Neriman K., PhD
I'm a researcher, writer, teacher, and a comparatist--one who truly believes that discourse precedes action. I read and write to make meaning of the world I live in-- to explore what it means to live a meaningful life. On 'Reading Under the Olive Tree,' I write about what I read: all the books that are helping me shift my perception about a meaningful life, home, identity and what it means to belong. I write to bridge the gap between theory and popular discourse and to offer insight into the powerful connection between fiction and truth.
This may all seem too idealistic to some but nonetheless conveys a crucial message about the role of the artist and what cultural and literary representations can offer in the ongoing debates about the so-called “problem” of Muslims in the Anglophone North Atlantic.
“Happiness,” Woolf writes, “is in the quiet, ordinary things. A table, a chair, a book with a paper-knife stuck between the pages. And the petal falling from the rose, and the light flickering as we sit silent.”
To deal with the sense of ambivalence and confinement, I read. Reflecting back on my refuge in books, yes, I needed comfort and escape, but I was essentially trying to make sense of the turmoil not by watching the news but by reading.
“When I’m writing, I am trying to find out who I am, who we are, what we’re capable of, how we feel, how we lose and stand up, and go on from darkness into darkness. I’m trying for that. But I’m also trying for the language.”
Last week, I discussed some of my favorite songs that were inspired by literature. Today, in Part II, I continue my foray into the world of music and literature. And at the end, you will find a playlist with over 60 songs inspired by all things literary.
“The more cats you have, the longer you live. If you have a hundred cats, you’ll live ten times longer than if you have ten. Someday this will be discovered, and people will have a thousand cats and live forever.”