RaveThe Chicago Review of BooksThe richness of Wassef’s debut makes it a hard one to categorize ... Diwan is the central character in a compelling narration that is also a cultural history, a diary of an entrepreneur, a catalogue of the best of Egyptian literature, and a commentary on living and leading as women in a contemporary Egypt turbulent with change ... Wassef’s tone is both lyrical and conversational, heartfelt, and honest ... A strength of Wassef’s writing is the ease with which she describes the textures of Egyptian life juxtaposed with critical commentary on its history and culture. The reader is immersed in sensory details ... In some ways, the book is a subjective history lesson told by an old friend over coffee who has a penchant for F-bombs ... The creation of Diwan and the writing of Shelf Life seems to be a response to that challenge presented in her formative years — as if Wassef is saying, here is the change I created, here is a successful woman in a man’s world. It’s the triumph of her enterprise and the book.