Thursday, February 24, 2011

Review: Day Of Honey By Annia Ciezadlo

Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War
By Annia Ciezadlo

Product Details
Free Press, February 2011
Hardcover, 400 pages
ISBN-10: 1416583939
ISBN-13: 9781416583936

Description (From Simon and Schuster) 

In the fall of 2003, Annia Ciezadlo spent her honeymoon in Baghdad. Over the next six years, while living in Baghdad and Beirut, she broke bread with Shiites and Sunnis, warlords and refugees, matriarchs and mullahs. Day of Honey is her memoir of the hunger for food and friendship—a communion that feeds the soul as much as the body in times of war.

Reporting from occupied Baghdad, Ciezadlo longs for normal married life. She finds it in Beirut, her husband's hometown, a city slowly recovering from years of civil war. But just as the young couple settles into a new home, the bloodshed they escaped in Iraq spreads to Lebanon and reawakens the terrible specter of sectarian violence. In lucid, fiercely intelligent prose, Ciezadlo uses food and the rituals of eating to illuminate a vibrant Middle East that most Americans never see. We get to know people like Roaa, a determined young Kurdish woman who dreams of exploring the world, only to see her life under occupation become confined to the kitchen; Abu Rifaat, a Baghdad book lover who spends his days eavesdropping in the ancient city's legendary cafÉs; Salama al-Khafaji, a soft-spoken dentist who eludes assassins to become Iraq's most popular female politician; and Umm Hassane, Ciezadlo's sardonic Lebanese mother-in-law, who teaches her to cook rare family recipes—which are included in a mouthwatering appendix of Middle Eastern comfort food. As bombs destroy her new family's ancestral home and militias invade her Beirut neighborhood, Ciezadlo illuminates the human cost of war with an extraordinary ability to anchor the rhythms of daily life in a larger political and historical context. From forbidden Baghdad book clubs to the oldest recipes in the world, Ciezadlo takes us inside the Middle East at a historic moment when hope and fear collide. Day of Honey is a brave and compassionate portrait of civilian life during wartime—a moving testament to the power of love and generosity to transcend the misery of war.

About the Author

Born in Chicago, Annia Ciezadlo grew up in Bloomington, Indiana. She received her Master's in journalism from New York University in 2000. In late 2003, she left New York for Baghdad, where she worked as a stringer for The Christian Science Monitor and other publications for the next year. During this time, she wrote groundbreaking stories, about parliamentary quotas for women, Baghdad's graffiti wars, militant Islamist poetry slams, the flight of the country's Christian minority, and Iraq's first reality tv show. Her first-person piece on what it's like to go through checkpoints in Baghdad earned a flood of responses, and is now used by the US military to help prevent civilian casualities. Since then, she has reported on revolutions in Lebanon, crackdowns in Syria, repression in Iraqi Kurdistan, and the 2006 "summer war" between Israel and Hezbollah. Although she has covered several wars, Annia does not describe herself as a war correspondent. She specializes in articles about Arab culture and civil society, stories that explore the intersections between larger political realities and everyday activities like driving, cooking, and going to school.

She has written about culture, politics, and the Middle East for The New Republic, The Nation, The Washington Post, the National Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, The New York Observer, and Lebanon's Daily Star newspaper. Annia lives somewhere between New York and Beirut, with her husband, the journalist Mohamad Bazzi.

My Thoughts:
Day of Honey is an absolutely mesmerizing read!  Annia Ciezadlo's storytelling abilities are astounding; each page is illuminated with the sights, sounds, and aromas of a worn-torn Middle East.  But don't be fooled...this is far from a political memoir!  The effects of war are portrayed in such a humanitarian manner and one that focuses on the essence of daily  Through her representation of the local food, Ciezadlo brings perspective to the culture and the landscape that is the Middle East.  I thoroughly enjoyed this memoir and was easily swept away to another time and place.  In the end, I gained a great deal of insight and understanding of an often misunderstood people and culture.  With the current events taking place in the Middle East, this book is a must read for anyone who desires a greater understanding!  Ciesadlo's writing is a true gift to behold and I easily give this memoir a 5

 Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book as part of the Free Press Blog Tour in exchange for my honest review.



  1. This was indeed a good novel to read. Integrating cooking with turbulent years of political war was definitely mixing business with pleasure well done.

  2. Hi I found you on Thirsty Thursday and I've been following for a couple of weeks. Stop by and say Hi if you have the opportunity!

  3. Wow! Definitely a powerful story and author. BTW..if you're interested I'd love for you to join our free blog giveaway community at

  4. I'm definitely putting this book on my wish list. Thank you for alerting us to this book.

  5. I agree that this was a great book. I am a new follower here. Stop on by my blog to see my review of this book as well.

    <a href=">Wakela's World</a>

  6. Found you on a blog hop! Now following. Will you follow back?

  7. That book sounds fascinating, usually any book ( show...) that involves politics and war puts me to sleep, but one told as a story instead of a list of facts I could get into! New follower from It's Almost Friday (wahoo!) blog hop :) Glad I found you!

  8. Hello,
    I am now following you :)
    Please stop by and say hello and follow me

  9. Happy to be your newest follower

  10. sounds like an interesting read...i am just getting started in this whole book review thing so it is helpful to see others' work...would love for you to share this post on my 'fridays unfolded' linky @


    stuff and nonsense

    p.s. now following

  11. Stopping in on Friday Hops. Hope you have a great weekend. New follower.


  12. Oh this book looks like a good read. I will add it to my wishlist.

    I am a new follower...can't wait to see whats next.


  13. I spent some time meandering over this on my blog but came up with one not-so-clear winner – Human Target.

    There were two very close runner-ups. Follow me back to my blog and find out which TV shows came close – and why. I promise you won’t be bored!

    Thank God it’s Follow Friday!

    Howard A. Sherman

  14. can't wait to stock up on some new books, thanks for the reviews!!
    I'm a new follower :)

  15. Can't wait to read your reviews. I found you on a blog hop.
    Come by and say hello.

  16. I'm a new follower :) Super cute blog.


  17. I'm a new follower too and you know, I loved this book too. I picked it up because the author and I share having a Lebanese husband in common and when I got deeper into the book it really touched me.


I love hearing your thoughts, opinions, and comments in general!