In this episode of the Boundless Book Club from the Emirates Literature Foundation, you’ll find Ahlam, Andrea and Annabelle talking about fiction and non-fiction books that offer hope in dark times, and which might brighten up your own bookshelf. This topic was suggested by a listener, and we do our best to please. You might be surprised by the books that made the list..
Books and authors mentioned in this episode:
Fifty Million Rising, by Saadia Zahidi
Nothing says ‘Hope’ quite like cold, hard, facts and figures that demonstrate how an entire generation of women in the Muslim world entering the workforce have improved their countries’ economies and societies. Andrea shares some dazzling statistics that will make you hopeful for the future in spite of the current news cycle.
Factfulness, by Hans, Anna and Ola Rosling
Annabelle makes a pit stop recommendation of this breath of fresh air, which debunks the popular school of thought that most of the world’s problems are getting worse. Using clear rational arguments underpinned by facts, we learn to see through our biases to understand what the statistics really tell us.
Thief of Time, by Terry Pratchett
Annabelle finally lands on a Terry Pratchett novel in the ‘Death’ series for her own personal dose of hope. After loving the philosophical clarity with which satirical Grim Reaper ‘Death’ observes humanity in Reaper Man, she decides to find hope in the humour of Thief of Time - a book about what happens when we don’t embrace a bit of chaos in our lives.
The School of Life: An Emotional Education, by Alain de Botton
Ahlam delves into the book that gives her hope in its exploration the contradictory and often confusing emotional baggage of being human. From our need to put down roots to our simultaneous need for the freedom to travel the world, de Botton gives philosophical clarity to otherwise perplexing aspects of the way we live.
Millionaire Expat: How To Build Wealth Living Overseas, by Andrew Hallam
How many of us have ever felt hopeless about our finances? This one’s a practical recommendation from Andrea for instilling hope in a more secure financial future rooted in straightforward advice on how to invest your money wisely, on your own without falling prey to bamboozling financial advisors.
Ahlam Bolooki is the Festival Director for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, the largest celebration of the written and spoken word in the Arab World. Ahlam finds it difficult to choose a favourite genre as it’s always changing and she’s still in the midst of discovering her literary self. She’s catching up on all the gems she missed as a child such as The Little Prince and The Giving Tree, but has also developed a new appetite for Crime Fiction so who knows what’s next?
Andrea Gissdal is the Head of Communications and Marketing for the Emirates Literature Foundation. From a voracious and indiscriminate reader as a child, to a part time bookseller as a student, as an adult she has become a literary omnivore but with a preference for fiction. She also dabbles in creative writing, and has a penchant for Scrabble.
Annabelle Corton is part of the team that puts together the programme of events for the EmiratesLitFest each year. She runs the Festival Book Club and has a background in guesting and presenting on talk radio shows about various literary topics. She likes words like ‘equinox’ and ‘vespa’, and loves a good pun. She’ll read anything in reach, but has a fondness for witty tussles of good vs. evil on page and screen, especially vampire fiction where a great deal is at stake. Get it? Stake? ….She’s not sorry.