How would you like to win a FREE copy of Once There Was, Twice There Wasn’t: Fifty Turkish Folktales of Nasreddin Hodja by my friend, Michael Shelton. I am giving away 10 copies of this wonderful ebook. See the end of this post for details. Contest ends September 26.
Once There Was, Twice There Wasn’t: Fifty Turkish Folktales of Nasreddin Hodja by Michael Shelton is the best book for understanding how to function in Turkish culture on the market today! (imho)
Does that sound a bit over-the-top?
I have lived in Turkey since 2007 and among Turkic peoples since 1997 and have read quite a few books on Turkey (reviewed a bunch on this blog), and I believe that the clever solutions Nasreddin Hodja finds to everyday cultural puzzles are as helpful and inspiring as any advice you will find.
Add to that Shelton’s colorful prose and the bite-size stories, each of which can be digested in a few minutes, and you have a wonderful Turkish delight.
The 50 tales in the book are in no categorical order. When asked, Shelton explained to me that he spread out stories with similar themes or contexts rather than bunch them all together. He also made sure that if a word or concept that appeared in multiple stories needed to be explained, the explanation comes in the earlier story. I enjoyed the seemingly random order as each new story was a surprise.
In these 50 anecdotal narratives, the famous Hodja finds himself in various cultural and personal predicaments. Whether he is trying to please the emperor, dealing with unreasonable friends, carrying out religious duties, handling lazy relatives, or helping an unlucky neighbor, he always finds a clever way to resolve the dilemma.
As a foreigner living in Turkey, I find that I am often faced with situations in which I am offended or feel that I am being mistreated/disrespected or taken advantage of and usually respond poorly bringing shame on all involved.
Nasreddin Hodja shows me that what I am facing is not uncommon. Turks intuitively know their culture, and those with low character understand how to take advantage of the generosity, hospitality, and general honor/shame worldview the culture values and requires.
My natural American response is usually the wrong response. Nasreddin Hodja is usually faced with a situation in which answering with a simple and direct “No” is not a viable option. Of course, for me I do not understand these nuances and only later find out that I have to work overtime to repair broken relationships. After learning of Nasreddin’s adroit handling of seemingly impossible situations, I am newly inspired to see my Turkish world with different eyes.
Read this book, and I expect you will be too.
Of course, if you do not live among Turks and do not plan to visit anytime soon, the book will still serve as an entertaining read. Our kids love the stories, and we regularly talk about them as a family. I am surprised at how often we face problems in life and realize that the Hodja dealt with something similar, at least in principle.
And when it comes to favorites, I cannot decide between the Contest and the Candle, Inshallah, The Wondrous Cauldron, The Wrong Cow, Hodja’s Threat, and The Guest of Honor, and The Well of Wisdom, and… I think you get the point.
Which is your favorite Nasreddin Hodja story?
In order to enter the ebook giveaway, follow the guidelines below:
REQUIRED TO ENTER:
1. Like the CaptivatingCappadocia Facebook Page If you have already liked the page, you do not need to do it again. The winner will be picked from the FB Page “Likers”.
1. Leave a comment below telling us why you want the book.
2. Share the link on Facebook (just click on the button below or to the left & proceed.) This is a huge step as it allows others to hear about the book.
3. Tweet a link on Twitter or whichever social media you use to connect with friends.
4. You may want to SUBSCRIBE to this blog so you will not miss the excellent content as well as the great giveaways each month.
1. The winner will be chosen on September 27 and announced on September 28.
2. Once There Was, Twice There Wasn’t: Fifty Turkish Folktales of Nasreddin Hodja is only published as an ebook, there is no paper version. However, if you do not have an e-reader, you can download the free Kindle application for your smartphone or computer and read it from the app. I read the book from my iphone. Of course, you can also go ahead and buy a new Kindle
Are you interested in other Turkey-related books? Check these out:
Culture Smart! Turkey & Culture Shock! Turkeyby Charlotte McPherson & Arın Bayraktaroğlu respectively
The New Turkey: The Quiet Revolution on the Edge of Europe by Chris Morris
The Visitor: A Stranger, A Message, A Clash of Cultures by Peter Pikkert
Cappadocia Travel Guide by Oberheu & Wadenpohl
Turkish Alevis Today by John Shindeldecker
The White Castle by Orhan Pamuk
Crescent and Star by Stephen Kinzer
Ataturk: The Biography of the Founder of Modern Turkey by Andrew Mango
The Ottoman Centuries: The Rise and Fall of the Turkish Empire by Lord Kinross
A Fez of the Heart: Travels around Turkey in Search of a Hat By Jeremy Seal
29 Books Related to Turkey: A Reading List
Did you enjoy this post? If so, here’s what you can do. Please share this post with your friends by clicking on one of the buttons below or to the side. Also, you may want to subscribe to these posts. Click here and follow the instructions. One of my goals is to help people who will visit Cappadocia. This is your way to help me meet this goal. Thank you, I am grateful.