Female Emirati University Students’ Book Reading Choices: An Investigation

Celine Kamhieh


The inescapable link between college students' reading habits and their academic success suggests the importance to educators of investigating their students’ reading interests and preferences. The study reported here was an open investigation into the book reading choices of first-year female Emirati university students to see what genres, authors, main protagonists and book settings they preferred. Book titles were mined from data which was gathered during a larger in-depth research on students’ reading habits over a period of two years, through interviews, journal entries, surveys, emails and conversations. Results showed that, while students had a preference for fiction, they also had a comparatively high interest in nonfiction, particularly self-help books. Gender did not appear to be a major factor in their preferences although male authors were popular. Geography, including author and protagonist nationality and book setting, appeared to be more important, with students showing a preference for American and British authors, protagonists and settings. With students’ overall choice of Arab authors and titles at little more than one tenth of their total choices, availability of interesting books would appear to be of paramount importance. There are implications for the Arabic book publishing industry, in general, and the Emirati book publishing industry, in particular. Findings will be of interest also to educators, librarians and others who wish to promote leisure reading among college students in the Arab world and augment the limited literature on Arab students' reading choices. 

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v9i6.12095

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