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Arab Readers and Novels


Still to this day book choices remain vague to most readers in particularly for youth. Recently the demand for books has become more relevant, a positive trend in terms of revival of reading using different means for those whom are interested in the matter. You will find a lot of centers, literary clubs and associations dedicated to the revival of literary renaissance in the Arab world and reigniting the passion for reading, which was one of the most important things long ago, where some travelers strode the Arabian Peninsula mounted on camels in search of certain books.

Today, after the literary movement is commencing, taking advantage of the social media networks; a lot of accounts across Facebook and Twitter created for the purpose of stimulating reading making them another outlet for books and readers thus confirming the late Egyptian thinker’s argument Abbas Mahmoud Al Aqqad, who although did not complete his education yet through books he was able to learn immensely, he said “I do not love reading to write, nor do I love reading to age and be able to calculate, but I love reading because I have one life in this world, one life is not enough, to move everything in my conscience that emits movement.”.

Reading more than anything adds more to one’s life because it makes life much more in depth even though it does not extend its longevity. These social accounts have contributed significantly to the revival of reading especially for the reader as he is able to review in depth the meanings behind the books and what the writers are aiming to achieve, in addition to be aware of literary criticism, but the question now  is what kind of books that are favored more than others? Arab Woman Platform conducted a poll through its social media accounts on Twitter and Facebook page to find out what genre does the Arabic reader prefer in this era and the results were as follows:

8% in favor of written biographies

26% in favor of self-improvement books

10% in favor of religious and historical books

56% favored novels.

The comments on Facebook explained why most reads preferred novels as they combine politics, religion, and social topics. In contrast there was a more rational explanation that I discovered from a news report I conducted with a publishing house, the response of Mr. Ali Al-Ghoul representative of the Iraqi Dar-Al Madda in Bahrain exhibition explained, “Arabs in nature fear confrontation and therefor escape from the sorrowful current state of the Arab world through immersing themselves in another world through novels, they serve as an escape.”

I leave the final question for you dear readers, now that you are aware that Novels are the most favored type of books in our time do you think  this is due to lack of exposure to other kind of books and topics? Or those readers are aware of all genres but prefer novels? Or they just are afraid of change and prefer to use novels as a form of escape?


Original Arabic article written by Eshraq Al Rawqi

إشراق الروقي

Translate by Mira Khatib



القارئ العربيّ والروايات

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