Thursday, January 9, 2020
TBR Pile #6: The Arabian Nights
*This review can also be found on my Goodreads account.
Rich. Lavish. Elegant.
The Arabian Nights has been on my list to read for a long time now and as I finish my first read of it, I have to ask myself 'Self... why did it take you so long to read this?!' lol And the answer is probably because I was intimidated by the sheer size of this collection of stories. But I finally took the time to sit down and read it, from cover to cover, and I have no doubt I'll be reading it again in the future!
I don't typically read forewards of books, just preferring to dive straight into the good stuff. But I took the time to read this one and am glad I did. It prepared me in a way that allowed me to enjoy the stories even more, giving me a cultural and historical context that provided more richness to each individual tale as well as the over-arching framework.
As each tale unfolds, glimpses into a society, culture, and religion bring these tales to life. Before reading this, I had very little knowledge of ancient Islamic/Arabic society norms and practices. And I'm not saying this is a perfect history of that society and culture. In fact, it actually makes me want to learn more about that history in order to see how close to realism these stories presented of the times. The tales are rich in details pertaining to that culture and society, allowing the reader to envision what might have been everyday norms during that point in history and I look forward to diving into more research just to see how much of it came close to reality!
As for the supernatural, the fantastical, the adventures and romance, it's all in here! And every tale appears to have some sort of lesson or morality to impart to the reader. But there is so much more to take away from each tale than just a life lesson and each reader may take away something different.
There aren't many words to describe how much I truly enjoyed reading each and every story in this collection. And I can't recommend it enough to those who truly love tales of fantasy and adventure, love and tragedy, heroism and villainy, triumph and despair. Every imaginable aspect of story-telling is embraced in this collection of stories and is imparted in such a way to keep the reader turning the page to the very end.
So, if you are looking for something that, at first glance, seems to be a challenge, but with each turning page dissolves into one of the most enjoyable reads you'll find, then definitely give this book a chance.