Middle East

By Zora O'Neill

By Zora O'Neill

Good writing about the Middle East, IMO, avoids exoticizing and sensationalizing, and focuses on ordinary people. These are a few books that do this exceptionally well.

Day of Honey: A Memoir of Food, Love, and War

Annia Ciezadlo


I wish there were more books like this. Funny, humane, poignant.

People Like Us: Misrepresenting the Middle East

Joris Luyendijk

$14.95 $13.75

A Dutch journalist's really blunt and smart commentary on how the news is made. Invaluable.

The Butterfly Mosque

G. Willow Wilson

$16.00 $14.72

I liked this memoir because it reminded me of my own time in Egypt.

Baghdad Central

Elliott Colla

$14.95 $13.75

Genre fiction of the best kind, using a detective (an Iraqi man during the American occupation) to expose a rotten system.

An Unnecessary Woman

Rabih Alameddine

$16.00 $14.72

Wonderful novel about an older woman who's a literary translator -- and the Lebanese civil war.

If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran

Carla Power

$22.00 $19.80

If you want to know more about the Quran, let Carla Powers be your avatar. This is a lovely, generous book.

Temporary People

Deepak Unnikrishnan

$17.99 $16.55

Great, occasionally chilling short fiction about guest workers in the UAE.

The Buried: An Archaeology of the Egyptian Revolution

Peter Hessler

$28.00 $25.20

Leans slightly too heavily on the ancient Egypt, but I love that Hessler can compare Egypt and China, which is a perspective we don't often see.