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An Unnecessary Woman
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
102 posts | 84 read | 2 reading | 155 to read
One of the Middle Easts most celebrated voices, Rabih Alameddine follows his international bestseller, The Hakawati, with an enchanting story of a book-loving, obsessive, seventy-two-year-old unnecessary woman.Aaliya Saleh lives alone in her Beirut apartment, surrounded by stockpiles of books. Godless, fatherless, childless, and divorced, Aaliya is her familys unnecessary appendage. Every year, she translates a new favorite book into Arabic, then stows it away. The thirty-seven books that Aaliya has translated over her lifetime have never been readby anyone.In this breathtaking portrait of a reclusive womans late-life crisis, readers follow Aaliyas 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 Aaliyas 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.
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Parvez
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine

we are constantly explaining and excusing ourselves; life itself, that inexplicable complex of being and feeling, demands explanations of us, those around us demand explanations, and in the end we ourselves demand explanations of ourselves, until in the end we succeed in annihilating everything around us, ourselves included, or in other words explain ourselves to death.

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Parvez
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine

I long ago abandoned myself to a blind lust for the written word. Literature is my sandbox. In it I play, build my forts and castles, spend glorious time. It is the world outside that box that gives me trouble. I have adapted tamely, though not conventionally, to this visible world so I can retreat without much inconvenience into my inner world of books.

readordierachel That's lovely. 2w
23 likes1 comment
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Parvez
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Currently reading

BookwormM Brilliant book 2w
30 likes1 comment
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Zoes_Human
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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The Kindle edition of this excellent book is on sale for $1.99 right now.

https://smile.amazon.com/Unnecessary-Woman-Novel-Rabih-Alameddine-ebook/dp/B00ET...

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Ncostell
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Pickpick

I‘m so glad that I picked up this book that gives a glimpse into the life of a well read woman looking back on her life in Beirut. Aaliya spends most of her time alone, translating great works of literature into Arabic. Although she has a quite solitary existence, her inner life is so rich that it really brings this quiet story to life. I highly recommend this, it was a great read and my U book for #LitsyAtoZ2019.

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Lcsmcat
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Pickpick

Aaliyah will stay with me for a long time. Although I read it quickly, this is not a “page-turner” kind of book. It‘s meditative and funny by turns, full of quotes and infinitely quotable, and a paean to literature. I highly recommend it!

Crazeedi This one is on my tbr list, sounds really good 4mo
Lcsmcat @Crazeedi You should bump it up! I had it more than a year before I read it, and I‘m so sorry I waited! 4mo
ValerieAndBooks This is a good one! Have you read this other one by him? 4mo
Lcsmcat @ValerieAndBooks No, I haven‘t. This was my first by him. 4mo
61 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Lcsmcat
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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“She began circling the top of narcissistic Everest at an early age, and later, after her husband died and her children grew, she floated above the entire Himalayas.”

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Lcsmcat
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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“dancing the Beiruti Hustle to the other side.” 😆

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Lcsmcat
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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@SharonGoforth Book synchronicity! “With this essential reliability, are Germans bored? Does that explain The Magic Mountain?” 🤣

SharonGoforth I really don‘t see The Magic Mountain as boring, although who knows, maybe his readers did? 4mo
Lcsmcat @SharonGoforth I don‘t think she meant the book was boring. I read it as Germans are bored so they invent reasons to stay in sanitariums, etc. Like Hans, wandering and with no focus. 4mo
SharonGoforth @Lcsmcat Oh! Well, hmmmm. Good question! Although there were sanitoriums in the US, too. Maybe it was the era and the lack of scientific knowledge that we have now. 4mo
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Lcsmcat
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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“The hospital had to hire an in-house toilet calibrator.” 😂

AbigailDays That might be the single best job description I've ever heard! 4mo
34 likes1 comment
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Lcsmcat
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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I always seem to start a new book on the last day of the month. 🤷🏻‍♀️ Enjoying a thinner volume after the chunkster I just finished!

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BookwormM
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Pickpick

#ReadAroundtheWorld #Lebanon

Thank you @RachelO for putting this book on my radar I really enjoyed spending time with Aaliya in her apartment in Beruit.

This book is infinitely quotable, highly amusing and touching all at the same time.

I also really enjoyed the positive female friendships where the women supported each other with no hidden agendas.

