A Street Cat Named Bob

Kuwait Times - - FROM THE ARABIC PRESS - By Salah Al-Sayer

All Arab me­dia houses, news­pa­pers and mag­a­zines are com­plain­ing about lack of read­ers. We are prac­ti­cally suf­fer­ing from a phase of ‘reading de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion’ in the Arab world. If the late fa­mous writer Nagueb Mah­fouz was born in this pe­riod, I am sure he would have cho­sen a dif­fer­ent pro­fes­sion other than writ­ing, which has now turned into an easy task that needs no tal­ent nor knowl­edge. It has be­come just like singing in the bath­room with­out any au­di­ences. Ev­ery­one in the Arab world is anx­ious to ex­press, write, com­pose and pub­lish re­gard­less of the qual­ity of opin­ions they ex­press or mas­tery of writ­ing. There are sev­eral print­ing press pub­lish­ing thou­sands of books, nov­els and ar­ti­cles to the ex­tent that writ­ers have out­num­bered read­ers.

Such writ­ing de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion is mainly hap­pen­ing in Ara­bic while in other lan­guages, mil­lions of copies are still printed by pub­lish­ing houses. We all are fa­mil­iar with the Bri­tish writer, J K Rowl­ing who be­came one of Such writ­ing de­ser­ti­fi­ca­tion is mainly hap­pen­ing in Ara­bic while in other lan­guages, mil­lions of copies are still printed the world’s rich­est women af­ter writ­ing the ‘Harry Pot­ter’ se­ries. A few days ago, a new film named ‘A Street Cat Named Bob’ was re­leased which is based on a book about a failed street singer and drug ad­dict who is al­ways ac­com­pa­nied by his cat Bob, which even­tu­ally helps the singer quit drugs.

The story is en­tirely based on the per­sonal life of the writer who is a Bri­tish gui­tarist named James Bowen. Af­ter a pub­lish­ing house’s man­ager no­ticed how passersby in Covent Gar­den were at­tached to him and his cat that usu­ally stands be­tween his feet or on his shoul­ders while he plays his gui­tar, he asked the singer to write his own story. When pub­lished, the book be­came a best-seller and later turned into a movie adap­ta­tion. Those who keep ques­tion­ing the cred­i­bil­ity of dis­as­trous statis­tics is­sued by in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions about reading in the Arab World, such doubts sur­ren­der be­fore tragic facts which are no­ticed in all book fairs in the Arab coun­tries.

— Trans­lated by Kuwait Times

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