Perusing Baghdad's Al-Mutanabbi Street

Two American Titles and an Iraqi one top readers’ lists as bestsellers in Baghdad this week

BAGHDAD, December 29 — Bookshop owners on Baghdad’s famed Al-Mutanabbi Street have noted that a book discussing the influence of the internet and its role in simplifying individual minds has topped sales charts, alongside a recent novel that recounts significant events in the Kurdistan Region during the 1980s.

Sattar Mohsen Ali, Owner of Dar Sutour Publishing House:

“The bestseller at Sutour this week is ‘The Last of the Cities’ by the expatriate Iraqi author Zuhair Al-Jazairi. Resembling a memoir, the novel discusses a crime committed in the mountains of Kurdistan, known as ‘Bisht Ashan,’ where a group of Ansaar, Communist Party fighters, faced mass extermination.

The novel is filled with insights, excitement, and action, and has been our top-seller for more than a month.”

Karim Hanash, Owner of Hanash Bookstore:

“One of the books currently in high demand is ‘The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains’ by American journalist Nicholas Carr.

The book discusses the negative effects resulting from humanity’s use of the internet and its detachment from tangible reality. Carr argues that the internet has plunged humans into a digital world fenced with illusions, diseases, and alienation. He asserts that the more we use technology, the internet, social media, and the hyperlinked space, the more superficial we become.

Another book is ‘The Quest for Certainty’ by American author John Dewey, who established the pragmatism philosophy in America. The book emphasizes that humans, under traditional philosophies, gain knowledge and change, becoming enlightened and moving from ignorance to awareness. However, this knowledge is more like an ornament added to something to make it suitable for decoration. Dewey’s advocated knowledge, on the other hand, is the kind that changes the world because it intervenes and directs it.”