A weekly guide to help you unwind

What’s Up? 

Hello. It’s been a while. How have you been, dear readers? 

Here at Mada, we never stop working, and we’re always trying to think of new content to offer you, even on holidays and weekends. So this here is a guide that we’ll be publishing every week with our recommendations on what to watch, read, and listen to during the weekend — in an attempt to make those precious two days more fun, memorable and enriching — and we’re glad to be publishing the beta version before the summer is over.

Our suggestions are meant to urge you to sit back, relax and reflect — detox, if you will.


  • Lebanese author Hilal Chouman publishes his first short story in English on ArabLit, titled “World of Dogs.”
  • Elliott Spencer” is a new work of fiction by George Saunders (who won the Booker Prize in 2017), published in The New Yorker and inspired by a fight he witnessed at a Donald Trump rally in Phoenix.
  • After Toni Morrison’s passing earlier this month, writer Emily Temple delved into the Nobel laureate’s many essays, interviews and speeches to bring us a collection of her pearls of wisdom in this piece published on LitHub. (An Arabic translation of the piece by Anas Samhan can be found on Romman) 

Toni Morrison. Courtesy: LitHub


  • Mohamad Shoair writes about renowned authors’ libraries on Medina, recounting his quest to find the stories of said authors hidden within the books in their libraries. He also reveals what he found in Edward Kharrat’s trunks, which he refers to as “The Organized Maze” in another piece published on the same website.
  • Hadeeqa Khalfiyya” (A Garden in the Back) is a short story by Aisha Ahmed published on The Sultan’s Seal, a blog managed by novelist and poet Youssef Rakha, which features original and translated literature.
  • Lina Attalah recommends Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels: I’m recommending this quartet in case you haven’t already read it. I feel so late to the Ferrante party, not only in terms of the world but even here in Egypt. But as we always say, better late than never.
    Set in the 1950s, the series tells the story of a network of families living in a modest Naples neighborhood, connected by friendship, work, learning, love, marriage, and multiple struggles against the backdrop a newborn republic, receding fascism and ever-present violence.
    We learn the story through the narrator’s long-lasting friendship with one of the protagonists, Lila (or Lina as she is called by others). Theirs is a friendship that could be described using a wide array of words: jealousy, attraction, conflict, love, among others. How can we understand a world so complex through this lens of friendship?

    What’s fascinating about Ferrante — a pseudonym for someone whose identity remains unknown to this day — is that her traditional narrative style has garnered a massive fan base of people who don’t have much in common except for her work. Is the classical novel making a comeback?
    The series was translated into English by Ann Goldstein and into Arabic by Syrian translator Muawiya Abdulmajid, who specializes in Italian literature.

Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels


Prohibition is a 360-minute historical documentary by Ken Burns on the Prohibition era in the United States and the period preceding it.

Prohibition was implemented nationwide by the 1920s and lasted until 1933. The film, however, begins in the nineteen century, by showing early attempts to ban alcohol consumption. Back then, women had taken a stand against male-only pubs, rejecting the behavior associated with drinking — mainly violence against women — and highlighting the losses suffered by families due to alcoholism.

American women fought by gathering in front of pubs and saloons and praying, hoping to put them out of business — a fight that eventually lead to a constitutional amendment prohibiting the manufacture and sale of all alcoholic beverages. This served to split America into two opposing forces: “dry” Americans who supported the prohibition and “wet” Americans who rejected it, which consequently resulted in the rise of smuggling, and an underground network of gangs that illegally manufactured and sold alcoholic drinks.

The film is available on Netflix as a three-part mini-series.

  • Mohamad Hamama recommends GLOW:

On August 9, Netflix released the third season of GLOW (an acronym for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling), which is the name of a real-life female wrestling show that began airing in the United States in 1986. The series, however, does not directly refer to any actual events or people.

With a combination of comedy and drama, GLOW tells the story of a group of women who decide to break into a medium traditionally dominated by men in order to achieve their dreams of “making it” in the entertainment business.

