Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tuesday Intro: An Unnecessary Woman

You could say I was thinking of other things when I shampooed my hair blue, and two glasses of red wine didn't help my concentration. 
Let me explain. 
First, you should know this about me: I have but one mirror in my home, a smudged one at that. I'm a conscientious cleaner, you might even say compulsive - the sink is immaculately white, its bronze faucet sparkles - but I rarely remember to wipe the mirror clean. I don't think we need to consult Freud or one of his many minions to know that there's an issue here.
An Unnecessary Woman
by Rabih Alameddine

I started listening to this book as I was falling asleep last night and found myself immediate drawn to the voice of the main character, Aaliya Saleh, as portrayed by narrator Suzanne Toren. I'm only 20 or 30 minutes in, but think I'm going to enjoy this one.

Here is the goodreads summary:
Aaliya Saleh lives alone in her Beirut apartment, surrounded by stockpiles of books. Godless, fatherless, childless, and divorced, Aaliya is her family's "unnecessary appendage." Every year, she translates a new favorite book into Arabic, then stows it away. The 37 books that Aaliya has translated over her lifetime have never been read by anyone. 
In this breathtaking portrait of a reclusive woman's late-life crisis, listeners follow Aaliya's digressive mind as it ricochets across visions of past and present Beirut. Colorful musings on literature, philosophy, and art are invaded by memories of the Lebanese Civil War and Aaliya's own volatile past. As she tries to overcome her aging body and spontaneous emotional upwellings, Aaliya is faced with an unthinkable disaster that threatens to shatter the little life she has left. 
A love letter to literature and its power to define who we are, the prodigiously gifted Rabih Alameddine has given us a nuanced rendering of one woman's life in the Middle East.
What do you think of the opening? Would you continue reading?


Every Tuesday, Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea posts the opening paragraph (sometime two) of a book she decided to read based on the opening. Feel free to grab the banner and play along.

50 comments:

  1. I really liked the intro - I'd keeping reading/listening!

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    1. Sarah - I think I'm going to like this a lot!

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  2. Oh I love that intro. Definitely don't need Freud to see the issue with not cleaning the mirror. I'm glad you're enjoying listening to this one. Look forward to seeing what you think of it!

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    1. Katherine - I have no expectations and have been pleasantly surprised so far.

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  3. I really like the sound of this one. Am going to see if my library has a copy,

    My Tuesday post: http://www.bookclublibrarian.com/2015/02/first-chapter-first-paragraph-92.html

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    1. Catherine - I tried to get a print copy from the local library here, but they don't have it. Hope you have better luck.

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  4. Wow! That blurb and the excerpt blew me away! I would never have picked this one up, based on the cover or the author (unknown to me), but now I am definitely intrigued. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

    Lately I seem to be drawn to books about reclusive, eccentric women. I wonder what that is saying to me? LOL

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    1. Laurel-Rain Snow - I seem to be drawn to that type of book at the moment, too, so it's saying the same thing to me ;-)

      I actually saw this on an end-of-the year list from indie booksellers. They called it an "under the radar" favorite.

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  5. Yeah, the intro and blurb really pull you in.

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  6. I like the voice of the intro. She's someone I'd like to know better. She's actually begging us to get to know her.

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    1. Margot - I look forward to getting to know her a little better.

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  7. Love the opening! The book sounds interesting, too. Taking the time to translate and then never letting anyone read it??
    Thanks for stopping by!

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    1. Kim - Translating works nobody will read sounds like an odd labor of love.

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  8. Awesome intro! Sounds like a winner.

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    1. Beth F - My fingers are crossed it continues like this.

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  9. A great opening, definitely makes me want to read more.

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    1. Lindsay - The opening drew me right into her world.

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  10. I love the synopsis of this book, though I didn't get where it was going by the opening paragraph. Not that I didn't find it intriguing, but I needed the synopsis to sell me. Sounds like another book about books--wonder if it exists in audio?

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    1. JaneGS - It does! I'm actually listening and love the narrators voice so far.

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  11. I understand why you didn't want to stop listening to this one, JoAnn. I really like the intro.

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    1. Literary Feline - I wished I could have stayed awake longer...

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  12. I've been lusting after the cover of this one forever! So pretty. I hope you love it!

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    1. Andi - Fingers crossed... I have high hopes!

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  13. I've heard fantastic things about this book and it totally sounds like my style. Can't wait to hear what you think if you finish it!

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    1. Shannon - I can't wait to see where this goes. I loved the voice immediately.

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  14. I will be interested to hear what you think JoAnne. I couldn't finish this one. Her interior life dominates the book and although it was interesting at times, the book felt claustrophobic to me. I kept wanting more. It might be better in the audio version.

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    1. Sunday - I was hoping you'd chime in today! I remember seeing you started this one and then never heard any more. Your comment will temper my expectations, which are pretty high after that opening.

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  15. This sounds beautiful, if extraordinarily heavy. I think I will need to tuck this recommendation away for another time! Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Shaina - I'm not quite sure how heavy this will be yet.

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  16. I have this one on my library list and will definitely be reading it at some time this year. I added it after reading several positive reviews. Look forward to hearing your thoughts on it.

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    1. Cat - I'm encouraged to know that you were drawn to this title, too. Will let you know how it goes.

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  17. After reading the opening, I want to get to know what makes this character tick! I'm intrigued.
    My Tuesday post features SIX STRINGS.

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    1. Sandra - I'm want to get to know her better, too.

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  18. I love the cover and I find myself identifying with the opening paragraph. I dislike mirrors too. Have a nice week. kelley—the road goes ever ever on

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    1. Kelley - I laughed at her forgetting the mirror, yet totally understand it.

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  19. I would! And I would never have picked it up with your introduction. :) (And I didn't know, or did I? that we shared that particular time of reading...)

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    1. Audrey - Do you listen while falling asleep too? I've also gotten into a bad habit of turning on the audiobook in the middle of the night when I wake up and can't fall back to sleep.

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  20. I love it, and am off to find out more -- great pick -- enjoy

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    1. Diane - I listened to a little more on my walk this morning and still like it.

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  21. This intro is intriguing and looks like a book I'd like. Hope you enjoy it, and can't wait to read your thoughts!

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    1. Monica - I wish I had a print copy, too, but the local library doesn't have it.

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  22. That summary is intriguing to say the least. It sounds great :D I hope you continue to enjoy it

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    1. Jennifer - Not much listening time right now, but I'm still enjoying this one.

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  23. I'm ready for a good audio book, so I'll see if my library has this. It really sounds good!

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    1. Les - I haven't made much progress on this one, but really like it so far. It's giving me a glimpse into a world (Lebanon) I know very little about.

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Thank you for taking the time to comment. These conversations are my favorite part of blogging. Please check back, I almost always respond to comments!

I understand commenting has been a challenge lately, so will now allow anonymous comments. However, I will moderate comments on older posts. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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