Fierce competition between God and Dan Brown**

Top 9 (rather than 10 – presumably because all conceivable variants on the spelling of Quran were exhausted) books in Fartbook’s Egypt network:

1. Harry Potter
2. The Alchemist
3. The Da Vinci Code
4. Quran
5. Holy Quran
6. Angels and Demons
7. Qur2an
8. I Hate Reading*
9. Quraan

*A UNESCO study of reading habits described in this article found that people in western Europe on average read 35 books a year, and in Senegal 4 books annually. In the Arab world meanwhile there is one book per 80 people, meaning that if a book contains an average of 300 pages, Arabs read roughly four pages a year.

But the economic hardship which lurks between the lines in these figures doesn’t explain the depressing Facebook statistics. I can understand the repeated appearance of the Qu’ran of course, and Harry bloody Potter gets in everywhere, but what is the obsession with Brown? And where is Naguib Mahfouz, beloved of virtually every Egyptian I know? And how the hell did Alaa ‘Yacoubian Building’ el Aswany not make it in there? Who are the people who completed this survey?? I can only hope that in selecting their favourite fiction they employed the same method they use for choosing their mobile phone: which is to choose the latest, most fashionable model. Or that they failed to realise that Facebook is not an airport in the US and they are in fact allowed to mention stuff written in Arabic.

* Today’s guest title contributor is Zoss.

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