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Wednesday , July 24 2019

Cup of coffee… & “Taha Hussein”

Yusuf Awadh Al-Azmi
 ‘Best place on earth is a floating saddle; and the best companionship is a book’ – Egyptian writer Taha Hussein (1889 – 1973).

When the urge to read takes over the interest of a person, there is no better place than a library to fulfill such a craving.

It is the place where books are well arranged and organized, where papers contain so much that the soul just could not get satisfied, and where many shelves harbor words that express the inner mind of the writer.

It is the place where whenever my eyes settle on a certain book, it quickly gets distracted by another. The same applies to the titles. How attractive the titles of books appear as my eyes shift from one shelf to another and my hands involuntarily move touch one book after another.

It is the spacious library hall characterized by tranquility provided by every sight inside it. It is the reading atmosphere which everyone inside it looks for. It is the deafening silence from majority of those reading through the pages and words calmly.

I went to the shelves that contained the publications of the Egyptian journalist Abbas Al-Aqqad in order to read the series of his “geniuses”. At that time, my eyes fell on the books written by the Egyptian poet Mustafa Sadiq Al-Rifai, but it seems my luck settled on the book called “Al-Ayaam” written by the famous Egyptian writer Taha Hussein.

As I went through his writings, I noticed that the quality of the pages and the ink were suitable. Talking about the ink and paper quality, there are books which did not do well in the market just because of the quality of the paper and ink. The blame for such a failure is attributed to the publishing house.

I once read a biography of an Arab engineer who studied and worked in Russia during the communist era. Despite the fact that the book was impressive and one of the most interesting books I have ever read, the publishing house of the book failed to market the book properly and also failed to give the book quality pages.

Back to Taha Hussein’s “Al-Ayaam”, I enjoyed reading every page of it. Perhaps, what made it more enjoyable was the cup of French coffee mixed with milk which was given to me by the library attendant. I couldn’t help but think that, despite the fact that Taha Hussein had lost his sight, he definitely had not lost his insight.


By Yousef Awadh Al-Azmi

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