The instant expert: All kinds of stories

Float through any social event with M's fast facts. This week the avid reader Rick Arthur gets tangled up in the sticky web of literary genres, and vows to find himself a good book.

THE BASICS, PART ONE Let's back into this one, bibliophiles, shall we? A literary genre is not a category of the age of a book's intended audience (adult, young-adult or children). It is not a literary format, such as graphic novel or picture book. It is not a literary technique, such as parody or stream of consciousness.

THE BASICS, PART TWO "Genre" is French, from the Latin genus, generis, meaning "a kind". There are two genres of literature: fiction and non-fiction. Their sub-genres (some would call them genres also) could fill the Instant Expert's meagre space, but fiction includes drama, fantasy, folklore, humour, mystery, mythology, poetry, romance and science fiction; non-fiction includes autobiography, biography, the essay and the narrative. Oh, and we cannot overlook the non-fiction sub-genre in which we labour and that, we are certain, you so enjoy: journalism.

STILL... It's all subjective. As the Muse of Literature writes on the website of the Exploring the Arts Foundation, "Perhaps no other literary term or concept has been so misunderstood, so loosely defined or so often used and misused in so many varied ways by so many different people. Many of the ways in which genre is used are flat-out incorrect; and many of those who use the term incorrectly are critics, educators and writers, all of whom should know better." OK, Ms Muse, we're being careful.

THE CROSSOVER What to make, then, of the non-fiction novel? Never mind that the term is an oxymoron; is it a genre? Yes, we submit. There's simply no other good way to categorise this hybrid in which the storytelling techniques of fiction are used on historical figures and events. Truman Capote pioneered the genre with In Cold Blood (1965); those who followed include Hunter S Thompson, Norman Mailer and Tom Wolfe.

WHODUNITS Consider the mystery as a popular example of a sub-genre of fiction, and one that spawns sub-sub-genres. It is, as you might suspect, a narrative about the solution of a crime. Prominent mystery authors include Agatha Christie (see right), Edgar Allen Poe and Ellery Queen. The mystery's sub-subs include the detective story, the police procedural, the legal thriller, the medical thriller and the spy story.

BODICE-RIPPERS Romance novels, while hardly the Instant Expert's mug of Earl Grey, form a robust sub-genre (see right). Sub-sub-genres are gothic (Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë), Regency (The Rake and the Reformer by Mary Jo Putney) and woman-in-danger (I'll Be Seeing You by Mary Higgins Clark).

MORE, MORE, MORE... Look at speculative fiction as another sub-genre that has many sub-sub-genres (and sub-sub-sub, and sub-sub-sub-sub, and beyond). Broadly speaking (we know you're watching, Ms Muse), speculative fiction could be broken down into science fiction, horror and fantasy. Science fiction could be broken down into hard sci-fi, soft sci-fi, space opera, punk, alternative universe and sci-fi romance. Punk could be broken down into cyberpunk, steampunk and biopunk. Cyberpunk could be broken down into dieselpunk, atompunk, nanopunk and postcyberpunk. It's like those Russian nesting dolls, isn't it?

... AND EVEN MORE If you can't find something to read here, there's no hope for you: absurdist fiction, adventure novels, comic novels, experimental fiction, historical fiction, philosophical fiction, pulp fiction, sagas, Westerns, women's fiction.

THE END A book is like a garden carried in the pocket, according to a Chinese proverb. We don't care what genre it fits into.

The top five best-selling fiction writers

Who are the best-selling fiction authors of all time? The question can be answered only with educated guesses based on estimates, given that we don't have records that cover all of history, even relatively modern history. Thus, authors including Jane Austen, Miguel de Cervantes and Charles Dickens cannot be reliably listed. That said, here's a probable top five:

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE The British playwright and poet has sold between 2 billion and 4 billion books.

AGATHA CHRISTIE The pioneering British writer of detective fiction also has sold from 2 billion to 4 billion books.

BARBARA CARTLAND The British romance novelist produced an astonishing 721 titles and has sold from 500 million to 1 billion books.

DANIELLE STEEL The American romance novelist has sold about 800 million books and is probably the best-selling living author.

