Life

Banat Al-Riyadh & Starbucks

I decided to take a break from my busy life and have a relaxing day @ Border’s bookshop and buy Banat Al-Riyadh which was just released in English this week. So I took my newly purchased book and headed to spend several hours alone in Starbucks with a Venti Java Chip Coffee Frappicino & New York Steak & Cheese Panini *drool*

Sometimes I love just sitting alone on a comfy sofa reading a book, it’s been a long time since I’ve had the chance to do it so it was quite refreshing. Before starting to read the book, I scanned the whole place and never everyone was alone; old men reading newspapers, young guys on their laptops, some 5aleeji guys studying and others with their noses deep in books.

So… I’ve read Chapter 1 and nearly finished Chapter 2 and I love the book already. It reminds me of girls I actually know, in the way they talk and their actions, I laughed when I read that one of the Characters Michelle (or Masha’ael in the Arabic Version) studied Computer Science…. since that’s basically me :rofl:

One thing that is annoying me though is all the footnotes at the bottom of the page, basically translating things like what mashalla, yalla, e walla mean…. I guess it’s for the Western Population which have no clue what they mean… but when you know what they mean it gets pretty annoying after a while

You have to commend Rajaa on writing such a book and I really hope she released more books soon :D

Here is a quick synopsis of the book if you don’t already know (which is highly unlikely!)

An unknown girl in her early twenties decides to narrate the story of her friends. She is like a modern Scheherazade that narrates these stories every weekend. Her motivation is to revenge the tyranny of life and the society against her friends. Each chapter in the novel starts with a piece of poetry, a verse from the Quran, or lyrics from a famous song that captured the idea of the chapter.

The narrator sends e-mails from her internet group to the subscribers. Those e-mails as the narrator forecasts in the novel stir the media especially popular newspapers in Saudi like Al-Riyadh, Al-Watan and Al-Jazeerah which happened in real life after the novel was published. This kind of forecasting added reality and intrigue to the novel. In one segment, the narrator says that she will probably be interviewed on Al-Arabiya TV by one of the most important interviewers in the Arab World: Turki Al-Dakheel which also took place.

The novel speaks of 4 Saudi girls who are studying at the university in Riyadh: Sadeem, Gamrah, Lamees and Masha’ael. The four girls were bound by a strong friendship despite their differences.

Source: Rajaa Al-Sanea

You can buy the English Version of the Book from Amazon, you really should :D

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26 Comments

  • Reply
    Jacqui
    July 4, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    I wanna do that as well :P

  • Reply
    Emaratioryx
    July 4, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    I read it in Arabic…One thing I wish for is being one of the subscibers…Damn I’d sit waiting + waiting.

  • Reply
    Sou
    July 4, 2007 at 10:04 pm

    Interesting!! Last book I read at Starbucks was ‘Rose Madder’, that was two years ago!

    Why’d u put the link to Amazon up? WHY? *curses the lack of funds*

  • Reply
    ananyah
    July 4, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    Juju- you should!

    Emaratioryx- I wonder if it’s a real list hahahha or I bet someone has copied it now ;p~

    Sou- Sorry hehehe just trying to be helpful y’know ;p~

  • Reply
    zabo0o6a
    July 4, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    i loved that book i read it in arabic a year ago or so0 it’s simply amazing i loved sadeem reminds me alot of my self :)

  • Reply
    ananyah
    July 4, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    I’m on Chapter 8 now, and I still think Masha3ael is me lol

    I feel so so sorry for Garoooma :(

    I can’t believe what Sadeem’s “hubby” did!

    But yah amazing book so far :D

  • Reply
    Moodito
    July 5, 2007 at 5:27 am

    i read it too…interesting, keep me thinking who is , from the 4 girls, is Raja al sanea..lol bs f’6ool

  • Reply
    Zahra
    July 5, 2007 at 6:29 am

    I haven’t read it yet but will try to pick up a copy now :)

  • Reply
    ananyah
    July 5, 2007 at 8:03 am

    Moodito- She said she’s none of them, they are too crazy to be her. But hmmm…. rather interesting! I still haven’t slept! I’ve been reading the book for the past 3 hours and I’m nearly finished lol

    Zahra- You really should!

  • Reply
    Lavender
    July 5, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    read it before… and truly thought it was way over-rated…

  • Reply
    ananyah
    July 5, 2007 at 6:44 pm

    Lavender- I do agree the hipe about the book was too much, but I think that was because it was initally banned in the middle east and people gossiping about it. That’s why it hit the press all over the world. I do like the way the English Version is written though :)

  • Reply
    Ansam
    July 5, 2007 at 9:50 pm

    I like the book cover in the english MUCH better.. the arabic one looked ugly!

  • Reply
    ananyah
    July 5, 2007 at 10:10 pm

    yah ur right!

  • Reply
    badr
    July 5, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    the arabic cover looked amateurish but you know what i think this novel is written to be read in arabic rather than english, some emotions and concepts you just can’t translate.

    anyway i love the book, and i think its one of the best and realistic saudi novels out in the market.

    not to mention i consider it a manual to how to interact with my fiancee

  • Reply
    missy
    July 6, 2007 at 1:45 am

    this book is addictive! once u start reading u cant stop lol :P

  • Reply
    ananyah
    July 6, 2007 at 3:36 am

    Badr- Yah it did, but the content makes up for it. You’re right that it’s better in Arabic, however, you still get the point of it in Arabic. They still use arabic phrases in the English version with the translation (but knowing what they already mean helps) and knowing a little about the society also helps. It’s pretty good you’re using it as a manual, just dont turn out to be Waleed, Rashed, Faisal or Firas :P

    Missy- You’re telling me! I have only 4 Chapters left and I only bought it yesterday lol

  • Reply
    Marzouq
    July 7, 2007 at 12:04 am

    That book made a splash when it came out! Brought a lot of controversy to Saudi, even though it is not a controversial book, people always try to hide behind the curtain when it comes to these types of situations!

  • Reply
    ananyah
    July 7, 2007 at 1:09 am

    yah, it’s a really good book though! I read it in like not even 2 days.

  • Reply
    Marzouq
    July 7, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    Damn you have a lot of time on your hands, wish I had time like that!!!

  • Reply
    ananyah
    July 7, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    I read it in bed, before I slept and 1st thing in the morning ;p

  • Reply
    Yara
    July 12, 2007 at 9:05 pm

    Thank you for suggesting the book i loved it :** I got it yesterday and right now im on chapter 38 :))

  • Reply
    Girls of Riyadh « Yara’s Memoir
    July 12, 2007 at 10:36 pm

    […] Here is what a fellow blogger Ananyah says about the book and has a synopsis about it. Published in: […]

  • Reply
    Yara
    July 12, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    Oh and a little scene takes place (Faris and Sadeem) in Borders bookshop and starbucks where u were at while reading it ! :)

  • Reply
    Caroline
    August 4, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    Can anybody send a link in English please….

  • Reply
    Jen
    March 19, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    interesting! :)

  • Reply
    Jen
    March 19, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    interesting! :)

    I wanna get that book. Off to the bookstore this afternoon

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