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Middle East Reading Suggestions

I have been thinking about doing a post to go along with the Middle East Reading Challenge that I am running and recently two other bloggers have posted about books set in the Middle East or books written by Middle Eastern authors.

The first post I saw was from Bibliojunkie who wrote about Middle Eastern Arab literature. I love the way she superimposed the book covers on the map of the Middle East!

The second post I read was from Stacked in which they "display" some of their favorite Middle Eastern Literature. Some of the books are set in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which I don't consider the Middle East, but they are great books, so I love the post!

As for me, here is my list of some of my favorites since I began blogging in the fall of 2009. As I look back at the list I see it is so easy to find books written about the Middle East that show the abuse, the "evils" of Islam etc. However, that isn't my knowledge of the Middle East. The people I know who live there are warm, generous, educated, and caring.

  • Murder in the name of Honor by Rana Husseini (non-fiction. Covers all countries in the Middle East and some western countries and how they deal with Honor Killings)
  • Between Two Worlds by Zainab Salbi (non-fiction. It is the story of growing up in Iraq with her father as Saddam Hussein's private pilot)
  • I am Nujood: Age 10 and Divorced (non-fiction. This is the story of a young Yemeni girl's marriage, abuse, and divorce)
  • The Caliph's House by Tahir Shah (non-fiction. The author wrote about his year of buying a house in Morocco and remodeling it)
  • Barefoot in Baghdad by Manal M. Omar (non-fiction. Omar spent time living in Iraq and working for the non-profit Women for Women International just as the war broke out in 2003)
  • Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa (adult fiction. This book follows one family's story during the 60 years of the Israel-Palestine conflict)
  • The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan (non-fiction. This is really the story of a house that both an Israeli and a Palestinian family own and how it represents the conflict since 1948)
  • Muslim Women Reformers by Ida Lichter (non-fiction. Covers all Middle Eastern countries and the women who are fighting for women's rights)
  • Palestine by Joe Sacco (graphic novel based on Sacco's time as a reporter in Palestine)
  • Cemetery of Dreams by S. Mostofi (adult fiction. This is a mystery set in Iran)
  • Girls of Riyadh by Rajaa Alsanea (fiction. This fun book shows what it's like for young women in Saudi Arabia)
  • Finding Nouf by Zoe Ferraris (fiction. This is a mystery set in Saudi Arabia that does a wonderful job of showing Saudi society)


Athira said...

I'm just waiting for next three months. I don't have too many review books and I want to keep it that way. Besides I'll be on my own after 6 months of company, so I guess I may get more reading time (if the TV doesn't interfere). I can't wait to check out more titles!

Amused said...

What an inspiring list of books. This makes me want to read some more books set in this part of the world.

Helen's Book Blog said...

Aths--I hope you have some time to read, but it doesn't seem like you have been having bad reading lately!

Amused--It's all about finding out about good books, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Intriguing list of books on the Middle East ! I might have to add a few of these two my never ending reading list. Have you read "Children of Jihad" ? I'd recommend it !

Helen's Book Blog said...

Maphead--I have not yet read Children of Jihad, but have heard such good things about it that it is on my list

Bonnie Jacobs said...

I've been reading a lot, but not reviewing many of them. Sorry, Helen, I'll try to do better and get some of mine done for the Middle East Reading Challenge. For the next ten days, however, I'll be preparing a sermon for the Sunday after Easter (May 1st).

Helen's Book Blog said...

Bonnie--Good luck preparing the sermon for May 1, that's a big job! Don't feel like you have to review all of the ones you've read, how about just the best ones?

mpartyka said...

Your post reminds me that I need to link to a few books read recently.... I have been reading alot of books set in Africa (they just keep appearing on my doorstep) :)

Thanks for doing this challenge - I love the personal growth!

Helen's Book Blog said...

Mari--Definitely link them up, the more the better! How fun to have books appearing on your doorstep, I can't wait to see what they are

JoV said...

Thanks for the mention. :)

I read The Caliph's House and Girl of Riyadh and love them both. The Caliph's House is one of my favourite.

You got quite a good selection of books there!

Helen's Book Blog said...

JoV--I liked both of those books, but my favorite so far is Mornings in Jenin