Highly recommend this

PS rhubarb crumble sundae was amazing

mabell That sounds rich and delicious!! 5mo
RachelO I‘m so glad you enjoyed this one! It was a good month 😊. Do you remember where we‘re off to next? 5mo
BookwormM @RachelO we are off to Cyprus next I will be reading 5mo
RachelO @BookwormM Thank you! I‘d better get a move on! 5mo
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BookwormM
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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#ReadAroundtheWorld #Lebanon

This book is full of great quotes and insights.

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BookwormM
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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#ReadAroundtheWorld #Lebanon

Bookworm issues the struggle is real

Suet624 Hahaha. Sometimes that works. Yup. 5mo
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BookwormM
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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#ReadAroundTheWorld #Lebanon

I suspect hard core littens can relate to this

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BookwormM
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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#ReadAroundtjeWorld #Lebanon

Up next. I am blaming @RachelO for this one as her quotes made me want to read it 🤣🤣

Cathythoughts I have this stacked- looks really good ♥️👍🏻 5mo
RachelO Blame away!! 🤣😂🤣I was really enjoying this, but I‘ve ground to a bit of a halt on everything at the mo, so you‘ll probably finish before me. (Probably as in, you definitely will!) 5mo
34 likes3 stack adds2 comments
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TorieStorieS
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Pickpick

This was my #ReadAroundTheWorld challenge book for July - #Lebanon. It‘s a book lover‘s book, that‘s for sure- full of references across literature and a main character who comes fully to life here. The book is more of a character study in a lot of ways and I think would be perfect for book clubs or other discussion groups looking for a fresh voice. The audio version was great, too! The format worked really well- and not just for #AudioColoring!

britt_brooke Pretty! 😍 5mo
TorieStorieS Thanks, @britt_brooke !! 😊😊😊 5mo
Megabooks Lovely! 5mo
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TorieStorieS Thanks, @Megabooks!! ☺️☺️☺️ 5mo
BooknerdsLife So pretty! 😍 5mo
TorieStorieS @BooknerdsLife Thanks!!! 🤗🤗🤗 5mo
50 likes2 stack adds6 comments
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RachelO
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Started this one last night for #readaroundtheworld #lebanon - think I‘m going to enjoy this story of an older lady living alone with her books. Opening line:

“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”

TorieStorieS I just got the audio version to listen to in July! 6mo
Theaelizabet This sounds really good! 6mo
Nute You reminded me that I had a high interest in this book. Keep me posted on your thoughts.🙂 6mo
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BookwormM Love that quote it actually reminds me of a friend may have to see if I can get hold of this as well 👍😃 6mo
Blaire This has been on my list for a while. 6mo
RachelO @TorieStorieS I can‘t wait to see what you think! 6mo
RachelO @Nute I‘ll try and remember to tag you when I finish 😊 6mo
RachelO @Theaelizabet @blaire I‘m really enjoying it so far. 6mo
RachelO @BookwormM Think this might be a good month! 6mo
TorieStorieS I definitely will!! I have had good luck with the countries/books this year! 6mo
69 likes4 stack adds10 comments
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mrssousou
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Pickpick

Of foreign literature and translation. Discover Aaliya's life, between books, war in Beirut, and her family.

#foreignliterature #rabihalameddine #lebaneseauthors

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sailu112
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
Mehso-so

This book isn't a bad book. I enjoyed so many things about this book. I enjoyed the character and her literary ability. At many points I felt this was an unnecessary book. But there was a lot of wisdom she has which was great to read. This book doesn't have a strong plot which I guess is given, and couldn't hold my attention for a greater period of time. It's a lazy book and wasn't particularly engaging at any instance

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Amyegia
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Mehso-so

I liked a lot about this book! It brought me to a world I‘m not at all familiar with, the voice is great, and it‘s filled with literary references— deep cuts too. All of which make it a lot of fun. But the plot is lacking for me... major points felt schmaltzy and the plot lacked urgency. I‘m glad I read it, but I think it needs a reader who is in a brooding mood, who wants to pick up a million allusions and mull them over.

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peacegypsy
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Reading this as well. Happy to be learning more about Lebanon and this account of a deep love for books.

