Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D
One Thousand and One Nights: A Retelling
This new twist on The Arabian Nights by Lebanese novelist Hanan al-Shaykh, entitled One Thousand and One Nights
(Pantheon), collects 19 of the ancient tales of lust, greed and betrayal into one spellbinding narrative. As a young girl, al-Shaykh first heard this tantalizing tome dramatized on the radio but was forbidden to read it; later she became obsessed with the mythic storyteller Shahrazad, who invents these postcoital cliff-hangers to save her own skin. In the introduction, Mary Gaitskill calls the book "a fight between sacred and profane love." Sign us up.
— Kristy Davis