Fans are still waiting to know whether or not Netflix will produce a fourth season of the show. Throughout its three seasons, the series has been met with acclaim from both critics and viewers, winning a few awards in the process. It has not, however, enjoyed the highest ratings, and if the reports that Netflix tends to cancel underperforming shows after three seasons are correct, this means that GLOW might actually be canceled. While the show’s creators have hinted at a fourth season, most viewers know that’s no real guarantee — and so we’re left praying to the Netflix gods for one more season of this inventive, wildly entertaining show. 


Ahmad al-Saabbagh has put together a Spotify playlist that brings together 42 tracks released over the summer in Egypt, the Arab region and beyond.

From Egypt’s rap and trap artists we’ve got “Al-Gemeiza” by Marwan Pablo, the video for which came out at the beginning of this month (the song itself was released last June). Produced by Molotov, “Al-Gemeiza” is a special (though not a first) attempt at a trap/shaabi fusion. Another rapidly rising trap artist, Wigz, released a new single titled “Hawary” a couple of weeks ago. 

As for shaabi, a new mahraganat song was released by Hassan Shakoush and Hammo Bika, as well as the Egyptian version of the song “Ah ya Hanan” — which was met with great success in the Gulf and Levant — covered by Mostafa Haggag.

In Egyptian pop, Mohamad Mounir has released a new single from his long-awaited new album, while Mahmoud El Esseily released a new collaboration with Egyptian musician Aly Fathallah, one half of the renowned electronic music duo Aly & Fila.

In Khaleeji (Gulf) dialect music, we have a new song by Nawal Al-Kuwaitiya, a song titled “Bisaraha” by Palestinian singer Mohamad Assaf, and a “Abouya Bouya” by Iraqi singer Mohamad Al Salem.

In Maghrebi rap and trap we’ve got “Tahia” by the brothers PNL (an acronym for the French phrase “Peace N’ Lovés” which translates to “Peace and Money”), released in mid-July. The song is special in that it is not especially loud and it has an oriental feel to it. There is also “Groupies” by the Moroccan rapper El Grand Toto, with very fast verses that are quite hard to follow, “Tchikita” which is this year’s third release by the Moroccan 7Liwa, and “Diabla” by Moroccan artist Ily in collaboration with Italian rapper Mayor Bone.

Mashrou’ Leila’s most recent video for their song “Radio Romance” was released on August 11, the day on which their concert at the Byblos Music Festival was supposed to be held before it was canceled as a result of violent threats following a fierce campaign against the band by clerical authorities in Lebanon.

From the rest of the Levant we’ve got a new release by Jordanian singer Adham Nabulsi as well as two new songs by Palestinian-Jordanian artist The Synaptik in collaboration with Haykal and Badr Azem. Meanwhile, the Ramallah-based duo Shabjdid and Al-Nather continue creating new spaces on the Arab trap scene, as seen in their new collaboration, “Sindibad.”

In English rock we have a single by British piano rock band Keane, “Love Too Much,” which was released on August 8. Their upcoming album is their first since 2012, and is expected to be released next month.

Meanwhile, the two estranged brothers who used to make up iconic rock band Oasis have both released new music, albeit separately. Liam Gallagher has released a new single, “Shockwave,” while Noel Gallagher has made a song titled “This is the Place” with his new band, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Another notable release is English synthpop group Hot Chip’s “A Bath Full of Ecstasy,” from their album titled Melody of Love, which was released in June, while electro-pop group Metronomy has released a new single titled “Walking in the Dark” last month, in addition to another single, “Lately,” from their upcoming album in September.

Alternative American metal band Tool’s single, “Fear Inoculum,” from their upcoming album with the same name, has finally been released, marking their comeback after a 13-year hiatus.

A new single by American pop-rock  group HAIM titled “Summer Girl” was released last month, along with a video directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. 

We also have a song by the American duo Sofi Tukker featuring the Colombian electronic cumba music group Bomba Estéreo called “Playa Grande,” with lyrics in both English and Spanish.


This is how it ends, but we’ll be back later with more content to help you detox. We wish you a wonderful weekend. Peace out!


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