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Books about and set in the Arab world, India, Iran, and Turkey

Listed by country

Abdullah, Morag Murray. My Khyber Marriage: Experiences of a Scotswoman as the Wife of a Pathan Chieftain’s Son, 1990. Valley of the Giant Buddhas, 1993.
Armstrong, Sally. Veiled Threat: The Hidden Power of the Women of Afghanistan. 2003.
Brodsky, Anne (ed.). With All Our Strength: Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan. 2003.
Chavis, Melody Ermachild. Meena, Heroine of Afghanistan: The Martyr Who Founded RAWA, the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan.
Coll, Steve. Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to 9/10/01.
Elliot, Jason. An Unexpected Light: Travels in Afghanistan. 2001.
Fesperman, Dan. The Warlord’s Son. 2004.
Follain, John. Zoya’s Story: An Afghan Woman’s Struggle for Freedom. 2002.
Follett, Ken. Lie Down with Lions.
Habibullah, Amir. My Life—From Brigand to King. 1990.
Henner, Eloise. Letters from Afghanistan. 2003. Letters about 1970s stint as a teacher.
Hirsh, M. E. Kabul. 2002.
Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. 2003.
Khadra, Yasmina (pen name of Mohammed Moulessehoul). Swallows of Kabul. 2004.
Kremmer, Christopher. The Carpet Wars: Ten Years in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. 2002.
Lamb, Christina. Sewing Circles of Herat: A Personal Voyage through Afghanistan. 2002.
Latifa. My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban: A Young Woman’s Story. 2002
Mamda, Mahmood. Good Muslim, Bad Muslim: America, the Cold War, and the Roots of Terror. 2004.
Mehta, Sunita (ed.). Women for Afghan Women: Shattering Myths and Claiming the Future. 2002.
Newby, Eric, A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush. 1998.
Palmer, Louis. Adventures in Afghanistan. 1990.
Seierstad, Asne, The Bookseller of Kabul. Translated from Norwegian. Life in an Afghani family.
Shah, Saira. Storyteller’s Daughter. Afghani-British woman travels throughout Afghanistan.
Shakib, Siba. Samira & Samir: The Heartrending Story of Love and Oppression in Afghanistan.
Sulima and Hala. Behind the Burqa: Our Life in Afghanistan and How We Escaped to Freedom. 2002.
Wilson, Steven E. Winter in Kandahar. Fiction. 2003.


Khadra, Yasmina (pen name for Mohammed Moulessehoul). In the Name of God, 2000.
Wolf Dreams. 2003. Morituri. 2003. Double Blank. 2005.
Abu-Luqhod, Lila. Writing Women’s Worlds: Bedouin Stories, 1993. Veiled Sentiments: Honor and Poetry in a Bedouin Society, 2000.
Afkhami, Mahnax (ed.). Faith and Freedom—Women’s Human Rights in the Muslim World. 1995.
Anvay, Carol. Daughters of Another Path—American Women Choosing Islam. 1995.
Asher, Michael. The Last of the Bedu, 1996.
Brooks, Geraldine. Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women. 1995.
Byron, Robert. The Road to Oxiana. 1982. Travels throughout Arabia in 1930s.
Dallas, Roland. A Life on the Edge.
Doughty, Charles M. Travels in Arabia Deserta: Selected Passages. 2003. Travel across Arabia in 1870s.
Fernea, Elizabeth Warnock. In Search of Islamic Feminism: One Woman’s Global Journey.
Geniesse, Jane. Passionate Nomad: The Life of Freya Stark. 1999.
Glain, Stephen. Dreaming of Damascus: Merchants, Mullahs and Militants in the New Middle East. 2003.
Goodwin, Jan. Price of Honor: Muslim Women Lift the Veil of Silence on the Islamic World.
Haddad, Yvonne (ed.). Islam, Gender and Social Change. 1997.
Hekmat, Anwar. Women and the Koran: The Status of Women in Islam, 1997.
Herge. Adventures of Tintin: Land of Black Gold and The Crab with the Golden Claws. Cartoon books.
Hoyland, Robert. Arabia and the Arabs: From the Bronze Age to the Coming of Islam. 2001.
Mackintosh-Smith, Tim. Travels with a Tangerine: From Morocco to Turkey in the Footsteps of Islam’s Greatest Traveler. 2004.
Maalouf, Amin. Crusades through Arab Eyes, 1989.
Leo Africanus. 1990. Islamic culture in the time of Columbus.
Mernissi, Fatima. Beyond the Veil: Male-Female Dynamics in a Modern Muslim Society. 1987.
Forgotten Queens of Islam. 1990.
Scheherazade Goes West: Different Cultures, Different Harems. 2001.
The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminist Interpretation of Women’s Rights in Islam. 1988.
Miles, Hugh. Al Jazeera: How Arab TV News Challenges America, 2005.
Naipaul, V.S. Among the Believers: An Islamic Journey. 1987.
Raswan, Carl. Black Tents of Arabia: My Life Among the Bedouins, 1998. (from the German) Desert experiences of German soldier after WWI.
Sabbagh, Suha (ed.). Arab Women—Between Defiance and Restraint. 2002.
Stark, Freye. Alexander’s Path, 1990. A Winter in Arabia, 2002.
Taylor, Andrew. Travelling the Sands: Sagas of Exploration in the Arabian Peninsula. 1995.


