Novels, dramas, documentaries, histories, cookbooks – I can never get enough when it comes to reading. Whatever your preference, there is bound to be a book on this 31 Must Read Titles list that will interest you!
The Kindness of Strangers by Mike McIntyre
This is a documentary in book form. The author decides to set out across America with nothing but a backpack and is essentially penniless. He meets strangers across the country and experiences American (and I’d argue human) values many feel no longer exist.
Buy It Now: The Kindness of Strangers
The Oracle of Stamboul by Michael David Lukas
This book might remind you of 1,001 Nights but I really loved the prose and storytelling. It was never clear whether this was a real or imaginary place, or a mixture of both, nor were the characters distinguishable. I’ve read it twice now.
Buy It Now: The Oracle of Stamboul
Fall of Giants by Ken Follett
This a series of 3 books that trace the family history of 5 families throughout the 20th century. The history mixed with personal stories really brings the events to life. Note: These books are very long!
Buy It Now: Fall of Giants
Day of Honey by Annia Ciezadlo
Set in Iraq beginning in 2003, the author takes us through her day to day life, interwoven with great food, stories, and experiences. This book is a different side than we often hear about Iraq.
Buy It Now: Day of Honey
The Shadow of the Wind by Gabriel Ruiz Zafon
A friend recommended this book several years ago. At first I struggled to get into the story but quickly was intrigued. The story is set in Barcelona and the writing is so good I really had to slow down to take it in – quite a feat for a book that’s been translated! It’s a series of books and I’m now reading the others.
Buy It Now: The Shadow of the Wind
The Circle by Dave Eggers
One of my easy summer reads. This is an easy read and I saw a lot of parallels to modern day life. Maybe too many.
Buy It Now: The Circle
The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjallan
This book is captivating and still incredibly difficult to read. It takes place during the Armenian genocide and tells an amazing story. I couldn’t put it down, even though many times I really wanted to stop reading.
Buy It Now: The Sandcastle Girls
Jerusalem by Yotam Ottollenghi and Sami Tamini
Ottollenghi has several cookbooks currently in the market but this remains my favorite. The blend of Palestinian and Israeli cuisine really speaks to me and every recipe I’ve made has been excellent.
Buy It Now: Jerusalem
Lords of the Atlas by Gavin Maxwell
I learned so much about Moroccan history from this book. It’s set in more contemporary times but the information shed a lot of light on the social and political constructs of the country in an interesting way. It had the information of a text book but the reading style of a good historical novel.
Buy It Now: Lords of the Atlas
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. Riveting and rich with lyricism, this book evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?
Buy It Now: Burial Rites
La Tartine Gourmande by Beatrice Peltre
If I only kept one cookbook in my collection this is it. Most importantly the recipes are great, but I find them easy to adapt and perfect for a family dinner or bigger event. Her crepe recipe is my go to and the gluten-free dough recipes she shares are simple enough for even the most novice gluten-free baker.
Buy It Now: La Tartine Gourmande
My Accidental Jihad by Krista Bremer
I related to Krista countless times throughout this book! It really reminded me in many ways of the same struggles and challenges MarocBaba and I faced. A quick, witty, and interesting read.
Buy It Now: My Accidental Jihad
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
Like Jerusalem’s multi-ethnic mix, this story is about a golem (the Jewish version of a spirit) and a jinn (the Islamic version of a spirit) and brings them to life. It’s just fantastical enough to be a story but with enough glimmers of reality to leave you wondering, what if?
Buy It Now: The Golem and the Jinni
The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg
If you’ve never heard of the concept of basha posh in Afghanistan then you need to read this book. It tells the story of women who have lived or are living their lives as men to gain rights and freedoms.
Buy It Now: The Underground Girls of Kabul
The French Market Cookbook by Clotilde Dusoulier
I only took a few cookbooks to Morocco with me, this is one of them. The recipes are all vegetarian and simple. I find myself regularly using it when we have a seasonal abundance of vegetables.
Buy It Now: The French Market Cookbook
Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami
Laila Lalami is one of my favorite authors, and this was the first book of hers that I read. The story is about 4 Moroccans that are crossing the Strait of Gibralter to Spain. Why are they doing it? What will happen?
Buy It Now: Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits
The Lemon Tree by Sandy Tolan
One of the first books I read about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict – also the first book that changed how I viewed things
Buy It Now: The Lemon Tree
The Street Sweeper by Elliot Pearlman
I really love stories that weave together people’s lives because I think this is really the case in life – we just often fail to see the connections. This story does just that.
Buy It Now: The Street Sweeper
My Name is Memory by Anne Brashares
This book isn’t a deep read but I found myself caught up in the stories on a flight from the US to Morocco. I cried a few times, and laughed in others. The perfect read for a winter vacation.
Buy It Now: My Name is Memory
The Kitchen Daughter by Jael McHenry
It may seem morbid, cooking the recipes of people long gone, but the way McHenry puts together this story of loss, and the power of food and memories is truly wonderful.
Buy It Now: Kitchen Daughter
The New Midwestern Table by Amy Thielen
Maybe it’s homesickness but I’ve been dying to get my hands on this book! Midwestern food gets a bad rap but it’s really excellent!
Buy It Now: The New Midwestern Table
Margot by Jillian Cantor
What if Anne Frank’s sister, Margot, had survived? What would her story have been? This novel explores the what if’s in a book love, survivor’s guilt, and the hopes of a happy ending.
Buy It Now: Margot
And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
I love all books I’ve read from this author, and this story does not disappoint. A story of family, betrayal, honor and sacrifice – definitely worth a read!
Buy It Now: And the Mountains Echoed
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
A different look at what makes people successful – or not. It will likely change everything you’ve believed, it changed my opinion!
Buy It Now: Outliers
People I Want to Punch in the Throat by Jen Mann
How about a little humor for the day? This should do the trick!
Buy It Now: People I Want to Punch in the Throat
Mediterranean Paleo Cooking by Caitlin Weeks and Nabil Boumrar
When Caitlin asked me to review this cookbook I of course said yes. My mother in law and I spent 30 minutes looking at the pictures and recipes as soon as it arrived. I’m not ready to go paleo but can tell you there are some amazing recipes in this book. For anyone that likes Mediterranean cuisine and cooking, this is a must for your collection.
Buy It Now: Mediterranean Paleo Cooking
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Two young people’s lives collide in WWII France. But there’s so much more to the story than just that. I am 75% through this book and really don’t want it to end.
Buy It Now: All the Light We Cannot See
The Sandalwood Tree by Elle Newmark
An American family moves to India in 1947 and find letters from the previous owners hidden in a wall. What will they uncover and what turbulance will they face as the British depart India?
Buy It Now: The Sandalwood Tree
The Yacoubian Building by Alaa Al Aswany
The book is described as, “Teeming with frank sexuality and heartfelt compassion, this book is an important window on to the experience of loss and love in the Arab world.” This book is set in Cairo and I describe it simply as excellent.
Buy It Now: The Yacoubian Building
Purification of the Heart by Hamza Yusuf
I’m recommending only one religious book and it’s this. Hamza Yusuf is the only Islamic scholar that has ever resonated with me. I enjoy how he can make abstract concepts and terms make sense in a context that western people can understand. Not a light read but something to digest in small chunks.
Buy It Now: Purification of the Heart
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
An oldie but a goodie. Everytime I re-read this I find something I missed the first time. There seem to be universal truths in all of Coelho’s books but this remains my favorite.
Buy It Now: The Alchemist
Featured Image Credit: WhyDev