mother tongue

Mother Tongue: My Family’s Globe-Trotting Quest to Dream in Mandarin, Laugh in Arabic, and Sing in Spanish

Author: Christine Gilbert

Language: English

Summary: One woman’s quest to learn Mandarin in Beijing, Arabic in Beirut, and Spanish in Mexico, with her young family along for the ride. 

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strangers are kin

All strangers are kin: Adventures in Arabic and the Arab world

Author: Zora O’Neill

Language: English

Summary: If you’ve ever studied a foreign language, you know what happens when you first truly and clearly communicate with another person. As Zora O’Neill recalls, you feel like a magician. If that foreign language is Arabic, you just might feel like a wizard. They say that Arabic takes seven years to learn and a lifetime to master. O’Neill had put in her time. Steeped in grammar tomes and outdated textbooks, she faced an increasing certainty that she was not only failing to master Arabic, but also driving herself crazy. She took a decade-long hiatus, but couldn’t shake her fascination with the language or the cultures it had opened up to her. So she decided to jump back in—this time with a new approach. Join O’Neill for a grand tour through the Middle East. You will laugh with her in Egypt, delight in the stories she passes on from the United Arab Emirates, and find yourself transformed by her experiences in Lebanon and Morocco. She’s packed her dictionaries, her unsinkable sense of humor, and her talent for making fast friends of strangers. From quiet, bougainvillea-lined streets to the lively buzz of crowded medinas, from families’ homes to local hotspots, she brings a part of the world that is thousands of miles away right to your door.
A natural storyteller with an eye for the deeply absurd and the deeply human, O’Neill explores the indelible links between culture and communication. A powerful testament to the dynamism of language, All Strangers Are Kin reminds us that learning another tongue leaves you rich with so much more than words. – Source:

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book cover

Once upon a time in Beirut

Author: Catherine Taylor

Language: English

Summary: Beirut is not a typical destination for a young Australian couple embarking on their first year of married life. But when Catherine Taylor and her husband begin work as foreign correspondents based in the Middle East they decide to set up home in this ravaged city.  Catherine soon falls in love with the Paris of the Middle East and becomes intrigued by the complexity of its peole: their exuberance and warmth, and Beirut’s vibrant Mediterranean lifestyle, seem to starkly contrast with the dark tales she has heard of violence and hatred. As Catherine’s work takes her across the region, from conflict on the West Bank to war in Iraq, a world behond the cliched descriptions on the nightly news gradually opens up. – Source: Goodreads

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Life’s like that!: your guide to the Lebanese

Author: Michael Karam

Language: English

Summary: Ever wonder why Lebanon is such a crazy country? Ever asked yourself why the Lebanese can drive you to despair? Meet fashion victim, plastic surgery addict, aspiring politician, court corniche jogger, mobile phone fanatic, daddy’s princess and their friends, and get an idea what the Lebanese are really like. You thought they were mad, helpful, fun-loving, generous, grumpy, neurotic, image-conscious, hospitable, workaholic, corrupt, paranoid, proud and kit. Well guess what? You were right — Source:

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Life as a Leb-neh Lover

Author: Kathy Shalhoub

Language: English

Summary: Turning Point brings to you its first Blook: a blog converted into a book, in Kathy Shalhoub’s Life as a Leb-neh Lover. In this lively adaptation from her 12 years of blogging, we are treated to an action-packed memo of a young half-Lebanese, half-Polish woman away from ‘home’ (wherever that may be!). She shares with her readers a series of light and breezy, funny and often touching episodes from a young adulthood crammed full of triumphs, mishaps, highs and lows. Poignantly illustrated by Maya Fidawi, this is a hilarious but touching tribute to preserving Kathy’s attachment to Lebanon — Source:

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roman ruins

Life abroad, identity and passion: the book by Kathy Shalhoub

Kathy Shalhoub is a Lebanese writer whose recent book deals with topics like life abroad, identity and passion.   The idea of an interview came to me when I went to a talk by Kathy Shalhoub, the author of Life as a Leb-neh Lover: The identity crisis of a Maybe Lebanese, at a Coffee Morning organized by Women in Abu Dhabi . The title was “So You … Continue reading Life abroad, identity and passion: the book by Kathy Shalhoub