A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov (1840)
A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov (1840)

My favourite reads: Joe Jenkins

Anthony Powell's epic A Dance to the Music of Time is probably my all-time favourite read, but it would be cheating to include it here as there are 12 novels in the series. I read fiction voraciously as a teenager, lapping up the 20th-century schoolboy English classics – Orwell, Wyndham, Wells and Greene – for pleasure, as well as plenty of Thomas Hardy at school (and not for light relief). I'm from a family of journalists, and after some resistance to following in familial footsteps, I think my favourite books from my teens and early adulthood suggest I was always destined to cave in and follow that path. Curiosity about the world around you is a basic requirement for any journalist. Otherwise go and do something else. Either way, try to make more time for reading – it is good for the soul.

Scoop by Evelyn Waugh (1938)

Waugh's Sword of Honour trilogy includes some of the finest writing of the 20th century, but this little marvel of his is perhaps the most biting and witty novel I know. Scoop is the ultimate satire on old Fleet Street. Dispatched by Lord Copper's Daily Beast to cover a brewing conflict in Ishmaelia (actually Abyssinia), countryman William Boot is out of his depth, overloaded with superfluous supplies and while cutting his teeth as a foreign correspondent attempting to wade through the fog of a phoney war. The experience transforms him from near-bumpkin to knowing adult. If you haven't read it, do. It will not fail to make you smile.

The Fruit Palace by Charles Nicholl (1985)

More than just a breakneck attempt at an exposé of the cocaine trade, The Fruit Palace is a travelogue of roughing it around Colombia in a crazy, Wild West period in the country's history. Good humoured, with fact dressed up as fiction at times (as Nicholl has since admitted), but best of all a great romp of a read that is breathless, conjures up a mosquito-plagued country hijacked by an illicit trade and never fails to entertain.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (1966)

The single greatest piece of American journalism and the benchmark for all fine, spare writing in the modern age. No purple prose, just facts. Capote’s unpicking of a notorious murder case in the Midwest is an unmissable book for anyone who wants to understand how to tell a story using the written word. In contemporary parlance, it is the ultimate “long-form” journalism.

A Hero of Our Time by Mikhail Lermontov (1840)

I adore Gogol’s surrealism and Turgenev’s ability to survey the state of Russia at his time of writing, but Lermontov’s sketch of the life of his self-knowing, often cynical Byronic hero Pechorin is a gently written masterpiece, well-known and yet I doubt well-read these days. His evocative descriptions of horsemanship and Pechorin’s courtships in the Caucasus in this episodic tale provides a snapshot of a Russia that is so long gone and yet the reader always feels right at the centre of the action.

The 39 Steps by John Buchan (1915)

This has been chosen before, but I have to say that this novel of intrigue, spycraft and mistaken identity is a little gem, and the basis for Hitchcock's wonderful 1935 film, which developed the plot brilliantly, but is not a true reflection of Buchan's story. Buchan tapped into British wartime paranoia about German spies, with his dashing hero Richard Hannay fleeing from London to the wilds of Scotland in his one-man effort to survive – and disrupt – a foreign plot as the outbreak of war approaches.

Joe Jenkins is Assistant Editor-in-Chief of The National


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The Afghan connection

The influx of talented young Afghan players to UAE cricket could have a big impact on the fortunes of both countries. Here are three Emirates-based players to watch out for.

Hassan Khan Eisakhil
Mohammed Nabi is still proving his worth at the top level but there is another reason he is raging against the idea of retirement. If the allrounder hangs on a little bit longer, he might be able to play in the same team as his son, Hassan Khan. The family live in Ajman and train in Sharjah.

Masood Gurbaz
The opening batter, who trains at Sharjah Cricket Academy, is another player who is a part of a famous family. His brother, Rahmanullah, was an IPL winner with Kolkata Knight Riders, and opens the batting with distinction for Afghanistan.

Omid Rahman
The fast bowler became a pioneer earlier this year when he became the first Afghan to represent the UAE. He showed great promise in doing so, too, playing a key role in the senior team’s qualification for the Asia Cup in Muscat recently.

Turning waste into fuel

Average amount of biofuel produced at DIC factory every month: Approximately 106,000 litres

Amount of biofuel produced from 1 litre of used cooking oil: 920ml (92%)

Time required for one full cycle of production from used cooking oil to biofuel: One day

Energy requirements for one cycle of production from 1,000 litres of used cooking oil:
▪ Electricity - 1.1904 units
▪ Water- 31 litres
▪ Diesel – 26.275 litres

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat

Top investing tips for UAE residents in 2021

Build an emergency fund: Make sure you have enough cash to cover six months of expenses as a buffer against unexpected problems before you begin investing, advises Steve Cronin, the founder of DeadSimpleSaving.com.

Think long-term: When you invest, you need to have a long-term mindset, so don’t worry about momentary ups and downs in the stock market.

Invest worldwide: Diversify your investments globally, ideally by way of a global stock index fund.

