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Disclaimer - These are just my opinions which will no doubt differ to yours! All I am trying to do is recommend books that have dance related scenes in or are about Turkey or the Middle East so might be of interest to students of Arabic dance.

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Laurie Devine "Nile" "Saudi"(ISBN 0-233-97775-9) "Crescent"

I have yet to find "The Nile," but as I loved the other two books I am sure it is worth reading. Laurie specializes in chronicling vast chunks of her characters lives against the back drop of the country the book is set in. "The Crescent" which is set in Lebanon from the 1960's to the 1980's charts the country's descent into war through the eyes of it's four central character's who are all life long friends, an American Jew, a Palestinian Sunni Muslim, a French/-Lebanese Coptic Christian and a Lebanese Shiite Muslim. Buy ten packs of tissues before you sit down to read it. Both "Saudi" and "The Crescent" have chapters which have descriptions of dance as a rite of passage.

Ahdaf Soueif "The Map of Love " (click on the link to Buy now!)

I loved this book. It is a vast tapestry of a story line, spread across time. The four central female characters are beautifully portrayed, I read it in a few days as I could not put it down, I was enthralled by it and could not function properly until I had finished it. (Tip: There is a glossary of Arabic words at the back of the book, this would have been really helpful had I found it before I finished the it!)

"Aisha " Is another book By Ahdaf Soueif, it features a vivid "Zar" scene so it is well worth reading just for that.


Louisa Young "Baby Love ," Publisher: Flamingo; ISBN: 0006550819 "Desiring Cairo" Publisher: Flamingo; ISBN: 0006551890 and "Tree of Pearls " Publisher: Flamingo; ISBN: 000655234X

A trilogy of books based around our heroine Evangline Gower, a former belly dancer who is a single mother raising her dead sister's child. These books are funny, tragic, inspirational and scary. Angeline is a very smart, sexy and sassy character, I adore her! As she no longer dances the character makes her money writing about the history of the dance, which means there are some lovely informative side tracks from the main storyline. I did read somewhere that Ewan Mcgregor's production company have brought the film rights to the books, if you need any one to play Angeline I'm free...

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