Boston - I always love a gift especially if it's books. Met up with food photographer and blogger Tamara Buran in Boston, who gifted me with two additions to my library that I'm so looking forward to getting stuck into as soon as I get back to Abu Dhabi middle next month.
'How to Fight Islamist Terror From the Missionary Position: A Novel' by Tabish Khair (2014)
Funny and sad, satirical and humane, this novel tells the interlinked stories of three unforgettable men whose trajectories cross in Denmark: the flamboyant Ravi, the fundamentalist Karim, and the unnamed and pragmatic Pakistani narrator.
As the unnamed narrator copes with his divorce, and Ravi - despite his exterior of skeptical flamboyance - falls deeply in love with a beautiful woman who is incapable of responding in kind, Karim, their landlord, goes on with his job as a taxi driver and his regular Friday Qur'an sessions. But is he up to something else? Who is Karim? And why does he disappear suddenly at times or receive mysterious phone calls? When a 'terrorist attack' takes place in town, all three men find themselves embroiled in doubt, suspicion, and, perhaps, danger.
In his novel, set in contemporary times in the west, Khair combines generic elements from the crime thriller, the immigrant novel, the campus novel, and the young adult romance to comment deeply and movingly on our lives today. It is a gripping novel full of suspense, humour, love and unforgettable characters.
'I Remember Beirut' by Zeina Abirached
Zeina Abirached, author of the award-winning graphic novel 'A Game for Swallows' returns with a powerful collection of wartime memories.
Abirached was born in Lebanon in 1981. She grew up in Beirut as fighting between Christians and Muslims divided the city streets. Follow her past cars riddled with bullet holes into taxi cabs that travel where buses refuse to go, on outings to collect shrapnel from the sidewalk.
With striking black and white artwork, Abirached recalls the details of ordinary life inside a war zone.
We then toured the Isabelle Stewart Gardner Museum together where Mr. Fabulous enjoyed a catnap as the Borromeo String Quartet played renditions of J.S. Bach (C-sharp Minor Fugue from the well-tempered Clavier Book 1), Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartet No.12 in D-flat Major, Opus 133 (1968) and ended in Beethhoven's string Quartet No.14, Op.131 (1862) as part of the Museum's Sunday Concert Series. The String Quartet featured artists Nicholas Kitchen, violin/ Kristopher Tong, violin / Mai Motobuchi, violoa and Yessun Kim, cello.
The Book: An in-depth biography of Isabella Stewart Gardner of Boston, via New York, in the 19th century. An American charmer and art collector, Isabella Stewart Gardner and her husband Jack kept company with many leading cultural figures of the day including Henry James, John Singer Sargent and James McNeill Whistler.