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tricours
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Pickpick

This book took me very long to read, but then I don't really think it's the kind of book you rush through. Absolutely beautifully written. #passportlitsy

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GatheringBooks
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Pickpick

#FriyayIntro
🧚🏼‍♀️sunny yellow
🧚🏼‍♀️La Mante, the French crime series on Netflix. Loved it.
🧚🏼‍♀️tagged book has made me google soo many titles- full review just posted today here: https://gatheringbooks.org/2018/06/09/saturday-reads-40/
🧚🏼‍♀️ mayo, sometimes thousand island
🧚🏼‍♀️ read, blog, and watch two movies for the mexican film fest here in singapore tomorrow

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GatheringBooks
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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#QuotsyJune18 Day 6: Here is what #Drive(s) the passion of Aaliya, the main character in the story, who translated favourite, obscure, award-winning international classics into Arabic. To have this kind of #Drive and passion for what one does is truly a gift, a sacred one. I lifted my self-imposed book-buying ban to purchase the books she mentioned here: Pessoa, Yourcenar, Lampedusa, Nooteboom, Molina, Duras, Javier Marias among others.

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tricours
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Anna40 :) 2y
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GatheringBooks
Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Pickpick

#AdelesMayMashUp Day 22: There is a #TakeItAll vibe to this quote that is pure surrender to art, when one is emptied out of one‘s self, as one pours one‘s self into simply being - there divinity is found. I feel sad that my book club members did not take to this as much as I did, except for one or two, but clearly this isn‘t a book for everyone. The voice remains masculine for me as if Alameddine was speaking thru Aaliya, but as a whole, I 💙 it.

vkois88 Wow ❤❤ 2y
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GatheringBooks
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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#QuotsyMay18 Day 21: Very #Sage -like observations/ insights about people and the decisions we make/unmake/did not make - along the way.

LikelyLibrarian Ooo...nice! 2y
75 likes1 comment
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Henrik_Madsen
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
Pickpick

72-year old Aaliya is looking back on a life lived through literature. After a failed marriage she has workshop in a bookshop, read, read, read and every year translated another work into Arabic. Now she faces a crisis and in book-filled flat in Beirut.
The story is well-told and the many book references are a joy to read.

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GatheringBooks
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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#ReadingResolutions Day 16: I have just finished reading this exquisite novel, hence my #CurrentBookQuote. My TBR has just exploded exponentially, thanks to Alameddine. I have created a list of titles which I will be sharing in GatheringBooks a month from now.

BookishMe Excited for that list! Hey, I have been working on Saturdays and couldn't reschedule the delayed raincheck ;(( after this Saturday? 2y
BarbaraJean This book sounds amazing! 2y
71 likes1 stack add2 comments
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tricours
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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I‘m finally back to reading this one! And a very early summer came upon us. REAL summer. I‘m sure it‘s the only one we‘ll get this year.

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GatheringBooks
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Pickpick

Sadly, most of my book club ppl didn‘t care much for this novel, they said they couldn‘t get the references and felt stuck. I totally get it since it‘s seemingly without plot, ruminative-to-a-fault, with a mastery in artful digressions. But there is something self-effacing yet sharp, vulnerable yet strong, sardonic and profoundly sad in the voice that spoke to me deeply. Plus, there is such book love that invites rather than excludes the reader.💙

Cathythoughts This quote is breaking my heart ❤️ 2y
Graywacke It‘s a nice quote. This book sounds terrific. 2y
youneverarrived Love everything about this 💛 great review! 2y
asiriusreader This quote speaks to me. 💗 2y
87 likes6 stack adds4 comments
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Smrloomis
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Still on my TBR but a good Kindle deal at 1.99 USD 🎉

charl08 Such a great book! 2y
Smrloomis @charl08 Great to hear! I really liked his Hakawati so hopefully I‘ll get to this one soon. 2y
65 likes2 comments
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GatheringBooks
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Saturday read and a mango frappe.

mabell Fun!! ❤️ 2y
rmaclean4 Love this book!! I see you had a lot of tabs there. I look forward to reading your review. 2y
106 likes1 stack add2 comments
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GatheringBooks
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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triple egg and scallop porridge with salted egg fish skin while on medical leave (hateful colds that just won‘t quit) and yes to reading this book club pick. while i am loving the internal rumination and book love in this novel, the lack of plot also makes it difficult for me to engage with it and muster the stamina to keep on reading. perhaps i haven‘t reached the really meaty parts yet. but beautiful, lyrical language.

