“On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines – And Future is written by Karen Ellott House, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has been visiting the kingdom for more than 30 years. Saudia Arabia is a country of great importance to the world, but one that most people know little about, one of the last absolute monarchies in the world. Or, as The New York Times described it in its review of House’s book: ‘It’s not Mars, exactly, but for most Americans Saudi Arabia is probably more like another world than any other inhabited part of this one. It is about as distinct from the freewheeling United States as a country can be.’
In her book, House examines Saudi Arabia not only through her interviews with most of the key members of the royal family, but, more importantly, through the lives of countless individuals — men and women, in villages and in cities, conservative Muslims and modern reformers, young and old. This book is an authoritative, illuminating, riveting inside look at a country that could well be on the brink, and what that portends for Saudi Arabia’s future — and for our own.
. . . For a fictional perspective on this country, I offer up the newest from Dave Eggers: A Hologram for the King, a finalist for this year’s National Book Award for fiction and recently named one of the top five fiction titles of the year by The New York Times. His novel centers on 54-year-old Alan Clay, a struggling American businessman and a bit of a sadsack in a rising Saudi Arabian city, pursuing a last-ditch attempt to stave off foreclosure, pay his daughter’s college tuition, and finally do something great.
The book has been called a ‘heartbreaking character study’ and a ‘deft and darkly comic novel,’ a sort of ‘moral vision quest.’ Pico Iyer in a review in The New York Times called A Hologram for the King a ‘supremely readable parable of America in the global economy that is haunting, beautifully shaped and sad . . . With ferocious energy and versatility, [Eggers] has been studying how the world is remaking America . . . Eggers has developed an exceptional gift for opening up the lives of others so as to offer the story of globalism as it develops and, simultaneously, to unfold a much more archetypal tale of struggle and loneliness and drift.'”
Read more and buy On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines – And Future; A Hologram for the King and other Day 24 contenders I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats; Dora: A Headcase and Standing at the Water’s Edge: Bob Straub’s Battle for the Soul of Oregon from Broadway Books or your local indie.