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World Cup of Books: Opening Match

This summer, the Loyola Libraries are excited to bring you the World Cup of Books, an interactive program to encouraging reading books from other countries. Show your support for your favorite team by reading books from and about their country!

The first match up of the World Cup is the host country, Russia, vs. Saudi Arabia.

Aetherial Worlds: Stories by Tatiana Tolstaia, translated by Ana Migdal.
Like the Russian National Team, this collection of stories is measured and thoughtful.

In the first story of this new collection, celebrated Russian woman of letters Tolstaya (The Slynx) reflects on how she began writing in the first place. At 32, after undergoing eye surgery, she was blind for three months and could suddenly remember episodes from her life vividly and describe them effortlessly. This fluid remembrance is in full effect in these stories, many of which could be described as personal essays or family histories. Tolstaya may attract new readers of literary fiction with her thoughtful, sometimes magical prose. Others may find these stories too slow, but fans of Russian literature and culture will relish this first work to be translated in 20 years. —Kate Gray, LibraryJournal

Request it here (note that books on display may appear to be checked out, but can still be requested), or on display at the IC!

Hend and the Soldiers by Badriah Albeshr, translated by Sanna Dhahir.
Almost all of the players on the Saudi Arabian team play in the Saudi Arabian league when they’re not on international duty–only a few were loaned out to La Liga last season. Albeshr’s novel speaks to the isolation of Saudi Arabia–so much so that the novel is banned in her home country.

Sanna Albeshr’s engrossing novel expounds on life as a woman in that nation. Hend, an aspiring storyteller, learns at an early age to live in “fear of the fury” her voice might incite in others. Her domineering mother, Heila, regularly punishes Hend for perceived violations to their conservative culture. As Hend grows older, she collects stories about oppression caused by many of the country’s prohibitions. She realizes that her brothers, Fahad and Ibrahim, are affected by societal pressures as well. When Hend meets Waleed, an intelligent and sensitive man, she becomes increasingly conflicted, struggling between her desire for happiness and her obligations to her family and community. Hend must decide whether she is willing to resign herself to her hardships. —Publishers Weekly

Request it here (note that books on display may appear to be checked out, but can still be requested), or on display at Lewis Library!

Have you read either of these books, or a book from another country participating in the 2018 World Cup? Add a review of a book from a participating nation to our bracket here! You can also fill out our quick form here, and we’ll add your review to the bracket board. Your review may appear in a future blog post!

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