rmaclean4 This is one of my favorite reads. You have to be in the right head space for this novel...for me it was a case of right books at the right time. 2y
BookishMe Rest well and feel better soon 2y
cobwebmoth Hope you feel better soon! 2y
Dragon Colds are the worst. Take care of yourself and hope you feel better soon! 💐 2y
80 likes1 stack add4 comments
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GatheringBooks
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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#HumpDayPost
📚photo was after my 5km run last night.
📚tagged book for my FB book club, Age of American Unreason for #BowieBookClub, Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks for my IRL book club
📚last item: choc chip cookies with macadamia!
📚dinner: only husband knows. heheh
📚cake: molten choc lava cake the way Chili‘s does it

Cinfhen You look wayyyy to happy for someone who just ran 🙃 2y
LitsyOwl Great job and cute pic 👏 2y
tammysue Way to go 🙌🏻 and fabulous pic! 💕 2y
75 likes3 comments
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GatheringBooks
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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#GetMovin Day 6: Not exactly a #Sandstorm but more like a Sandbox, but “sandy metaphor” applies, still, albeit vaguely. 😂😍🤗

batsy That is such a good quote. 2y
Cinfhen I really want to read this book! Almost bought it the other day but it wasn‘t on the discount table and I was trying to “behave” myself 😖 2y
GatheringBooks @batsy right?? i thought so too. i am only in page five, but i have a feeling that my tbr would explode because of this book 2y
GatheringBooks @Cinfhen i selected this book as our book club pick for may, so i now have the perfect excuse to sink my teeth into the caramel nutty chocolate cake - and yes, the book too of course. 🤣😂🍰 2y
Cinfhen Oooh, tell me what your bookclub thought of it!!! Maybe I can persuade mine to read it next year. 2y
77 likes1 stack add5 comments
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GatheringBooks
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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#ReadingResolutions Day 4: I personally think that this version of the book is a #CoolCover (there are a few other versions with equally nice designs), but this one highlights how the “unnecessary woman” spent her entire life around words (and books).

batsy Mmm... Nando's 2y
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charl08
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Aaliyah keeps going, reading, translating and surviving civil war in Beirut. #litsyclassics #heroine

55 likes1 stack add1 comment
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tricours
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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A couple of pages in and I know this is going to be great. #passportlitsy

vivastory I loved this one 2y
BarbaraBB Stacked! 2y
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Centique
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Pickpick

This book is chock full of literary and philosophy references - it added metres to Mount TBR! Aaliya is an elderly Lebanese woman, alone with her books and her memories for the most part, she has avoided family obligations, narrowly escaped a marriage and is a misanthrope to warm the heart of Ove. Her thoughts on her Beirut, the few people she was close to and the bookish life are sharp and insightful. You‘ll copy out at least a dozen quotes!

Centique @batsy there is so much about Pessoa in here! 2y
vivastory I adored this book! 2y
CarolynM This is sitting in my TBR. I will have to bump it up the list! 2y
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Centique @CarolynM the one thing about it that some people won‘t like is that it‘s slow and quite academic. I had to look most of the references up! But if you liked Reading Lolita in Tehran you‘d like this 🤞🤞 2y
CarolynM I haven't read that one, but I will definitely try this 2y
batsy Oh, wonderful! I stacked it thanks to all the good reviews on Litsy and it's sitting on my shelf... I really need to read it soon (I tell myself, sternly) 2y
Centique @batsy stay true to your TBR though! I love that the woman in this novel has strict rules for herself about which book she‘s going to tackle next - I commiserate totally! 2y
94 likes3 stack adds7 comments
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Centique
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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This quote at the beginning of An Unnecessary Woman is superb!

Swe_Eva Oh, I l💜ve, l💜ve, l💜ve Pessoa! 2y
Centique @LT_eva I love it when authors lead you to new books and poets. I‘m putting Pessoa on my TBR now! 2y
Swe_Eva @Centique He's challenging, but worth every effort! 2y
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Swe_Eva @Centique I just remembered, my Litsy profile-tag is a Pessoa-quote. 😂 2y
rohit-sawant Love this! 💜 2y
Centique @LT_eva oh that‘s an awesome quote! 2y
batsy Love Pessoa 💜 2y
Centique @batsy @rohit-sawant he‘s a new discovery for me 😍 2y
batsy @Centique @rohit-sawant The Book of Disquiet is one my top ten books. And may I also recommend his poetry written under different heteronyms ❤️ 2y
Centique @batsy oooh I had The Book of Disquiet on my TBR, it sounds fascinating, I will move it up! 2y
KerryPostle It does sound intriguing. Thanks for the recommendation. 2y
55 likes1 stack add11 comments
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GatheringBooks
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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#FierceFeb Day 27: This reclusive #bachelorette lives alone in her Beirut apartment, surrounded by books. She has translated 37 books into Arabic, but no one has ever read them. This book is described to be a love letter to literature and its power to define a person, plus a finalist for National Book Award in 2014. Really looking forward to reading this for #LitWorld2018GB - Literary Voyage Around the World - Lebanon.