Is your money tied up: Avoid anything where you cannot get your money back in full within a month at any time without any penalty.

Skip past the promises: “If an investment product is offering more than 10 per cent return per year, it is either extremely risky or a scam,” Mr Cronin says.

Choose plans with low fees: Make sure that any funds you buy do not charge more than 1 per cent in fees, Mr Cronin says. “If you invest by yourself, you can easily stay below this figure.” Managed funds and commissionable investments often come with higher fees.

Be sceptical about recommendations: If someone suggests an investment to you, ask if they stand to gain, advises Mr Cronin. “If they are receiving commission, they are unlikely to recommend an investment that’s best for you.”

Get financially independent: Mr Cronin advises UAE residents to pursue financial independence. Start with a Google search and improve your knowledge via expat investing websites or Facebook groups such as SimplyFI. 


Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

Favourite book: ‘The Art of Learning’ by Josh Waitzkin

Favourite film: Marvel movies

Favourite parkour spot in Dubai: Residence towers in Jumeirah Beach Residence


Date started: January 2017
Founder: Khaled Zaatarah 
Based: Dubai and Los Angeles
Sector: Technology 
Size: 21 employees
Funding: $7 million 
Investors: Shorooq Partners, KBW Ventures, Vision Ventures, Hala Ventures, 500Startups, Plug and Play, Magnus Olsson, Samih Toukan, Jonathan Labin


Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)


Processor: Apple M3, 8-core CPU, up to 10-core CPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Display: 13.6-inch Liquid Retina, 2560 x 1664, 224ppi, 500 nits, True Tone, wide colour

Memory: 8/16/24GB

Storage: 256/512GB / 1/2TB

I/O: Thunderbolt 3/USB-4 (2), 3.5mm audio, Touch ID

Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3

Battery: 52.6Wh lithium-polymer, up to 18 hours, MagSafe charging

Camera: 1080p FaceTime HD

Video: Support for Apple ProRes, HDR with Dolby Vision, HDR10

Audio: 4-speaker system, wide stereo, support for Dolby Atmos, Spatial Audio and dynamic head tracking (with AirPods)

Colours: Midnight, silver, space grey, starlight

In the box: MacBook Air, 30W/35W dual-port/70w power adapter, USB-C-to-MagSafe cable, 2 Apple stickers

Price: From Dh4,599

The specs: 2018 BMW R nineT Scrambler

Price, base / as tested Dh57,000

Engine 1,170cc air/oil-cooled flat twin four-stroke engine

Transmission Six-speed gearbox

Power 110hp) @ 7,750rpm

Torque 116Nm @ 6,000rpm

Fuel economy, combined 5.3L / 100km


Company name: Almouneer
Started: 2017
Founders: Dr Noha Khater and Rania Kadry
Based: Egypt
Number of staff: 120
Investment: Bootstrapped, with support from Insead and Egyptian government, seed round of
$3.6 million led by Global Ventures

What is type-1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is a genetic and unavoidable condition, rather than the lifestyle-related type 2 diabetes.

It occurs mostly in people under 40 and a result of the pancreas failing to produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugars.

Too much or too little blood sugar can result in an attack where sufferers lose consciousness in serious cases.

Being overweight or obese increases the chances of developing the more common type 2 diabetes.

The specs

Engine: 2.4-litre 4-cylinder

Transmission: CVT auto

Power: 181bhp

Torque: 244Nm

Price: Dh122,900


Author: Abdullah Khan
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Pages: 304
Available: Now

Diriyah project at a glance

- Diriyah’s 1.9km King Salman Boulevard, a Parisian Champs-Elysees-inspired avenue, is scheduled for completion in 2028
- The Royal Diriyah Opera House is expected to be completed in four years
- Diriyah’s first of 42 hotels, the Bab Samhan hotel, will open in the first quarter of 2024
- On completion in 2030, the Diriyah project is forecast to accommodate more than 100,000 people
- The $63.2 billion Diriyah project will contribute $7.2 billion to the kingdom’s GDP
- It will create more than 178,000 jobs and aims to attract more than 50 million visits a year
- About 2,000 people work for the Diriyah Company, with more than 86 per cent being Saudi citizens

Our legal advisor

Ahmad El Sayed is Senior Associate at Charles Russell Speechlys, a law firm headquartered in London with offices in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and Hong Kong.

Experience: Commercial litigator who has assisted clients with overseas judgments before UAE courts. His specialties are cases related to banking, real estate, shareholder disputes, company liquidations and criminal matters as well as employment related litigation. 

Education: Sagesse University, Beirut, Lebanon, in 2005.

Company profile

Name:​ One Good Thing ​

Founders:​ Bridgett Lau and Micheal Cooke​

Based in:​ Dubai​​ 

Sector:​ e-commerce​

Size: 5​ employees

Stage: ​Looking for seed funding

Investors:​ ​Self-funded and seeking external investors

The Arts Edit

A guide to arts and culture, from a Middle Eastern perspective

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      The Arts Edit