Aciman, Andre. Out of Egypt: A Memoir. 1994.
Ahmed, Leila. A Border Passage: from Cairo to America—A Woman’s Journey. 1999.
Christie, Agatha. Death on the Nile.
Dalrymple, William. White Mughals.
Edwards, Amelia B. A Thousand Miles Up the Nile.
El Saadawi, Nawal. Woman at Point Zero. 1979; Two Women in One. 1986.
The Fall of the Imam. 1988; She Has No Place in Paradise. 1989.
Memoirs from the Women’s Prison. 1994.
Fernea, Elizabeth and Robert. Nubian Ethnographies.
Follett, Ken. Key to Rebecca.
Frank, Katherine. A Passage to Egypt: The Life of Lucie Duff Gordon.
Ghosh, Amitav. In an Antique Land: History in the Guise of a Traveler’s Tale. 1994.
Gordon, Lucie. Letters from Egypt, 1983-65. Time Warner. 1983.
Gruber, Mark. Journey Back to Eden: My Life and Times among the Desert Fathers. 2002.
Monk’s life among the Copts.
Jacq, Christian. Ramses: The Lady of Abu Simbel. 1998. (from the French)
Karabell, Zachary. Parting the Desert: The Creation of the Suez Canal. 2003.
Kennedy, Douglas. Beyond the Pyramids. Non-fiction.
American traveler avoids monuments and temples to try to find modern Egypt.
McGraw, Eloise Jarvis. Mara, Daughter of the Nile.
Mahfouz, Naguib. The Cairo Trilogy: Palace Walk; Palace of Desire; Sugar Street. Three generations of one family from World War I to 1950s in Cairo. Midaq Alley. 1992.
Peters, Elizabeth. Lord of the Silent.
Reeves, Nicholas. Akhenaten: Egypt’s False Prophet. 2001 and 2005.
Serageldin, Samia. The Cairo House, 2003.
Tyldesley, Joyce. Daughters of Isis and Nefertiti: Egypt’s Sun Queen.


