Arabian Nights: A Selection, by Jack D. Zipes, Richard Francis Burton

kingfan30's review against another edition

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his has been a good book to read this last week with hubby away on business, I really enjoyed it and although I know the Disney version of Aladdin it was great to read this this one. Likewise I have heard of Ali Baba and the 40 thieves but never read it. The tale of the merchant and the jinnee required some concentration as it was a story within a story within a story. I liked the fact that it covered some hard hitting subjects but in a nice way.

crystalmbookshelf83's review against another edition

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adventurous slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? N/A
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


elysephone_escapes's review

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adventurous slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? N/A
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? It's complicated


Trigger warnings: racism, misogyny and rape. 

Half way through, this really became a "I'm reading this to say that I've read it" book. Really the only thing I'm giving it stars for is the inherent adventure and magic in the plots and the tales of mischief and enchantment, which to its credit it is very much as advertised. Some of the tales were fun in their plot line, but after about 200 pages of quite rigid and static writing of "Aladdin did this" and then "Julnar did that" it starts weighing heavy, although occasionally there are some very lovely lines and quotes.
The underlying tones of racism and misogyny that was sprinkled in throughout was a bit of a hurdle as well, although some were worse than others. Aladdin and the Magic Lamp felt like it went on forever and he wasn't even that charming of a protagonist. 
My favourite by far was "Julnar the Mermaid and Her Son Badar Basim of Persia". I am curious to know who/where the original tales deprive from because we jumped all over the East from Egypt to Persia to China but apart from being explicitly said what country you were in, they all seemed to be described the same in ways that hardly felt logical but I guess could be explained. 
Although to whoever wrote the blurb for this edition and cited 'Prince Behram and Princess Al-Datma' as "a charming early version of The Taming of the Shrew"... I just wanna talk. Tell me, - if I read that story right and I'm pretty sure I did - does rape come across as charming to you? That's definitely a trigger warning for this collection, if the racism and (albeit lesser obvious) misogyny isn't already giving you a red flag: there's a few implications of rape and such. Proceed as you see fit. Also that story was giving me more Atalanta vibes than Taming of the Shrew, but I see it. 
And then the book just... Ends. I am to assume Scherezade just told tales every single night and survived? I guess. 
Can see why someone donated this book to the university second hand book sale. I wouldn't particularly keep this either if I wasn't stubborn and like having books on my shelf.

After reading some other reviews, I wonder if I am being too harsh and missing a few things. Maybe in the future I'll have to dive in again. 

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vinceontherun's review

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I own the mass market Clollins Classics version and I really think it's not the best version out there. No mention of the selection of these particular stories and how they are arranged, which kinda sucks.