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Book Club Destination: Cairo, Egypt

Palace Walk by Naguib MahfouzWelcome to our first virtual book club! We are really excited at the kind of discussions we can have with such a smart and lively group of people.

Editor’s Note: To log into the discussion on April 1-3, click here. The questions are set up as individual blog posts, and you are encouraged to ask your own questions. Looking forward to our discussion!

I participated in a monthly book club for a few years before we left on our trip, and I found the discussions – which usually turned to real-life issues spurred by events in the books – to be some of the most enlightening ones I had all month. I’m still a little misty-eyed on the first Friday of every month when I realize I’m not going to book club that night.

We first came up with this virtual book club idea when discussing books set in places we want to visit. Travel books by themselves hold a limited interest for us, but books with human stories set in far-flung places hold endless appeal. We are so happy to hear you agree!

With that, we would like to introduce the first book selection for the Married with Luggage Book Club.

Palace Walk: Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz

After witnessing the successful demonstrations and uprising of the Egyptian people last week against 30 years of oppression, we are anxious to dive into a little bit more of the modern history of this nation.

Nobel prize winning author Naguib Mahfouz wrote this first book in The Cairo Series in 1956, and it was eventually translated into English 40 years later. The book tells the story of one family as they – and the times – change in the first half of the 20th century.

From resistence to British occupation, to redefining roles of women, to religious and economic factors, this book has it all.

We are excited about the discussions that will take place in light of current events, and we can’t wait to discover this part of the world with you.

Book Club Details

Book: Palace Walk: Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz (available in bookstores, used bookstores, in paperback, and of course through Amazon)

Date: We will discuss this book beginning on Friday, April 1. Don’t worry about time zones. We will be having an “asynchronous” discussion where the questions are posted and we each comment in our own time throughout the following few days.

If you’d like to be part of this, please let us know via comment below or email.

Happy reading!

PS – Your book recommendations for future book club discussions as well as a name for our little group are welcome, so please send them our way.

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About Betsy

Betsy Talbot can't live without a Moleskine notebook, her passport, and happy hour. She sold everything she owned to travel the world with her husband Warren in 2010, and she's been enjoying her midlife crisis ever since. Betsy writes about creating the life you want from the life you already have in her books and on the Married with Luggage website. Drop her an email at btalbot (at) marriedwithluggage (dot) com and check out her Google+ page.


  1. As soon as I received your “sneak peek” email notice about this yesterday, I purchased my copy on Amazon. I’m really looking forward to being a part of this ‘virtual book club’.


  2. Requested this from the local library! Unfortunately someone has it right now and it won’t be due until mid-March. Hopefully I can get it and read it in time. Or… I can just get a Kindle now and buy the e-book version. Hmm…

    • Betsy Talbot says:

      Hey Jill. Doesn’t your library know this is part of the virtual book club? I mean, come on. ;) Hope you get it soon. Let us know if you find it on Kindle.

  3. I have been wanting to read Mahfouz! I will join the bookclub this month. My husband and I spent a month in Egypt this past summer and were mesmerized…

    • Betsy Talbot says:

      Stacey, I can’t wait to hear what you think of this book after spending time there. I was hoping we would get someone either from Egypt or who had traveled there recently in our discussion. :)

  4. I just ordered mine from Amazon. This is one more way we can connect while you are gone! I can’t wait to read it.

    • Betsy Talbot says:

      I think you’ll like this one, Mamacita. I know how you like to keep learning even when reading for pleasure. :)

  5. I’m really excited about this. I was also part of a fantastic book club for nine years that was both intellectually and socially stimulating.

    The selection sounds perfect, as the events in Egypt have been so inspiring I’m anxious to learn more about the history. I always prefer to do that through fiction, if it’s well written and a captivating story.

    Title for the book club: your email made me think of the word “wanderlust” and how that could fit in. I think The Wanderlust Book Club is a good title.

    • Betsy Talbot says:

      Angela, I’m so glad you’re joining us. And your name suggestion is just about perfect. We’ll hold out to see if we get any other suggestions and vote at our first “meeting.” Thank you!

  6. Samantha Searle says:

    I’ve just ordered my copy. Can’t wait!!

  7. I am not a huge reader in fact I have only read a few books in my life and sadly most of those are all of the Harry Potter Series & all of Chelsea Handler books. I love this idea and if I wasn’t leaving on March 1st, I would go to the library to check it out.

    This book seems very interesting and like something I would enjoy. Egypt is the country I look forward to visiting the most on my trip. Hopefully everything settles back down by the time I get there so I can spend 3-6 months there.

    Best wishes on the virtual book club.

    • Betsy Talbot says:

      Jaime, good luck on your trip – and maybe you’ll find more time to read on all those long bus and plane rides as you travel the world. :)

  8. I don’t have time to do this now but did have an idea for the book club name…Booking It Around The World!

  9. Elizabeth says:

    I know I’m a little late getting started but I began reading the book yesterday. I actually ordered the whole trilogy in one volume from Amazon. I knew that if I liked the first book, I’d have to read the others and from the reviews on Amazon, the books sound wonderful. I have a lot of reading to do in the next few weeks. I love the idea of a virtual book club, so much easier than finding a time when everyone can meet in person. Can’t wait to hear others’ thoughts on the book.

  10. Editor’s Note: To log into the discussion on April 1-3, click here. The questions are set up as individual blog posts, and you are encouraged to ask your own questions. Looking forward to our discussion!


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