HAROLD ROBBINS The New York/Hollywood/adventure novelist has sold about 750 million books.

Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus

Developer: Sucker Punch Productions
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Console: PlayStation 2 to 5
Rating: 5/5

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre flat 6-cylinder
Transmission: 7-speed PDK
Power: 500hp
Torque: 450Nm
Price: Dh530,300 as tested
On sale: Now


Director: Matthew Vaughn

Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, John Cena

Rating: 3/5

The specs

Engine: 4-cylinder 2.0L TSI
Transmission: Dual clutch 7-speed
Power: 320HP / 235kW
Torque: 400Nm
Price: from $49,709
On sale: now

Email sent to Uber team from chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi

From: Dara

To: Team@

Date: March 25, 2019 at 11:45pm PT

Subj: Accelerating in the Middle East

Five years ago, Uber launched in the Middle East. It was the start of an incredible journey, with millions of riders and drivers finding new ways to move and work in a dynamic region that’s become so important to Uber. Now Pakistan is one of our fastest-growing markets in the world, women are driving with Uber across Saudi Arabia, and we chose Cairo to launch our first Uber Bus product late last year.

Today we are taking the next step in this journey—well, it’s more like a leap, and a big one: in a few minutes, we’ll announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Careem. Importantly, we intend to operate Careem independently, under the leadership of co-founder and current CEO Mudassir Sheikha. I’ve gotten to know both co-founders, Mudassir and Magnus Olsson, and what they have built is truly extraordinary. They are first-class entrepreneurs who share our platform vision and, like us, have launched a wide range of products—from digital payments to food delivery—to serve consumers.

I expect many of you will ask how we arrived at this structure, meaning allowing Careem to maintain an independent brand and operate separately. After careful consideration, we decided that this framework has the advantage of letting us build new products and try new ideas across not one, but two, strong brands, with strong operators within each. Over time, by integrating parts of our networks, we can operate more efficiently, achieve even lower wait times, expand new products like high-capacity vehicles and payments, and quicken the already remarkable pace of innovation in the region.

This acquisition is subject to regulatory approval in various countries, which we don’t expect before Q1 2020. Until then, nothing changes. And since both companies will continue to largely operate separately after the acquisition, very little will change in either teams’ day-to-day operations post-close. Today’s news is a testament to the incredible business our team has worked so hard to build.

It’s a great day for the Middle East, for the region’s thriving tech sector, for Careem, and for Uber.

Uber on,


The specs

Engine: 1.8-litre 4-cyl turbo
Power: 190hp at 5,200rpm
Torque: 320Nm from 1,800-5,000rpm
Transmission: Seven-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 6.7L/100km
Price: From Dh111,195
On sale: Now


Started: 2018

Founders: Eslam Hussein and Pulkit Ganjoo

Based: Dubai

Sector: Transport

Size: 9 employees

Investment: $1,275,000

Investors: Class 5 Global, Equitrust, Gulf Islamic Investments, Kairos K50 and William Zeqiri

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

How to keep control of your emotions

If your investment decisions are being dictated by emotions such as fear, greed, hope, frustration and boredom, it is time for a rethink, Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading platform IG, says.


Greedy investors trade beyond their means, open more positions than usual or hold on to positions too long to chase an even greater gain. “All too often, they incur a heavy loss and may even wipe out the profit already made.

Tip: Ignore the short-term hype, noise and froth and invest for the long-term plan, based on sound fundamentals.


The risk of making a loss can cloud decision-making. “This can cause you to close out a position too early, or miss out on a profit by being too afraid to open a trade,” he says.

Tip: Start with a plan, and stick to it. For added security, consider placing stops to reduce any losses and limits to lock in profits.


While all traders need hope to start trading, excessive optimism can backfire. Too many traders hold on to a losing trade because they believe that it will reverse its trend and become profitable.

Tip: Set realistic goals. Be happy with what you have earned, rather than frustrated by what you could have earned.


Traders can get annoyed when the markets have behaved in unexpected ways and generates losses or fails to deliver anticipated gains.

Tip: Accept in advance that asset price movements are completely unpredictable and you will suffer losses at some point. These can be managed, say, by attaching stops and limits to your trades.


