I’m a major bookworm. I basically read anything I can get my hands on, if I can understand it that is. I’ve tried reading in Arabic before, really liked it but couldn’t read as quickly as I do English. I do read in Arabic but it definitely doesn’t come close to how much I read in English. Anyway, I decided to give this one book a shot only 2 nights ago. It’s called الفيل الأزرق, Arabic for ‘The Blue Elephant’ by a young Egyptian author, Ahmed Mourad. This book has been adapted into a movie but I haven’t seen it yet. Back to the point of me reading the book, I decided to give it a shot because I was looking for an easy-going novel to read before bed since all the readings I do during the day are mainly for work and study, which I enjoy very much but I wanted a low maintenance and low concentration kind of read. So I started reading الفيل الأزرق, at first the formal arabic threw me off because I speak and am used to hearing/conversing in colloquial Egyptian Arabic. So I wasn’t really crazy about exerting too much effort into understanding the words so I resolved to return it to the bookstore the next day. This was after reading the first page of the book, but because I had already gotten into bed, settled down to read, nothing else was within reach, I was too lazy to get up and I wasn’t sleepy yet, so I just read on.
Then, as they say, the rest is history. The following day I reached page 67 before I literally had to put the book down to do something very important at the time.
Went back home and told my mom that she just HAD to read this book, it is such a page-turner and I am dying to know what happens next. So she said, ‘okay sure when you’re done with it pass it along to me and I’ll give it a read’. I said No, I didn’t want to wait till I finish it then she finishes it to be able to discuss it with her, so I got into my car, drove out to the bookstore and bought her a copy. She started reading it right away, and since my mom is obviously older, had a better Arabic education and has stronger language roots than I do, we both reached page 130 last night. She reached it in one sitting, I did in about three. That’s the power of a well written, mysterious, page-turning novel. We both had to put it down because it was 1 AM and we needed to wake up at 6 AM the next [same] day. I have a strong feeling that when I get home tonight I’ll see her finishing the final pages of the book!
Oh well, we’ll see. I just wanted to make note of good this author is! The fact that he was able to attract/ capture the attention of non-arabic readers, like myself, as well as heavy arabic readers, like my mom, is and of itself a huge success. Wow, I haven’t read a book like that since I my all-time-favorite ‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusak.
Anyway, we’ll see how it goes.