Tag Archives: Lebanon

What Makes a Place Home?

A Week of Books Featuring Writing and Publishing

Note: On Monday, I talked about All Men Are Liars, whose characters are all in the writing and publishing business. Wednesday’s book,  Alys Always, in contemporary England, also centers on the business of writing. And today we go to Beirut for a year with a freelance writer and editor. It just happens that three books landed on my reading pile that deal quite prominently with writing, reading, and publishing. So it seemed logical to group them together this week.

Ramlet El Bayda at Dusk - Beirut, Lebanon

Destination: Beirut, Lebanon

Book: Jasmine and Fire: A Bittersweet Year in Beirut (New June 2012) by Salma Abdelnour

Salma Abdelnour is not your average homeless person.  But in these pages, she spends a year looking for a home. Continue reading What Makes a Place Home?

Why People Cook in Time of War

Lebanese Kibbeh Nayeh
Lebanese Kibbeh Nayeh, raw ground meat

Day of Honey
Destinations: Baghdad and Beirut

Book: Day of Honey:A Memoir of Food, Love and War (Org. Feb. 2011, New in paperback 2012) by Annia Ciezadlo

“Day of honey, Day of onions.” Arab proverb.


Other books dissect the causes and results of war in the Middle East. Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War focuses on something more basic–the everyday life of people caught in a war zone and the way that food becomes a survival tool in more ways than simply nutrition.

Most civilians experience war not as the fighters and victims that parade across television screens, but as tired housewives peeling potatoes and wondering, all the while, at the stupidity of it.  Being trapped in the house with Umm Hassane [in Beirut with her Lebanese mother-in-law] forced me to experience the awful, humiliating tedium of war without the anesthetic of danger or the narcotic self-importance of risk–to go through it not as a witness, not as a journalist, but as a human being.

  Continue reading Why People Cook in Time of War