When was the last time you read an anthology cover to cover? What about a 700-page one? For me the last–and the first–was Tablet & Pen. I read this anthology cover to cover, and in fact I did most of that reading in 8-hour bouts of extreme concentration while on a transatlantic flight. Any book that can induce that kind of concentration in that kind of circumstance is doing something incredibly right.
Tablet & Pen is essentially a one-stop guide to 20th-century Middle Eastern literature (with the Middle East being broadly conceived). The readability comes from the fact that a solid 90% of this anthology is simply great literature, as well as the fact that editor Reza Aslan did a wonderful job laying it all out and adding in enough scaffolding to make it all cohere into a comprehensible whole.