Weekly Book List: Week 13 (Set in the Middle East)

The Arabian Nights 

Presents a collection of tales, including “Aladdin,” “The Wonderful Lamp,” “Sinbad the Seaman,” and “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves.” (398.22 ARA)


An Unnecessary Woman / Rabih Alameddine (Lebanon)

A love letter to literature and its power to define who we are, this is a nuanced rendering of one woman’s life in the Middle East. (FIC ALAMEDDINE)


The Blood of Flowers / Anita Amirrezvani (Iran)

After her father dies without leaving her with a dowry, a seventeenth-century Persian teen becomes a servant to her wealthy rug designer uncle in the court of Shah Abbas the Great, where her weaving talents prove both a blessing and curse. (FIC AMIRREZVANI)


The Sandcastle Girls / Chris Bohjalian (Syria)

lizabeth Endicott accompanies her father to Aleppo, Syria, to bring aid to the Armenian deportees. While there, Elizabeth meets Armen Petrosian, an Armenian engineer working for the Germans and searching for his wife and child, though certain they are already dead. In spite of the loss and horror around them, they fall desperately in love. (FIC BOHJALIAN)

Jerusalem Maiden / Talia Carner (Israel) 

Sacrificing her dreams of becoming an artist after tragedy strikes her family, Esther Karminsky, a young ultra-Orthodox woman in Jerusalem at the end of the Ottoman Empire’s rule, devotes herself to becoming an obedient “Jerusalem Maiden.” (FIC GARNER)


The ZigZag Kid / David Grossman (Israel)

Set in a little boy’s imagination, a comic tall tale follows an international outlaw and a would-be detective on a rollicking quest for the trademark purple scarf of a great actress. (FIC GROSSMAN)


The Kite Runner / Khaled Hosseini (Afghanistan)

Traces the unlikely friendship of a wealthy Afghan youth and a servant’s son, in a tale that spans the final days of Afghanistan’s monarchy through the atrocities of the present day. (FIC HOSSEINI)


Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books / Azar Nafisi (Iran)

From 1995-97 in Iran, Azar Nafisi gathered with seven of her former students, all young women, to read and discuss forbidden works of Western literature. Reserved at first, the women soon learned to speak their minds and share their repressed dreams. (955.054 NAF)


Silent House / Orhan Pamuk (Turkey)

Awaiting the arrival of her grandchildren in her home outside Istanbul, bed-ridden widow Fatma shares memories and grievances with her late husband’s illegitimate son until his cousin, a right-wing nationalist, involves the family in the Turkish military coup of 1980. (FIC PAMUK)


The Bastard of Istanbul / Elif Shafak (Turkey)

From one of Turkey’s most acclaimed and outspoken writers comes a novel about the tangled histories of two families. (FIC SHAFAK)

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