No offense to Dickens, but Tales from the Arabian Nights is the classic I wish I’d read in school! To this day I associate ‘classic’ with boring, and depressing. I know that isn’t fair, and not always the case, but it was imprinted on my brain at an early age. Thankfully my mother took my siblings and I to the library religiously where I was able to choose from books I found interesting. Otherwise I fear my love of reading would never have become the joy and solace it is for me today.
Tales from the Arabian Nights is a story about a noblewoman named Scheherazade telling a series of stories to a Sultan. The lives of countless women, her own included, hang in the balance. These stories are full of adventure, swashbuckling, romance, mystery, and of course magic. Tales from the Arabian Nights is the source of such iconic characters as Aladdin, Sinbad, and Ali Baba though perhaps Scheherazade herself is the greatest hero of them all.
I read stories where our heroes, and heroines, found strange and wonderful magical items, and met magical creatures pleasant and frightening. I was taken on journeys into China, Africa, Asia, India, and if I remember correctly even Europe. Many times they were shipwrecked, forced watch their friends be cannibalized, become cannibals themselves, were turned to stone, or buried alive. Fortunes were won, lost, and (sometimes) won again. Quick thinking is always rewarded, and things are rarely what they seem.
If this book had been written today I might have a few gripes about sexism, racism, or telling not showing, but these stories were collected from as early as the 8th century through the 13th century. Given that I’d say they were pretty enlightened with women often saving their male counterparts, and in many instances different races/religions living, and working together amicably.
Overall I highly recommend Tales from the Arabian Nights. It is a book I’ll be rereading again at some point to my daughter, and for my own personal enjoyment!
My Rating: ☆☆☆☆