Hitting the Books

January 16, 2011 3 Comments


I am dangerous in a bookstore. Amazon.com isn’t safe either.  Among my obsessions in life – dancing and cooking are at the top of my list.  The opportunities to indulge in books abound for both of them. My cookbook collection numbered over 250 at last count… and that was a while ago. Curiously enough, I can still locate any specific recipe in less than 3 tries. This is particularly inexplicable when I can barely remember what I was supposed to do yesterday without checking  my calendar!
When you figure in the broader fitness category with dance, the interesting book possibilities explode. I used to get my health and fitness related reading fix in school when I was earning my B.S. in Exercise & Wellness. Course reading pretty much sucked up all available reading time (and eye strength) but lack of reading free-time  didn’t keep me from collecting interesting dance books – oh no! On the contrary, I think I craved them even more.  At least part of that longing was for the time to read them, I’m sure.
I swore I’d get to them all as soon as I graduated, but over a year later they lay largely undisturbed except for looking up items of curiosity or researching topics for the Daily Bellydance Quickies.

But it’s a new year and I’m hitting the books … my shelf of dance books, that is!  I have set myself to task to read six of them this year – cover to cover. What’s that? You say that’s not much reading for a year?  Well, I do have some cookbooks to plunge into also.  Five bellydance titles are sitting ready at my bedside, but six seemed like a fitting number so I asked for suggestions for #6 on the Facebook DBQ page and got some good ones.  Here’s what my eyeballs will be busy with this year:

“Looking for Little Egypt” by Donna Carlton

“A Trade Like Any Other: Female Singers & Dancers in Egypt” by Karin van Nieuwkerk

“40 Days & 1001 Nights: One Woman’s Dance Through Life in the Islamic World” by Tamalyn Dallal

“Midnight Tales: A Woman’s Journey through the Middle East” by Rosina Fawzia Al Rawi

“Belly Dance: Orientalism, Transnationalism and Harem Fantasy” by Anthony Shay

And my pick from the recommendations on the Facebook DBQ page (thanks Heike!) :

“Confessions of a Male Bellydance” by Horatio Cifuentes

Yes, I really do mean it. I am nearly finished with the first one, “Looking for Little Egypt.”  So all of you should hold me accountable and check back here for reviews. If you don’t find one every two months or so, just come looking for me in the kitchen!

What great bellydance books have you read? What’s in your “to read” pile?  Tell us about them in the comments below!

Mahin (121 Posts)

Professional instructor and performer of Middle Eastern belly dance, ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and author or the “Daily Bellydance Quickies”. Belly Dance Artrepreneur, Workshop instructor, performer, event producer, and bellydance writer.

  1. Tara
    January 23, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Hey, please do a follow up and tell us what you think of what you read. I love word of mouth when it comes to books!
    I read Grandmother’s Secrets, and thought it was terrible,poorly written and hard to follow.

  2. cathie
    March 18, 2011 at 11:41 pm

    I’d add “Nine Parts of Desire” by Geraldine Brooks. Wonderful. I agree with Tara about “Grandmother’s Secrets”!

  3. Thea
    May 27, 2011 at 7:21 pm

    “Serpent of the nile” by wendy buonaventura is a great informative book, and has many beautiful images!


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