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Jazmina Ramzy reads in her downtown Toronto apartment on Jan. 25, 2012.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

A frequent traveller, I often read in airports and on planes. My favourite place with a good book is on my chaise longue in my living room on a Sunday morning. I am surrounded by Iranian, Chinese, Egyptian, Tibetan and Arab art. Each piece was either painted or given to me by a friend, and together they are a source of much joy.

I am almost finished reading The Love Queen of Malabar, by Merrily Weisbord. It is a memoir of a Canadian writer's long friendship with Kamala Das, India's beloved and controversial poet.

In the media, Kamala is often referred to as "the first feminist emotional revolutionary of our time." I loved both Kamala and Merrily's fearless approach to life. They shared with each other what it means to be a woman in their respective cultures. Both their lives were enriched by this friendship. I related to these two women as their experiences paralleled many of my own while living and performing in the Middle East.

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As a Chinese New Year's gift, I received a Kindle from someone special, so this may be the last book I read in print. The most influential titles in my life were The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis and The Book of the Law, by Aleister Crowley. I cannot decide which of these two favourites to download first. Airport reading will certainly be easier now.

Yasmina Ramzy is the founder and artistic director of Canada's leading Middle Eastern dance and music ensemble, Arabesque. Her latest creation, JAMRA, is onstage at Toronto's Fleck Dance Theatre from Feb. 9 to 12.

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