Salma Abdelnour spends a year in Beirut, the city she fled with her parents at age nine, contemplating the meaning of “home” as she ponders whether to resettle there. The book begins tilted much towards an Eat Pray Love style personal confessional but gradually gives way to a broader picture of Beirut, the Middle East and our human need for connection. I was fortunate enough to read the entire book while visiting Beirut and found Abdelnour’s observations and insights as both an insider and outsider fascinating. A food and culture writer based in NYC, she illuminates the Lebanese love of food, talk, dancing, nightlife, conversation, and hospitality – and even includes recipes. Later in the book she explores the politics more deeply. As “incidents” in the book were echoed by bombings and disputes today, I felt as Abdelnour feels — that the vitality and tolerance of greater Beirut is a precious, fragile resource in the Middle East.