In the Somalian capital of Mogadishu, books are hard to come by; Novels even more so. There are a few bookstores in Mogadishu, but the most notable collection of books is the Mogadishu Public Library. It is a privately-funded, 7,000-member library with about 31,000 books that have been donated. Although there are many books, novels are rare. Books are divided into many categories, such as technical business books and chemistry books. Novels seem to be out of place because, "The man who is reading a novel is rested and not worried about anything," said Hirsie Muhammad Hirui, manager of the library, "The man who lives in Mogadishu works 13 or 14 hours a day."
This quote, which is the only one in the article, is perfect. It sums up why novels are scarce in the small library in just two sentences. Paraphrasing would have made it less powerful, because it is a direct quote from Hirui, who knows exactly what he is talking about.
The Washington Post adds that Western books end up like most books from far-off worlds, relegated to the bottom shelf in an office. The Post also said that there are copies of "The Da Vinci Code" circulating house-to-house within the city.
I think that the topic is a very interesting take on the civil wars in Somalia. It is refreshing to see something other than "this many soldiers were killed today." It is surprising to see that novels are uncommon and out of place. I think the Post does as better job of getting the story across because it adds more about novels that may be around.