> Zed Book Club / Zaib Shaikh on a New Edition of “The Babur Nama,” “The English Patient” and Dining with Shakespeare

Zaib Shaikh can't wait to read his new copy of "The Babur Nama."

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Zaib Shaikh on a New Edition of “The Babur Nama,” “The English Patient” and Dining with Shakespeare

The Little Mosque on the Prairie actor, now a diplomat in Los Angeles, says "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" changed his perspective / BY Shinan Govani / August 26th, 2021

From Little Mosque on the Prairie to the official residence of the Consul General in Los Angeles, Zaib Shaikh has enjoyed quite the ride. The one-time thespian, whose all-Canadian sitcom was an early harbinger of Muslim representation, may be in the diplomat game these days, but one constant in his life is his love of the written word. He fills us in about books, new and old. Hopefully he is getting in some reading poolside in La La Land!

What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

I haven’t been able to read much fiction so far this year, but the best book I’ve read is U.S. poet and essayist Patricia Lockwood’s debut novel, No One is Talking About This.

What book can’t you wait to dive into?

The Babur Nama by Babur, translated by Annette Susannah Beveridge in a new 2020 edition introduced by William Dalrymple. Hollywood is a land of moguls and my parents took their inspiration from the Mughals when they named me. So this hardcover, a pandemic gift from the Mrs. (Kirstine Stewart), written by the original Mughal emperor, is a definite must read.


Michael Ondaatje



What’s your favourite book of all time?

We multiple copies of this book on shelves both real and virtual, and many formats of the Oscar-winning film, so Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient is the easy answer for this tough question.

What book completely changed your perspective?

The Autobiography of Malcolm X As Told To Alex Haley. Spike Lee said it best about this book: “I’m one of hundreds of thousands whose lives were changed for the better.”

If you could have dinner with any author, living or dead, who would it be?

William Shakespeare. Whether it’s because he’s the first playwright I ever read, one of his plays was the first play I ever saw or whether it’s because my first professional acting gig was in a Shakespeare play, who knows … But dinner is a must and he’d have to deal with some hardball topics like the depiction of Muslims and Jews in his plays set in Venice.

Shelf Life Zaib
Malcom X, Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images; William Shakespeare, Photo: Stock Montage /Getty Images; Michael Ondaatje, Photo: Leonardo Cendamo/GettyImages


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