Citizen of the Global Village by Hamad Algubllan:
He may not be a household name yet but take note, I’m confident that one day soon more people will know of Hamad Algubllan. Hamad is a Saudi originally from a small village (in fact the same village as my spouse) Unayzeh and when he was about 18 he arrived in the states as a Saudi student. He has recently written and self published “Citizen of the Global Village” in which he candidly shares his experiences, his life and his journey from the small desert village to his years as a student in California and how those times shaped him into the person he is today. His stories and experiences will make one smile and laugh out loud as well as open ones eyes to how one from the East views life and traditions and culture of the US. Hamad’s stories go far towards bridging the gap between East & West and shedding more understanding on the differences as well as the similarities in culture, customs and traditions. I’m very honored that Hamad was kind enough to share a copy of his book with me. I like the way that the front and back cover run together with a picture of Hamad in his traditional Saudi dress on the front cover with a photo of his native village and then the desert sands gradually fade into the backdrop of a sprawling US metropolis and another photo of Hamad in western clothes and sporting a baseball cap.
Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea:
Girls of Riyadh is written in an enjoyable and easy-to-follow form about four young Saudi women. This book enters into the private side of Saudi life and society that happens in the Kingdom but seldom spoken about or spoken about so candidly such as relationships, courtships before official engagements have taken place, sex before marriage, adapting to marriage and divorce. Rajaa Alsanea writes the book as if messages are being posted into a private Internet forum which only select individuals can access and read. What makes this book stand out is that it is written by a young Saudi woman and how some young Saudi women have learned to circumvent the traditional and conservative practices of life and culture in Saudi Arabia where young women are typically prohibited from having any contact with a man who is not a sanctioned relative such as a father, brother, uncle, husband or grandfather.
If Olaya Street Could Talk — Saudi Arabia: The Heartland of Oil and Islam by John Paul Jones:
John Paul Jones worked for a period of time in Riyadh at King Faisal Specialist Hospital. In his book, “If Olaya Street Could Talk – Saudi Arabia: The Heartland of Oil and Islam” he shares his experiences, views and perspectives of life in Saudi Arabia during that period of time.
As the title implies, “Discovery! The Search for Arabian Oil” takes the readers to the origins of when and how oil was first discovered in Saudi Arabia. It also serves as a reminder of how welcomed Americans once were in Saudi Arabia as well as illustrating the changes which the discovery brought upon the Kingdom as a nation.
The Burning Veil is a work of fiction written by author Jean Grant. I found that once I picked up this book and began reading, I could not put it down and finished it by the next day. Jean Grant presents an accurate and believable depiction of romance between an American woman and a Saudi man. The couple meets while the Saudi man is in the United States. The American woman is a doctor and therefore has little difficulty obtaining a job in the Kingdom after her Saudi returned home. Working in the Kingdom allowed her to not only get to know her Saudi better on his home turf but to experience firsthand the customs, cultures and traditions of day-to-day life in Saudi Arabia. The Burning Veil illustrates well the communication and cultural challenges an American and a Saudi face when forging a relationship and new life together. Jean Grant also does an excellent job in incorporating real life incidents and experiences of Saudi life into this compelling work of fiction.
While a work of fiction, The Burning Veil contains many truths that anyone who has had a relationship or married to a Saudi can readily relate too. The Burning Veil is published by Mishmish Press and available via Amazon.com.
And stay tuned…American Bedu had the opportunity to have an exclusive interview with Jean Grant which will be forthcoming in June.