Ali, Monica. Brick Lane. East London setting.
Ali, Samina. Madras on Rainy Days.
Ali, Thalassa. A Singular Hostage, 2002, and A Beggar at the Gate. 2004.
Bajwa, Rupa. The Sari Shop.
Daswani, Kavita. The Matrimonial Purposes. Fiction. Dealing with pressure to marry.
Desai, Anita. The Village by the Sea and Fire on the Mountain.
Divakaruni,Chitra Banerjee. Arranged Marriage.
Etteth, Ravi Shankar. The Tiger by the River and The Village of Widows.
Forster, E. M. Passage to India.
Ghosh, Amitav. The Glass Palace. (sage of 3 generations from Mandalay, India, Burma)
Jayapal, Pramila. Pilgrimage to India: A Woman Revisits Her Homeland. Non-fiction.
Jhabvala, Prawer. Heat and Dust. Depressed English woman falls in love with Indian prince.
Kaye, M. M. Shadow of the Moon, 1957. The Far Pavilion, 1978.
“Share of Summer” memoirs: Sun in the Morning (Vol. I, 1990), Golden Afternoon (Vo.l. II, 1997), Enchanted Evening (Vol. III, 1999).
Kirchner, Bharti. Darjeeling.
Koul, Sudha. The Tiger Ladies: A Memoir of Kashmir.
Kumar, Amitava. Husband of a Fanatic: A Personal Journey through India, Pakistan, Love, Hate. 2005.
Lahiri, Jhumpa. Interpreter of Maladies (short stories) 1999 and The Namesake (novel)
MacDonald, Sarah. Holy Cow! An Indian Adventure. Australian woman moves to India after vowing she’d never return.
Mistry, Rohinton. A Fine Balance.
Narayan, Shoba. Monsoon Diary: A Memoir with Recipes.
Newby, Eric and Wanda. Slowly Down the Ganges. 1998.
O’Hagan (Editor). The Weekenders: Adventures in Calcutta. 2004.
Scott, Paul. Staying On. An elderly British couple “stay on” in India after British Raj.
Shanghvi, Siddharth Dhanvant. The Last Song of Dusk.
Sundaresan, Indu. The Twentieth Wife & The Feast of Roses. Fictionalized history.
Thomson, Hugh. Nanda Devi: A Journey to the Last Sanctuary.


Al-Saltanah, Taj. Crowning Anguish: Memoirs of a Persian Princess from the Harem to modernity. 1884-1914.
Asayesh, Gelareh. Saffron Sky: A Life Between Iran and America. 1999.
Bahrampour, Tara. To See and See Again. Iranian-American fled Iran in 1979. 2000.
Benham, Miriam. Zelzelah. Memoir of life in Iran, then Dubai.
Dubus III, Andre. House of Sand and Fog. Fiction. Iranian family in California struggles to succeed.
De Bellaique, Christopher. In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs: A Memoir of Iran. 2005.
Dumas, Firoozeh. Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America. 2004.
Farmaian, Sattareh Farman. Daughter of Persia: A Woman’s Journey from Her Father’s Harem through the Islamic Revolution. 1992.
Firouz, Anahita. In the Walled Gardens. 2003.
Friedl, Erika. Women of Deh Koh: Lives in an Iranian Village.
Goldin, Farideh. Wedding Song: Memoirs of an Iranian Jewish Woman. 2003.
Hakakian, Roya. Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran. 2004.
Latifi, Afschineh. Even After All This Time: A Story of Love, Revolution, and Leaving Iran.
Maalouf, Amin. Samarkand. 1992 (from the French)
Mahmoody, Betty. Not Without My Daughter.
Moaveni, Azadeh. Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in American and American in Iran.
Molavi, Afshin. Persian Pilgrimages: Journeys across Iran. 2002.
Nafisi, Azar. Reading Lolita in Tehran. Teacher introduces students to western literature.
Nahai, Gina. Moonlight on the Avenue of Faith.
Pahlavi, Farah. An Enduring Love: My Life with the Shah—A Memoir. 2004.
Pari, Susanne. The Fortune Catcher. 1997.
Rachlin, Nahid. Married to a Stranger, 1993. Foreigner, 1999.
Rachlin, Nadhid. Persian Girls
Satrapi, Marjane. Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood. & Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return.
Stark, Freya. The Valleys of the Assassins: and other Persian Travels [in 1930s]. 2001.
Ward, Terence. Searching for Hassan: A Journey to the Heart of Iran. 2003.
Wearing, Alison. Honeymoon in Purdah: An Iranian Journey. Non-fiction.
Canadian woman travels on “honeymoon” with gay friend throughout Iran.


Al-Amir, Daisy. The Waiting List: An Iraqi Woman’s Tales of Alienation. 1994.
Al-Radi, Nuha. Baghdad Diaries: A Woman’s Chronicle of War and Exile.
Fernea, Elizabeth Warnock. Guests of the Sheik.: An Ethnography of an Iraqi Village.
American woman tells of life in small southern Iraqi village.
Horwitz, Tony. Baghdad without a Map: And Other Misadventures in Arabia. 1991.
Rich, Paul. Arab War Lords and Iraqi Star Gazers: Gertrude Bell’s the Arab of Mesopotamia. 2001.
Sasson, Jean. Mayada: Daughter of Iraq. American woman tells of friend imprisoned in Iraq.
Seierstad, Asne. A Hundred and One Days. 2005. Journalist in Baghdad.
Stark, Freya. Baghdad Sketches. 1996. British woman travels in 1920s Iraq.
Thesiger, Wilfred. The Marsh Arabs. 1964.
Turnipseed, Joel. Baghdad Express: A Gulf War Memoir. 2003.
Wallach, Janet. Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell: Adventurer, Advisor to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia. 1996.


