Say Ah…zerbaijan!

A couple of weeks ago I came across a job posting that caught my eye. It was exactly what I want to do, and I was very well qualified for it – except for one thing: you had to be fluent in Azerbaijani.

Hmm. Don’t think I’ll be able to fake that one!

As I talked myself down from how *perfect* that job would have been, and how *perfect* I was for it,  I realized how much I don’t know about Azerbaijan.

Lanscape of the coastline of Baku, Azerbaijan.So, it became the focus of my World of Books reading list! And, wow, I have not been disappointed! I have had a great time with literature set in the area and have learned so much! And that is exactly why I have this crazy goal!

The first book I didn’t technically read – I listened to it on CD during a drive from Ohio. The book is Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon.

If you’ve never read anything from Chabon, you must. His prose is wonderful – the kind that makes you sit up a little straighter and fall in love with words all over again. And listening to Andre Braugher read it makes it especially delectable!

The story itself is set around 950 AD, and only partially in Azerbaijan. The plot takes the main characters on both sides of the Caspian and Black Seas. I can’t say that I necessarily learned specifics about the culture or lives of Azeris, but I definitely got a solid feel for just how central the region is – at the crossroads between East and West.

The story itself is wild and wildly entertaining. I will surely pick up more work from Michael Chabon. It was a great introduction to the region, if only because it was fun and gave a general sense of things, albeit 1000 years ago…

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