East of Paris Bookstore

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What We Are Reading Now

It is mid-October and our upcoming trip looms. This time, we are going to Syria and Lebanon with a few days in Paris in advance to help with the time change.  At least I am assuming we will be in Paris.  What with the latest round of strikes [la grève, toujours la grève] by a population that would rather fight than work to age 62, and the latest terror threat [just heard about it on the radio], may be a stop in Paris is unwise.  


In preparing for our trip, which is really a pilgrimage to various Orthodox Christian sites in the region, I realized that my knowledge of the places we'll be visiting is abysmally minimal. After the Romans left, the next I heard of the area was the Six Day War, when I was in 6th grade. Since that time, one's exposure to the Middle East comes from the media, which always seems to stress wars and related unhappy or unpromising events. To try and learn more about Syria and Lebanon, we've spent the last weeks reading a variety of sources for information.


We closely perused Monasteries of the Antoichian Orthodox Patriarchate, which Bishop Joseph of the Antiochian Diocese of Los Angeles and the West, lent us. [My photo of this book's cover appears at the start of this blog post.] The book is filled with stunning photographs and explanatory text -- a page in Arabic  followed by a page in English.


We are blessed with a good personal collection of books, some unread and some read long ago.  We scoured our book shelves and found and are re-reading: 
Also, in preparation for the tip we bought:
Overall, unless, perhaps, one has access to a university library, the amount of reliable and unbiased information available about the places we'll be visiting is, well, questionable.  There are tensions between any combination of the following:  Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and Israel. Depending on who is writing, the point of view regarding each country can change dramatically.

While backgorund reading is interesting, we look forward to seeing and experiencing these ancient lands first hand.




1 comment:

  1. I have a friend who just moved to Beirut, Lebanon, from the U.S. to be a professor at the American University there. He has been there almost a month and just loves it and said it is a beautiful country. He is braver than I am, though.

    Have a wonderful trip!

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