BOOKS IN BRIEF
“When was the last time I tasted / poetry like that, not just a cool mint swirl in the brain / but a wash of chile in the marrow?” Published by Lost Horse Press, Idaho, USA, 2014. ISBN: 978-0991146529, 65pp, Pbk, $18.00/£11.08. Stephen Watts.
Your Mother-in-Law Loves You And Other Proverbs and Expressions from Syria by Rebecca Joubin is an exquisite collection of proverbs and expressions resulting from ten years of travel and research up and down the old, fascinating and peaceful Syria, just before outbreak of the current troubles. Signatures of Syrian culture and identity, the proverbs are presented both in colloquial and Modern Standard Arabic, with an English translation and a contingent explanation. Each proverb has its own drawing by Etab Hreib, who is a critically acclaimed Syrian watercolourist from Der-Ez-Zor.
The title is emblematic of the strong inclination towards hospitality among Syrian people: when visiting someone unexpectedly “hamatik ba-tohebik” (your mother-in-law loves you) becomes indeed an invitation to join them in their meal. This is just one of the “bizarre” sayings of the book, divided into topics such as the body, food, animals, colours, homeland, work, and experience, but we can also find more universal expressions that let us understand how similar human beings are all over the world. Strongly recommended to students or curious readers. Selected by Rebecca Joubin, Illustrated by Etab Hreib. Published by Ibex Publishers, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-58814-132-3180, Pbk, 180pp, £16.00/ $28.00. Annamaria Bianco
In Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People, Jack Shaheen has taken on an impressive and rather sad task of listing films with Arabs stereotyped on screen. Shaheen’s accomplishment is to give a short analysis of each film, a list of over 1,100 titles. Unfortunately no additions have been made since the second edition (2009) and therefore the new films mentioned in Banipal 38’s brief review have not been added, and neither has any other film from the 21st century. Instead Sha-
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