While I'd envisioned myself reading much more African literature and a bit more Arabic literature in translation this year back when I was daydreaming about my year-long reading projects in January, I've done about as good a job at that so far as I have at "community outreach" to the vocal but apparently über-fragile YA blogging community. My bad. To get things moving in the right direction, I've decided to embark on an Arabic literature mini-cycle this month to include a reading of Naguib Mahfouz's Miramar (Egypt, 1967), Nawal El Saadawi's God Dies by the Nile (Egypt, 1974), and Tayeb Salih's The Wedding of Zein (Sudan, 1969). I actually just finished the short Mahfouz novel tonight (a complete delight that now has me primed to take on his expansive Cairo Trilogy later on in the year), but I'm really looking forward to the El Sadaawi book based on its rep as an Arabic women's studies classic and to Salih's The Wedding of Zein (a packaging of the title novella and two short stories) since his Season of Migration to the North was one of my best of the year candidates for 2009. In other African news, I'm also in the middle of Kenyan Ngugi wa Thiongo's 1978 Petals of Blood and quite enjoying that as well. Finally, on a related note to all this, I came across this absolutely ace resource for Arabic lit recommendations the day after I made my reading choices for the mini-cycle--and strongly suggest you take a look at it if you're interested in checking out some authors from this language and/or regions. Other titles on deck this month: Roberto Arlt's Los siete locos, Dante's Inferno, Gabriel García Márquez's Cien años de soledad, and Gabriel Josipovici's Moo Pak (this last work = Emily's pick for our shared read discussion set to take place on 6/25: please join us if you can!). Will see how many I can get to after only finishing two books all of last month.