Caulfield, Annie. Kingdom of the Film Stars: Journey into Jordan. 1997.
Christie, Agatha. Appointment with Death. (set in Petra)
Hamilton, Masha. Staircase of a Thousand Steps. 2002.
Khouri, Norma. Honor Lost: Love and Death in Modern-Day Jordan. Jordanian tells of friend’s honor killing after love affair.
Levy, Udi. The Lost Civilization of Petra.
Munif, Abd Al-Rahman. Story of a City: A Childhood in Amman and Cities of Salt.
Noor, Queen. Leap of Faith: Memoirs of an Unexpected Life. 2003.
Swann, T. B. The Sudden Wings.
Taylor, Jane. Petra and the Lost Kingdom of the Nabataeans.


Byrd, Christiane. A Thousand Sighs, A Thousand Revolts. Travels in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran.
Saleem, Hiner. My Father’s Rifle: A Childhood in Kurdistan.


Paine, Tom. The Pearl of Kuwait. 2003.
Sasson, Jean. The Rape of Kuwait.
Zahlan, Rosemary. The Making of the Modern Gulf States: Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE, Oman, 1989.


Al-Shayk, Hanan. Only in London. 2002; I Sweep the Sun Off Rooftops. 1998.
Beirut Blues. 1996; Women of Sand and Myrrh; The Story of Zahra. 1996.
Diaz, Tom. Lightning Out of Lebanon: Hezbollah Terrorists on American Soil, 2005.
Firro, Kais. Inventing Lebanon: Nationalism and State Under Mandate, 2002.
Gavin, Angus.Beirut Reborn: The Restoration and Development of the Central District, 1996.
Jarrar, Nada Awar. Somewhere, Home, 2003.
Malone, Martin. The Broken Cedar, 2003.
Salibi, Kamal. A House of Many Mansions: The History of Lebanon Reconsidered, 1988.
Sasson, Jean. Ester’s Child.


Bowles, Paul. The Sheltering Sky. 1949 & The Spider’s House. 1955. A Hundred Camels in the Courtyard, 1981. Beat writer on kif smokers. 1981.
Fernea, Elizabeth Warnock. Street in Marrakech. 1998.
Gemmell, Nikki. The Bride Stripped Bare. 2005.
Harris, Walter. Morocco That Was, 2003.
Maxwell, Gavin. Lords of the Atlas: The Rise and Fall of the House of Glasua, 1893-1956, 2002.
Mernissi, Fatima. Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood.
Oufkir, Malika. Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail. 2002.
Siler, Jenny. Flashback.
Taylor, Debbie. The Fourth Queen. Scottish woman kidnapped to join harem.
Taylor, Jeffrey. Glory in a Camel’s Eye: Trekking through the Moroccan Sahara, 2003.


Beasant, John. Oman: The True Life Drama and Intrigue of an Arab State. 2003.
Clapp, Nicolas. The Road to Ubar: Finding the Atlantis of the Sands. 1999.
Sheba: Through the Desert in Search of the Legendary Queen.
Collin, Richard. The Man with Many Names. 1995.
Eickelman, Christine. Women and Community in Oman.
Ellis, Ralph. Solomon, Falcon of Sheba: The Tombs of King David, King Solomon, and the Queen of Sheba Discovered. 2003.
Fiennes, Ranulph. The Feathermen. 1991.
Ludlum, Robert. The Icarus Agenda. 1988.
O’Shea, Raymond. The Sand Kings of Oman. 2000. About Oman in 1940s.
Risso, Patricia. Oman and Muscat: An Early Modern History, 1986.
Ward, Philip. Travels in Oman: On the Track of the Early Explorers. 1986.
Wikkin, Unni. Behind the Veil in Arabia: Women in Oman. 1970s study of women in Sohar. 1991.


