Currently reading

Paul Hanley
A Month in the Country
Michael Holroyd, J.L. Carr
A Tale of the Dispossessed: A Novel
Laura Restrepo, Dolores M. Koch
Mesabi Pioneers
Jeffrey Smith, Russell Hill
The Crusades Through Arab Eyes
Jon Rothschild, Amin Maalouf
Island of a Thousand Mirrors
Nayomi Munaweera


Samarkand - Amin Maalouf, Russell Harris Wow. A sweeping story about the Rubaiyat, and Persian history. One of the best historical fictions I've read, it tells a rich history, complicated and personal as well as political. The first part of the story takes place around the year 1100, during the lifetime of Omar Khayyam, and tells of his story and the struggles of the persian people around that time. Then the narrator pulls us forward to his time, around the year 1900. He is looking for the Rubaiyat, but he gets involved with the historical upheavals in Iran at that time. It takes us forward to the first intervention of the US in Iran, a role which England and Russia were comfortable in and didn't want company. The narrator draws some parallels between 1100 and 1900, and some of the roles are reprised. All in all an amazing book.

The main character's voice is a little formal, but really it's not the main character that is the focus of this book. It is Persia and its people, its struggle for its place in the world. And also the role in history of philosophers and wise men -- what is wisdom, when history is crashing around you?

I learned a great deal from the reading of this book, and recommend it to anyone interested in great stories and the history of that region.