All Strangers Are Kin

All Strangers Are Kin

Adventures in Arabic and the Arab World

Book - 2016
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If you've ever studied a foreign language, you know what happens when you first truly and clearly communicate with another person. As Zora O'Neill recalls, you feel like a magician. They say that Arabic takes seven years to learn and a lifetime to master. Steeped in grammar tomes and outdated textbooks, O'Neill faced an increasing certainty that she was not only failing to master Arabic, but also driving herself crazy. She took a decade-long hiatus, but couldn't shake her fascination with the language or the cultures it had opened up to her. So she decided to jump back in--this time with a new approach. Join O'Neill for a grand tour through the Middle East. You will laugh with her in Egypt, delight in the stories she passes on from the United Arab Emirates, and find yourself transformed by her experiences in Lebanon and Morocco. She's packed her dictionaries, her unsinkable sense of humor, and her talent for making fast friends of strangers. From quiet streets to crowded medinas, from families' homes to local hotspots, she brings a part of the world that is thousands of miles away right to your door, reminding us that learning another tongue leaves you rich with so much more than words.--Adapted from dust jacket.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016.
ISBN: 9780547853185
0547853181
Call Number: B O'Neill, Zora ONE
Characteristics: xvi, 318 pages ; 24 cm

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ontherideau Nov 08, 2019

This is a wonderful view of every day life in the Arab world, what we don't hear in the news, dialects, food and customs.
"If East Beirut was, in the broadest brush strokes, Christian and the West was Muslim, then downtown had been claimed squarely by capitalism."

s
SandraMB
Oct 20, 2019

I love this book because I am the author's doppelganger. I share her need to understand the minute details of the Arabic language (formal and colloquial) before attempting to read, write or speak it on the fly. And like her, I have a very soft spot for Egypt and the Egyptian dialect.

I congratulate her on coming up with an original idea for a book on a language most of us don't delve into.

When I first started to read it, I questioned whether someone who is not interested in examples of the Arabic language details would find the book interesting. Would I want to know the same about bahasa Indonesian?

I decided I would because I love the history of languages in general, but maybe not as much as with the strong pull I feel about Arabic and The Middle East.

y
YellowKarr
Oct 13, 2018

“The women are all dressed like beautiful birds now,” she marveled, watching the passing crowd. “In Morocco in the 1960s, Beverly said, “clothes had all been gray & brown, a country full of sparrows. Now the women flit by in robes of emerald green with yellow in the sleeves, dove gray & pink...God was beautiful & he loved beauty.”

s
shonablack
May 15, 2018

Absolutely loved it! Very funny, entertaining and insightful. Interesting from a travel point of view, but especially good if you have a smattering of Arabic, or even any interest in the language. O'Neill is an engaging writer regardless.

m
miaone
Sep 30, 2017

Too much information for the level of interest I had.

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