Reading will always be one of life’s greatest pleasures. This list doesn’t provide previews of new book releases, but rather recommends some of the all-time classics that will take you to places you will long for even if you haven’t been there yet. And who knows, maybe one of them will be your next travel destination. Happy Reading!
1. Homage to Catalonia, George Orwell
The story of the book takes place in Spain in the years of its civil war. Based on his own life events, Orwell portrays how it is like to be part of the worn-out city during that devastating time. His beautiful and equally heartbreaking description of Barcelona can be one of the best of documentations written about it up to this date. Containing historical, political, and personal elements, this indulging memoir definitely deserves to have a place on your shelf.
2. Sunset Oasis (Wahat Al Ghoroob), Bahaa Taher
Taher’s epic piece of art is all about self-discovery. With the novel taking place in Siwa Oasis over a century ago, the story explores different dimensions of feminism, colonialism, and cultural taboos in the beduin communities of Egypt. Through a thrilling plot that combined themes of romance and and mystery, Taher was able to construct powerful yet dreamy characters that would continue to live in your mind even after finishing the book.
3. The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway
Hemingway has given very clear and realistic visualisation to life as an expatriate in Spain and France. The people, the streets, the food, you’ll feel as if you are standing there next to him..
“The fiesta was really started. It kept up day and night for seven days. The dancing kept up, the drinking kept up, the noise went on. The things that happened could only have happened during a fiesta. Everything became quite unreal finally and it seemed as though nothing could have any consequences. It seemed out of place to think of consequences during the fiesta. All during the fiesta you had the feeling even when it was quiet, that you had to shout any remark to make it heard. It was the same feeling about any action. It was a fiesta and it went on for seven days.”
4. The Granada Trilogy (Tholatheyat Ghernata), Radwa Ashour
Consisting of three parts, the Granada Triology covers the fall of Granada, the last withstanding city of Andalusia (Spain). Although the fall of the empire is imprinted as one of the important highlights of history, people rarely associate the events with personal dimensions. And as time goes by, all the human details of this time fades away and diminishes to a number of events that happened at a point in the past. Ashour brings this era back to life by depicting the story of a family that lives through the times of the fallen city, and witnesses its events. A splendid and engaging masterpiece that would take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride.
5. Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafisi
In her memoirs, Nafisi skilfully portrays the daily struggles of being a woman in Iran after the revolution of the late seventies. The novel/diary narrates the details of the establishment of a bookclub discussing western literature. Amongst the intriguing discussions, you uncover the various layers and dimensions of the personalities of the members, who are very distinct and diversified. The book frames out the triumphs and frustrations of the pursuit of personal freedom in a country where the smallest acts of independence is a taboo.
6. I saw Ramallah, Mourid Barghourthi
A self-reflection on the writer’s life, and his journey of returning back to Palestine after years of exile. The book is an eye-opener on how it’s like to be in exile, to have this constant sense of belonging for a place you haven’t seen for years, and how it’s like to be back. Barghouti describes the mixture of feelings that come with the nostalgia for places and people that ceased to exist except in memory.
7. Midnight’s Children, Salman Roushdy
A thousand and one children are born on a Midsummer night, and with them, supernatural powers are brought to life. The story takes you on an indulging adventure throughout post-colonial India. It delicately sketches the challenges, hopes, dreams, and disappointments of a generation in the aftermath of independence.
8. Gate of the sun (Bab Al Shams), Elias Khoury
A tale of war, peace, loss, grief, tears, and joy. Gate of the sun is a touching story about displacement and all the circumstances that come with it. It takes you on a beautiful and heartbreaking journey though the villages of Palestine and Lebanon. Not only does it describe events, but the accounts for the places themselves is brilliantly narrated. It will make you discover new dimensions about cities that you haven’t thought about before.
9. Seven Years in Tibet, Heinrich Harrer
“Wherever I live, I shall feel homesick for Tibet. I often think I can still hear the cries of wild geese and cranes and the beating of their wings as they fly over Lhasa in the clear, cold moonlight. My heartfelt wish is that my story may create some understanding for a people whose will to live in peace and freedom has won so little sympathy from an indifferent world.”
10.Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
This novel is dedicated to fresh starts and new promises. It’s a fascinating account of the adventure of one person to reinvent her life through restoring a house in Italy. It is bright, hopeful ,and will make you appreciate the little details of life.