Year 4 of my Autodidact Degree in Arabic Language and Middle Eastern Studies. This is an evolving and updating document as I do the work. I like the leave the flexibility for inspiration and new sources to emerge. / Updated August 31st 2016

Project Overview: I consider this a ten year project to become an advanced speaker in Arabic and knowledgable about literature and poetry written in Arabic.  I’m interested in literature and poetry as a portal to culture, philosophy, and spirituality.  The first several years, of which I am beginning year four, are focused on language acquisition and skill development.  Years 5-10 will be focused on content and analysis.

Primary Topics for 2016

Translation and Translation Theory
Arabic Language (year 4)
Literature and Poetry
Writing Research Papers

Translation + Theory

History of Translation: 


Translation Journal, Translation Review, PROTA, U. Arkansas Program, Banipal Magazine,

Arabic to English Texts to Review:

A selection of books that I can acquire both in Arabic originals and English translations. Ideally including-
The Cairo Trilogy Naguib Mahfouz
The Butterfly’s Burden Mahmoud Darwish
The Square Moon by Ghada Samman
list to be expanded…

English to Arabic Texts to Review:

The Prophet Khalil Gibran
A Thousand Splendid Suns Khalid Hosseini

Language + Grammar

Objectives: Read at an advanced low or mid level. Reading in Arabic should be fast and comfortable by the end of the year. This will be achieved by reading a lot. 

First Half of the Year:

Read 12 best-sellers written in English translated to Arabic.

  1. خالد حسيني-الف شمس ساطعة -read first half, decided not too read the second half. Story is extremely sad…(April 2016)
  2. طعام…صلاة…حب – ايلزابيث غلبيرت – again, read the first half, decided maybe to come back to the second half.  A little boring. (April 2016)
  3.  كائن لا تُحتمل خفتهميلان كونديراكتاب ممتاز جدا و استمتع القراءة (مايو ٢٠١٦)

  4. هناك – ابراهيم عباس كتاب خيال عملي من كاتب سعودي حديثي ممتع

  5. مباريات الجوع سوزان كولنز كتاب مترجم من الانجليزية

Second Half of the Year:

Read famous contemporary Arabic language literature. I prefer reading novels by women (in English too) so- I’m going to focus on female authors, thought not 100%. Choices are dependent upon what I can actually acquire.

  1. ثلاثية القاهرة – نجيب محفوظ
  2. الربط المقدس – توفيق الحكيم
  3. غادة السمان – بيروت ٧٥
  4. دنيا زاد – مي تلمساني
  5. حجر الضحك – هدى بركات
  6. مسك الغزال- حنان الشيخ
  7. انا احيا – ليلى بعلبكي
  8. سواقي القلوب – إنعام كجه جي
  9. صورة وأيقونة وعهد قديم – سحر خليفة
  10. محمد خضير

Other goals:

Learn to read Egyptian dialect. Read هناك  and some of the contemporary arabic language sci-fi that is available via amazon. Read Media Arabic.


  • Work through All The Arabic You Never Learned The First Time Around –James M Price – intermediate to advanced grammar
  • Understand conditional statements thoroughly
  • Write weekly letters for correction (currently on letter #20)

Literature + Poetry

Overviews and Anthologies of the history of contemporary Arabic language literature

Understand the big names in history, acquire books

Read prominent poets influential (if not writing) in the Arabic language: Rumi, Hafiz, Adonis, Mahmoud Darwish etc, etc

  1. دنيا ميخائيل

Contemporary Sources:

Bidoun magazine

Research Papers and Writing

Write everyday. نعم

Edit pages everyday. معظم الوقت

Make blog posts daily. نعم

Make a monthly video chat for youtube about my studies.

Write three longer research papers.

Transform blog to be clearly part of a thesis exploring consciousness. نعم