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A luminous portrait of life in the Middle East, Day of Honey weaves history, cuisine, and firsthand reporting into a fearless, intimate exploration of everyday survival. In the fall of 2003, Annia Ciezadlo spent her honeymoon in Baghdad. Over the next six years, while living in Baghdad and Beirut, she broke bread with Shiites and Sunnis, warlords and refugees, matriarchs and mullahs. Day of Honey is her memoir of the hunger for food and friendship--a communion that feeds the soul as much as the body in times of war. Reporting from occupied Baghdad, Ciezadlo longs for normal married life. She finds it in Beirut, her husband's hometown, a city slowly recovering from years of civil war. But just as the young couple settles into a new home, the bloodshed they escaped in Iraq spreads to Lebanon and reawakens the terrible specter of sectarian violence. In lucid, fiercely intelligent prose, Ciezadlo uses food and the rituals of eating to illuminate a vibrant Middle East that most Americans never see. We get to know people like Roaa, a determined young Kurdish woman who dreams of exploring the world, only to see her life under occupation become confined to the kitchen; Abu Rifaat, a Baghdad book lover who spends his days eavesdropping in the ancient city's legendary cafés; Salama al-Khafaji, a soft-spoken dentist who eludes assassins to become Iraq's most popular female politician; and Umm Hassane, Ciezadlo's sardonic Lebanese mother-in-law, who teaches her to cook rare family recipes--which are included in a mouthwatering appendix of Middle Eastern comfort food. As bombs destroy her new family's ancestral home and militias invade her Beirut neighborhood, Ciezadlo illuminates the human cost of war with an extraordinary ability to anchor the rhythms of daily life in a larger political and historical context. From forbidden Baghdad book clubs to the oldest recipes in the world, Ciezadlo takes us inside the Middle East at a historic moment when hope and fear collide. Day of Honey is a brave and compassionate portrait of civilian life during wartime--a moving testament to the power of love and generosity to transcend the misery of war.
Wanderlust: A Book Club Sampler from Simon & Schuster is your boarding pass to the beautiful, the mysterious, and the unknown. This book club sampler was created to pay homage to a book's unique ability to transport your imagination around the world, taking you on journeys across distance and time. Whether you're in the mood for a historical love story set on a sheep station in rural Australia or an illuminating memoir of life in the war-torn Middle East, these are books you and your reading group won't want to miss: Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War by Annia Ciezadlo, Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman, The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman, Amaryllis in Blueberry by Christina Meldrum, The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais, The Distant Hours by Kate Morton, This Burns My Heart by Samuel Park, An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy. Each excerpt in Wanderlust is accompanied by a collection of bonus materials intended to enrich your reading experience, including discussion questions, suggestions for enhancing your book club meeting, and author interviews. In the spirit of looking to the horizon, we also asked each author featured in this sampler one question: "What is your favorite travel memory?" Their answers are fittingly diverse--from Christina Meldrum's summers spent at a family cottage in Lake Margrethe, Michigan, to Alice Hoffman's inspirational first trip to Masada, the setting of her epic new novel The Dovekeepers. Anuradha Roy, the author of An Atlas of Impossible Longing, describes the lure of armchair travel best: "All readers...carry within themselves sediments of the places they have traveled to in books, the people they've met on the way. Therefore the strange dÉjÀ vu is when you land in a foreign country and wonder if you've been there before." So, sit back, relax, and get ready for the trip of a lifetime. Bon Voyage!
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