A handout book cover image of "The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead (Courtesy: Little, Brown) *** Local Caption ***  al16no-books-whitehead02.jpg
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Courtesy: Little, Brown

My favourite reads: Melissa Gronlund

Picking from a bazillion faves is impossible, so here are five on the subject of race. In the United States, a carpet has been yanked away to reveal rotten floorboards, and even worse beneath. One of the few upsides of this is a generation of Americans coming alive to new life experiences.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (2017)

The underground railroad is taught to American schoolchildren as the story of the North helping to help free slaves from the South’s plantations. This book shows that it wasn’t that simple, sketching instead gradients of oppression that relent, bit by bit, near the more welcoming north and west, as seen through the eyes of a runaway slave.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (2015)

Coates’s device of a semi-public, semi-private form allows this book to be at once a history and a direct address to its readers: it’s not timeless and it’s not meant to be. The crisis it discusses feels real and present. “This was the war for the possession of his body,” he writes, “and this would be the war of his

whole life.”

Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon (1952)

It’s amazing how prescient this book is, one of the first to understand racism’s psychological effects. The work appeared in the context of French colonialism – Fanon wrote the book while working as a psychiatrist in Algeria – an illuminating analysis of the wrongness that young black children are taught to associate with blackness, which persists today.

American War by Omar El Akkad (2017)

This book imagines the full horror that climate change will bring. El Akkad portrays a new Civil War between the American South and North, this one spurred by the depletion of resources – and of land itself, as the sea devours the eastern seaboard. The story follows Sarat, an operative for the South who transcends gender and race: issues, it seems, that are small fry compared with what’s coming.

Open City by Teju Cole (2011)

A scene in Cole’s novel about a Nigerian immigrant’s wanderings through New York City, stuck with me: Julius, the protagonist, gets in a cab. The driver, also black, addresses him as brother, a gesture that Julius, tired and preoccupied, dismisses. The camaraderie of black culture is an important subject, in television sitcoms and film, but this episode shows a response set a little apart.

Melissa Gronlund is The National’s arts writer

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Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

The Killer

Director: David Fincher

Stars: Michael Fassbender, Tilda Swinton, Charles Parnell

Rating: 4/5 

The 100 Best Novels in Translation
Boyd Tonkin, Galileo Press

Teams in the EHL

White Bears, Al Ain Theebs, Dubai Mighty Camels, Abu Dhabi Storms, Abu Dhabi Scorpions and Vipers

Specs: 2024 McLaren Artura Spider

Engine: 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 and electric motor
Max power: 700hp at 7,500rpm
Max torque: 720Nm at 2,250rpm
Transmission: Eight-speed dual-clutch auto
0-100km/h: 3.0sec
Top speed: 330kph
Price: From Dh1.14 million ($311,000)
On sale: Now


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside


India (for first three ODIs) Kohli (capt), Rohit, Rahul, Pandey, Jadhav, Rahane, Dhoni, Pandya, Axar, Kuldeep, Chahal, Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar, Umesh, Shami.

Australia Smith (capt), Warner, Agar, Cartwright, Coulter-Nile, Cummins, Faulkner, Finch, Head, Maxwell, Richardson, Stoinis, Wade, Zampa.


5pm: Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 1,400m
5.30pm: Handicap (TB) Dh70,000 1,000m
6pm: Maiden (PA) Dh70,000 2,000m
6.30pm: Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 2,000m
7pm: Maiden (PA) Dh70,000 1,600m
7.30pm: Al Ain Mile Group 3 (PA) Dh350,000 1,600m
8pm: Handicap (PA) Dh70,000 1,600m
Amith's selections:
5pm: AF Sail
5.30pm: Dahawi
6pm: Taajer
6.30pm: Pharitz Oubai
7pm: Winked
7.30pm: Shahm
8pm: Raniah

Roll of Honour, men’s domestic rugby season

West Asia Premiership
Champions: Dubai Tigers
Runners up: Bahrain

UAE Premiership
Champions: Jebel Ali Dragons
Runners up: Dubai Hurricanes

UAE Division 1
Champions: Dubai Sharks
Runners up: Abu Dhabi Harlequins II

UAE Division 2
Champions: Dubai Tigers III
Runners up: Dubai Sharks II

Dubai Sevens
Champions: Dubai Tigers
Runners up: Dubai Hurricanes


Bangladesh: Mushfiqur Rahim (captain), Tamim Iqbal, Soumya Sarkar, Imrul Kayes, Liton Das, Shakib Al Hasan, Mominul Haque, Nasir Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Mehedi Hasan, Shafiul Islam, Taijul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman and Taskin Ahmed.

Australia: Steve Smith (captain), David Warner, Ashton Agar, Hilton Cartwright, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Matthew Wade, Josh Hazlewood, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Glenn Maxwell, Matt Renshaw, Mitchell Swepson and Jackson Bird.

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

Not Dark Yet

Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer

Four stars

UAE rugby in numbers

5 - Year sponsorship deal between Hesco and Jebel Ali Dragons

700 - Dubai Hurricanes had more than 700 playing members last season between their mini and youth, men's and women's teams

Dh600,000 - Dubai Exiles' budget for pitch and court hire next season, for their rugby, netball and cricket teams

Dh1.8m - Dubai Hurricanes' overall budget for next season

Dh2.8m - Dubai Exiles’ overall budget for next season

Martin Sabbagh profile

Job: CEO JCDecaux Middle East

In the role: Since January 2015

Lives: In the UAE

Background: M&A, investment banking

Studied: Corporate finance


Director: Yasir Alyasiri

Starring: Baraa Alem, Nour Alkhadra, Alanoud Saud

Rating: 3/5

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


Name: Xpanceo

Started: 2018

Founders: Roman Axelrod, Valentyn Volkov

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Smart contact lenses, augmented/virtual reality

Funding: $40 million

Investor: Opportunity Venture (Asia)

The line up

Friday: Giggs, Sho Madjozi and Masego  

Saturday: Nas, Lion Bbae, Roxanne Shante and DaniLeigh  

Sole DXB runs from December 6 to 8 at Dubai Design District. Weekend pass is Dh295 while a one day pass is Dh195. Tickets are available from www.soledxb.com

The Arts Edit

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

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