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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Carla Mirza: My favourite reads

The linguist in me found it hard to limit the list to five books.I eventually was able to choose those that most impacted my taste in literature, and left their mark on my perception of the world and human relations.

Carla Mirza is a writer at The National

Oscar and the Lady in Pink by Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt
Oscar and the Lady in Pink by Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt

Oscar and the Lady in Pink by Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt

Oscar is a little boy who is diagnosed with cancer and told he has only 12 days to live. One of the “ladies in pink” who comes and visits patients, keeping them them company befriends him. She suggests he lives each remaining day like a decade of his imaginary life and write letters to God at the end of each day. A funny and heartbreaking journey filled with innocence, and life-affirming revelations and a lesson in love. It was made into a film in 2009. Schmitt is also the author of also author of 1999 release Mr Ibrahim and the Flowers of the Quran.

Gibran Khalil Gibran by Alexandre Najjar (translated from French)

This is by far one of the greatest biographies of the legendary Gibran Khalil Gibran, author of The Prophet. Gibran embodies the existential dilemma that most expatriates experience between the love of a home-country and the new-found love of another. A must-read for those wanting to understand the richness of Gibran’s legacy to the Lebanese culture, literature and arts.

Lebanon: Poems of Love and War by Nadia Tuéni (2006)

This book tells of suffering – memories of an abandoned garden fading away – and of a poet torn between two cultures, - the West and the Middle East. Tuéni’s poems touched my heart with the love of a country I come from but rarely stayed in. Verses from The Lebanese Mountain best communicate the lyrical tone of poetry.

The Stranger by Valerie Toranian

The grandmother figure in all its beauty. The story of a caring, traditional and secretive grandmother, survivor of the Armenian genocide, told by her granddaughter in a celebration of love. Also a crude story of fear, death and cultural differences, and how war brings out the worse in people.

The Unfolding of Language by Guy Deutscher

The astounding courses that shape the development of language and the various linguistic implications of events carry great importance in our multicultural society. This one is for readers fascinated by the history and evolution of words, language and linguistics. Playfully written, it is a fun read packed with knowledge.

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Read more:

Why Stephen King continues to shine, on-page and on-screen

Farah Chamma selects her favourite peers and gives advice on creating poetry

Book review: Escape from Baghdad! showcases best of Saad Hossain's imagination

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