Too many investors buy and sell because they want something to do. They are trading as entertainment, rather than in the hope of making money. As well as making bad decisions, the extra dealing charges eat into returns.

Tip: Open an online demo account and get your thrills without risking real money.

Globalization and its Discontents Revisited
Joseph E. Stiglitz
W. W. Norton & Company

The Specs

Engine: 1.6-litre 4-cylinder petrol
Power: 118hp
Torque: 149Nm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Price: From Dh61,500
On sale: Now

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

Profile of Tarabut Gateway

Founder: Abdulla Almoayed

Based: UAE

Founded: 2017

Number of employees: 35

Sector: FinTech

Raised: $13 million

Backers: Berlin-based venture capital company Target Global, Kingsway, CE Ventures, Entrée Capital, Zamil Investment Group, Global Ventures, Almoayed Technologies and Mad’a Investment.

Army of the Dead

Director: Zack Snyder

Stars: Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick, Ana de la Reguera

Three stars


Hong Kong 52-5 UAE
South Korea 55-5 Malaysia
Malaysia 6-70 Hong Kong
UAE 36-32 South Korea

Friday, June 21, 7.30pm kick-off: UAE v Malaysia
At The Sevens, Dubai (admission is free).
Saturday: Hong Kong v South Korea

'How To Build A Boat'
Jonathan Gornall, Simon & Schuster


July 5, 1994: Jeff Bezos founds Cadabra Inc, which would later be renamed to, because his lawyer misheard the name as 'cadaver'. In its earliest days, the bookstore operated out of a rented garage in Bellevue, Washington

July 16, 1995: Amazon formally opens as an online bookseller. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies: Computer Models of the Fundamental Mechanisms of Thought becomes the first item sold on Amazon

1997: Amazon goes public at $18 a share, which has grown about 1,000 per cent at present. Its highest closing price was $197.85 on June 27, 2024

1998: Amazon acquires IMDb, its first major acquisition. It also starts selling CDs and DVDs

2000: Amazon Marketplace opens, allowing people to sell items on the website

2002: Amazon forms what would become Amazon Web Services, opening the platform to all developers. The cloud unit would follow in 2006

2003: Amazon turns in an annual profit of $75 million, the first time it ended a year in the black

2005: Amazon Prime is introduced, its first-ever subscription service that offered US customers free two-day shipping for $79 a year

2006: Amazon Unbox is unveiled, the company's video service that would later morph into Amazon Instant Video and, ultimately, Amazon Video

2007: Amazon's first hardware product, the Kindle e-reader, is introduced; the Fire TV and Fire Phone would come in 2014. Grocery service Amazon Fresh is also started

2009: Amazon introduces Amazon Basics, its in-house label for a variety of products

2010: The foundations for Amazon Studios were laid. Its first original streaming content debuted in 2013

2011: The Amazon Appstore for Google's Android is launched. It is still unavailable on Apple's iOS

2014: The Amazon Echo is launched, a speaker that acts as a personal digital assistant powered by Alexa

2017: Amazon acquires Whole Foods for $13.7 billion, its biggest acquisition

2018: Amazon's market cap briefly crosses the $1 trillion mark, making it, at the time, only the third company to achieve that milestone

Company profile

Company name: Nestrom

Started: 2017

Co-founders: Yousef Wadi, Kanaan Manasrah and Shadi Shalabi

Based: Jordan

Sector: Technology

Initial investment: Close to $100,000

Investors: Propeller, 500 Startups, Wamda Capital, Agrimatico, Techstars and some angel investors


Everton v Tottenham, Sunday, 8.30pm (UAE)

Match is live on BeIN Sports

Match info

Newcastle United 1
Joselu (11')

Tottenham Hotspur 2
Vertonghen (8'), Alli (18')


• Looming global slowdown and recession in key economies

• Russia-Ukraine war

• Interest rate hikes and the rising cost of debt servicing

• Oil price volatility

• Persisting inflationary pressures

• Exchange rate fluctuations

• Shortage of labour/skills

• A resurgence of Covid?

Dengue fever symptoms

High fever (40°C/104°F)
Severe headache
Pain behind the eyes
Muscle and joint pains
Swollen glands