Jamie, Kathleen. Among Muslims: Meetings at the Frontiers of Pakistan. 2002.
Lamb, Christina. Waiting for Allah: Pakistan’s Struggle for Democracy.


Abdul-Baki, Kathryn. Ghost Songs: A Palestinian Love Story, 2000.
Barghouti, Mourid. I Saw Ramallah. 2003.
Grossman, David. The Yellow Wind. 2002.
Hass, Amira. Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land Under Siege. 1996.
Karmi, Ghada. In Search of Fatima: A Palestinian Story. 2002.
Khalifeh, Sahar. Wild Thorns.
Souad. Burned Alive: A Victim of the Law of Men.


Abu Saud, Abeer. Qatari Women: Past and Present, 1984.
Al-Arayed, Jawad. A Line in the Sea: The Qatar v. Bahrain Border dispute in the World Court, 2003.
Anscombe, Frederick. The Ottoman Gulf, 1997.
Cordesman, Anthony. Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and the UAE: Challenges of Security, 1997.
Ferdinand, Klaus. Bedouins of Qatar, 1993.
Moorehead, John. In Defiance of the Elements: A Personal View of Qatar, 1977.
Willis, Terri. Qatar, 2004.


Al-Shaykh. Beirut Blues, The Story of Zahra, and Women of Sand and Myrrh.
Bin Ladin, Carmen. Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia. 2004.
Genia. Single in Saudi. 2004. Sex, drugs, and disrespect in the KSA.
Nicholson, Eleanor. In the Footsteps of the Camel: A Portrait of the Bedouins of Eastern Saudi Arabia in Mid Century, 1984.
Roush, Patricia. At Any Price: How America Betrayed My Kidnapped Daughters for Saudi Oil. 2003.
Sasson, Jean. The Princess Triology: Princess Sultana’s Daughters, Princess Sultana’s Circle, 2001; Princess: The True Story of Life Inside Saudi Arabia’s Royal Family.


Hale, Sondra. Gender Politics in Sudan: Islamism, Socialism, and the State, 1998.
Nazer, Mende. Slave.
Salih, Tayeb. Season of Migration to the North. 1970.
Scroggins, Deborah. Emma’s War: Love, Betrayal and Death in the Sudan. 2002.


Bell, Gertrude. The Desert and the Sown: The Syrian Adventures of the Female Lawrence of Arabia. 2001.
Moss, Tewdwr. Cleopatra’s Wedding Present: Travels through Syria. 2001.


Orga, Irfan. The Caravan Moves On: Three Weeks Among Turkish Nomads [in 1950s]. 2003.
Portrait of a Turkish Family. 2003. World War I in Istanbul.
Pamuk, Orhan. Snow, Birds without Wings, The White Castle, The Black Book, My Name is Red.
Seal, Jeremy. A Fez of the Heart: Travels around Turkey in Search of a Hat. 1996.


Al-Fahim, Mohammed. From Rags to Riches: A Story of Abu Dhabi. 1995.
Holton, Patricia. Mother without a Mask: A Westerner’s Story of Her Arab Family.
British woman lives in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain with Emirati family in 1960s.
Moore, Robin. Dubai. Fiction. Love, business, and intrigue in 1970s U.A.E.
Sampler, Jeffrey and Saeb Eigner. Sand to Silicon: Achieving Rapid Growth Lessons from Dubai. 2003.


Aithie, Charles. Yemen: Jewel of Arabia. 2000.
Breton, Jean-Francois. Arabia Felix from the Time of the Queen of Sheba: Eighth Century B.C. to First Century A.D.
Dresch, Paul. Tribes, Government, and History of Yemen. 1994.
A History of Modern Yemen. 2000.
Hansen, Eric. Motoring with Mohammed: Journeys to Yemen and the Red Sea. 1992.
Mackintosh-Smith, Tim. Yemen: Travels in Dictionary Land. 1998.
Yemen: The Unknown Arabia. 2001.
Travels in Ibn Battutah. 2002.
Rushby, Kevin. Eating the Flowers of Paradise: One Man’s Journey through Ethiopia and Yemen. 1999.
Stark, Freya. Southern Gates of Arabia: A Journey in the Hadhramaut. 200

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