Wednesday, January 11, 2012

What is Benjamin Buchholz reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Benjamin Buchholz, author of One Hundred and One Nights.

His entry begins:
Right now I'm ingesting huge doses of original source material in Arabic -- the tales of the raids conducted by Muhammad and his followers, the Muhajaroon and the Ansar, in the first years after the Hijra to Medina, along with hadiths, hadith commentaries, tafsir, etc. To augment this academic load, I occasionally still dabble as a form of therapy with fiction or with lighter popular history. My goal in all this study is to write an historical fiction novel about the first hundred years or so of Islam, something similar to what Colleen McCullough did for Rome in her great series "The Masters of Rome" or akin to Patrick O'Brien's "Master and Commander" books on British naval warfare in the Napoleonic era, focusing like O'Brien did on the swashbuckling aspects of the story, the romantic sweep of the Islamic conquests across Syria and Iraq. I've read both those series multiple times and I pick them up again now, from time to time, just to refocus my thoughts about the acquisition of data, points of data, little sayings and traditions and modes of thinking, from the study of all this Islamic history.

The last novel I read straight-through was Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. Really a great, sweeping work -- though perhaps...[read on]
About One Hundred and One Nights, from the publisher:
After 13 years in America, Abu Saheeh has returned to his native Iraq, a nation transformed by the American military presence. Alone in a new city, he has exactly what he wants: freedom from his past. Then he meets Layla, a whimsical fourteen-year-old girl who enchants him with her love of American pop culture. Enchanted by Layla's stories and her company, Abu Saheeh settles into the city's rhythm and begins rebuilding his life. But two sudden developments--his alliance with a powerful merchant and his employment of a hot-headed young assistant--reawaken painful memories, and not even Layla may be able to save Abu Saheeh from careening out of control and endangering all around them.

A breathtaking tale of friendship, love, and betrayal, One Hundred and One Nights is an unforgettable novel about the struggle for salvation and the power of family.
Learn more about the book and author at Benjamin Buchholz's website.

The Page 69 Test: One Hundred and One Nights.

My Book, the Movie: One Hundred and One Nights.

Writers Read: Benjamin Buchholz.

--Marshal Zeringue