For most of the month of June, millions are observing Ramadan. Since this is a holy month in Islam–and predominantly celebrated in the Middle East–we’ve created a reading list of books that will delve into the region’s history, encourage you to try their vibrant cuisines, and share emotional stories.
Watched by Marina Budhos
Teenager Naeem lives with his hardworking Bangladeshi parents in Queens. One day, Naeem’s mistakes catch up with him and he’s offered a dark deal by the cops. Can he be a hero like the guys in his brother’s comic books? But what is a hero and what is a traitor? Where does Naeem belong?
Fractured Lands by Scott Anderson
In this gripping account, journalist Scott Anderson examines the causes of the profound unraveling of the Middle East and North Africa through the lens of six individuals. This penetrating portrait of the contemporary Arab world brings the reality of an unprecedented geopolitical tragedy into crystalline focus.
The Saffron Tales by Yasmin Khan
British-Iranian cook Yasmin Khan traversed Iran in search of the country’s most delicious recipes. She traveled from the northern mountains to cities to sea side towns, and through these travels has woven together personal stories, vibrant photographs, and flavorfully diverse recipes.
Maps for Lost Lovers by Nadeem Aslam
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize when it was published, this book about Pakistani immigrants in England is beautiful yet devastating. The disappearance of Jugnu and Chanda, lovers living together out of wedlock, is explored through the eyes of Jugnu’s older brother, Shamas, and his devout wife, Kaukab.
A major reassessment of world history, The Silk Roads is an important account of the forces that have shaped the global economy and the political renaissance in the re-emerging east.