batsy Heard such good things about this one, can't wait to read 💙 2y
GatheringBooks @batsy aaargh. so many books, so little time! 😢😭😫 2y
batsy 😭 2y
46 likes2 stack adds3 comments
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Bertha_Mason
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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7 days, 7 book covers. Post a book cover you love. No explanation, no information about the book. Just a cover you love. #7days7bookcovers

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Cca0601
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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First book of the year. Beautiful voice. Beautiful story.

RaimeyGallant Good to know! And a belated welcome to Litsy! #LitsyWelcomeWagon Some of us put together Litsy tips to help new Littens navigate the site. It's the link in my bio on my page in case you need it. Or if you prefer how-to videos, @chelleo put some together at the link in her bio. @LitsyWelcomeWagon
2y
Chelleo Welcome 🤗 2y
5 likes2 comments
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kalinichta
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Pickpick

Aaliya is my heart. I was delighted by the first lines of this book, and a deep love for this introverted, independent woman blossomed from there. I lost track of the many ways I identified with this character, and I was always eager to return to reading so I could spend more time with this imaginary soulmate and have more conversations with her about books and music and hear more stories of her long life in the embattled city of Beirut. 👇🏽

kalinichta It felt like this was one of those reading experiences I had been searching for all my life. 2y
MicheleinPhilly What a beautiful review. I have this one on my Kindle. Moving it up the list. 2y
vivastory @MicheleinPhilly I second @kalinichta fantastic review. I loved this book 2y
kalinichta @MicheleinPhilly @vivastory Thank you both so much. ❤ @MicheleinPhilly I hope you love it, too. 2y
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kalinichta
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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I will review this book later, but right now, having just finished it, I am mourning that fact that it's done. I am bereft knowing my time with Aaliya has come to an end. I haven't loved a character this much in a long time.

#bookhangover

vivastory I really loved this book 2y
kalinichta @vivastory I was enchanted from the start and just fell more and more in love. It's wonderful. 2y
batsy I ordered this recently and can't wait for it to arrive. 2y
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vivastory I haven't read it yet, but this one also sounds great 2y
kalinichta @batsy I picked it up on a whim during a Kindle sale, and I'm so glad I did. I hope you love it. I'll be interested to see what you think. 2y
kalinichta @vivastory Yes, I have my eye on that one. It looks lovely. 2y
22 likes1 stack add6 comments
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kalinichta
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Pro-tip: adding a Gipsy Kings soundtrack to your #litsypartyofone ups the party quotient. Additionally, since I don't understand the language, it doesn't distract from my reading.

Also, it's killing me how much I relate to this book. #bookishsoulmate

Bklover That is a very accurate paragraph. 2y
kalinichta @Bklover I almost want to say, "How dare you, Mr. Alameddine?" because he lays it out so bare. But it's done without pity or despair. 2y
SkeletonKey I relate. 2y
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kalinichta @SkeletonKey I knew I'd find empathetic souls among this bookish cohort. All of us apart, but together. 2y
SkeletonKey Yes! Introverts united. At a distance. 2y
batsy Oh boy do I relate. It's always comforting to find a kindred spirit in the pages of a book or on Litsy 😊 2y
Reggie I love the Gypsy Kong‘s. Djobi djoba, triste pena, and their rendition of Hotel California. 2y
kalinichta @Reggie So much good stuff. 2y
21 likes1 stack add9 comments
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kalinichta
An Unnecessary Woman | Rabih Alameddine
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Even though I forgot #litsypartyofone was happening, I've been unknowingly participating because I haven't been able to tear myself away from Aaliya Saleh's company. Snacks have been chips & guac and a Christmas double ale that I steeped with Earl Grey.