I asked my new Egyptian friend if he had read The Days in school and he had and he enlightened me that this author is considered the most prolific and profound of Arabic philosophers. The book has been nominated for the Nobel Prize 13 times and never won.
The American entry is To Kill a Mockingbird. He had never read it. So we are going to read each other's country's book and then talk about it. I've made my world so small that he is my first Arabic friend. I am looking forward to learning more about his culture. Although his childhood (he's Christian) was suburban and didn't sound all that different than mine.