concern to these groups while narrating their experiences in the first person, through the plurality of voices that take part in publishing the magazine. We talked with its founders on World Press Freedom Day.

You can order and purchase all of your books at Casa Árabe’s Balqís Bookshop, with which we will be attending the Madrid Book Fair for yet another year, from September 10 to 26.
This summer, take some of these books with you (or all of them!)