In this episode of the Boundless Book Club from the Emirates Literature Foundation, you’ll find Ahlam, Andrea and Annabelle talking to Editor of Think With Google MENA and travel blogger Sara Hamdan, aka @holidaysinheels, about the books that are as good as a plane, train or automobile at transporting us to incredible locations.
As always, we would love to hear from listeners. Send us your top armchair travel books for a chance to win a selection of books that will transport you to your next adventure. Message us on social media or ping us an email on email@example.com
Books and authors mentioned in this episode:
Pearls on a Branch: Oral Tales by Najla Jraissaty Khoury
One thing books are better at than modern-day travel? Time travel. Ahlam travels back in time to a world of tradition she yearns for, when Arab families would gather on the rooftop, under the stars and listen to a storyteller weave tales into the night. Fans of the phrase 'Once Upon a Time' can look forward to learning about its magical Arabic equivalent.
The One Memory of Flora Banks, by Emily Barr
Flora Banks has an amnesia that means she can't make memories, so imagine her suprise when she kisses a boy at a party and remembers it the next day. Thinking he might hold the key to it all, she follows him all the way to the town of Longyearbyen, Svalbard. More upbeat than the YA novels she's been reading lately, Andrea recommends this one for readers hankering for a cold trip, and Emily Barr's Backpack ˆfor those looking to spend time on the South East Asia trail by way of a psychological thriller.
60 Degrees North: Around the World in Search of Home by Malachy Tallack
After the death of his father, Malachy Tallack travels from his home in Shetland, through the 60th parallel - travelling westward first through Greenland, Canada, Alaska, Russia and more until finally coming back home. Annabelle recommends this travel memoir which packs a punch with its observations of our contradictory need as human beings for both danger and shelter, and the author's own exploration of home, love and loss.
Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
Sara moves us South to warmer beachy climes with this family saga set against the backdrop of war-torn Cuba. Moving between the present-day of the protagonist Marisol's uncovering of her family history and her grandmother's experiences in 1958, Sara was drawn to this by the beautiful cover, recommends it for the incredible sense of place, but not necessarily for the love story...
Ahlam Bolooki is the Festival Director for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the largest celebration of the written and spoken word in the Arab World. Ahlam finds it difficult to choose a favourite genre as it’s always changing and she’s still in the midst of discovering her literary self. She’s catching up on all the gems she missed as a child such as The Little Prince and The Giving Tree, but has also developed a new appetite for Crime Fiction so who knows what’s next?
Andrea Gissdal is the Head of Communications and Marketing for the Emirates Literature Foundation. From a voracious and indiscriminate reader as a child, to a part time bookseller as a student, as an adult she has become a literary omnivore but with a preference for fiction. She also dabbles in creative writing, and has a penchant for Scrabble.
Annabelle Corton is part of the team that puts together the programme of events for the EmiratesLitFest each year. She runs the Festival Book Club and has a background in guesting and presenting on talk radio shows about various literary topics. She likes words like ‘equinox’ and ‘vespa’, and loves a good pun. She’ll read anything in reach, but has a fondness for witty tussles of good vs. evil on page and screen, especially vampire fiction where a great deal is at stake. Get it? Stake? ….She’s not sorry.